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(2015 - Fall Issue)


Air Canada recently received its first Boeing 787-9, a larger version of the popular Dreamliner 787-8. The new aircraft will service new routes to Delhi and Dubai from Toronto starting in November 2015. So far this year, Air Canada has launched service between Toronto–Amsterdam, Montréal–Mexico City and now offers daily flights from Toronto to Austin, Texas, as part of its global expansion. In summer 2016, the airline plans to add non-stop service between Vancouver and Brisbane, Australia, gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and Australia’s Gold Coast, and between Montréal and Lyon, France. Air Canada rouge, meanwhile, has introduced direct flights from Toronto to Lima, Peru, three times weekly, and announced plans for a Toronto to London-Gatwick route. aircanada.com; 787.aircanada.com

Eat and drink in style at the 19th annual Cornucopia in Whistler, B.C. From November 5 to 15, more than 200 day and evening events are planned in the stunning mountain setting. Choose from winemaker dinners, cooking demonstrations, fine wine tastings, wellness events, a night market featuring international street food and much more. Learn how to make festive cocktails at the Fairmont Château Whistler, meet new craft brewers and small-batch distillers and chat with master gardeners and master chefs. Don’t miss the famous CRUSH Grand Gala Tasting.  whistlercornucopia.com 

Dallas, Texas, is the newest U.S. destination to join CityPASS. The booklet saves visitors 41 per cent off combined admission to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science; Reunion Tower GeO-Deck where you can view the entire city and create your own light show; your choice between the Dallas Zoo and The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza; and a choice between the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum and the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. Dallas CityPASS booklets retail for US$44 for adults, US$30 for children ages three to 12. Purchase online or at any of the attractions listed. Pass holders also save time by skipping most main-entrance ticket lines. CityPASS.com

Downtown Montréal’s chic, sophisticated Hôtel Le Crystal promises a five-star experience, starting with its cuisine. Recently renovated La Coupole–Bistro Laurentien sources 95 per cent of its ingredients from local artisans. Dishes are inspired by the home cooking of those who built today’s Québec, traditional First Nations’dishes and influences from the waves of newcomers who shaped the province’s culinary heritage. After a long day of sightseeing, relax at the 12th-floor Oasis with its all-season rooftop terrace, indoor saltwater pool, Swedish sauna and fitness centre overlooking the city. hotellecrystal.com

Citizens with a valid Canadian passport can now obtain a 30-day tourist visa to India online. Visas are a must for a vacation, casual business trip or short-term medical treatment in India. To obtain an e-tourist visa, fill out an online application. The visa (US$60) will be granted via email. Applicants must carry a printed copy of the e-tourist visa to India, where staff at one of 16 designated airports will affix the formal visa to your passport for another US$60.

Take advantage of complimentary ballroom dance lessons and sway the night away in Lauderdale-By-The Sea, a charming beachside town located on a barrier island just east of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Beginning the second and fourth Sunday of October, award-winning professional Danny Carter of Dancemoves will lead the free lessons at the ocean plaza. By November, the town sparkles with lights, a nine-metre tree, a Yuletide market and plenty of activities for kids as the community ushers in the Christmas spirit. lbts-fl.gov

The Stratford Festival in Stratford, Ontario, marks next year’s 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare with a North American premiere of Shakespeare in Love, staged to great acclaim in London’s West End. At the Festival Theatre, enjoy the beloved Shakespeare comedy As You Like It, directed by Jillian Keiley; Macbeth, directed by artistic director Antoni Cimolino; and A Chorus Line directed and choreographed by Donna Feore. The 2016 season will also feature the outrageous comedy The Hypochondriac, an adaptation of Molière’s La Malade Imaginaire; the C.S. Lewis classic The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; and Arthur Miller’s All My Sons, directed by Martha Henry. stratfordfestival.ca

The first-ever non-stop transpacific route linking Asia to Montréal is scheduled to take off September 29. The Air China Boeing 777-300ER between Beijing and Montréal in cooperation with Air Canada will initially fly three times a week to Montréal. The new route connects to cities throughout China via Air China’s main hub in Beijing and complements Air Canada flights between Toronto and Vancouver.

Soak up the South Florida sunshine and enjoy breathtaking views from the 11th-floor rooftop pool and License to Chill Bar at the Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort, set to open this fall. The 349-room property and entertainment complex, inspired by singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett’s lyrics and lifestyle, overlooks the legendary Hollywood Beach boardwalk in Greater Fort Lauderdale. It features eight restaurants, a fitness centre with ocean views and three live entertainment venues. The 1,022-square-metre St. Somewhere spa gives guests a license to chill with steam rooms, monsoon showers and a cascade pool while 11 treatment rooms offer a full range of services including hot stone, aromatherapy, deep tissue and Swedish massages. MargaritavilleResorts.com

Canadian cities took three of the top eight spots as the most popular North American destinations in MasterCard’s 2015 Global Destination Cities Index, based on the number of international overnight visitors and how much they spend. Toronto and Vancouver finished fourth and fifth, respectively, and Montréal took the eighth spot. In other news, booking a flight, train or vacation cruise online just got easier with the expansion of MasterPass by MasterCard. Carnival Cruise Line, WestJet, VIA Rail and South African Airways are just a few of the retailers allowing customers to check out quickly and securely with a simple tap, click or touch at the register from any device. MasterPass is now accepted in 24 countries. mastercard.ca

Calgary-based WestJet is rolling out a new inflight entertainment system, WestJet Connect, on its Boeing Next-Generation 737s and 767ER aircraft. When complete, flights will offer wireless Internet, live satellite TV channels and ebooks and magazines. The airline is also improving its Plus program for business travellers who want more comfort, flexibility and convenience with wider seats, a guaranteed empty middle seat, premium meals and complimentary drinks. WestJet has also increased flights on existing routes between Calgary and Loreto, Mexico, and between Toronto and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. As well, service between Calgary and Yellowknife, NT, will move from seasonal to year-round service. westjet.com;  westjet.com/fareoptions

Starwood Hotels is expanding its presence in Canada with the signing of two new Westin properties in Alberta. The five-storey, 250-room Westin Calgary Airport will be located right at the airport while the Westin Edmonton Gateway, with 225 rooms, will be located near the expressway that surrounds Edmonton, providing convenient city access. Both properties will feature a Westin Club lounge, restaurants, bars and extensive meeting space. Amenities include Westin’s world-renowned Heavenly Bed, Heavenly Bath and an ergonomic work area. starwoodhotels.com

More than five years in the making, the “hyper-realistic 3D-HD” version of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will be unveiled in spring 2016 at Universal Studios in Hollywood, California. In Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, put on 3D goggles and spiral and pivot 360 degrees along an elevated ride track while experiencing memorable scenes from J.K. Rowling’s books alongside Harry, Ron and Hermione. Powered by Floo powder, guests will soar high above Hogwarts Castle, take part in a Quidditch match, narrowly escape a dragon attack and have a close encounter with the Whomping Willow. To complete the journey, enjoy authentic food and beverages and shop for robes, wands and other collectibles. universalstudioshollywood.com

Hawaii’s Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort and Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort are inviting guests to renew their vows in a traditional ceremony. Ho‘ao Pa‘a is an ancient custom in which a couple is bound in a lasting union. The theme of this non-denominational ceremony is ho‘i hou ke aloha, meaning “to fall in love all over again.” It is conducted by a Hawaiian officiant with the rising sun, ocean and beach as witnesses. Couples are blessed with a gentle sprinkling of seawater before reciting vows in the Hawaiian language. The ceremony concludes with a Hawaiian song and hula. outrigger.com/vowrenew

Signature Vacations’new Off the Beaten Path program blends eco-adventures with all-inclusive relaxation. Combine a stay in a leading resort in Costa Rica, Panama or Honduras (La Ceiba or Roatan) with an economical package of half-day and full-day tours to explore the heart of each region. Highlights may include searching for howler monkeys, herons and kingfishers on an escorted canoeing trip along La Ceiba’s Cacao Lagoon, or exploring geysers, fumaroles and hot springs at Rincon de la Vieja National Park in Costa Rica. signaturevacations.com

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