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(2014 - Spring Issue)


Heading to Hawaii this year? Practise your shaka, a traditional Hawaiian greeting, to get an additional 10 per cent off the best available rate at any of the 29 properties run by Aqua Hotels and Resorts. To earn your discount, just extend your thumb and pinky finger upward, curl the middle fingers down and wave to the check-in staff. This offer is also available at Aqua’s newest boutique hotel, the Luana Waikiki, a contemporary three-diamond property loved by business and leisure travellers. Each of the 225 spacious guest rooms features a lanai or patio, and there’s easy access to the beach, dining and attractions. AquaResorts.com

Swamp creatures are slithering into the Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory located between Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, until May 11. There’s Canada’s tiny stinkpot turtle, which emits a musky odour; a pink salmon bird-eating tarantula from Brazil’s rainforest, one of the world’s largest spiders with a leg span of up to 20 centimetres; the shy (and heavy) green anaconda; the beautiful Malaysian blood python, small at over two metres long; and many more reptiles from the world’s wetlands. The family-friendly and educational exhibit was created by Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo of Ottawa, one of Canada’s largest sanctuaries for unwanted pet reptiles. Experts will be on-site most days to lead interactive sessions. The new exhibit is included with admission to the Conservatory. niagaraparks.com; raysreptiles.com

Every Friday from June 20 to September 5, Canadian North airlines will utilize Boeing 737-300 aircraft, configured with 136 seats, to provide same-day direct service between Iqaluit, Halifax (Nova Scotia) and St. John’s (Newfoundland). Jet passengers will be able to check two 32-kilo bags for free, while passengers on turboprop planes such as the Dash 8 will be limited to two 23-kilo bags. Other perks include complimentary seat selection, hot meals on board, free inflight entertainment and new leather seating. Canadian North also announced an additional cargo 727-200 aircraft, operated by Cargojet each Wednesday between Ottawa and Iqaluit. An airline spokesperson indicated management would consider expanding the number of flights or extending the season for the Iqaluit–Halifax passenger flight if demand warrants it. canadiannorth.com

Experience Namibia from the Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp scheduled to open in August 2014, a brand new Wilderness Safaris property located in a scenic valley by the Hoanib River near Skeleton Coast National Park. Flanked to the east and west by rugged hills and overlooking a starkly beautiful landscape, the camp is only accessible by light aircraft yet offers guests all the luxuries and amenities of a world-class hotel. Eight ensuite tents, seven with twin beds and one family unit, feature shaded outdoor decks. The area boasts one of the country’s greatest concentrations of lions and desert-adapted elephants.                                   wilderness-safaris.com/camps/hoanib-skeleton-coast

Despite record cold temperatures, high winds and blizzard-like conditions, Hornblower Niagara Cruises has completed construction of the two state-of-the-art catamarans—Niagara Wonderand Niagara Thunder—that will ferry visitors to the base of the Horseshoe Falls for the first time this spring. In addition to daily tours to the Horseshoe, American and Bridal Veil Falls, Hornblower promises new early-morning sunrise tours, sunset cocktail cruises and falls illumination and fireworks cruises, all with on-board snacks and music. The 700-passenger catamarans were constructed in Wheatley, Ontario, then taken and transported to Niagara Falls, where marine engineers reassembled them. Hornblower replaces Niagara Falls’ long-running Maid of the Mist tours. niagaracruises.com

New York State is celebrating major milestones and anniversaries this year with fun and festivities for all. To mark the 45th anniversary of the Woodstock music festival, the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, set on the original site in the Catskill Mountains, will present a year-long celebration featuring legendary and contemporary music performances. It’s also the 75th anniversary of the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, culminating in a Hall of Fame Classic May 24 and a golf fundraiser May 25 where fans can meet some of baseball’s heroes. 2014 also marks the 50th anniversary of Buffalo’s signature chicken wing recipe. bethelwoodscenter.org; baseballhall.org; buffalowing.com

Thrill to the sounds of the pipes and drums and the swirl of kilts from 13 countries when the 35th annual Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo comes to the Halifax Metro Centre July 1 to 8. The fast-paced 2.5-hour show, the world’s largest annual indoor show, changes every year and features more than 2,000 Canadian and international military, police and civilian performers along with acrobats and contemporary dancers. Enjoy military displays and competitions, drama, comedy and much more to delight the whole family. Tickets are on sale now. Pick your own seats when you book online. nstattoo.ca

Plan a trip to the Waterloo Region in Ontario at the end of May for two of the year’s biggest festivals. Experience the art of quilting at the Quilt and Fibre Art Festival in St. Jacobs from May 27 to 31. On your way home, drop into the huge, fundraising Mennonite Relief Sale in New Hamburg, May 30 and 31, where the year’s most dazzling quilts and handmade furniture are auctioned off between the good food, live music and kids’ activities. Food lovers take note, the famous St. Jacobs Market is back in business and has expanded to a new facility built after a devastating Labour Day fire. explorewaterlooregion.ca

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