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October 2017

Toronto is Canada’s most welcoming city and is the top 15 in the world, according to a new study by TravelBird. With the United Nations celebrating World Cities Day today (Oct.31), TravelBird looked at the top 500 tourists destinations around the world and then took into account factors that can lead to a visitor feeling welcome, including the happiness of locals, openness to tourists, airports and other issues. They gave Singapore the highest rating, with a mark of 8.22. Next were Stockholm (8.02), Helsinki (8.01), San Francisco (8.00) and Rotterdam (7.98). The next five were Lisbon, Tokyo, Oslo, Zurich, and ... continue reading →

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A shorter version of this story was posted earlier Monday on Sun Media/Postmedia websites in Canada. BLOWING ROCK, NORTH CAROLINA – I’m out to catch the first rays of sun in the mountains of northwest North Carolina. I’m driving along the famous Blue Ridge Parkway and pass a cyclist wearing an American flag jersey working his way up a steady hill. As I pass over a bridge suspended over a high canyon I glance to my left and see an electric pink sun rising over pale grey-white clouds on the horizon below me. I pull over as soon as I ... continue reading →

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BARBADOS – There are certain places in the world that just kind of hit me the minute I arrive. One of those is the Crane Resort on Barbados, an island and a hotel/resort I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying for three full stays and a brief day visit. It’s one of the outstanding resorts in the Caribbean; a gracious and beautiful property that sits on a bluff overlooking the quiet and rugged southeast coast of the island. One of the best things about the resort is the way they’ve encompassed so many historical elements. A hotel was originally built here ... continue reading →

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Lonely Planet says folks should choogle on down to Chile next year. But they also should slide over to South Korea and check out Portugal, Djibouti and New Zealand. The popular travel guide and publishing company today (Oct. 24) issued its annual book of top places for experience-hungry travellers to dine in and explore in 2018. Last year Canada was all over these kinds of charts owing to 2017 being our 150th birthday. This year we’ve slipped off the radar and nearly disappeared, at least in the Lonely Planet Guide. Canadian destinations failed to appear in the list of top ... continue reading →

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A shorter version of this story appeared earlier this week on Postmedia/Sun Media websites in Canada. MOLOKAI, HAWAII – I’m standing on the edge of a windswept cliff on the northwest edge of this Hawaiian island with a group of locals who are learning about efforts to restore the area’s natural ecology. The views are stunning, with craggy, brown-gray rocks plunging into the deepest blue water I’ve ever seen. There’s not a building in sight on this isolated stretch of perhaps the most Hawaiian island of all. I sidle up to one of the local men, who lives in the ... continue reading →

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