North coast trail close to opening

It’s been five years in the making, but it’s finally nearing completion: Vancouver Island’s north coast trail. Stretching 43 km from near port Hardy to Cape Scott, it is said to give the West Coast Trail a run for its money when it comes to scenery. It doesn’t have as many cable cars and ladders as the WCT, but there is one 200-rung ladder to keep you in shape.

The new Wild Coast Magazine has a feature article on the trail, including a two-page North Coast Trail map. The trail is slated to open sometime this year. I will need to arrange some holidays to walk this trail as soon as it actually opens.

Feedback on Bay of Fundy blog

Terri McCullough, the blogger behind the Bay of Fundy Tourism blog, just commented on my posting about her site. She confirms what I mention in my talks about Web 2.0 websites: it is easy and cheap to get on the Web 2.0 bandwagon, even for small tourism organizations and operators. If you are a specialist in your area, then you should be blogging about it!

Chilcotin alpine experience

Nuk Tessli alpine experience

Nuk Tessli is a fly-in alpine eco-adventure on the edge of Tweedsmuir Provincial park, run by German-born author Chris Czajkowski. She operates rustic cabins on the shore Whitton lake. The alpine hiking possibilities from her base are endless.

Chris has written several books about her experiences. Aside from hiking, she also offers volunteer stays to help her out with heavy work. Sign me up!

Web 2.0 websites

I gave a presentation on content at the Content Convergence conference last week. The main topic of the day was Web 2.0 websites. While everyone is trying to jump onto the Web 2.0 bandwagon, my argument is that on of the better “Web 2.0” websites is the one from Nahanni River Expeditions. The only thing it still misses is a blog. The website has a lot of very useful content, incuding pictures, videos and maps of all trips, user testimonials, etc. It’s a great site, and wasn’t even conceived specifically to be a Web 2.0 site. It won the Yahoo! Big Chair award at the E-connect conference in November.

Another good example of a small tourism organization that jumped onto the Web 2.0 bandwagon in a simple but effective way is Bay of Fundy tourism. They started a blog, written by one of their staff who lives right there. It has significantly increased traffic to their site. Great example of a simple way to improve your site.

Hiking in the Chilcotin

BC is famous for its hiking, but when people look for hiking trails in BC, they tend to think of the lower mainland, Vancouver Island, or the interior. However, the Chilcotin region of central BC has some amazing hiking as well, as demonstrated by the website of the Chilcotin Mountains Trail System. It looks like a gorgeous area, with endless hiking options.

Northern Labrador: the next Alaska

I recently wrote an article on my trip to northern Labrador last summer for our media centre at the Canadian Tourism Commission. We hope it will attract some additional media attention for this spectacular corner of the country.

There’s a reason why the locals call it “our beautiful land.” Be the one to find out why on a new polar bear research tour. Read full article.

Great Canadian stories

At the Canadian Tourism Commission, we not only try to attract consumers to Canada, we also spend quite a bit of effort on wooing the media. One of the ways we entice them is by publishing media stories about out-of-the-way places and festivals. The round-up also includes some stories about great Canadian cultural icons, like Tim Horton’s, on being Canadian, or things you didn’t know about Canada. They’re actually a fun read for consumers as well. Visit our media centre for more.

The origins of Nahanni River Adventures

Nahanni River Adventures is one of my favourite operators in Canada’s north. I have always dreamt on going on one of Neil’s trips, especially his Tashenshini trip, since I used to live right at the source of the Tatshenshini on Chilkat Pass. The Edmonton Journal just published a great article on the origins of his company.

Watching the river f low
Edmonton Journal
09 Mar 2008

In the summer of 1984, at age, 23, Neil Hartling headed up to Nahanni National Park in the Northwest Territories from his home in Edmonton to experience and paddle a river that had haunted him since he was 15 years old. Two things happened that summer… read more…

A hotel with a difference

I generally don’t like hotels, as they are too predictable. Most rooms have exactly the same features: they all have a bed, a tv, a bathroom, and a window. They are even laid out nearly identically. A hotel may have a pool or a spa, but there’s little to put them apart, and you’d never know if you were in Kuala Lumpur or Halifax.

Romantic room in Great George InnBring in the Great George Inn in Charlottetown, PEI. The Inn consists actually of 15 buildings on one block of Great George street. The inn has regular rooms, but also small apartments, right up to the Perkins suite, an opulent two-floor residence. What makes this Inn different? The little things:

  • No two rooms are the same. For example, one room has an old fashioned bathtub on legs right in the middle of the room. Each room is beautifully finished and decorated.
  • A free breakfast served in easy chairs in the lobby.
  • Truly friendly and caring staff. They send all their frontline staff to a tourism training program. It shows.
  • Staff even scraped my car’s windows in the morning!
  • They don’t only offer daily rooms, but also long-term rentals. A great way to bring in additional customers in the low season.

Even though the Inn has quite a few rooms, it retains a small Inn character. Boutique hotels in other cities can’t go wrong by emulating their example.

Potato vodka on PEI

Vodka was traditionally often made from potatoes, but nowadays, most vodka is made from grains. In Canada, all vodka is made from grains. PEI is already famous for its potatoes, so it seemed obvious to two women on the island to create a high-end potato vodka, distilled from island potatoes. The result: Prince Edward vodka. They are currently building the still, but hope to be in production later this year.

The vodka will make a perfect PEI-gift, probably better appreciated than a bag of PEI potatoes. it’s a good example of a product that complements a tourism product.