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(2012 - Spring Issue)


More vacation ideas . . .

Aqua Lotus Honolulu, a stylish 51-room boutique hotel, has added complimentary morning yoga sessions in the park for guests who want to stretch and rejuvenate. And for those who want to explore Kapiolani Park and Diamond Head, it now offers complimentary beach cruiser bikes as well. With its Asian-inspired furnishings and private lanai, the hotel is a great romantic Hawaiian hideaway in a tranquil setting at the east end of Waikiki known as the Gold Coast. Situated across from Waikiki Beach, the Park Shore Waikiki Hotel, managed by Aqua Hotels & Resorts, has added a golf package to its selection of specials. The Oahu Golf Package includes one round of golf for two or two rounds of golf for one person at Kapolei Golf Course or Royal Hawaiian Golf Club, cart rental and daily Subway voucher. The package must be booked seven days prior to arrival with a minimum two-night stay. Popular family specials include the Waikiki Ocean Family Promotion and the Honolulu Zoo Adventurer Package. Both feature oceanview accommodation plus admission and other perks. aqualotus.com; parkshorewaikiki.com


For the second year in a row, Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection has been named to the top two spots in the Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers Choice Survey for the top 40 “Best River Cruise Ships” in the world. In fact, 10 of their luxury river cruise ships made the top 40. The River Queen and River Beatrice took the top spots with River Queen earning an overall score of 96 out of 100, while earning perfect marks (100) for shore excursions and itineraries. Uniworld features luxurious boutique ships with an average capacity of 130 guests, shore excursions fully hosted by local experts, world-class gourmet cuisine and personalized hospitality. It offers 500 departures sailing on more than 13 rivers in more than 20 countries throughout Europe, Russia, Egypt, China, Vietnam and Cambodia. uniworld.com

With its new “Crystal VIP Airport Service,” Crystal Cruises wants to help take the stress out of flying for its guests travelling to and from their ships. The VIP service includes door-to-gate luggage porter and escort services; fast-track processes including flight tracking and handling assistance with delayed or cancelled flights; escorted and expedited check-in, security, customs and immigration services; access to VIP/Business Class Lounges, where available; preferred boarding; and limousine/town car transfers between airport, home, day room and/or ship. Packages are available for up to four people in hubs around the globe from New York and Los Angeles to Rio and Hong Kong. Prices vary depending on location and the services selected. Guests can log into Crystal’s online “Priority Check-in & Planning Center (PCPC)” for specific options correlating to their flight itineraries. crystalcruises.com


Five Scottish communities were awarded the title of Scotland’s most Creative Places, as part of the Year of Creative Scotland 2012, a year-long celebration of Scotland’s cultural and creative strengths. Winners include the 10-day Wigtown Book Festival in Dumfries and Galloway; West Kilbride’s Craft Town Scotland initiative in North Ayrshire; and the world-renowned town of St. Andrews, which is celebrating St. Andrews University’s 600th anniversary and the Olympic Torch Relay this year. Two special awards recognizing long-standing creative programs and community involvement go to Creetown in Dumfries and Galloway and Huntly in Aberdeenshire. Year of Creative Scotland focuses on the country’s creative and artistic achievements through events and festivals; music, theatre and dance; art, architecture and design; literature and film; crafts, textiles and fashion; science, innovation and technology. Highlights include Glasgow Festival of Visual Art (April 20–May 7); RockNess Festival (June 8–10); Piping Live! (August 6–12); and Wigtown Book Festival (September 28–October 7). cometoscotland.com

There are more than 330 provincial parks in Ontario, and more than 110 of them are operational and provide a choice of locations, facilities, services and activities. Some feature natural heritage education programs, special events and equipment rentals. Many offer TackleShare and PFDs (visitors can borrow fishing tackle and life jackets free of charge). Roofed accommodation at many Ontario Parks ranges from historic ranger cabins to cottages, yurts and lodge rentals. Use the Park Locator to narrow down the choices available and to check which parks have roofed accommodation. Ontario’s busiest provincial parks are Algonquin, Killbear, The Pinery, Sandbanks and Bon Echo. Less busy options are available and, by booking online, you can explore different parks, campgrounds and dates, as well as check availability. This year, Ontario Parks is expanding its Learn to Camp programs. Led by park leaders, these overnight sessions teach new campers how to set up camp, build a campfire and cook on a camp stove. Almost all the equipment required is provided. OntarioParks.com; 1-888-ONT-PARK

Fernie and Sun Peaks, two of Canada’s famed ski resorts in British Columbia, are celebrating 50 years of fabulous skiing this year. Fernie, located in the southeast corner of the B.C. Rockies, has marked the anniversary by opening the new Polar Peak Lift, creating 22 new named runs. Sun Peaks, near Kamloops, is top-notch for families and known for its light, dry, “easy to ski” powder snow. Plenty of on-mountain events will continue throughout the spring. skifernie.com; sunpeaksresort.com

Do you know why the Golden Gate Bridge is painted orange? It seems Irving Morrow, a consulting architect on the project, thought black and steel grey too dull, choosing instead orange vermillion (or International Orange) as it suited the warmth of the surrounding land and better offset the cool blue of the sky and water. As San Francisco’s signature landmark celebrates its 75th birthday, much fun trivia surrounds its construction (goldengatebridge.org/research/facts.php#Name). On May 26–27, a free, two-day celebration along the San Francisco waterfront will tell the story of the Golden Gate Bridge and feature exhibits, memorabilia, historic artifacts, music, entertainment and guided walks. The bridge will not be closed to vehicles as it was for its 50th anniversary celebration in 1987. goldengatebridge75.org

Giddy-up, cowboys, because the Calgary Stampede is marking its 100th anniversary this year. The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth takes over the city July 6–15 with world-class rodeo, fast horses and special events to mark its centennial. There will be a new equine show with new sets, First Nations performers and 30 talented horses. There’s also a special Stampede Saddledome concert series this year, featuring country stars such as the legendary Johnny Reid, a Juno and 15-time Canadian Country Music Award winner. Roots Canada has designed a special Stampede Centennial rodeo jacket along with a complete line of Stampede bags and fashions to celebrate the anniversary. You’ll find them at the Stampede shops on the grounds and at Roots retailers across Canada. There’s also a new “Outlaw” in town, a new roller coaster for the midway that honours the famed Stampede rodeo bull with plenty of twisting and stomach-turning thrills. Also, experience the longest temporary zip line in Canada, soaring for 260 metres over Stampede Park at speeds of up to 60 km/h. calgarystampede.com

Victoria—that tea-drinking, oh-so-British-feeling capital of British Columbia—turns 150 years old this year with plenty of celebrations planned. The oldest city in Western Canada, it was originally founded by the Hudson’s Bay Company as a fort and trading post. Annual events such as the Victoria Day Parade (May 21) will be bigger and better this year with clowns, floats and marching bands. In late July, a fort-building contest for kids of all ages will be held in or near Bastion Square (home of the original Fort Victoria). On August 2, a public ceremony complete with speeches by dignitaries will be followed by an outdoor party for everyone featuring music, performances, activities for kids and a big birthday cake. And this year at Symphony Splash (August 5)—an annual outdoor concert where everyone gathers around the Inner Harbour—the Victoria Symphony will include music and instruments from our past. victoria.ca

Canada is commemorating the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanicwith special exhibitions and events in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. From April to early November 2012, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax features the exhibition, Cable Ships: Connecting Halifax to Titanic and the World, which recounts the personal stories of crewmembers from the Halifax-based cable ships involved in the recovery of bodies from the site. The museum also features a photographic exhibit, An Earnest Price: 150 Grave Stories, showcasing the grave markers of the 150 victims buried in Halifax cemeteries. In the museum’s permanent exhibit, see one of the world’s only intact Titanic deck chairs and a new diorama offering a “lifeboat view” of the mighty ship’s last moments. On the evening of April 14, Titanic Eve—Night of the Bells will take place and will include a walking procession starting at 8:30 p.m. from the waterfront side of the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic to the Grand Parade, passing by many of the city’s Titanic-related landmarks. destinationhalifax.com/titanicevents

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