50 things to do in Canada

The National Post has listed some cool things to do in Canada this summer, such as a Mountie crash course in Regina, swimming with beluga in Churchill, to a sunset paddle off Gabriola island. Too bad that for the Far North, they only list three things in the NWT, and none in Nunavut or the Yukon. I guess Toronto reporters rarely venture north of 60.

Bike and Boat vacations in Quebec

Latitude 45N has launched a great new tourism experience: using a boat to support biking tours in Quebec. You bike by day, while the boat moves your luggage (and bed!) to the next stop. You eat (very well) and sleep on board at night. They will even supply hybrid bikes, “configured in such a way as to ensure that you are sitting in a comfortable position that will allow you to take full advantage of the tourism experience and not miss anything.” Brilliant idea, and the first of its kind in North America.

They borrowed the idea from Holland, and in fact have added some Dutch twists, like Dutch snacks.

Taking advantage of Earth Hour

The World Wildlife Fund asks the world to make a difference on Saturday March 29, from 8-9PM, by turning off the lights for one hour through its Earth Hour project. The Fairmont Algonquin in New Brunswick is asking its guests to do their part in support of the project. It could just have asked people to turn off a few lights, but I don’t think that would have had a big impact. Instead, it is offering a ghost tour through the historic building at this time (very appropriate!), as well as candlelight dinners. It will also turn off as many lights as possible, replacing them with candles.

Suddenly, earth hour has become a unique experience! A great example of some creative marketing, while supporting a good cause at the same time. The only disappointing aspect of the campaign is that there is no mention of this event on the hotel’s website. A major oversight, I’d say. They should have issues a media release, and added it to their website.

West Papua art

Two girls pounding sagoMy good friend John Moore has just opened an exhibition of his amazing New Guinea art at a Victoria art gallery. While art from Papua New Guinea may be better known, there is a strong artistic tradition in western New Guinea as well. His exhibition is well worth if you like traditional art.

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Bhutan completes historic vote

Punakha Dzong, BhutanThe people in the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan just voted in their first election, ever. The former king, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, decided to devolve power from the absolute monarchy to the people, by abdicating and creating a constitutional monarchy under the leadership of his son, Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck. This first election of the national assembly was the final step in the creation of the constitutional monarchy.

The results were suprising to many: the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) won 44 out of 47 seats, while the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) only won 3. Even their leader, Sangay Ngedup, the former minister of health and brother to the queen mothers, lost his seat. The DPT is led by five former ministers, so government direction is not expected to change significantly.

Read Kuensel for full coverage.

Great experiences on PEI

Prince Edward Island isn’t as green in winter as it is in summer. In fact, it is rather snowy and a bit bleak. But that doesn’t mean there is nothing to do at this time of year. When I was on PEI for work recently, I decided to take a day off and meet some of the locals. I ran across Experience PEI, and asked the owners if they could organize a day for me to meet some of the locals.

Bill and Mary of Experience PEI most certainly lived up to their website’s claim of offering introduce guests to the neighbours. I started the day by carving a candle, made from coloured was and PEI sand at the Victoria Playhouse. The carving was fun, but hearing all of Ben Smith’s stories was even better. After a delightful lunch at the Maplethorpe B&B in Bedeque (best and freshest bacon in town!), we went ice fishing, or more accurately spearing. One spears small smelt with a small three-pronged spear. Apparently this is only done on PEI. It’s a lot of fun, and requires more skills than just sitting there waiting for a fish to bite a hook. Again, our guide and owner of the fish shack had many tales to tell. We finished the day with a delicious mussel and lobster dinner at the Briarcliffe Inn.

I learnt more about the island in one day than I could otherwise have in weeks. These trips are highly recommended.

Canada’s hot vacation spot: Newfoundland

People thinking of visiting Canada are looking beyond the Rockies, Niagara, and mounties, and are searching for new, exotic destinations. Undoubtedly, the hottest of these “new” destinations is Newfoundland. Of course, the Rock has been around for millions of years, but only in the past few years has it become an ” in” destination. We posted a couple of great essays on Newfoundland recently.

Canada’s New-found land

On The Rock, authenticity is all about the people

Icebergs hit new ground.

Is the North Coast Trail or West Coast Trail better?

That is the question that the authors of a recent article on the new North Coast Trail (NCT; you saw the abbreviation here first!) asked. Their conclusion? It’s a close call, but they feel the scenery along the NCT is slightly better, and it’s more rugged. Think the WCT 20-30 years ago. This seems to be a truly hot trail. Combined with all the other attractions in the area (Cape Scott, Johnson Strait whalewatching, Sointula area) it will help put northern Vancouver Island on the map.

New outdoor magazine for Vancouver Island

A new magazine just hit the shelf: the Wild Coast Magazine, described as Vancouver Island’s only outdoor, adventure and recreation magazine catering to the island’s eco-tourism industry. Its first issue was Free, and the contents are published on their website. It has some great articles about trips to take there. There is just too much to see and do in this province!

Increasing camera resolution

The resolution of digital cameras is improving quickly, but this also means that one always owns an outdated camera. PhotoAcute is a relatively new piece of software that helps improve the resolution of any camera, even camera phones. After taking several photos of the same subject, preferably on a tripod with a high-speed drive, the software combines data from all images to greatly improve detail, sharpness, depth of field, and exposure. It also decreases noise and chromatic aberration. You can even use the software to remove unwanted moving people from the image. Very cool.