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NOTE: THIS ITEM FIRST APPEARED EARLIER TODAY IN POSTMEDIA NEWSPAPER WEBSITES ACROSS CANADA: LAC BROME, QUEBEC – “I don’t want something that starts big and then goes ‘pfffffttt’ after two seconds. I call that a quickie.” Leon Courville is pouring some of his wines for me at his pretty, barn-like winery in Quebec’s Eastern Townships and explaining how he emphasizes making wine with structure. His St.-Pepin, a white wine made with a grape that does well in cold climates, starts a bit thin to my taste but finishes with a nice, lingering, chardonnay-like finish I quite like. “I think people ... continue reading →

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PELEE ISLAND, LAKE ERIE – I’ve only been in the Anchor and Wheel Inn restaurant for two minutes and I’m already in love. There are pirate flags and colourful, wooden fish and bright orange buoys hanging on the walls. There’s reggae music and Jimmy Buffett tunes floating over the speakers. Owner and head chef Mark Emrich walks by and I compliment him on the décor and the music. “Welcome to the Canadian Keys,” he says with a grin. Emrich loads my plate with two huge pieces of blackened pickerel, as well as steamed green beans done just right and a ... continue reading →

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InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) sponsored my participation in this campaign. All opinions are my own. SOOKE, B.C. – The Grand Canyon sounds pretty darn grand. The Rocky Mountains conjure up images of stark, rugged peaks and picture-perfect alpine lakes in shades the Crayola crayon people never imagined. And just about everyone knows about Niagara Falls. But even a veteran travel writer like myself was baffled and left with a blank stare on his face when someone on a trip I took to B.C. last year with Tourism Vancouver Island said we would be visiting the Sooke Potholes. Being a polite ... continue reading →

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THIS STORY ORIGINALLY APPEARED JAN. 18 ON POSTMEDIA AND SUN MEDIA WEBSITES ACROSS CANADA LOS ANGELES – I’ve been given a tough assignment by the tourism folks in Los Angeles; tour the city and eat at places that even A-list celebs have trouble getting into. Sip a glass of wine or two with your meal. Stay at a couple of glam hotels. Tour the Grammy Museum in advance of next month’s Grammy Music Awards and the Academy Awards. Take the Warner Bros. Studio VIP Tour. Eat and drink some more. I can drink from $200 bottles of wine and nibble ... continue reading →

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WHISTLER, B.C. – I’m approaching my sixth decade on this planet. I haven’t been on skis in 10 years. And I’ve never skied in the west, let alone on a mountain that was part of the Olympics. But, I’m determined to get out there, so I find myself in a lesson with Leanne Bartlett, a young Scottish woman who tells me she learned to ski on the driveway of her home in Glasgow when she was three. An unusual resume, for sure. “Keep your hands in front of you and keep your knees bent,” she tells us. “You want to ... continue reading →

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