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(2016 - Spring/Summer Issue)


From June 13 to 19, NORTH BY NORTHEAST (NXNE) will celebrate its 22nd anniversary as a major Toronto music and arts festival. As part of this year’s experience, NXNE is adding a two-day outdoor festival at the Port Lands near Lake Ontario. The ticketed festival within a festival will feature live music from discovery bands, almost-famous artists and star headliners, along with art installations and a convoy of food trucks. NXNE is also taking over Yonge-Dundas Square as part of a new interactive music and gaming conference. In addition, the festival will continue to organize concerts in key Toronto clubs and venues. nxne.com

Cunard has announced its biggest launch of voyages and destinations ever for 2017 and 2018. Choose from classic transatlantic crossings, epic world cruises and exotic voyages to Mediterranean explorations and convenient New York round-trip itineraries. Staterooms aboard the Queen Mary 2 are being completely refurbished for transatlantic crossings between New York and Southampton or Le Havre in 2017. The Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth will make four maiden calls in Souda Bay, Greece; Sibenik, Croatia; Brindisi, Italy; and Praia da Vitoria, Portugal. Guests booking 2018 Full World voyages by December 31 will receive up to US$3,000 in onboard credits, an invite to an exclusive cocktail party, commemorative gifts and free gratuities. cunard.com

Sail along France’s historic Seine River from Paris to Normandy and back for eight days in spring 2017 aboard Uniworld’s brand new SS Joie de Vivre, expected to launch March 2017. Reflecting the French joy of living, the new ship is outfitted with fine art, handcrafted furniture adorned in rich fabrics, antiques, gilded and wrought-iron accents along with farm-to-table cuisine and superb local wines. Modern touches include a cinema and an outdoor pool that transforms into a dance floor.  uniworld.com

Celebrate the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death by visiting his “reimagined” home in Stratford-upon-Avon, expected to reopen in July. The bard wrote 26 of his best-loved plays at New Place, where visitors will discover Will the family man, homeowner and successful entrepreneur. The bard’s best-loved plays will be staged throughout Britain in a variety of venues, ranging from medieval castles to botanical gardens. While there, visit the northern city of Hull, named one of the top 10 cities in the world to visit this year, and experience the natural beauty of Wales, from waterfall walks to stand-up paddleboarding, during its Year of Adventure. visitbritain.com

Challenge yourself with a day of whitewater rafting through the legendary 12-kilometre Rocher Fendu Rapids on the Ottawa River. Just 90 minutes north of the capital, the rapids are considered among the world’s great whitewater routes. You’ll be in good hands with experienced guides such as Claudia and Dirk Van Wijk, both national and international whitewater champions and owners of OWL Rafting, which is based in Forester’s Falls. OWL also offers family trips and two-day excursions. Whitewater trips are offered seven days a week from mid-May through September. owl-mkc.ca

Aeroplan members can now use their Aeroplan miles to cover the cost of taxes, fees, charges and carrier surcharges when making a flight reward booking online, using the Aeroplan mobile app or calling Aeroplan’s Contact Centre. To use, find your flight reward online, select “Pay it all with miles” when given the choice about taxes, fees and charges and enjoy your cash-free flight. Fixed Mileage Flight Rewards on a fixed number of seats are offered exclusively to members of Air Canada and Star Alliance, while Market Fare Flight Rewards provide access to any available seat on Air Canada at competitive mileage levels. aeroplan.com

Off to Niagara Falls, Ontario, this year? Following a must-do Hornblower cruise at the Falls and a fine meal at Windows by Jamie Kennedy, book a two- or three-day stay at your favourite bed and breakfast in historic Niagara-on-the-Lake where you can take in live stage performances at the Shaw Festival as well as outdoor concerts at Peller Estates and Jackson-Triggs Winery, just two of more than 20 wineries in the area. While May through October is a busy period filled with wine-and-food pairing opportunities, Niagara wineries schedule signature events throughout the year, such as Sip & Sizzle in May, Taste the Season in November and Days of Wine and Chocolate in February. If you visit the area regularly, check out the Winemakers’ Selections Tasting Pass priced at $25 person, which allows you to enjoy one tasting of a Winemaker’s Selection wine at each of the wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake any day of the year. wineriesofniagaraonthelake.com

Simplify your family’s visit to Walt Disney World by booking a resort hotel and attraction tickets online for less through Undercover Tourist. To help you find the perfect resort, the site shows the amenities and features of all 28 Disney World hotels and their distance to parks. Guests staying at a Disney resort receive free transportation to the airport and theme parks, free MagicBands, the ability to book FastPass+ reservations up to 60 days in advance of check-in and extended theme park hours with Extra Magic Hours. Hotels include Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, Beach Club Resort and Animal Kingdom Lodge. undercovertourist.com

More than five years in the making and inspired by J.K. Rowling’s stories, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has opened its doors at Hollywood’s Universal Studios. At its centre sits Hogwarts Castle, where the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride takes visitors through memorable scenes alongside Harry, Ron and Hermione. Travelling by Floo powder (wearing 3D goggles), guests soar high above Hogwarts, join a Quidditch match and narrowly escape a dragon attack. Then take the family on the outdoor Flight of the Hippogriff outdoor coaster. Before you leave, have lunch at Three Broomsticks and stop at Ollivanders, where clerks will help a wand choose you. universalstudioshollywood.com/harrypotter

Cruise Palm Springs in a brand new way with the eco-friendly Sunny Cycle. This 15-seat pedal and electric-powered vehicle holds 10 peddlers, five non-peddlers and two team members. An electric motor makes uphill climbs a breeze during the two-hour tour. Passengers pedal awhile, stop for refreshments then mount the bike and pedal on. With a stereo sound system, flat-screen TV, USB phone chargers, misters for hot days and a selection of non-strenuous routes from which to choose near the downtown core, Sunny Cycle is a relaxing way to explore the city. sunnycycleps.com

As part of the 100th anniversary celebration of the U.S. National Park Service, Oregon’s Crater Lake National Park is offering free admission for 16 days this year. Crater Lake, one of the 10 deepest lakes in the world, is also famous for the ghostly Phantom Ship, an island formed 400,000 years ago. Take a Volcano Boat Cruise and learn about the lake’s history, geology and cultural significance. Weather permitting, boat cruises are scheduled to operate daily from June 26 to August 14. traveloregon.com

New York City is home to a number of hip, under-the-radar clubs showcasing emerging artists from around the world. Standouts include Brooklyn Bowl, Union Pool, Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater and Rockwood Music Hall. Before she became famous, Lady Gaga performed at The Cutting Room in 2006. Classical music lovers should check out Bargemusic and Merkin Concert Hall at the Kaufman Center, while jazz lovers can head to the Smalls Jazz Club, Metropolitan Room and Blue Note. nycgo.com/concerts

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