Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Touring Western Canada - A Spectacular Winter Idyll

A trip to Canada is right for anyone with a sense of adventure and a love of magnificent scenery and friendly faces. Here we outline some highlights of a tour which starts in Calgary and ends in Vancouver - easily covered in 10 or 11 days, with a few nights in Banff and Jasper to savour the mountain scenes, and an unforgettable train ride too.

Starting in Calgary, a simple morning tour is a great way to take in the atmosphere of this go-ahead, elegant city of skyscrapers and diverse shopping centres. Amongst the attractions is Calgary's Saddledome, the city's 17,000-seat stadium hosting a huge variety of sporting and entertainment events.

After Calgary, a drive west takes you to Banff National Park, known as the gateway to the Rockies, and a spectacular mountain resort. There is so much to do here, including an excursion to Sulphur Mountain for a gondola ride with spectacular views of the mountain scenery, and a visit to Bow Falls. Main activities can be hiking, boating and fishing, and the extra-adventurous might try a helicopter trip over the mountains; or perhaps for those who enjoy the quieter life sometimes - a cruise on Lake Minnewanka?

From Banff, a great place to visit next is Jasper - but on the way it is a good idea to take in the resort of Lake Louise with its clear blue waters a perfect natural mirror which reflects the surrounding mountains and glaciers. The scenery here is breathtaking, with steep gorges, snow-capped mountain ranges, and turquoise lakes. Another stop might be the Columbia Ice field for a snow coach ride on the Athabasca Glacier. Great adventure.

Once in Jasper, you will marvel at the continuous stream of beautiful scenery again with hiking options (how about an evening hike looking for elk?), or a trip to Maligne Lake and its huge canyon. But Jasper is also famous as a starting point for a fantastic 2-day trip by rail on the Rocky Mountaineer - a classic rail journey from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Coast. It takes in Mount Robson the highest mountain in the Canadian Rockies and follows the route of the 'Overlanders', 19th century homesteaders who tried to settle down in this wild region, and the Thompson River with views of the Monashee Mountains. Staying overnight at the ranching centre of Kamloops, the next days sees the Rocky Mountaineer continue on to Vancouver via the Fraser Canyon and the churning rapids of Hell's Gate where the Fraser river squeezes through a 100-foot gap.

The Rocky Mountaineer offers two choices of service. RedLeaf Service which provides guests with assigned, spacious, comfortable reclining seats, large picture windows, delicious chilled breakfast and luncheon selections served at your seat in an air-conditioned traditional rail coach environment.

On the other hand, the GoldLeaf Service allows you to use one of the 11 custom-built, bi-level GoldLeaf dome coaches with an upper level offering 360-degree panoramic views. The whole experience includes elegant dining and top class service - probably the rail trip of a lifetime for many.

After this, Vancouver offers beautiful beaches and fine harbour, Chinatown, Gastown, and the beautiful Stanley Park. From Vancouver you can sail across the Strait of Georgia through the Gulf Islands, an area known for its Mediterranean climate. A nice idea is to take in a sightseeing trip to Victoria with its Butchart Gardens and Bastion Square. An interesting collection of totem poles can be found in Thunderbird Park. Staying overnight before a return to Vancouver, you can enjoy a more leisurely stay in Victoria, which will repay you with memories of fine attractions such as the Royal British Columbia Museum, or afternoon tea at the Empress Hotel, or even a whale watching cruise on the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

With flights by Air Canada amongst other to Calgary and back from Vancouver, this itinerary is a great recommendation for an unforgettable taste of Canada's pure and spectacular beauty.

Penny Church writes for several Travel Companies in the UK, including Country Connect and the Airport parking specialist http://www.airport-parking-offers.com who offer a wide variety of airport parking and hotel arrangements for UK travellers.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Touring Canada Highlights

Thinking of touring around Canada this year? From coast to coast this country is packed with beautiful scenery and interesting features. Being the 2nd largest country in the world, the best way to see all Canada has to offer is by taking an escorted or guided tour but going your own way can be as rewarding if you know the best places to visit.

Starting in the west, the Rocky Mountains are a breathtaking backdrop to a day exploring areas of Vancouver such as Chinatown, Gastown, and Stanley Park. Outside of the city is a paradise for nature lovers as the Rockies offer some of the best hiking and sightseeing found anywhere in the world. Kayaking, canoeing, sailing and white water rafting excursions are also popular and plentiful. North of Vancouver you'll come across Whistler. As the world watched Whistler host the 2010 Winter Olympics, you couldn't help but not want to be there and join in on the celebrating. Not just a Ski Destination, Whistler is a happening, hip city that charms and welcomes. A must do in Whistler is a trip on the world's highest and longest gondola ride but however you decide to spend your days, make sure you have your camera and plenty of batteries as rarely a minute will pass in Vancouver and Whistler that doesn't captivate you.

The drive from Vancouver through the Rockies to Calgary is a true photographer's heaven. After an incredibly scenic drive through the mountains, you will come across Jasper National Park where the white water rafting, kayaking and hiking is unsurpassed. For more amazing scenery and wonder, Lake Louise and Banff National Park are not to be missed. Canoeing on the spectacular Peyto Lake is almost surreal and hypnotic with its turquoise water glowing amidst the mountain peaks. If you time your trip right, head over to the Calgary Stampede for The Greatest Show on Earth.

From one coast to another, The Maritimes are charming in their own right. The Cabot Trail is repeatedly described as one of the most beautiful and scenic places on Earth. The Bay of Fundy features the highest tides in the world and for true Eastern Hospitality, visit the historical town Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. Also in Nova Scotia is Peggy's Cove, one of the most popular stops in Atlantic Canada with its iconic lighthouse. Of course, no stop to the Maritimes is complete without an ocean-side lobster dinner and the best way is with a smaller, local, family run restaurant to experience the authentic charm this part of Canada is famous for.

In between these uniquely Canadian locations is a corridor from historic Quebec City to the Majestic Niagara Falls. Along this corridor you'll find the cities of Montreal, Ottawa, Kingston, and Toronto featuring historic forts, top vineyards, the CN Tower, first class live theatre, splendid architecture and some of the most multicultural areas in the world.

From The Pacific to The Atlantic Ocean and all cities and towns in between you could literally spend a lifetime discovering all Canada has to offer. Taking an Escorted Vacation not only maximizes your time and brings better insight to your trip but when you are dealing with a country the size of Canada, it is also the most economical way.

Fully Escorted Tour Operators like Trafalgar Tours bring an experience to traveling that leave you accomplished and that you didn't miss anything. Consider taking a Guided Tour through Canada for a journey packed with breathtaking scenery, excitement and charm.

The Calgary Stampede - Why Do So Many Students Rush to Calgary For Their English Course in Canada?

When destinations are being tossed about for the best place to do an English course in Canada, the same old names keep cropping up, with Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal tending to top the list.

But anyone who's spent a period of study in Calgary can testify to the fact that it's more than the match of those other slightly better known Canadian cities.

Perfect Size

For starters. Calgary is a good size. Neither too big nor too small, it's on just about the perfect scale for a student living and studying in the city to really get to know it, without ever feeling like they're constantly retreading their steps over and over again.

What's more, downtown Calgary is a mass of different districts and neighborhoods, each seemingly more fascinating than the last. The real heart of the city - which should probably be sought out first - is the area to be found on and around Stephen Avenue.

Fantastic Shopping

Here there are not one, but three malls, packed with shops, and all manner of fantastic shopping. Not far away, meanwhile, the Eau Clair and the Festival districts are similarly vibrant neighborhoods that offer a compelling mix of boutique-style shops and striking riverside walks.

Perhaps most interesting of all from the point of view from the student on an English course in Canada, is Inglewood. Just over the Elbow River, it's Calgary's oldest neighborhood, and it has an alternative vibe to its shops, cafés and bars that makes it one of its most engagingly mixed.

Urban Spectacle

The city also has a fairly extensive Chinatown (around Centre Street S) which, aside from being a great place for students studying English in Calgary to pick up a cheap meal, is an intriguing urban spectacle in its own right.

In the winter, when the temperatures - although relatively high for Canada - begin to drop, there's even a convenient system of covered walkways and bridges (called the '+15') to shepherd the pedestrian around town. The largest network of its kind to be found anywhere in the world, it really opens the city up for exploring.

As you'd expect from a city of its size, Calgary has plenty of attractions with which the visitor to the city can fill their time. Of these, a couple of museums - the Art Gallery of Calgary and, especially, the enormous Glenbow Museum - really stand out (although the Telus World of Science, Calgary, runs them pretty close).

Swept Away by the Calgary Stampede

Then, of course there's the (actual!) Calgary Stampede, that rumbles into town every July. A week of rodeos, partying and unapologetic embracing of all things 'cowboy', few events anywhere in the world can match it for sheer exuberance.

And if there was any doubt left in their minds, one thing's for certain: any student lucky enough to be in the city when the Stampede comes to town will certainly be congratulating themselves at having chosen Calgary for their English course in Canada!

Calgary is one of travel writer Paul Collins' favorite Canadian cities. As a former English teacher with friends in the city, he's always held it to be one of the best places to do an English course in Canada.

A Guide to the Exhibition Centres in Canada

Located north of Old Montreal, the Palais des Congrès de Montréal has doubled its capacity since its renovation between 1999 and 2002. The exhibition centre is easily accessible due to its close proximity to Paris' business center, the Quartier international, the Quartier des spectacles, Chinatown, and Old Montréal, as well as the international airport and underground pedestrian network. The Centre offers two large, fully equipped reception halls for large events or two smaller events that run simultaneously. The two halls each provide a registration area, ticketing, bus terminals, coat check, washrooms, access to other levels, and parking.

These services are provided on Level 1, where the commercial mall is located. The mall is home to approximately 20 stores and service centres. Level 2 provides 200,000 square feet of exhibition space that can hold up to 1,000 booths. It is also home to Canada's largest multipurpose room that is not supported by columns. Audiovisual and telecommunications points of service are accessible at every 29 feet. On Level 3, visitors will find the promoter's offices that include a meeting space, office, and secretariat, while private lounges equipped with a satellite kitchen are found on Levels 4 and 7. Level 7 opens up to a wide terrace that is perfect for cocktail luncheons for VIP guests.

The Vancouver Convention And Exhibition Centre was founded in 1987 as the Canada Pavilion during Expo 86. The Five Sails of the complex are a recognized landmark in Vancouver City. The East building offers exhibitors more than 150,000 square feet of space that covers two levels. This space includes a lobby and delegate concourse, exhibition halls, ballroom capacity, and meeting rooms. The West Building is expected to be open to exhibitors in 2008. It will provide unique features to best enhance its position with a waterfront setting, offering 340,000 square feet of space. The two buildings will be linked by a harbour-view connector. After the expansion has been completed, the complex will have tripled in size to a total area of almost 500,000 square feet. The expansion plans are being expedited in order to make way for the upcoming 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, for which the centre will become the Games' the international broadcast centre and main press centre.

The Direct Energy Centre was awarded the Trade Show Executive's 2006 Innovation Award as well as two BOMA awards in 2006. Offering a wide variety of halls of various heights and sizes, the center aims to serve the needs of all kinds of events. It provides loading and unloading facilities, floor loading, a range of sound and lighting systems, temperature control, state of the art telecommunications equipment, and numerous utilities.

Catherine writes about UK exhibition stand design and Literature Stands.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Visit Victoria, British Columbia Canada

Victoria is a beautiful city located at the Pacific Coast of Canada on Vancouver Island. This quaint and charming city enjoys the mildest climate in Canada. Golfing and gardening are a way of life for many residents, and outdoor activities can be enjoyed year round.

The city was named after Queen Victoria and its British heritage is apparent with many gift shops selling fine china, Irish lace, and woolens and tartans. There also are several tea rooms. A visit to the Empress Hotel at the waterfront to enjoy their afternoon tea is an experience many tourists don't want to miss. This hotel overlooks the Inner Harbour, the area where the Washington state ferries arrive, and across the street from the stately Parliament buildings which are brightly lit at night.

Ferries go from Victoria to the British Columbia mainland and Washington state many times a day and all year. The ferry trips are all very scenic as you enjoy passing by many small islands and the mountain views. Be prepared for possible long line ups, particularly on weekends and holidays.

Walking tours downtown are very popular, and you can also see the sights by taking one of the many horse drawn carriage tours. There is much to see and enjoy downtown all within short walking distance.

Thunderbird Park is small but is renowned for its native heritage and totem poles. Close by is Beacon Hill Park, absolutely beautiful in the spring with the rhododendrons, tulips and daffodils, but it can be enjoyed even in the winter months. Victoria has winter pansies, heather, and primrose flowers that time of year.

The Carillon bell tower chimes on the hour and is a gift to the city from the Netherlands marking Canada's centennial back in 1967.

Victoria's Chinatown is small but beacons the visitor with its ornate gate featuring two stone lions. It is the oldest in North America and has fine restaurants and shops.

There are many restaurants featuring every cuisine. Especially popular is salmon and shellfish, fresh from the Pacific waters. You may also enjoy Italian, Greek, and British among many others.

The world renowned Butchart Gardens is located about an hour away from downtown Victoria. The sunken garden is breathtaking and the gardens also feature roses, a Japanese garden, two fine restaurants and in the summer spectacular fireworks. The gardens are illuminated at night in the summer time.

Victoria is rated one of the world's favorite places and with good reason. With so much natural beauty, lots of activities to enjoy, pleasant climate and outstanding accommodations and dining it is a city that is not to be missed!

To learn more about Victoria BC please visit http://www.squidoo.com/victoriabc

Hotels in Canada - Know Where to Stay

If you are vacationing, regardless of which part of the world you plan to go to, having a nice, clean, and comfortable place to stay should be put to primary consideration. After a full day of sight-seeing, it would be nice to have a place to go to that is not only relaxing, but also worth every penny you spend for it. There are so many hotels in Canada, with different rates depending on the kind of accommodation you are looking for. It is important that you set a budget for it before scouting for a place to stay. And of course, you should already have decided which cities you plan to go to as well.

Considered as the most ideal city to visit in Canada, Vancouver has a very temperate climate where summers aren't too hot, and winters aren't too cold. This city is quite famous because it holds so many festivals all year round such as the Vancouver International Jazz Festival which includes 400 performances and more than a hundred free concerts. Also, if you are a hockey fan, you'll definitely come to the right place as this is tagged as the 'hockey city' in North America. Whether you are there for business or for pleasure, you will find hotels in Vancouver usually complete with basic amenities such as internet service, room service, dining, and fitness centers. You can also choose from luxury, mid-range, and economy accommodations.

Being one of the world's top 3 multi-cultural cities, Toronto is basically a hotspot for numerous cultures, and if you are up for diversity, this is the city to visit. You can check out the CN Tower or the historical Distillery District. It is also home to several 'Chinatowns' with the biggest one located in downtown Toronto, at Dundas and Spadina. If you are looking for a hotel in Toronto, you should not have any problem at all. Depending on your budget, you can have luxury accommodation, standard, budget, and even discount hotels.

Montreal is a city that is strongly influenced by the French culture, it exudes sophistication and style. Here you will find street cafés, historical buildings and landmarks, museums, and shopping districts. Being widely popular for their 'boutique hotels,' you will find shopping a pleasurable experience when you are in Montreal. When you want to book a hotel in Montreal, you can expect luxurious and superior accommodation, especially if you are willing to spend more for it.

These are just 3 of the major cities in Canada, and if you happen to visit one of them, be sure to know which hotel you should stay.

Samantha is an avid traveler and writer on a variety of subjects. From hotels travel and more, her work appears in several publications and online.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Canada Travel Tips


As the second largest landmass in the world, there's plenty to see in Canada. But even with its vast size, stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific coasts, it is by no means insurmountable, and is a more than welcoming environment for budget travelers.


In a country so vast, travel is one of the first issues that will concern the budget traveler keen on getting to hostels in Canada on time, but also in the cheapest way possible. Rest assured, though, that when it comes to efficient and competitively priced travel, Canada is on a par with its southern neighbors the US.

As is to be expected, the quickest way of getting from city to city is by airplane, but for those whose finances may not be able to stretch even as far as the budget carrier WestJet, there is the Greyhound Canada coach service that operates between cities.

Of course, an additional bonus of the coach option is that it allows travelers the opportunity to see some of Canada's awe-inspiring, but often inhospitable countryside on the way.

British or French Canada?

Canada's rich cultural history has endowed it with both French and English-speaking quarters, each offering a different set of attractions that will separate respective travelers' different tastes.

In French-speaking Montreal and Quebec, where the French relinquished power to the conquering English in 1759, there is an unmistakable blend of European and North American culture.

Nowhere has this become more evident than in the Montreal Jazz Festival. As the world's largest jazz festival, it attracts the cream of talent from the distinctly contrasting European and US jazz world on a yearly basis, with some shows attracting audiences in excess of 100,000.

By contrast, English-speaking Toronto has become the epitome of multiculturalism, with established communities from all over the world that not only mean its hugely hospitable, but also offers plenty of cheap accommodation and boasts some of the best Canada hostels.

Highlights include Chinatown, among the largest in North America. But tourists should not miss out on the bohemian Kensington Market, Queen Street West Fashion District and Greektown.


Blessed with more than its fare share of snow and exciting peaks (such as Mount Robson and the Glacier and Revelstoke), reveling in one of Canada's self-proclaimed sporting pastimes is highly recommended.

For the less energetic, experiencing the landscape can be done on foot, with plenty of cheap tours available of the Glacier and Revelstoke mountain ranges or the Waterton Lakes.

Before settling down and becoming a copywriter for Twizi. Paul Scottyn did a backpacking tour of Canada, he checked out a variety of the country's budget accommodation, including a number of most Montreal hostels