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OTTAWA – Great food. Sleek new hotels. And lively neighborhoods. Ottawa is a city that’s most definitely moving in the right direction. Here are five things you need to do on your next visit. Oh yeah, Ottawa’s legendary Tulip Festival runs May 12-23. PARLIAMENT HILL – I hadn’t visited our nation’s Parliament for at least 20 years. They offer wonderful tours, with fun stories about the history and architecture contrasted with very sobering areas, including the Memorial Chamber near the base of the Peace Tower. A few minutes watching the House of Commons is a fascinating experience, and the main ... continue reading →

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That more Americans are visiting Toronto is good news. The fact they’re staying longer and spending more is even better. Tourism Toronto released its 2015 visitation numbers today, showing a five per cent rise in overnight visits and a 10 per cent hike in U.S. numbers. Overall, Toronto attracted 14.03 million overnight visits last year, the first time they’ve gone over the 14 million mark. The city’s previous best was in 2014, with 13,365,800 overnight visits. Montreal earlier this month announced they attracted 9.6 million visitors last year, while Vancouver said they brought in 9.4 million folks. Numbers from the ... continue reading →

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BAIE ST. PAUL, QUEBEC – As a friend of mine, Allan Ryan, used to say: “Ooh. And la. And la.” I’ve been to some pretty spiffy hotels in this land called Canada. But Le Germain Hotel Charlevoix is my new favourite; a sleek and stylish spot that has so many wonderful touches and small surprises. It’s also a remarkable combination of hotel, restaurant, bar, art gallery, train station, spa, a skating rink, snowshoeing, fire pits, an outdoor swimming pool for summer and a performing arts centre; a crazy combination anywhere in the world but perhaps a bit unexpected for folks ... continue reading →

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Such a big world. So many great places to go. The Internet is filled (well, not quite) with year-end stories that look ahead to great places to visit in 2016. I’ve found some nice suggestions from folks such as Frommer’s and Conde Nast, as well as Lonely Planet, which singled out Quebec City. But they’re not me, so I’ve come up with my own suggestions of cool places to check out in the New Year. Happy travels to all! CALGARY The city has quietly become a hotspot for cutting edge cuisine, as evidenced by the recent naming of Pigeonhole as ... continue reading →

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KEY WEST – Last week I talked about some great activities I took part in during a recent visit to the Florida Keys. Today it’s time to talk about snapper, key lime pie and a run-in with a TV celebrity. We had some truly magnificent food during our four days in the Keys. I don’t find Florida stoned crab to be as tasty as the Dungeness crab they sell out on the west coast (I grew up in California so I might be biased) but it’s pretty good and nicely presented at The Stoned Crab in Key West. I ordered ... continue reading →

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