Posts Tagged ‘Travel’

show swapI spent Thursday afternoon and evening touring the new Toronto Snow Show. It’s in a new location, with a new name, and a re-energized vibe.

I met more than one person who’d headed toward Exhibition Place before realizing The Toronto Snow Show is now at the International Centre, close to Pearson International Airport. For a downtowner, the show is far… but the location’s not bad for skiers in the GTA. Plus parking is free.  The show is on now through Sunday, October 20. Download the handy iPhone app for directions and hours.

Now for scenes from this year’s show:

1) Toronto graffiti artist SKAM is creating art on site; stop by and watch. Also enter to win one of his pieces.

Graffiti artist SKAM at the Toronto Snow Show

Graffiti artist SKAM at the Toronto Snow Show

2) Vail Resorts’ new Epic Mix app is very cool. Track your runs, earn icons, calculate your vertical. Stop by the Vail booth for a demonstration. And don’t forget to ask about the new Epic pass… $729 US for skiing all season at Vail resorts in Colorado, Utah, California… even Europe!

Vail's new Epix Mix App

Vail’s new Epix Mix App

3) The women of SNOW Magazine stopped by Quebec’s booth to snap a Quebec Original postcard. You can too… with or without the boas and Elton John sunglasses!

Bonjour Quebec!

Bonjour Quebec!

4) Only in Aspen! The Colorado ski destination gets creative with funky art on its lift passes. Here’s a sample… so much fun. Check them out at Aspen’s booth, and find out more about skiing Aspen Mountain, Snowmass, Buttermilk and The Highlands.

Ski Pass Art

Ski Pass Art

5) Blue Mountain’s gone high tech with iPads in its booth. Stop by to browse.

Blue Mountain booth

Blue Mountain booth

6) A parting shot from the Pro Am Rail Jam:

Pro Am Rail Jam, photo courtesy of Toronto Snow Show

Pro Am Rail Jam, photo courtesy of Toronto Snow Show

For more on the Toronto Snow Show, follow my tweets @LoriExploring.

Lori Knowles is the editor of SNOW Magazine. View her work at www.LoriKnowles.comFollow Lori on Twitter @LoriExploring

All photos copyright Lori Knowles.

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SeaWorld Orlando’s latest family attraction opens May 24, 2013. I will be there.

Antarctica, Empire of the Penguins, features a ‘thrill ride’ through the South Pole, and a walk through a penguin habitat. Watch here for news, reviews and photos this coming week as the Orlando’s latest attraction debuts…

Lori Knowles will be on assignment at SeaWorld for the travel section of the Toronto Sun. For stories from Lori, see www.loriknowles.com Twitter: @LoriExploring.

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The morning fog is persistent. It hangs over the trees like smoke from a winter bush fire, refusing to lift so that I might catch even a glimpse of the Bavarian alps.

I am making my way south from Munich into the foothills that eventually give way to the mountains of Germany’s most treasured ski destination: Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

It is early here (7 am), even earlier in Toronto, on whose time I seem to be clinging resolutely. But the early morning travel is necessary so I can make today’s main event: the World Championship Women’s GS. Germany’s revered Maria Riesch–a bullet on snow–is the favourite and I anticipate the crowds to be noisy and proud. Brit Janyk is the only Canadian I know to be racing today. I have brought my Canada mittens.

This region of Germany, Bavaria, is one of three in the bidding for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, and the IOC is watching these World Championships closely. More from the front lines soon.


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Good morning from Munich, where the sun is refusing to warm us. Thick cloud has hung over this Bavarian capital since our arrival yesterday, indicating winter still has a strangle hold on central Europe.

I am here to experience the World Championships on now in Bavaria, where our own (Canadian) Erik Guay has just won a major race. We will wind our way up to Garmisch tomorrow to take in the women’s GS, but first, a tour of Munich, including a special BMW exposition.

Why BMW? Bavarian Motor Works.
More on this later.

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If you’ve ever experienced a family trip so fun you weren’t sure you wanted it to end… you’ll know exactly what we were feeling at the finish of our family’s summer exploration of Vancouver Island, BC. The tour was so enlightening and the island so well suited to family travel, we wanted the experience to last… almost forever. Here are the highlights (a reprint from the Toronto Sun, Wednesday, August 4)

Family Friendly BC Ferries

BC Ferries

Our journey began with a striking BC Ferries ride aboard the Queen of Oak Bay, from Vancouver’s Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo, BC. Equipped with an indoor playground, television and onboard WiFi, there was plenty to keep the kids occupied for the two-hour journey. But it was the sight of the sun sparkles dancing on the ocean that stopped them in their lively tracks—Mt Baker and the gulf islands looming silently in the background.

Tip: In summer, secure a ferry reservation.


Parksville—Canada’s Riviera

A 36-kilometre drive from Nanaimo delivered us to our first two-day rest stop at Parksville, BC—popularly dubbed Canada’s Riviera. I can see why. A string of Parksville resorts play host to all kinds of tourists, from luxe travellers to kayaking, whale-watching eco adventurers. But it’s the travelling family that wins the daily double here. This Oceanside region—akin to Ontario’s Muskoka—is home to four massive, warm-water beaches:

Rathtrevor Beach

Rathtrevor, Qualicum Beach, Qualicum Bay and Parksville, all of them framed by snow-capped mountains. Parksville Beach wins the prize for owning the best playground my well-travelled family has ever encountered. Parksville’s beachside Ventureland (waterpark included) has every fun slide, swing and monkey bar imaginable. Plus, when the tide is out, the Parksville Beach next door extends outward at least a kilometre, leaving tide pools full of mini crabs and sand dollars. Kid heaven.

Tip: Rent a family-perfect cabin at Oceanside Village Resort, a brief and well-cedared walk to the mountain-ringed Rathtrevor Beach.


The Dinosaurs of Comox Valley

Fossil Hunting

Another short shot north led us into Vancouver Island’s gentle Comox Valley, which lies peacefully between the Beaufort Mountains and the Strait of Georgia. But it’s the region’s dinosaurs that caught our imaginations. Yes, dinosaurs. Don’t let the following title bore you: the Courtenay and District Museum and Palaeontology Centre is home to a captivating collection of prehistoric predators—including an 80-million-year-old Elasmosaur discovered nearby. The Centre’s ace-in-the-hole, though, is Pat Trask, a local palaeontologist who leads fossil tours to nearby rivers. Our tour fascinated the children, who slogged Indiana-Jones-like…

For the remainder of the article, please visit the Toronto Sun Travel

Lori Knowles is the Family Fare travel columnist for the Toronto Sun. You can follow her travels on Twitter @LoriExploring

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Summer just wouldn’t be summer without a visit to a proper General Store. This one, located in Coombs, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, could possibly be Canada’s best. Full of delectable food (think: fresh salmon, chutneys and strawberry-rhubarb bread), old-fashioned toys… and yes, many Chinese lanterns, this store is a destination in itself. Its name? Goats on the Roof… because there really are goats hanging out on top of Goats on the Roof! LK

Coombs, BC's Goats on the Roof is possibly Canada's best General Store.

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They say the Olympic Winter Games, opening in just a few days in Vancouver and Whistler, is the planet’s largest sporting event. The world will be watching — a very good thing for Whistler-Blackcomb, one of Canada’s most captivating ski resorts.

 It has been a long time coming.

 Hosting the Olympics was a dream sparked 50 years ago — before Whistler, the ski resort, even existed — by the Garibaldi Olympic Development Association (GODA). A group of Vancouver guys intent on bringing the Olympics to British Columbia’s Coast Mountains, scouted the peaks north of Squamish, B.C., to establish a ski resort with enough vertical to stage an Olympic downhill. They settled on London Mountain — now Whistler Mountain — built a ski resort, and bid for the 1968 Games. They lost their bid to Grenoble in ’68, then lost four more in 1972, 1976, 1980 and 1988. But they didn’t lose their dream. It took 42 years, but the Games are finally on London Mountain.

At the 2010 Games, the Men’s Downhill event — the race most skiers consider the highlight of a Winter Olympics — will rocket down the Dave Murray Downhill. As you’ll see on television during the Games, it’s a course that snakes dangerously down Whistler Creekside on a run named after Dave Murray, an original member of alpine skiing’s Crazy Canucks. Murray, a longtime Whistlerite, lost his life to cancer in 1990; his daughter, Julia Murray, is a 2010 Canadian medal hope in the new women’s Ski Cross event.

 The Dave Murray course is revered among elite racers; it has hosted more than 10 World Cup events since 1975, including the World Cup downhill Whistler-raised Rob Boyd won in 1989. Boyd returns to Whistler in 2010 as a coach for the women’s Canadian ski team. The women — along with all Paralympic alpine skiers — will be racing on a newly designed set of courses that track down Whistler runs: Wildcard, Jimmy’s Joker and Franz’s Trail.

 Both the men’s and women’s alpine ski races finish at Creekside Village, a satellite base containing a few restaurants and loads of condos, which is located about four kilometres south of Whistler’s main village and gondola.

 Whistler-Blackcomb’s total terrain tops out at a massive 8,717 acres. While officials are claiming 90 per cent of it will be open for public skiing for the Games, skiers won’t be able to access runs surrounding the Dave Murray Downhill or Franz’s. The terrain won’t reopen until March 28, following the close of the Paralympic alpine events.

 Back in Whistler’s main village, an amphitheatre has been newly built to showcase the medal ceremonies for the events taking place at Whistler —alpine skiing’s downhill, giant slalom, slalom and super-G , plus bobsleigh, luge and skeleton events that take place at the Whistler Sliding Centre. The Whistler Medals Plaza has enough tiered seating for 5,000 spectators watching medal ceremonies and Whistler’s nightly concerts between February 13 and 27. The Whistler Live concerts include performances by Feist, Our Lady Peace, Usher, The Fray, and the All American Rejects.

 Much of this will be easily spotted during the Games on TV. If you’re watching — or lucky enough to be there skiing — also check out Whistler’s new Peak 2 Peak, a gondola that spans the 4.4-kilometre distance between Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. It’s the gondola with the world’s longest unsupported span (3.024 kilometres between two towers), plus it’s the world’s highest lift of its kind at 436 metres above the Fitzsimmons Creek valley floor… a fitting spectacle for the world’s biggest snow sporting spectacle.

 Lori Knowles will be covering the Olympics live from Vancouver and Whistler for the Toronto Sun’s travel section, and blogging at www.LoriExploring.Wordpress.com . This column originally appeared in the travel section of  The Toronto Sun, Sunday January 31, 2010.

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Why is it flights to ski areas always happen in the early morning? What’s the rush? Can’t we get there in the afternoon?

And why is it early morning flights are so exhausting?

Probably because I rarely sleep the night before, and when I finally catch some Zs, the alarm doesn’t sound.

We’re on our way to Sun Peaks, BC. We were up and out of the house in 10 minutes flat this morning, clothes thrown on, teeth barely brushed , and no time for coffee. It’s dark and cold at 5am in Toronto in December. I should know–I witness it often from the windows of a $49 airport limo.

“Have you picked me up before?” I ask the driver with the NY Yankees beanie pulled down to his eyes.

“Yes, ma’am,” he says. Through the rearview mirror. Our eyes connect. Wait. I think I know the names of his children.

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