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A former snowboarding champion turned celebrity chef who wants to use a uniquely Canadian snack as part of his menu at a posh new downtown Toronto hotel. Akira Back is not your typical chef, and his restaurant at the coming Bisha Hotel Toronto promises to be just as fun and quirky. In a telephone chat on a day when he was getting ready to fly to Korea, Back told me he’d like to use ketchup-flavoured potato chips in one of the dishes at the Bisha Hotel Toronto, which is set to open sometime in October and will be home to ... continue reading →

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A new study by reputable pollsters Angus Reid is giving Air Canada officials something to think about. It also suggests Canadians are none too happy with airlines in general. An Angus Reid report I spotted today found that 50% of Canadians rate Montreal-based Air Canada as “good” or “excellent,” while 17% gave our biggest airline a rating of “poor” or “terrible.” Things were considerably brighter for Calgary-based WestJet. Angus Reid said its study found that 77% of Canadians rate WestJet either good or excellent, while a measly 4% gave them a poor or terrible rating. That’s a pretty big difference, ... continue reading →

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First they went low. Now they’re going long. It was just 10 days ago or so that Calgary-based WestJet announced they were going to launch Canada’s first ultra-low-cost air carrier, a move that would see them tangle directly with New Leaf Travel in a sort of Canadian version of Ryanair or Easyjet. On Tuesday, the airline zagged in the opposite direction, announcing it will buy up to 20 Boeing 787 Dreamliners with an eye on grabbing some of Air Canada’s long-distance routes to Asia, Europe and South America. It’s a heckuva plan for a company that still positions itself as ... continue reading →

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Okay, one could argue that an airline crash is worse PR than this. But those are usually freak accidents that are almost impossible to anticipate. Today’s news? That United had a guy DRAGGED off a plane for refusing to give up a seat he had paid for? And video to go with it? I don’t think the Richter scale of episodic public relations earthquakes can register a tremor that sizable. One of the best lines I saw on Twitter was from a guy who drily noted that United already has business class and economy, as well as premium economy for ... continue reading →

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So, the Ontario government yesterday announced that travel companies can no longer advertise packages unless they include the full price. No more of those annoying ads that say “A week in Cuba, $400” in bold type and then, under that in fine print, words such as “taxes and fees, $250 extra” or “pillows on your bed and hot water in your shower, $5 per day.” No more of that. It’s not earth-shaking, like the Prime Minister adding a new oil pipeline or admitting that he shouldn’t hold private fundraisers in which he discusses government business with would-be Liberal Party supporters ... continue reading →

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