Three very different settings. Three great places to enjoy the bounty of Southwest Ontario. I recently spent a day in the London-St. Thomas area, checking out two fabulous craft brewing spots and a quiet, lovely winery I hadn’t heard about before. Ontario has fully embraced the craft beer scene, and Southwest Ontario has some of the best in the province. One of the newest ewest guy on the block is a sleek, attractive and already wildly popular spot on Richmond St. in London called Toboggan Brewing Co. Locals Ricky Doyle, who owns a wine agency, and Mike Smith, who owns ... continue reading →


A new report released today says wine tourism is a growing and important part of Canada’s tourism industry. That’s not really news, but the report from the Canadian Vintners Association (CVA) and the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) finds that wine tourism attracts a whopping 3 million visitors a year and drives $1.2 billion in spending a year for the critical national tourism sector. Canadian wine regions are world-class, not only because of the great wine, but also the hospitality, infrastructure and natural beauty, which we believe can be further promoted to would-be international visitors,” said Dan Paszkowski, President ... continue reading →


March Break is officially in our rear view mirror. Ditto for Easter. So it’s time to plan for your summer vacation then, right? If you’re looking for a trip to the U.S., you’re likely in for sticker shock at your nearest bank. The loonie is still hovering around 80 cents U.S., and I recently paid something like $130 Canadian for a hundred dollars in U.S. greenbacks. With that in mind, here are a few out-of-town spots you might not have thought about. AUCKLAND My nephew recently booked a flight from Toronto to Auckland, New Zealand for $1,600. That’s not cheap, ... continue reading →


This is getting harder. Now that I’m travelling a lot more (and not tied to the desk as much as when I was the Toronto Star Travel editor, a post I left in August, 2013), my year-end “Jimmy Awards” are proving a little more tricky. I did a fair bit of travelling in Canada this year, hitting all the provinces except Newfoundland and New Brunswick. Which means I have a great many more things to single out than in previous years. Which is why I’m splitting up the Jimmy’s into two categories: Canada and the rest of the world. I’ll ... continue reading →

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Carmel and Carmel Valley California are blessed with more wonders than any area should be allowed. The food and wine are superb, the hotels exceptional and the scenery – and golf – unsurpassed. Carmel Beach is a luscious, white sand affair that goes on forever. The fact that Pebble Beach Golf Course is on one end doesn’t hurt. The 17-Mile Drive is one of the great drives of the world. Be sure to stop at the Lone Cypress for an iconic photo. And be sure to drive all of the coastal route. The inland portion is lovely but can’t compare ... continue reading →