Canada Travel Guide
Tax day is here, and you're probably excited...but not because you love sifting through receipts and credit card statements. You're excited because you're getting a fat refund. Probably. The economy may be on its way back up, but you should try to stretch that tax refund as far as you can...like with a little "you did a great job last year" tripa Tax Refund Vacation.
Sure you’ve been to New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, but there’s another big city in North America worth visiting—and this one has nothing to do with your adjusted gross income or itemized deductions. Up in Canada you’re outside of Uncle Sam’s jurisdiction, so we think a weekend in Toronto could be a great way to blow that tax refund.
Thanks to business travelers and a decent demand there’s usually a nonstop flight to or from somewhere nearby, and maybe even your local airport. All the big city airports and hubs do the nonstop thing, and Air Canada is always a good place to start. Sometimes the international taxes ruin the fun, but if you scored close to $3,000 like other people you should be okay.
Food Travel / Montreal Travel / Mile End / St. Viateur Bagel / Fairmount Bagel / New York City / Brunch / → All Tags
In this week's Street Food Friday, we took a look at the mouth-watering smoked-meat sandwiches that are a staple of Montreal. It's a hell of a lunch or dinner, but let's not forget about breakfast. Like New York City, Montreal is big on its bagels, and the debate rages on about who bakes the better product.
NYC bagels are made from malt and salt, boiled in regular water, and then baked in a standard oven. Montreal bagels contain malt but sugar instead of salt, and are boiled in honey-water before being cooked in a wood-fired oven. As you can see from the photo, the bagels coming out of Montreal are significantly smaller in size. Advocates of Montreal-style say they like the thin stature and sweet taste, and believe the wood-fire oven gives the exterior a crisp crust. Those in camp NYC prefer salt to sugar in their bagel batter.
In a new weekly Friday column, we'll explore street food and other culinary specialties from around the world. Last week, it was Detroit-style pizza. This week, we head to Montreal to see what's cooking.
Other than that Montreal has been making delicious smoked-meat sandwiches since the early 1900s, the history of the style's emergence is hazy. In all the speculation that exists, the general consensus is that it has Jewish origins and roots, brought to Canada rather than created within the country. No matter. It arrived, and it is now the most distinguished sandwich in Quebec's largest city.
In celebration of the most needed happy hour of the week, we're launching a new column called “Monday, Five Thirty” that will take a look at different vices from around the world, specifically boozes and beers unique to a destination. Last week, it was a taste of France in the Caribbean. This week, we head to the Yukon for a novelty shot that might make you lose your lunch.
If you thought the beer brewed with bull testicles sounded bad, wait until you hear what's being served in Dawson City: A cocktail that contains a human toe.
About two years ago when traveling to Mexico, this contributor met a man in a long line at customs. When I mentioned I was a travel writer, he began telling me about a new business he was entering: Compression socks.
Compression socks, right. Sounds riveting. What's next? You're going to tell me how much fun it is to be an accountant? He laughed as if he'd heard it before. He looked down at my feet, and told me, all kidding aside, that he thought they’d be good for me with all the travel I do. He said he’d send me a pair once the company was up and running. We went our separate ways, but a few months later, I got a box in the mail.
According to the literature on the box, Dr. Segal’s True Graduated Compression Socks are said to increase circulation and reduce swelling and leg fatigue. A little bit of research shows that the general benefit of compression socks is all science at this point (regardless of the brand), but I was skeptical that they would make much of a notable impact for a young guy like me. Like a good little journalist, I gave them a shot on my next cross-country flight to find out.
Theme Parks / Spring Travel / Amusement Parks / Roller Coasters / Canada Travel / Canada's Wonderland / → All Tags
There’s some goodies heading to Canada this theme park season, as one of the country’s best park’s—Canada's Wonderland—is adding a brand new attraction just in time for the warm weather. It’s not exactly a roller coaster, but at the same time it kind of is one too.
Things are set to open for the first time around the beginning of May, as the park cuts the ribbon on its $10-million investment in fun and entertainment. Known as Wonder Mountain’s Guardian, the new slice of theme park awesomeness will feature a 60-foot coaster hill to enter the dark ride environment.
The Monday after the Olympics is kind of bummer, and that’s especially the case for those who have been hooked on the sporting events—even with the tape delay—for the last couple of weeks. Thankfully ice hockey has some neat stuff to look forward to, as the National Hockey League is continuing their series of interesting events through the upcoming weekend.
For those that want to continue the celebration of Team Canada and their gold medal win in men’s ice hockey—and women’s ice hockey for that matter—the fun takes place on Sunday, March 2 in Vancouver. This is when the 2014 NHL Heritage Classic does its thing at BC Place, as the Ottawa Senators take on the Vancouver Canucks. The game is played in Vancouver at the home of the area’s Canadian Football League team. Things might even be played outdoors like some of the other league events this year, as the hockey road trip has already included games at Dodger Stadium and Yankee Stadium.
We are suckers for a good airline lounge, as after all nothing is more enjoyable than a few free drinks, a bite to eat, and somewhere decent to sit before our flight. Okay—there are probably better ways to spend our time than at an airline lounge, but we still do get a kick when we have the chance to check them out.
As you probably know access to these lairs of airport solitude are often limited to frequent flyers or those in the upper class cabins, so it’s hardly a warm welcome to one and all. Thankfully the latest lounge over in Vancouver is a little bit different, as the Plaza Premium Lounge at the Vancouver International Airport is open to one and all. However, that assumes that you’re willing to pay for the pleasure to visit.
Good news for those flying the friendly skies in and around Canada, as it’s time for one of the country’s carriers to add a little in-flight connectivity to its menu of amenities. WestJet is now ready to flip the switch on in-flight WiFi, so be sure your tray table is in the locked position and that your gadgets are fully charged.
Panasonic must have put together a good PowerPoint presentation, as they’re the ones that will bring the wires and transmitters to the WestJet fleet. They will bring the new in-flight entertainment, and their new system will actually also replace the existing seatback screens on plenty of the planes.
Videos / WestJet / Airlines / Livery / Airline News / Canada Travel / Theme Parks / Disney / Walt Disney World / → All Tags
For those looking to visit Walt Disney World this year the best ride there might just be aboard WestJet. The carrier from Canada recently revealed its latest livery, and this thing is all magic and Mickey Mouse.
The custom paintjob on the Boeing 737-800 features Mickey in his Sorcerer Mickey role, along with plenty of other magic sprinkled over the outside and inside of the airplane. They’re calling it the Magic Plane, and we’ve got to say—we’d call it that too.
It might be cold in your neighborhood, but we’d be willing to bet it’s even colder across much of Canada. The country certainly knows all about winter weather, but instead of staying inside and binge watching Netflix programming they get outdoors and enjoy it. If you want to check things out for yourself—and embrace the winter—here’s three winter festivals to do just that:
The fun starts on January 31, and it runs through three weekends during February. Residents and tourists alike bundle up and take to the outdoors, as they enjoy things like the world’s largest skating rink over at the Rideau Canal Skateway. Slip, slide, and skate your way through portions of the city all while checking out the goodies that Canada’s capital has to offer.
There’s ice carvings over at Confederation Park, and the world’s biggest snow playground—they call it Snowflake Kingdom—does its thing over at Jacques Cartier Park in nearby Gatineau. Most of the activities are free, but be sure to bring to bring along some extra cash for a BeaverTail or two.
For those who have been waiting for even more up in the air connectivity in Canada, the wait is now over. Gogo has been busy at work running wires, writing code, checking settings, and doing all the behinds the scenes stuff to get things ready to go. It now looks like they have flipped the switch to go live, as they just announced that the first phase of their Canadian WiFi network is now open for business.
Things are very similar to the connectivity down in the nifty fifty, but in Canada they are pairing some of their original air-to-ground technology with some next generation stuff. There’s even some hybrid and satellite technology solutions, and these ground-to-orbit goodies can offer up peak speeds of more than 70 Mbps. Let’s just say Gogo is pretty darn happy with themselves right now, and we think rightfully so.