Canada Travel Guide

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Whale Sightings in BC? There’s An App For That

July 2, 2015 at 12:50 PM | by | ()

Whale watching season in the Pacific Northwest is in full swing! (Your best chance of seeing whales is from April to September.) If you find yourself in British Columbia this summer, keep an eye out for fins.

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This Is the World's First Airport to Use Apple Watch Behind the Scenes

June 25, 2015 at 1:00 AM | by | ()

Once the Apple Watch made its debut on the wrists of travelers, it was inevitable that things like gate information, flight updates, and other flight-related frills would all make an appearance via one airline app or another. But now it’s an airport that is going all-in with Apple's latest tech toy.

Per Airport World, this month Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport (YQB) became the first airport in the world to start using the Apple Watch behind the scenes. The airport has connected the watch to its existing operations and information system, so now the watch can immediately offer duty managers real-time updates . Push notifications and alerts to staff are designed to keep everything on schedule and running according to plan: whether it comes to flight delays or airplanes fighting over a gate, every need-to-know issue will be delivered to a wrist so that it can be dealt with. Hopefully this will keep decision-makers in the know — and benefit all travelers as a result.

SITA, the airport management system that pushes these updates through an app it developed specially for YQB, is also in use at 150 airports in almost 50 countries. So it might not be long before other staffers in other airports are using Apple Watch like walkie-talkies. The next time you see an airport worker bee busily checking his or her wrist, know that they might be sending instructions — not emojis.

[Photo: Apple]

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Montreal Like a Local: Where to Rent Bikes

Where: Montreal, QC, Canada
June 24, 2015 at 2:05 PM | by | ()

If you want to get around Montreal like a local, all you'll need is a bicycle. It's surprising to find such a thriving bike culture in a city that averages more than 80 inches of snow per year, but Montreal caters to its cyclists with 400 miles of bike lanes, many of which are closed to vehicular traffic, and bike racks outside most businesses.

For visitors, the easiest way to join in on Montreal's bike craze is to rent one of the 5000 Bixi Bikes around the city. Like NYC's Citi Bikes, many are centrally located near tourist spots and can be rented for as little as $5 a day.

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Here's How to Go Kayaking on Quadra Island

June 8, 2015 at 3:10 PM | by | ()

If you’re headed to Quadra Island, British Columbia, this summer and looking for a local kayaker outfitter, check out Coast Mountain Expeditions.

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Salmon Fishing and the Art (Or Lack Thereof) of Patience

June 3, 2015 at 11:27 AM | by | ()

If you like luxury and remote wilderness, Sonora Resort in the Discovery Islands of British Columbia is an incredible pocket of the Pacific Northwest. Reached only via private helicopter, sea plane or water taxi, it takes some effort to get to this island of unspoiled natural beauty. It’s also expensive — in high season, room rates start at $895 per night — but includes a slew of amenities. Super fancy meals (from wickedly talented executive chef Terry Pichor and his staff), booze, Wi-Fi, international calling, mineral pools, a sauna and a 9-hole putting green are among the complimentary offerings.

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Duty-Free Snack Shopping: What to Buy Before Departing Canada

Where: Canada
May 22, 2015 at 10:00 AM | by | ()

International travel isn't just about seeing foreign lands and experiencing other cultures. It's also about sampling the very best snacks and candies that another country has to offer. (Everyone speaks the international language of "sweet tooth.") Duty-free airport shops are among the best places to score cool confections with flavors you'll want on your taste buds as soon as you've unpacked. In fact, our recent trip to Canada yielded some yummy treats worth bringing home for friends — with some extras saved for yourself, of course.

While at Toronto's Pearson International Airport, we were scanning the maple syrup-stocked shelves when we came across a series of boxes that were beautifully decorated with various Canadian landscapes and nature photographs. Aptly named Tastefully Canadian, this brand of treats incorporates tastes that reflect the world's fourth largest country from coast to coast — and yes, it definitely sneaks in some maple flavors here and there.

Here are a few specific boxed treats that we'd recommend stocking up on before you catch your flight home. With them in your suitcase — and later in your mouth — you'll be sure to leave with sweet memories of your time in Canada.

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Toronto's Secret City is a Subterranean Shopping Paradise

Where: Toronto, Canada
May 19, 2015 at 1:00 PM | by | ()

Need to give your credit card a workout? Street-level shops only scratch the surface of what you can find in Toronto, Canada's most populous city. Just below the sidewalk is PATH, an elaborate network of pedestrian tunnels that the Guinness Book of World Records considers the world's largest underground shopping complex. There are over 4 million-square feet boasting about 1200 retailers and services: everything from clothing shops to food courts, mall-like services to entertainment venues.

PATH links together dozens of office buildings, several subway stations (including Union Station), hotels and other points of entry. Once you head down into the maze-like sprawl, the corridors open up to shopping, food courts, services and entertainment totaling 18 miles of retail therapy. And from the Hockey Hall of Fame to the iconic CN Tower, PATH even paves the way to many of Toronto's best tourist attractions. Plus, since its hallways link downtown buildings in a weather-free and climate controlled environment, this subterranean shopping world is especially ideal when Mother Nature doesn't care to cooperate with the day-to-day lives of locals.

Naturally, being underground might make it more difficult to find your directional orientation. Fear not. Signs are color-coded and act as a compass. Blue for North, yellow for East, red for South and orange for West.

Your only challenge is choosing where to start.

[Photo: Rayme Gorniak/Jaunted]

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TGIF, Vancouver! You Deserve One of Gyoza Bar’s New Mojitos

Where: 622 West Pender Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
May 8, 2015 at 11:00 AM | by | ()

Gyoza Bar, we’re in love. Last weekend, we ate, drank and played our way around Vancouver, BC. But you, you industrial-chic beauty, stole our foodie heart. Between your delicious pan fried dumplings, family style Bao Boards and spot-on service, we swooned over our experience. Thank gawd for an ambitious, adventurous dining companion, who made it possible to try as many dishes as possible.

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Street Food Friday: East Meets West With the JAPADOG in Vancouver

May 1, 2015 at 12:45 PM | by | ()

The Terimayo dog, JAPADOG's signature hot dog, is topped with teriyaki sauce, mayo, and seaweed

Vancouver is known for its seafood and sushi, but budget travelers need not worry: The city also has one of the most unique Asian-North American street food fusions we've come across in a long time.

Known as the JAPADOG, the concept dresses up the classic hot dog with traditional Asian toppings. It goes well beyond wasabi mayo and cabbage. The east-meets-west theme is probably best embodied in the Yakisoba Dog, which tops an arabiki sausage with yakisoba noddles. Yes, noodles on a hot dog.

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What You Need to Know About Canada's Rocky Mountaineer

Where: Canada
April 28, 2015 at 1:51 PM | by | ()

Last week, we took a ride across Western Canada from Vancouver to Banff on board one of Canada's few long-haul scenic train options, the Rocky Mountaineer. It was the first ride of the 2015 season, made even more special by the fact that the company is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Step inside with us for a breakdown of what Rocky Mountaineer has to offer as well as insight into what you can expect from the experience.

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For The Best Views In Canada, Find the Red Chairs

Where: Canada
April 24, 2015 at 11:05 AM | by | ()

If you’ve spent any time north of the border, you know that Canada has no shortage of absolutely breathtaking parks. There’s Banff National Park in Alberta, Saguenay-St. Lawrence in Québec and Mount Revelstoke and Glacier in British Columbia – to name a few.

Parks Canada has stepped up the park-going experience for visitors with its Parks Canada’s Red Chair Experience. To encourage outdoor enthusiasts to get out and explore, they’ve placed bright red recycled Adirondack chairs in the best places throughout the country’s parks. (Made in Canada, of course.) Some are located in iconic standout spots; others are staff picks hidden in hard-to-find places. Think Lake Minnewanka in Banff and Takkakaw Falls in Yoho.

If you don’t like the thrill of a scavenger hunt, you can print out a map from the Parks Canada website or use the GPS coordinates listed on the site to help sleuth the red chairs.

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Wish You Were Here: Onboard the Rocky Mountaineer from Vancouver to Banff

Where: Canada
April 23, 2015 at 5:10 PM | by | ()

The Gold Leaf observation car on the Rocky Mountaineer

Western Canada, specifically British Columbia and Alberta, is mostly comprised of wilderness and small, isolated mountain towns. The major bullet points like Kamloops, Revelstoke, Jasper, and Banff might be well known, but it's the scenery in between - typically tough to access for the general traveler - that does most of the talking.

As far as scenic passenger trains go, the Rocky Mountaineer is Canada’s most luxurious line. Contrary to the government-funded VIA Rail, which features sleeper cars and does a lot of its travel in the dark, the Rocky Mountaineer travels only during the day, stopping in "ports" along the way and putting its passengers up in hotels.

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