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May 2014

PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND – Sometimes in this job it’s easy to over-research a story. I don’t want to invest my working time on a hotel or a destination I won’t like, so it’s important for me to check things out in advance before I take a trip on behalf of the Star. But the tourist or “normal” traveller in me doesn’t want to over-do it and analyze a million photos, many of them doubtless professional pics that make a place look better than it really is. Because if I do that I won’t be surprised or have the feeling I did ... continue reading →

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CALGARY – World-class food. Sleek and sexy hotels. And sophisticated bars with cutting edge design and local flavours. This is a town that has come a long, long way in the past few years. Lucky for me, I got to sample some of the best Calgary has to offer on a recent, two-day visit. The food might be biggest change a visitor would notice if they’ve haven’t been here in a while. Local restaurants are putting interesting twists on local favourites, with influences ranging from Vietnam to Italy to Thailand and beyond. Bonterra is a lively, fun spot in the emerging area ... continue reading →

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JASPER to CANMORE, ALBERTA – A gorgeous lodge that manages the perfect balance of rustic and luxury. One of the world’s top drives. A brand new, thrilling tourist attraction just down the road from an old favourite. And a killer, Southeast Asian style meal waiting at the end in my favourite little city. I’ve had some marvellous days in this job. But I don’t think I can top my trip from Jasper to Canmore. I’d spent the better part of the previous afternoon working out kinks in my laptop, but managed to make the drive from Edmonton to Jasper (about four ... continue reading →

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JIM BYERS PHOTO 104th St. in downtown Edmonton is filled with hip spots. EDMONTON – This might be the next great Canadian city. Or at least the next cool one. Lots of folks in Toronto pooh-pooh Edmonton. Yeah, it’s a city that’s still rough around the edges. And, yeah, it’s a tad chilly in winter. But there’s a very sizable gentrification going on, not unlike what has happened in Winnipeg and Calgary and St. John’s, and I get the feeling that folks won’t recognize this Alberta city’s downtown five years from now. Not that it’s turning into Toronto or Montreal or ... continue reading →

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ON THE TRAIL OF GREAT WOMEN IN ALBERTA – A couple years ago I visited a wonderul museum in Whitehorse. There were tons of stories about interesting miners from around the world, but I was particularly struck by a woman named Lucille Hunter, who was one of the first black women in the Yukon and used to walk 200 km from Mayo to Dawson City every year. I also found it fun to read about Martha Louise Black, a Yukon resident who was the second woman elected to the Parliament of Canada. The history of Alberta, similarly, is filled with ... continue reading →

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