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Africa - 49 Facts

  • 1.   Africa is the second largest of the earth's seven continents and makes up approximately 22% of the earth's total land area.

  • 2.   With the inclusion of the disputed Western Sahara territory and the island nations off the continental coast, there are a total of 54 independent nations in Africa.

  • 3.   The current population is nearly one billion. In many African states, more than half of the population is under the age of 25.

  • 4.   Africa is the most centrally located of all of the continents with both the prime meridian (0 degrees longitude) and the equator (0 degrees latitude) passing through.

  • 5.   The primary region of Africa is often called sub-Saharan Africa and excludes the mostly Islamic countries of North Africa: Western Sahara, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt. Sub-Saharan Africa includes 42 nations on mainland Africa and six island nations.

  • 6.   While Africa makes up about 16% of the world's population, fully one quarter of the world's languages are spoken only in Africa.

  • 7.   Arabic (in various dialects) is the most common language in Africa with about 170 million speakers, primarily in North Africa. In Africa, there are over 2,000 recognized languages spoken.

  • Zebras

  • 8.   Nigeria is the most populous country, with an estimated population of 125-145 million people. Egypt is the second most populous country with over 76 million.

  • 9.   The most populated city in Africa is the Egyptian capital of Cairo with an estimated 17 million residents in the metropolitan area.

  • 10.   The largest country in Africa is Sudan with a total area of 967,490 square miles (2.5 million square kilometers), and the smallest country is the island nation of The Seychelles with a total area of just 175 square miles (453 square kilometers).

  • 11.   There are at least 3,000 distinct ethnic groups (tribes) in Africa. Nigeria alone has more than 370 recognized tribes within its population.

  • Cheetah  Cubs  Elephants  Elephants 

  • 12.   Lake Victoria is the largest lake in Africa and the second-largest freshwater lake in the world, covering an area of 26,830 square miles (69,490 square kilometers).

  • 13.   The Nile River, which drains into the Mediterranean Sea at the northeastern edge of Africa, is the longest river in the world with a total length of 4,132 miles (6,650 kilometers). It is formed from the juncture of two smaller rivers: the White Nile and the Blue Nile.

  • 14.   Africa contains the world's largest desert, the Sahara, which makes up an area greater in size than the entire continental U.S.

  • 15.   Egypt is the most popular tourist destination in Africa, attracting around 10 million visitors per year.

  • Mount Meru

  • 16.   While Egypt is well known for its pyramids, the Republic of Sudan has 223 of its own pyramids, double the number of pyramids in Egypt. Smaller and steeper than their Egyptian counterparts, the pyramids of Sudan are not as famous.

  • 17.   Four of the five fastest land animals reside in Africa: the cheetah, the wildebeest, the lion, and the Thomson's gazelle. All of these can run at speeds above 50 miles per hour, with the cheetah reaching a top speed of about 70 miles per hour.

  • 18.   Africa is home to the world's largest living land animal, the African elephant, which can weigh between 6 and 7 tons.

  • 19.   The deserts of Tunisia housed the original Star Wars movie sets for the film's planet Tatooine. More than 30 years after the premier of the first movie in the series, the sets are still very well preserved and visitors to Tunisia can even stay in Luke Skywalker's home.

  • 20.   Africa is the poorest and most underdeveloped of all of the continents, despite its wealth of natural resources. The average poor person in sub-Saharan Africa is estimated to live on just $.70 a day.

  • 21.   More than 17 million people in sub-Saharan Africa died of AIDS, and experts estimate that at least 25 million more people in Africa are HIV-positive.

  • 22.   Approximately 90% of all cases of malaria worldwide occur in Africa, and 3,000 African children die each day from its effects.

  • 23.   Scientists believe Africa was once joined with Earth's other continents in a super-continent called Pangaea. While Asia and South America split from Africa in the late Cretaceous epoch (roughly 80 million years ago), the African continent remained relatively stable and has not moved much throughout time. Geologists believe the large island of Madagascar split from the African continent as early as 160 million years ago.

  • 24.   Central eastern Africa is believed by most scientists to be the origin place of both humans and great apes. The earliest remains of the modern human species Homo sapiens have been found in Ethiopia and date to roughly 200,000 years ago.

  • Giraffe  Giraffe & Zebras  Impala  Kilamanjaro  Lion 

  • 25.   The scientist Charles Darwin was the first to suggest that the ancestors of human beings may have originated in Africa. However, prejudicial attitudes toward the continent made many people in the Western world highly resistant to the idea until well into the twentieth century.

  • 26.   In 1974, the skeleton of "Lucy," a hominid who lived approximately 3.2 million years ago and has been considered a common ancestor to the human family, was discovered in Hadar, Ethiopia. In 1979, a 165-foot trail of the earliest hominid footprints was discovered in the Kibish region of Tanzania. The two discoveries indisputably marked northeastern Africa as the birthplace of humanity.

  • 27.   Throughout human prehistory, Africa contained no major nation-states and was inhabited primarily by small groups of hunter-gatherers. Scientists believe that cattle were domesticated by hunter-gatherers in Africa as early as 6000 B.C., long before the advent of agriculture on the continent.

  • 28.   The oldest literate civilization in Africa is the Pharaonic civilization of ancient Egypt. Historical records date the rise of the Egyptian state to about 3300 B.C. and the fall from influence at 343 B.C., making it one of the world's oldest and longest-lasting civilizations.

  • 29.   Europeans first began exploring the northern coast of Africa around 332 B.C., when Alexander the Great came into Egypt and established the city of Alexandria. The Roman Empire soon after began to integrate much of North Africa's Mediterranean coastline into the Roman system.

  • 30.   While there are several different theories regarding the origin of the name "Africa," most etymologists believe the name derived from Afri, the title for a group of people who dwelt in North Africa near Carthage around the third century B.C., and -ca, the Roman suffix for "country" or "land."

  • 31.   Ancient Greeks and Romans originally used the term "Africa" to apply only to the northern region of the continent. In Latin, the word Africa means "sunny," and the word Aphrike in Greek means "without cold."

  • 32.   By the first century A.D., Africa had been subdivided by geographers into three distinct regions: Egypt, Libya, and Ethiopia. The last term was more or less used to describe the whole of sub-Saharan Africa.

  • Ostriches  Safari  Secretary Bird  Zebras 

  • 33.   The African region of Ethiopia is featured prominently in several ancient Greek dramas and poems. The Greek poet Homer mentions Ethiopians in both the Iliad and the Odyssey as a "blameless race" and "amongst the noblest of men."

  • 34.   Islam became a prominent influence in North Africa by the seventh century A.D. and spread into sub-Saharan Africa through trade routes and migration. The population of North Africa is still considered widely Muslim today.

  • 35.   Prior to the colonization of the African continent, historians believe Africa was made up of as many as 10,000 different states and autonomous groups, ranging in size from small family groups of hunter-gatherers to large kingdoms.

  • 36.   While slavery has been practiced in Africa all throughout recorded history, Africa is the only continent to have a large percentage of its inhabitants transported elsewhere for slave labor. Historians estimate that approximately 7-12 million slaves were transferred from Africa to the Americas between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries.

  • 37.   Only two African nations have never been under European colonial power: Liberia, an independent nation settled largely by African Americans, and Ethiopia, an Orthodox Christian nation known in Europe as Abyssinia. The rest of the continent was colonized by European imperial powers in the nineteenth century "scramble for Africa."

  • 38.   During the 1950s, colonized African states began to fight for independence from imperial rule with Libya being the first African nation to declare its independence. The independence movements brought great hope and inspired U.S. civil rights leaders like Malcolm X to fight for increased freedoms at home.

  • Nelson Mandela

  • 39.   South Africa was one of the first African nations to gain its independence from colonial rule after the imperial period. However, black residents of the state lived under a forced system of segregation called Apartheid (meaning "separateness") until 1994 when the country held its first democratic elections with universal suffrage. The famous civil rights leader Nelson Mandela was elected as president.

  • 40.   The Second Congo War, which began in 1998 and involved eight African nations, is the largest war in African history. An estimated 5.4 million people died as a result of the war and its aftermath, making it the deadliest worldwide conflict since World War II. The war officially ended in 2006, but hostilities still continue today.

  • 41.   Islam is currently the largest religion in Africa, with Christianity following closely behind. These two religions make up 85% of the continent's population, while just 15% of the population is non-religious or follow traditional African religions.

  • 42.   While Africa is the second largest of the earth's seven continents, it has the shortest coastline, due to very few jutting edges and bays in its landscape.

  • 43.   Among the native population of Africa, there are more physical variations than on any other continent in the world.

  • 44.   There are fewer people with Internet access in the entire continent of Africa than in New York City alone.

  • 45.   The average life expectancy on the African continent ranges from 74 years in the island nation of Mauritius to just under 32 years in sub-Saharan Swaziland.

  • 46.   Two of the most popular sports in Africa are soccer (called football) and cricket. Both sports were introduced during colonial times and have flourished on the continent due to the international success of African teams.

  • Contemporary Kanga Dress  Kanga Dress 

  • 47.   A popular fashion statement in eastern Africa is to wear a kanga, a large cotton cloth with a message printed on it. Kanga are worn by both men and women and they originated during the nineteenth century in Zanzibar and Mombasa.

  • 48.   The "evil eye" is a term that originated in North Africa and the Mediterranean and is widely believed to cause harm, especially to the sick and vulnerable. In Morocco, it is common for men and boys to decorate the backs of their cloaks with bright red eyes to reflect back and cast off the look of the evil eye.

  • 49.   In Tunisia, images of fish are often used to protect against evil. New buildings often have fish bones or tails embedded in them as they are built, and cars have brightly colored plastic or cloth fish attached to them to provide protection to the people inside.

(Source: Random Facts)

Amarillo, Texas: 77 Things to Do in Amarillo

  • 1.   Take a journey to the tropics at the tropical conservatory at the Amarillo Botanical Gardens ( www.amarillobotanicalgardens.org ).

  • 2.   Get hands-on science experiences at the Don Harrington Discovery Center ( www.dhdc.org ).

  • 3.   Stroll along Amarillo's Historic Route 66 ( www.amarillo66.com ).

  • 4.   Listen to music at the Golden Light Café & Cantina ( www.goldenlightcafe.com ).

  • 5.   Feed the ducks in Medi Park in the Harrington Regional Medical Center.

  • 6.   Paint graffiti on the cars at Cadillac Ranch.

  • 7.   Visit the 'Madame Queen,' the only 2-10-2 'Texas' type locomotive, built especially for the Plains.

  • 8.   Take a walking tour along historic Polk Street.

  • 9.   See the Chase Tower, the tallest building between Dallas & Denver.

  • 10.   Ride the coasters at Wonderland Amusement Park ( www.wonderlandpark.com ).

  • 11.   Search for some of the over 95 American Quarter Horse statues around the city.

  • 12.   Pay tribute to heroes at the Texas Panhandle War Memorial.

  • 13.   See a performance of the Kwahadi Indian Dancers at the Kwahadi Museum of the American Indian ( www.kwahadi.com ).

  • 14.   Retrace the Panhandle's aviation history at the Texas Air & Space Museum ( www.texasairandspacemuseum.com ).

  • 15.   Reminisce at the expanded RV Museum with its exhibits from the 1920s to today ( www.rvmuseum.net ).

  • 16.   See the history of the 'horse that won the West' at the American Quarter Hall of Fame & Museum ( www.aqha/museum.org ).

  • 17.   Take time to see the 'Pirates of the Canyon' Balloon Festival in November 2014 ( www.piratesofthecanyon.com ).

  • 18.   Discover local history at the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum - it's The Smithsonian with a Texas accent ( www.panhandleplains.org ).

  • 19.   Be sure to check out the Amarillo Zoo with over 60 animal species and a new herpetarium ( www.amarillozoo.org ).

  • 20.   Ride in a Big Texan Limo, complete with longhorns on the hood, to the Big Texan Steak Ranch ( www.bigtexan.com ).

  • 21.   Cool off during the summer at Splash Amarillo ( www.splashamarillo.com ).

  • 22.   Watch a sunrise or sunset from anywhere in Amarillo.

  • 23.   Go two-stepping at one of the county-western venues.

  • 24.   Visit Cal Farley's Boys Ranch.

  • 25.   Go to Eades and get some Texas beef jerky.

  • 26.   Hike, bike or jog along the Rock Island Rail Trail or play in any number of other Amarillo public parks.

  • 27.   See the magnificent statue of astronaut Rick Husband at the Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport.

  • 28.   Plan your Christmas around the Lone Star Ballet's annual production of The Nutcracker ( www.lonestarballet.org ).

  • 29.   Zip-line across Palo Duro Canyon at the new Palo Duro Adventure Park ( www.palodurozip.com ).

  • 30.   Pretend to be a cattle baron by visiting the Amarillo Livestock Auction on Monday ( www.amarillolivestockauction.com ).

  • 31.   Reserve your tickets for the official play of Texas, the musical 'TEXAS' and help them cross 4 million in attendance ( www.texas-show.com ).

  • 32.   Hike, camp, mountain bike and more in Palo Duro Canyon State Park, named one of the nation's 10 Best State Parks by Fodors.com. Or if you prefer, drive to the bottom of Palo Duro Canyon State Park ( www.tpwd.state.tx.us/park/paloduro/paloduro.htm ).

  • 33.   Depending on the season, enjoy Amarillo sports by attending Amarillo Venom (arena football - www.govenom.com ); Amarillo Bulls (ice hockey - www.amarillobulls.com ); or Amarillo Sox (baseball - www.amarillosox.com ) game.

  • 34.   Be at the Cowboy Mounted Shooting National Finals in October.

  • 35.   Spend time with the folks at the Working Ranch Cowboys Association World Championship Ranch Rodeo ( www.wrca.org ).

  • 36.   Choose a different local restaurant for each meal.

  • 37.   Attend the festivities at National Day of the Cowboy the last Saturday of July.

  • 38.   Appreciate one of the performances by the symphony, ballet, opera or theater at the Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts.

  • 39.   Shop, shop, shop - at the specialty stores in renovated Wolflin Village & Wolflin Square; at antique shops on Historic Route 66 or at over 100 shops in Westgate Mall.

  • 40.   Marvel at over 50 galleries and the outdoor sculpture garden at The Galleries at Sunset Center ( www.amarilloartists.com ).

  • 41.   Splurge on barbecue during the Amarillo Chamber of Commerce Good Times Celebration

  • 42.   Barbecue Cook Off in September ( www.amarillo-chamber.org ).

  • 43.   Don't miss our 4th of July tradition - the Range Riders Rodeo.

  • 44.   Rev-up at Route 66 Motor Speedway ( www.route66motorspeedway.com ).

  • 45.   Savor Strawberry Habanero gelato, and many other flavors, at Cowboy Gelato ( www.cowboygelato.com ).

  • 46.   Make time for a summer music concert series - High Noon on the Square; June Jazz; Starlight Theater and Music in the Gardens.

  • 47.   Join the fun at the Center City Block Party in August ( www.centercity.org ).

  • 48.   Watch simulcast horse racing at the Saddle Brook Jockey Club ( www.saddlebrookjockeyclub.com ).

  • 49.   Order a custom-made saddle at Oliver's Saddle Shop ( www.oliversaddle.com ); get fitted for custom boots at Beck Boots ( www.beckboots.com ) and find Western accessories at shops around town. Show off your duds at a C&W venue in town.

  • 50.   Visit the Amarillo Visitor Information Center and purchase an Amarillo Logo item.

  • 51.   Eat something on a stick and enjoy the midway rides at the Tri-State Fair in September ( www.tristatefair.com ).

  • 52.   Ride the Rt 66 Trolley Express.

  • 53.   See WRCA World Championship Bronc Riding over Memorial Day weekend ( www.wrca.org ).

  • 54.   Visit the Amarillo Museum of Art, where admission is always free ( www.amarilloart.org ).

  • 55.   Eat a Hotter Than Hell Burger at Coyote Bluff Café ( www.coyotebluffcafe.com ).

  • 56.   Ride horseback at several venues in and around Palo Duro Canyon (Cowgirls & Cowboys in the West, Old West Stables or Timber Springs Stables).

  • 57.   Take a carload to the Tascosa Drive In Theater ( www.tascosadrivein.com ).

  • 58.   Relax and enjoy a sunset at the Bar Z Winery ( www.barzwines.com ).

  • 59.   Play golf at a fine city course at either the Ross Rogers or Comanche Trail complexes.

  • 60.   Drive out to River Breaks Ranch for a great meal and shoot some clay pigeons at their sporting clay course ( www.riverbreaksranch.com ).

  • 61.   Eat a chicken fried steak at the Stockyard Café - it was on the Travel Channel.

  • 62.   Be creative at the Amarillo Little Theatre - the longest continuously running community theatre in the nation ( www.amarillolittletheatre.org ).

  • 63.   See how the other half lived at the Harrington House; just make sure you have tour reservations ( www.harringtonhousehistorichome.org ). Slowly drive the rest of the neighborhood to see homes of the area's founding families.

  • 64.   Visit historic Llano Cemetery where most of the city's prominent families have been laid to rest ( www.llanocemetery.org ).

  • 65.   Grab a blanket and attend a high school football game at Dick Bivins Stadium.

  • 66.   Marvel at big agribusiness during the annual Amarillo Farm & Ranch Show ( www.ideaggroup.com/amarillo ).

  • 67.   Take a side trip to learn more about the Texas Panhandle, from the Goodnight Historical Center ( www.armstrongcountymuseum.com ) in Claude, TX, to the Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument ( www.nps.gov/alfl/index.htm ) in Fritch, TX. And so many stops in between.

  • 68.   Don't forget the Texas Pharmacy Museum, largest of its kind in the state.

  • 69.   Heard of the Amarillo Railroad Museum? - static displays of unique railroad cars

  • 70.   Browse Georgia Street Mall for the one-of-a-kind souvenir.

  • 71.   Take a side trip along the Texas Plains Trail.

  • 72.   Discover the 'legs of Ozymandias.'

  • 73.   ARCH- Amarillo Rock Climbing House

  • 74.   Shooting ranges - Amarillo Gun Club, Panhandle Gunslingers, River Breaks

  • 75.   First Friday Art Walk

  • 76.   Rodeo - Coors Cowboy Club, Range Riders, Boys Ranch, Wrangler Champions Challenge, Tri-State Fair PRCA Rodeo, WRCA World Championship Ranch Rodeo

  • 77.   Equine Events - CMSA World Finals; AQHA Adequan Select World Finals, WRCA World Championship Ranch Bronc Riding

Source: The Amarillo CVC. Visit the Amarillo CVC website at www.visitamarillotx.com

Amsterdam Canal District

The Amsterdam canal district has been added to the prestigious United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Heritage List! The canal district is regarded as an international icon of urban planning and architecture. According to UNESCO, who awarded the title of World Heritage Site to the 17th century canal ring area inside the Singelgracht, "the historical and urban ensemble of the Amsterdam canal district was a project for a new 'port city' built at the end of the 16th and beginning of the 17th centuries. It comprises a network of canals to the west and south of the historic old town and the medieval port that encircles the old town; the district was accompanied by the repositioning inland of the city's fortified boundaries, the Singelgracht. This was a long-term process that involved extending the city by draining the swampland, using a system of canals in concentric arcs and filling in the intermediate spaces. These spaces allowed the development of a homogeneous urban area including gabled houses and numerous monuments. This urban extension was the largest and most homogeneous of its time. As a model of large-scale town planning, it served as a reference throughout the world until the 19th century."

Amsterdam Canal District

Amsterdam's 17th century canal district is a remnant of the Dutch Golden Age, a time when the city led the world in art, trade and architecture. The zone is composed of four curved canals that run parallel to each other and encircle the Amsterdam city center in a half moon - the Singel, the Herengracht, the Keizersgracht and the Prinsengracht. The bank of the outermost Prinsengracht canal is home to the world-famous Anne Frank House.

According to the Amsterdam Tourism & Convention Board, 38% of tourists visit Amsterdam for its culture, history, the city center and the canals. 26% make the journey to experience the general atmosphere -- referred to as "gezelligheid" by natives -- and 24% of tourists are drawn to the city because of its world-renowned museums such as the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum.

The Netherlands now boasts nine UNESCO-listed heritage sites, including an 18th century collection of windmills in Kinderdijk, about 1½ hours south of Amsterdam. For further details, please visit: www.amsterdam.nl/worldheritage
and www.holland.com.

Read travel articles about this destination at: http://www.whattravelwriterssay.com/destinationEurope.html

Antigua and Barbuda (40 Reasons to Travel there)

1. 365 white and pink sand beaches.

2. Location - A hop, skip and jump from Canada - only four and half hours direct from Toronto. Travel is easily arranged.

3. Romance - named the best island for a destination wedding for the past four years.

4. Historic sites such as Betty's Hope Sugar Mill, St. John's Cathedral and Nelson's Dockyard.

5. The only double Cathedral in the world is the St. John's Cathedral (the Cathedral is all mahogany on the inside and all stone on the outside)

6. Sailing Week: Take part in this world-renowned regatta! Sign up to be a deck hand or merely an observer and enjoy sailing at its very best.

7. Soft adventures - scuba, snorkeling, boating, fishing, and much, much more.

8. It's an English-speaking island, so there are no communication barriers.

9. Authentic, mouth-watering Caribbean cuisine.

10. Natural wonders including the rainforest, Frigate Bird Sanctuary and Devil's Bridge.

11. Crystal clear turquoise water.

12. Sunny and warm all year with soothing trade winds.

13. Accommodations ranging from intimate boutique hotels to all-inclusive resorts with pricing to suit every budget.

14. Two islands in one - Barbuda is just 15-minute flight or 90-minute ferry ride from Antigua.

15. Revel in the warmth and hospitality of Antiguans and Barbudans, long considered some of the friendliest people on the planet!

16. Several International Awards - Ranked as Best Island for Celeb Spotting by Caribbean Travel & Life Magazine.

17. Casino - Wile the night away at Paradise Casino - the largest Casino in the Eastern Caribbean.

18. Underground Adventure - exploring underground caves at Indian Town in Antigua, rumored to stretch all the way to Guadeloupe.

19. A 17-mile pristine and untouched pink shell beach in Barbuda.

20. Cultural heritage that includes an annual Carnival celebration and a fierce devotion to cricket.

21. Refreshing tropical concoctions using Antigua's own Cavalier rum and the famous sweet, black pineapple.

22. Spas -relaxation nirvana - unique Caribbean treatments at luxury spas will help guide guests on the path to ultimate rejuvenation.

23. Family-friendly accommodations with special activities to keep the little ones occupied while parents escape on their own excursions.

24. Eco - Tours - a new zip line eco-tour that is sure to stimulate and excite.

25. Three words - duty free shopping.

26. More beaches per square mile that any other country in the world.

27. The largest Frigate Bird Sanctuary in the Western Hemisphere ( in Barbuda)

28. The Caribbean's most colourful Summer Carnival (last week July to the first week August).

29. Nelson's Dockyard, the safest harbour and most historic yachting and yacht charting centre in the Caribbean.

30. For cricket fans some for the world's best crickets are from Antigua (Sir Vivian Richards, Andy Roberts, Richie Richardson, Curtley Ambrose, Wigley Jacobs just to name a few)

31. World-renowned Susie's, hot and spicy hot sauce is native to Antigua and Barbuda

32. Barbuda is the home to the finest seafood in the Caribbean ( Barbuda's spiny lobster is the islands favorite must have)

33. Over hundred underwater shipwrecks available for the underwater adventure.

34. A full island tour in Antigua can be done in under 5 hours (perfect for cruise ship passengers)

35. Antigua serves as a central airport hub for the rest of the Caribbean.

36. One of the world most active volcanoes (The Soufrière Hills Volcano in Montserrat) can be seen from the sandy shores of Antigua. (Day visits are easily arranged).

37. Visitors to Antigua can experience a bit of Normandy and Provence by visiting near by Guadeloupe and Martinique which are only 18 minutes and 25 minutes away respectively.

38. There are about one hundred and forty-nine prehistoric sites recorded for Antigua and Barbuda

39. Antigua and Barbuda has more sugar mills relics dating back to the 1700's then any other Caribbean island.

40. Did we mention 365 white and pink sand beaches?

Read travel articles about this destination at: http://www.whattravelwriterssay.com/destinationCaribbean.html

Arizona - 100 Reasons to Visit

1. All New England, plus the state of Pennsylvania would fit inside Arizona.

2. Arizona has 3,928 mountain peaks and summits-more mountains than any one of the other Mountain States (Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming).

3. Arizona became the 48th state and last of the contiguous states on February 14, 1912.

4. Arizona's disparate climate can yield both the highest temperature across the nation and the lowest temperature across the nation in the same day.

5. There are more wilderness areas in Arizona than in the entire Midwest. Arizona alone has 90 wilderness areas, while the Midwest has 50.

6. Arizona has 26 peaks that are more than 10,000 feet in elevation.

7. Arizona has the largest contiguous stand of ponderosa pines in the world stretching from near Flagstaff along the Mogollon Rim to the White Mountains region.

8. Yuma, Arizona is the country's highest producer of winter vegetables, especially lettuce.

9. Arizona is the 6th largest state in the nation, covering 113,909 square miles.

10. Out of all the states in the U.S., Arizona has the largest percentage of its land designated as Indian lands.

11. The "Five C's" of Arizona's economy are: Cattle, Copper, Citrus, Cotton, and Climate.

12. More copper is mined in Arizona than all the other states combined, and the Morenci Mine is the largest copper producer in all of North America.

13. Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, two of the most prominent movie stars of Hollywood's Golden Age, were married on March 18, 1939, in Kingman, Arizona.

14. Covering 18,608 sq. miles, Coconino County is the second largest county by land area in the 48 contiguous United States.

15. The world's largest solar telescope is located at Kitt Peak National Observatory in Sells, Arizona.

16. Bisbee, Arizona is known as the Queen of the Copper Mines because during its mining heyday it produced nearly 25 percent of the world's copper and was the largest city in the Southwest between Saint Louis and San Francisco.

17. Billy the Kid killed his first man, Windy Cahill, in Bonita, Arizona.

18. Pioneer filmmaker, Cecil B. DeMille originally traveled to Flagstaff to make his first film but he arrived there in the middle of a storm and decided to move operations further west, to Hollywood. His film, The Squaw Man (1914), went on to be wildly successful, launching the fledgling movie industry and establishing Hollywood as the movie capital of the world.

19. Arizona grows enough cotton each year to make more than one pair of jeans for every person in the United States

20. Famous labor leader and activist Cesar Chavez was born in Yuma.

21. In 1912, President William Howard Taft was ready to make Arizona a state on February 12, but it was Lincoln's birthday. The next day, the 13th, was considered bad luck so they waited until the following day. That's how Arizona became known as the "Valentine State."

22. When England's famous London Bridge was replaced in the 1960s, the original was purchased, dismantled, shipped stone by stone and reconstructed in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, where it still stands today.

23. Mount Lemmon, in the Santa Catalina Mountains, is the southernmost ski resort in the United States.

24. Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch in Picacho, Arizona is the largest privately-owned ostrich ranch in the world outside South Africa.

25. If you cut down a protected species of cactus in Arizona, you could spend more than a year in prison.

26. The world's largest to-scale collection of miniature airplane models is housed at the library at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona.

27. The only place in the country where mail is delivered by mule is the village of Supai, located at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

28. Located on Arizona's western border, Parker Dam is the deepest dam in the world at 320 feet.

29. South Mountain Park/Preserve in Phoenix is the largest municipal park in the country.

30. Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, located about 55 miles west of Phoenix, generates more electricity than any other U.S. power plant.

31. Montezuma never visited Montezuma National Monument-he was born 100 years after the prehistoric dwelling was abandoned. The monument was misnamed for the Aztec emperor when it was rediscovered in the 1860's.

32. Oraibi, a Hopi village located in Navajo County, Arizona, dates back to before A.D. 1200 and is reputed to be the oldest continuously inhabited community in America.

33. Built in by Del Webb in 1960, Sun City, Arizona was the first 55-plus active adult retirement community in the country.

34. Petrified wood is the official state fossil. The Petrified Forest in northeastern Arizona contains America's largest deposits of petrified wood.

35. Many of the founders of San Francisco in 1776 were Spanish colonists from Tubac, Arizona.

36. Phoenix originated in 1866 as a hay camp to supply military post Camp McDowell.

37. Chino Valley's Fort Whipple was a U.S. Army post that served as Arizona Territory's first capital prior to the founding of Prescott. The post was founded in January 1864, but was moved in May 1864 to Granite Creek near present-day Prescott.

38. Prior to President Abraham Lincoln signing the Arizona Organic Act on February 24, 1863 to create Arizona Territory, Arizona was part of the territory of New Mexico.

39. Rainfall averages for Arizona range from less than three inches in the deserts to more than 30 inches per year in the mountains.

40. Rising to a height of 12,643 feet, Mount Humphreys north of Flagstaff is the state's highest mountain.

41. Roadrunners are not just in cartoons! In Arizona, you'll see them running up to 17-mph away from their enemies.

42. The Saguaro cactus is the largest cactus found in the U.S. It can grow as high as a five- story building and is native to the Sonoran Desert, which stretches across southern Arizona.

43. Sandra Day O'Connor, the first woman appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, grew up on a large family ranch near Duncan, Arizona.

44. The city of Phoenix was named for the mythical Egyptian phoenix bird-which burst into flame and was reborn from its ashes-because the town sprouted from the ruins of a former civilization.

45. Santa Cruz County (1,237 sq. miles) is the smallest of Arizona's 15 counties, but is larger than more than 72 countries.

46. Spanish Franciscan friar Marcos de Niza was the first European to explore Arizona. He entered the area in 1539 in search of the mythical Seven Cities of Gold.

47. The best-preserved meteor crater in the world is located near Winslow, Arizona.

48. Camels were imported in the 1850s to survey the future Route 66 across northern Arizona.

49. The Arizona Cardinals are the oldest continuous franchise in the National Football League, dating back to 1898.

50. The worst range war and family feud in the West, which claimed the lives of dozens of ranchers, ironically occurred in a place called Pleasant Valley, Arizona.

51. The average state elevation is 4,000 feet.

52. The cactus wren is the official state bird. It gets its name from the fact that it likes to build nests in the protection of thorny desert plants, like the saguaro cactus.

53. The Navajo Nation spans 27,000 square miles across the states of Utah, Arizona and New Mexico, but its capital is seated in Window Rock, Arizona.

54. The amount of copper utilized to make the copper dome atop Arizona's Capitol building is equivalent to the amount used in 4.8 million pennies.

55. Between the years 1692 and 1711 Spanish missionary Father Eusebio Kino did more than just found missions in Arizona; he also taught many tribes the basics of agriculture and supplied them with cattle and seed grain.

56. The Castilian and Burgundian flags of Spain, the Mexican flag, the Confederate flag, and the flag of the United States have all flown over the land we now know as Arizona.

57. Near Yuma, the Colorado River's elevation dips to 70 feet above sea level, making it the lowest point in the state.

58. The geographic center of Arizona is 55 miles southeast of Prescott near the community of Mayer.

59. You could pile four 1,300-foot skyscrapers on top of each other and they still would not reach the rim of the Grand Canyon.

60. Nearly 5 million people visit Arizona's Grand Canyon National Park each year.

61. The hottest temperature recorded in Arizona was 128 degrees at Lake Havasu City on June 29, 1994.

62. The coldest temperature recorded in Arizona was 40 degrees below zero at Hawley Lake on January 7, 1971.

63. The Lost Dutchman, Jacob Waltz-who is alleged to be the owner of the yet-undiscovered Lost Dutchman Gold Mine in Arizona's Superstition Mountains-was actually a German.

64. Arizona's official state colors are blue and gold.

65. The Palo Verde is the official state tree. Its name means "green stick" and it blooms a brilliant yellow-gold in April or May.

66. The saguaro cactus blossom is the official state flower. The white flower blooms in May and June, opening in the middle of the night and closing the next day-surviving only about 18 hours for pollination.

67. A saguaro cactus can store up to nine tons of water.

68. The Arizona towns of Adair and Alamo Crossing are now underwater, having been swallowed up by the formation of dams that created Fool Hollow Lake and Alamo Lake (respectively).

69. The State Motto is Ditat Deus, which means "God Enriches" in Latin.

70. From 1973 to 2007, Arizona was the only state with official state neckwear, the bola tie. In 2007, New Mexico also adopted the bola tie as the official State Tie.

71. The state of Massachusetts could fit inside Maricopa County (9,922 sq. miles).

72. The westernmost battle of the Civil War was fought at Picacho Pass on April 15, 1862 near Picacho Peak in Pinal County.

73. There are 11.2 million acres of National Forest in Arizona, and one-fourth of the state is forested.

74. Tubac was the first European Settlement in Arizona (1752).

75. Turquoise is the official state gemstone. The blue-green stone has a somewhat waxy surface and can be found throughout the state.

76. World War II brought many military personnel to train at Luke and Thunderbird airbases in Glendale.

77. Jerome, Arizona was named for Eugene Jerome of New York City, who never visited the town.

78. Two Arizonans have won their party's nomination for President: Barry Goldwater and John McCain.

79. Wyatt Earp was neither the town marshal nor the sheriff in Tombstone at the time of the shoot-out at the O.K. Corral. His brother Virgil was the town marshal.

80. The Navajo Nation Zoological and Botanical Park is the only tribally-owned zoo in the U.S.

81. The ringtail is the official state mammal. It is a fox-like, nocturnal animal that measures about two-and-a-half feet long.

82. The Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona holds more archives and individual works by 20th-century North American photographers than any other museum in the nation. Its archives contain an estimated 3.8 million items.

83. On June 6, 1936, the first barrel of tequila produced in the United States rolled off the production line in Nogales, Arizona.

84. The world's tallest Kachina doll, measuring 39 feet tall and fashioned of concrete, is located in Carefree, Arizona.

85. Once a rowdy copper mining town, Jerome's population dwindled to as few as 50 people after the mines closed in 1953.

86. The Sonoran Desert is the most biologically diverse desert in North America.

87. The Arizona tree frog is the state's official amphibian.

88. Bisbee is the Nation's southernmost mile-high city.

89. The two largest manmade lakes in the U.S. are Lake Mead and Lake Powell-both located in Arizona.

90. Arizona is the only state in the nation that elects a Mine Inspector.

91. The longest remaining intact section of Route 66 can be found in Arizona and runs from Seligman to Topock, a total of 157 unbroken miles.

92. The 13 stripes on the Arizona flag represent the 13 original colonies of the United States.

93, Thirteen species of rattlesnakes live in Arizona, more species than in any other state.

94. The University of Phoenix Stadium, home to the NFL Cardinals, retractable roof and rollout field combination is a first in North America.

95. The negotiations for Geronimo's final surrender took place in Skeleton Canyon, near present day Douglas, Arizona, in 1886.

96. Prescott, Arizona is home to the world's oldest rodeo, and Payson, Arizona is home to the world's oldest continuous rodeo-both of which date back to the 1880s.

97. Downtown Yuma, Arizona is one of only two designated National Heritage Areas west of the Mississippi.

98. Kartchner Caverns, near Benson, Arizona, is a massive limestone cave with 13,000 feet of passages, two rooms as long as football fields, and one of the world's longest soda straw stalactites: measuring 21 feet 3 inches.

99. The Litchfield Naval Air Facility (now called the Phoenix-Goodyear Airport) was the training base for the Navy Blue Angels aerial demonstration team until 1968.

100. At 221 miles long, Apache County is the longest county in the U.S., stretching from the Utah border to just south of Alpine, Arizona.

BONUS FACT - Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport has the world's only public transport system that goes over an active airport taxiway.

This list was compiled and researched by the Arizona Office of Tourism and the Arizona Centennial Commission staff with the assistance of Marshall Trimble, Arizona's Official State Historian.

Destination Arizona

Grand Canyon Skywalk

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Australia: Railroad Train Passes

When one thinks about destinations that are renowned for being best traveled by rail, Europe, Britain and Japan likely come to mind...and now ACP Rail wants you to add Australia to that list, with the launch of 8 great Australia Rail Passes. Some passes include travel aboard the infamous Ghan through the Outback, and other passes include travel aboard The Sunlander along Queensland's Coast; no matter what the route, travel is made easy with an Australia Rail Pass. There is surely a pass that best suits your itinerary so here's a quick overview of the pass selection, with prices starting as low as $115 CAD:
  • Ausrail Pass: covers travel aboard all participating rail companies in Australia.
  • Queensland Explorer Pass: includes travel along Queensland's coast from Brisbane to Cairns.
  • Rail Explorer Pass: travel aboard the Indian Pacific between Sydney and Perth, The Overland between Melbourne and Adelaide, and The Ghan between Adelaide and Darwin.
  • Aus Reef and Outback Pass: travel along the coast from Brisbane to Cairns, as well as, travel aboard The Ghan, the Indian Pacific and The Overland.
  • Aus Reef and Beach Pass: travel from Cairns to Melbourne and many stops in between.
  • Trans Aus Pass: travel aboard The Ghan, the Indian Pacific and The Overland, as well as along the coast from Melbourne to Brisbane.
  • Backtracker Rail Pass: travel from Melbourne, to Canberra, to Sydney to Brisbane and many stops in between, including connecting coach services.
  • East Coast Discovery Pass: Select a route between two of these cities - Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Cairns.
Australia Rail With so much to see in Australia, international visitors will find great value in a rail pass that can deliver them to all the points of interest, all while enjoying the stunning scenic views en route. Plus pass holders will enjoy unlimited train travel over a 3 or 6 month period, with the exception of the East Coast Discovery Pass which offers travel in one direction over a 6 month period.
How should one begin selecting their Australia Rail Pass? Visit www.acprail.com/rail-passes/australia to see a map which depicts all the routes included with each pass. Compare this to your itinerary or list of desired destinations and find the rail pass that covers it all. Not sure where to begin? First time visitors to Australia won't want to miss: Sydney for its beautiful harbour cityscape, Cairns for its access to the Great Barrier Reef, Alice Springs for the Outback experience, Brisbane for its surfers' paradise and the list goes on!
Get your Australia Rail Pass by calling ACP Rail's Call Center today at 1 866 938-RAIL (North America) or by visiting www.ACPRail.com.

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Austria (40 Reasons to Visit)

1. Austria has more than 1,000 years of history

2. To see a small country and be surprised by that huge range of things to do there

3. It's in the heart of Europe and can be easily combined with any European country

4. It's easy to reach from Canada: Austrian Airlines and Air Transat offer non-stop flights to Austria's main cities

Aqua Dome Winter (c) oetztal tourismus  Bregenz Festival (c) Bregenz Festival  CARINTHIA Maria Woerth (c) Austrian Tourist Office  Christmas Market in Vienna (c) Austrian Tourist Office

5. Highest standards in tourism infrastructure & service are available throughout Austria

6. There is a magic combo between nature & culture in this country

7. The true Austrian is authentic & charming

8. According to the Mercer Study of 2007 the Worldwide Quality of Living is really high - Vienna is # 3 jointly with Vancouver

9. Austria has eight UNESCO world heritage sites

10. In Austria you have the chance to see several forms of landscape from mountains to lowlands varying within a one-hour car-drive

11. Swim in crystal clear mountain lakes

12. Take a bike trip along the Danube and pass the Wachau - one of Austria's World Heritage Sites

13. Go down ski slopes where the world's best downhill racers were taught to ski

14. Enjoy the Austrian spirit by the experience of a typical "Hüttengaudi" during skiing (stop for a bite to eat in one of the traditional ski huts)

15. Take a course in yodeling - a unique kind of singing communication between distances in the mountains

16. Watch an "Almabtrieb" in the country of Salzburg (see the cattle going down the mountain pastures)

17. Austria is the real country to experience "Gemütlichkeit"

18. It offers a wide range of culinary specialities brought up by the diversity of Austria's different cultures and history

19. Only in Austria you can taste the original Sacher cake, Apfelstrudel and Wiener Schnitzel

20. There you can convince yourself of the food quality Austria offers

21. Enjoy one of various forms of coffee in a traditional Viennese "Kaffeehaus" (like Café Sperl or Café Hawelka)

22. It was not Italy that invented the coffee - it was Austria!

Festspielvorplatz BREGENZ (c) Foto andereart, Bregenzer Festspiele  Gormley in Vorarlberg (c) Kunsthaus Bregenz and Antony Gormley_Foto Markus Tretter  INNSBRUCK Funicular Station by Zaha Hadid (c) Innsbruck Tourism Stefan Dauth  Kunsthaus Graz (c) Graz Tourism

23. Did you know that Red Bull is from Austria too? It's NOT American!

24. Taste the wine of the latest harvest (the "Heuriger") in a Heuriger tavern

25. Discover Austria as a country of great wines

26. Vienna is the only capital with vineyards within the city limit

27. Explore the Swarovski crystal worlds in Tyrol - in the home country of Swarovski

28. Visit Linz - Cultural Capital 2009

29. Get inspired by Salzburg - the City of Mozart - and visit the houses where he was born, lived and composed

30. In Salzburg you can step into the footprints of Maria and see how the "Sound-Of-Music" life was

31. Austria provides you an insight how the great emperors and the famous empress "Sissi" lived

32. Discover a combination in tradition and innovation concerning arts, architecture and design

33. You can enjoy the atmosphere of Vienna's Museum's Quarter, relax on the differently arranged furniture and watch people passing by

34. Vienna also has the first Giant Ferris Wheel in the World: the "Riesenrad" - have a good time in the "Wiener Würstelprater" - an amusement park

35. You can dance to waltz in Vienna - the City of Waltz

36. Take a seat in the loge at the world famous Opera Ball in the Viennese National Opera House

37. See a concert of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra that is performing the New Year's Concert every New Year's Day

38. Join Europe's largest and most spectacular annual charity event dedicated to the fight against HIV and AIDS, taking place at the historic Vienna City Hall to celebrate the open-mindedness and diversity of the world - the life ball

39. And then finally relax and get your inner balance in one of fantastic wellness resorts

40. Because there are at least 40 more reasons to visit Austria

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Barbados, West Indies

To see for yourself why so many Canadians are choosing Barbados, please visit www.visitbarbados.org.

Getting there:

Air Canada currently provides daily direct service to Barbados with nine flights weekly from Toronto and twice-weekly flights from Montreal. For further information and flight promotions, visit www.aircanada.com. Getting to Barbados has never been easier. WestJet makes it both easy and affordable to get to Barbados, offering non-stop flights from Toronto five times a week. Ticket information is available at www.westjet.com.

Ancient Rock, CTA  Choppy Waves, CTA  Festival, Caribbean Tourism Assoc  Festival, Caribbean Tourism Assoc

About Barbados:

The island of Barbados offers the most authentic Caribbean experience with its exceptionally rich culture and history rooted in remarkable landscapes, including The Crane beach, St. Philips, voted one of the world's sexiest beaches for 2008 by Concierge.com. Barbados is the first and only Zagat-rated Caribbean island with numerous internationally renowned chefs who masterfully put signature spins on local delicacies and traditions. Barbados is also an ideal stage for world-class events and has hosted numerous athletic championships, including the ICC Cricket World Cup Final 2007 and the 2006 PGA World Golf Championship-The Barbados World Cup. Accommodations range from picturesque plantation houses and villas to quaint bed and breakfasts to award-winning five-star resorts. The newly renovated Grantley Adams International Airport offers non-stop and direct service from a Toronto daily on Air Canada and 9 times weekly in the winter and 2 flights weekly out of Montreal. WestJet commenced service November 2, 2009 with 5 flights weekly via Toronto. Barbados was voted #8 in the World by Trip Advisor's '2008 Travelers Choice Destination Awards' in its Top 100 Destinations category. Follow the Barbados beat and catch up on the latest news via the Barbados Facebook page at www.tinyurl.com/VisitBarbados and Twitter at www.twitter.com/barbados. For more information on travel to Barbados, visit www.visitbarbados.org.

Read travel articles about this destination at: http://www.whattravelwriterssay.com/destinationCaribbean.html

Golden Palms, CTA  Polo, CTA  Sunset, CTA  Water Sports, CTA

Barbados (19 reasons to visit)

1. Two of the most magnificent Baobab Tree's with the widest tree trunks in the Caribbean can be found in Barbados. The largest can be seen at Queen's Park in Bridgetown. It takes 15 adults joining with outstretched arms to cover the circumference of this massive tree. The other can be found on Warren's Road in St. Michael. This tree is believed to have been brought from Guinea, Africa around 1738 making it over 250 years old.

2. Morgan Lewis Mill is one of only two intact and restored sugar mills in the Caribbean. The Morgan Lewis Mill includes an exhibit of the equipment used to produce sugar at a time when the industry was run by wind power generated from mills such as this one.

3. Harrison's Cave, a magnificent crystallized limestone cavern, is said to be one of the wonders of the world. Its pure clear water and flowing streams have helped to create stalactites and stalagmites which promulgate the cave. Visitors will be amazed by nature's mastery as they journey through this living cave.

4. The Nidhe Israel Synagogue and Museum, built in 1654 was one of the two temples built in the Western Hemisphere.

5. St. Nicholas Abbey & Drax Hall, built in the 1650's, there are only three remaining Jacobean Mansions left in the Western hemisphere and these two can be found in Barbados.

6. Barbados was the only place visited outside of the United States by President George Washington, and his experiences may have changed the course of history. It marked a turning point in the young man's life. A stay in Barbados was prescribed as a possible cure for his ill brother Lawrence, whom he accompanied. In 2007, the plantation house that George and Lawrence rented was restored and is now a museum open to the public. Named George Washington House, it commemorates George Washington's stay and shows what he encountered in-and learned from -18th century Barbados.

7. Originally a harbor, the Crane Beach is considered by many to be one of the island's most beautiful beaches. Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous rated it as "One of the ten best beaches in the world."

8. The Flower Forest, which spans 50 acres, was originally cultivated as a botanical garden; however, high levels of rainfall long since caused its trees to outgrow the original confines. Today it is a genuine rain forest. The site is also home to a conservatory garden, containing a wide collection of tropical plants, 50% of which have medicinal value; 25 varieties of palm trees; and is home to some of the largest palms on the island.

9. Oistin's Fish Fry is not to be missed. This local gem, typifies the casual, relaxed spirit of the rum shop. It is best on Friday evenings!

10. The Atlantis, an air-conditioned submarine allows the whole family to see the wonders that Barbados offers below the sea, even if you don't like to get wet! Passengers are taken by boat to the submarine, which is moored about half a mile off the west coast of the island. Swim with the turtles, visitors can get up close and personal when they swim and snorkel alongside hawksbill sea turtles during a Tiami Luxury Catamaran cruise.

11. Barbados has the world's rarest collection of 17th century English iron cannons. Currently, more than 400 guns are included in this National Ordnance Collection.

12. St. John's Parish Church (Anglican) is one of the major tourist attractions of the island because it is over 150 years old; because of the spectacular views from two different angles; and, because Ferdinand Paleologus, direct descendant of the last Byzantine Emperor, Constantine the Great, is buried there.

13. St. James Parish Church (Anglican), its front and south entrances are over 300 years old; its bell, cast in 1669, predates the famous American Liberty Bell by 54 years.

14. National Heroes Square, is a tribute to the heroes of Bajan society. Until April 1999 it was called Trafalgar Square, and the statue of Lord Nelson was erected there in 1813. Nelson had sailed to Barbados in 1805, only months before he died in the battle of Trafalgar.

15. Queens Park, a sanctuary in the midst of a bustling city. The two-storey house in the park was once the home of the commander of British troops stationed in the West Indies. It was built in 1786 and it now houses a theatre and art gallery. In the playground there is a massive Baobab tree, which is 18 meters in circumference, and probably came from Africa during the days of slavery.

16. Cricket at Kensington Oval, cricket is one of the leading sports played in Barbados. The largest cricket ground in Barbados is the Kensington Oval, Pickwick Gap, St. Michael. This ground is approximately a 15-minute walk from the Cruise Terminal.

17. Pelican Village, just a five-minute walk from the Cruise Terminal Pelican Craft Center is dedicated to the arts and crafts of Barbados comprised of 25 retail shops, a gallery and annex, a wine bar and bistro, a restaurant and an artist wall. The Pelican Workshops are where visitors can see firsthand the creativity of our craftsmen including pottery, woodcarving, basketry and straw work, fine art, glass blowing, weaving, moulded figure-making, sewing and cigar making. The Center is also the home of the Pelican Dooflicky, a festive carnival event replete with pageantry and culture, staged weekly during the tourist season.

18. Chattel House Village, outside the main entrance to the cruise terminal is a village made up of Barbados' historic chattel houses. The small, brightly painted houses are now filled with artists and small business entrepreneurs who sell tee shirts and handicrafts to cruise passengers. The unique village also includes two restaurants, perfect for lunch, or that late afternoon snack on your way back to the ship.

19. Bridgetown, the island's capital, is said to have been founded in 1628 when 64 settlers first arrived to claim 10,000 acres of land. Some of Bridgetown's first streets survive today and bear their original names, notably High Street, Palmetto Street, Swan Street, James Street, Reed Street, Tudor Street and White's Alley. The best time to head into Bridgetown is around 9:00 a.m. before the midday heat and after the morning rush hour traffic. You can spend the morning shopping, enjoy a lunch in town and still have the afternoon free to relax on the beach.


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Barceló Hotels & Resorts

Barceló Hotels & Resorts is among the world's top 25 largest hospitality and travel companies. Barceló was established in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, in 1931, first as a transportation provider and then as a hotel and travel company. The family-owned, privately held company has been world-renowned for more than 75 years for its excellence in service and its innovation within the tourism industry. The hotel company owns or manages more than 180 properties in 17 countries. Barceló's hotels and resorts are found in key destinations and cities throughout Europe, North America, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. The company offers a large variety of hotels and resort types to accommodate all travelers, from budget-minded to upscale guests seeking luxurious accommodations. Barceló specializes in all-inclusive resorts that make vacation planning both convenient and affordable, offering one upfront, all-encompassing price. For more information or reservations, visit http://www.barcelo.com.

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Beachville, ON

Jakeman's Maple Products
Jakemans In a blind taste test conducted by the National Post, Jakeman's was voted #1 as the best tasting maple syrup in Canada! Sold internationally, the Jakeman's Maple Syrup Farm is located just minutes south of Highway 401. Open year round, visit the gift shop located in an 1800's building, and purchase some of their maple specialties. Find out for yourself how you can make your pancakes the 'best tasting pancakes in the world'. Take a few minutes for a coffee and watch the maple syrup making film, too. From trilliums in the Spring to wild mushrooms and colourful leaves in the Fall, and even with Winter's blanket of snow, enjoy a 30-minute stroll through the adjoining trillium bush trail... four seasons beautiful. Motor coach, corporate and school groups are always welcome.
454414 Trillium Ln., R.R. #1 Beachville, ON N0J 1A0,
Ph: 519-539-1366 F: 519-421-2469 T: 800-382-9795 E: mary@themaplestore.com

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Belgium (10 reasons to visit)

1. Cool Deals: Brussels and French-speaking Wallonia can always be fun and affordable; consider these special rates and packages: Specials http://www.visitbelgium.com/index.php?page=special

2. Stretch your Imagination: Opening of New Magritte Museum: The New Magritte Museum http://www.musee-magritte-museum.be/Portail/Site/Typo3.asp?lang=FR&id=languagedetect is now open in Brussels. The museum holds 200 works of surrealist painter Rene Magritte, the largest collection in the world of his works, including archival material, letters, photographs and drawings. Hours: Tuesdays to Sundays, 9.30am - 5pm, late night Wednesday until 8pm.

3. Opening of New Hergé Museum: Just a short train ride away from Brussels and designed by acclaimed French architect Christian de Portzamparc, the New Hergé Museum http://www.museeherge.com/ is now open in Louvain-la-Neuve, a university town worth a detour. Celebrating the work of Tintin's creator, the Hergé Museum marks the first public exhibition of the artist's monumental body of work.
Magritte And Herge Museums

4. New Rail Station in Liège by architect Santiago Calatrava: The new Liège-Guillemins Station http://www.eurogare.be/fr/index.html was designed by the great and famous Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. This station links Liège to other great European cities such as Holland and Cologne. Just under an hour from Brussels, Liège is known as the "Fiery city" and home to many great museums, including the new Curtius Museum. http://www.grandcurtiusliege.be/

5. Brussels: La Grand' Place, a Happening Place: In the center of the city, the centuries-old Grand' Place houses markets, the Hotel de Ville, cafes, festivals, museums and shops. Don't miss the Brussels Jazz Marathon http://www.brusselsjazzmarathon.be/ in May, and come August, Grand' Place turns into a flowering wonderland during the three-day Tapis de Fleurs. http://www.flowercarpet.be/site/main.php?lg=en Be sure not to miss the Belgian Beer Weekend http://www.weekenddelabiere.be/ in September.

6. Belgium Rocks: In the land where the saxophone was invented, it's no wonder the music is an integral part of Belgian daily life. May in Brussels includes the Brussels Jazz Marathon and the Nuits Botanique Festival. In Namur, the Verdure Rock Festival is held under the stars. Classical music is always in the air; orchestras and soloists perform in castles, abbeys and churches during the Festival of Wallonia held from June to October. Click for more. http://www.visitbelgium.com/index.php?page=nightlife

Brussels Jazz Festival

7. Boutique Hotels, the Inn thing in Brussels: Business and leisure travelers who favor the stylish and intimate experience of a boutique hotel stay are going to feel even more at home this year in Brussels. The fashion rooms at The Royal Windsor and Belgium's first Design Hotel, The Dominican are stylish stays. For a more artsy inn, the downtown Hotel Bloom and the White Hotel are furnished with original art pieces. Moreover, the trendy Be Manos is a chic stay convenient for travelers from London and Paris. Find a complete listing http://www.visitbelgium.com/index.php?page=accommodations of Brussels hotels and B&Bs.

8. A Market for all Seasons and Christmas: All year-round Belgium is bustling with markets of all kinds. All Belgian towns hold special flea markets. In Brussels every Saturday and Sunday, you can visit the Antique market http://www.sablonantiquesmarket.com/ at the Place du Grand Sablon. For the real antique aficionados, visit the Bruneaf Market http://www.bruneaf.com/ in March, the Brafa http://www.brafa.be/ in January, and the Baaf in June. Flea markets are also popular such as La Batte, Sundays in Liège. Annually, during the month of December, Belgium holds special Christmas markets http://www.visitbelgium.com/index.php?page=christmas-markets in Brussels and throughout French-speaking Belgium.

9. Beyond Brussels: Beyond Brussels is a world of landscapes, castles, stone-built villages, gourmet restaurants, and carnivals. Collectively, these and many more superlatives are found in Wallonia, the southern French-speaking region of Belgium. For a quick getaway, visit scenic Namur, the Citadel in Dinant, the castles of Bouillon, historic Bastogne, relaxing Spa , the biggest city in French- speaking Belgium, Liège, or the smallest, Durbuy, and for the architecture lovers, the Notre Dame Cathedral of Tournai is a must-see.

Sized For Youth

10. Young & Hip in Belgium: For tips on the Brussels nightlife, cheap eats and great youth hostels, visit Brusselsmania - http://visitbrussels.be/bitc/front/propertyValue/display/clt/BE_en/id/340.do

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Belgium Vacation Guide
Facts every visitor needs to know

Facts for the visitor (Source: Visit Belgium )

Visit Belgium - www.visitbelgium.com

Latest flyer: http://www.visitbelgium.com/index.php/our-latest-flyers
Latest newsletter: http://www.visitbelgium.com/index.php/our-latest-news
Canadian Tourists: http://www.visitbelgium.com/index.php/canadian-visitors

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Britain - 100 Things to See and Do

This list was compiled for the Royal Wedding but can be useful at anytime:

1. Balmoral Castle and Estate
Take a tour around Balmoral Castle; a favourite summer residence of the Royal Family. As well as the castle, the estate itself covers 50,000 acres of heather clad hills and ancient Caledonian woodland. http://www.balmoralcastle.com/

2. Buckingham Palace
No trip to London is complete without peering through the gates of Buckingham Palace, the official London residence of Britain's sovereign. If you visit during the summer you can tour the State Rooms. http://www.royal.gov.uk/TheRoyalResidences/BuckinghamPalace/BuckinghamPalace.aspx

Prince William and Kate Middleton 3. Ceremony of the Keys
Book ahead to watch the Ceremony of the Keys (the traditional locking-up of the Tower of London). It's happened every night for at least 700 years and is a fascinating piece of history to watch live in action. http://www.visitbritain.com/en/Things-to-do/Art-culture-and-heritage/Tower-of-London.htm

4. Windsor Castle
The largest and oldest occupied castle in the world, Windsor is one of the official residences of Her Majesty The Queen. The Castle's dramatic site encapsulates 900 years of British history. It covers an area of 26 acres and contains, as well as a royal palace, a magnificent chapel. http://www.windsor.gov.uk/site/things-to-do/windsor-castle-p43983

5. Changing the Guard
The Changing the Guard ceremony takes place in front of Buckingham Palace at 11.30 every day in summer and every other day in winter. It's free to watch and provides a wonderful glimpse of British Royal pageantry. http://www.changing-the-guard.com/

6. Edinburgh Castle
Explore this astonishing castle fortress which dominates Edinburgh's skyline from its position atop the volcanic Castle Rock. Home to the Honours of Scotland (Scottish Crown Jewels), there are centuries of royal history to discover here. http://www.edinburghcastle.gov.uk/

7. Hampton Court Palace
Favourite stomping ground of the notorious King Henry VII, Hampton Court is the oldest Tudor palace in England and has endless attractions including the Tudor kitchens, its world-famous maze and the State and King's Apartments. http://www.hrp.org.uk/hamptoncourtpalace/

8. The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Explore 6 magnificent glasshouses, 300 acres of landscapes and 250 years of history at the world's most famous garden. Climb to the treetops, delve into rainforest or discover more on a guided tour of this famous World Heritage Site. http://www.kew.org/


9. St Paul's Cathedral
Sir Christopher Wren's iconic domed masterpiece in the centre of London has been the venue for numerous Royal occasions including the Golden Jubilee and 80th Birthday of Her Majesty the Queen and the marriage of Price Charles and Lady Diana. http://www.stpauls.co.uk/

10. Tower of London
Spanning over 900 years of Royal history, the Tower of London has been a fortress, palace, prison, arsenal, garrison and menagerie! It houses the Crown Jewels, armouries, Yeoman Warders and the famous ravens making it must-see attraction. http://www.visitbritain.com/en/Things-to-do/Art-culture-and-heritage/Tower-of-London.htm

11. Palace of Holyroodhouse
Visit the Queen's official residence in Scotland. Situated at the end of the Royal Mile, the Palace of Holyroodhouse has many connections with Scotland's turbulent past, including Mary, Queen of Scots, who lived there in the 16th century. http://www.royal.gov.uk/TheRoyalResidences/ThePalaceofHolyroodhouse/ThePalaceofHolyroodhouse.aspx

12. Royal Yacht Britannia
All aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia! She's a beauty; a real floating palace. See the Queen's bedroom, the fabulous State Apartments, the crew's quarters and even the on-board garage housing one of Her Majesty's Rolls-Royces! http://www.royalyachtbritannia.co.uk/

13. St Andrews University
Travel to this ancient Scottish university where Prince William met his bride-to-be. A William and Kate Tour would have to include a peek from outside at their joint hall of residence, St Salvator"s, with its views over the Bay of St Andrews. http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/

The Tower Bridge

14. Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace
The Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace is a permanent space dedicated to changing exhibitions of items from the Royal Collection. See Royal treasures galore! http://www.royalcollection.org.uk/default.asp?action=article&ID=32

15. Victoria and Albert Museum
Named after Queen Victoria and her husband, Albert, this spectacular museum is stuffed with treasures from all over the world. Don't miss the hoard of jewellery given to courtiers by Elizabeth I. http://www.vam.ac.uk/

16. Wimbledon Tennis Championship
The most famous tennis tournament in the world is always a favourite of the Royal Family. See players bow to the Royal box before games and receive winners' trophies from senior Royals. http://www.wimbledon.org/en_GB/about/history/royalty.html

17. Dover Castle
Explore this historic fortress, built by Henry II, which has guarded Britain from invasion for nearly 900 years. It starred in the Other Boleyn Girl as the Tower of London. http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/dover-castle/

18. Clarence House
The engagement announcement was made from Clarence House, office of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, where Kate and William gave their first joint interview. It opens for tours in summer. http://www.princeofwales.gov.uk/personalprofiles/residences/clarencehouse/

Westminister Abbey - London West End - Telephone Box

19. Chelsea Flower Show
The Queen loves this annual explosion of colour and always takes time out to visit before the first day of the show in May. Follow in her footsteps to see a riot of blooms and the very latest in garden design. http://www.rhs.org.uk/Shows-Events/RHS-Chelsea-Flower-Show/2011

20. Regent's Park
First used by Henry VIII as a hunting ground, this Royal Park is still a haven for rest and relaxation. Discover 410 acres of gardens, parkland, sports facilities, an open air theatre and more - all in the middle of London. http://www.royalparks.gov.uk/The-Regents-Park.aspx?The-Regents-Park

21. Royal Ascot
There's always a good chance of spotting the Queen and Prince Phillip in a horse-drawn carriage during the Royal procession at this most glamorous of horse races. Her Majesty has owned 20 winners over the years. http://www.ascot.co.uk/

22. Sandringham
The much-loved country retreat of Her Majesty The Queen, Sandringham has been the private home of four generations of British monarchs since 1862. You can tour the estate in the spring and summer. http://www.sandringhamestate.co.uk/

23. Trooping the Colour
The Queen's official birthday, Trooping the Colour is the biggest royal event of the year. Taking place every June, the event is attended by thousands of spectators who stand along the Mall to catch a glimpse of the Queen in her carriage and soak up the pageantry. http://www.royal.gov.uk/RoyalEventsandCeremonies/TroopingtheColour/TroopingtheColour.aspx

24. Westminster Abbey
Visit the place where monarchs are crowned and the venue for Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding. It's a world Heritage Site and burial place of scores of famous Britons including Isaac Newton, Geoffrey Chaucer and Charles Darwin. http://www.westminster-abbey.org/

Chelsea Garden - The London Eye

25. Anglesey
The young Windsors have announced their intention to begin their married life near his RAF base in Wales, and will live on the island of Anglesey. The island has some of the most stunning beaches in Britain. http://www.visitanglesey.co.uk/home-1.aspx

26. Royal Brighton Pavilion
Tour this magnificent building, the favourite getaway of the Prince Regent later, King George IV. The Royal Pavilion is remarkable for its exotic oriental appearance both inside and out. http://www.brighton-hove-rpml.org.uk/RoyalPavilion/Pages/home.aspx

27. Coleman's Mustard
Eat like a King (or Queen) with Coleman's Mustard, the official supplier of mustard to the Royal household. But be careful, Coleman's is hot stuff! http://www.colmansmustardshop.com/

28. Corfe Castle
Explore this majestic ruin built by William I soon after his arrival in Britain in 1066. One of Britain's most romantic spots, it has a wonderful Royal history waiting to be discovered. http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-vh/w-visits/w-findaplace/w-corfecastle.htm

29. Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Walk
Follow this Royal route that takes in four beautiful parks and the buildings and residences that Princess Diana made famous. http://www.royalparks.org.uk/tourists/dianamemorialwalk.cfm

30. Gieves and Hawkes Tailors
With three Royal Warrants and a tradition of expertise dating back to the 18th Century, Gieves and Hawkes is the most famous tailor on London's Savile Row. They provide clothes for State Ceremonies and fashionable attire for the discerning gentleman. http://www.gievesandhawkes.com/shop/

31. Royal Tunbridge Wells
Explore this historic Spa Town that was granted a "Royal" title by King Edward VII to celebrate its popularity over the years amongst members of the Royal Family. http://www.visittunbridgewells.com/

32. Rugby at Twickenham
Prince William and Harry are keen rugby supporters and are often seen watching international matches at Twickenham. Mike Tindall, the husband-to-be of the Queen's granddaughter, Zara Philips, is also a professional player for England. http://www.rfu.com/TwickenhamStadium

Twickenham Stadium

33. Hope Street, St Andrews
See where Prince William and Kate Middleton shared a student house on Hope Street in St Andrews and then take a romantic stroll along the edge of the North Sea on West Sands. http://www.visit-standrews.com/

34. St James's Park
Right in the middle of Royal London, St James's Park is a relaxing green space blessed with great views of Buckingham Palace and Horse Guards Parade. http://www.royalparks.gov.uk/St-Jamess-Park.aspx

35. Stirling Castle
See the story of the monarchy in Scotland unfold before your eyes at this majestic fortress that's been a royal stronghold, a regimental garrison and coronation site of several Scottish Kings and Queens including Mary, Queen of Scots, in 1543. http://www.stirlingcastle.gov.uk/

36. Syon House
The last surviving ducal residence complete with its country estate in Greater London. You'll spot several of its lavish interiors in the film the Madness of King George. http://www.syonpark.co.uk/

37. Thornbury Castle
Stay in this luxurious castle that once entertained kings and queens - Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn once walked the rooms and grounds. You can even stay in a room where they slept! http://www.thornburycastle.co.uk/

38. Tintagel Castle
Head to the wild and unspoiled cliffs of Tintagel to discover the mythical birthplace of King Arthur. Legend has it that this ancient king was born here and that the wizard Merlin lived in a cave nearby. http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/tintagel-castle/

39. Urquhart Castle, Loch Ness
Robert the Bruce controlled this key castle after he became King of Scots and today you'll get a real sense of Urquhart's strategic importance. With commanding views over Loch Ness it's also beautifully sited. http://www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/propertyresults/propertyoverview.htm?PropID=PL_297&PropName=Urquhart%20Castle

40. Wild Duck at Ewen
Have a pint in this Gloucestershire pub frequented by Royals including Prince Harry. The story goes that Harry had a picture of Prince Charles removed from a wall overlooking his table as it put him off his food. http://www.thewildduckinn.co.uk/

41. Royal Armouries Leeds
Explore the United Kingdom's national collection of arms and armour at Leeds and the Tower of London. See terrifying weaponry from all over the world including dazzling Royal pieces used by British monarchs. http://www.royalarmouries.org/visit-us/leeds

42. Royal Wedding Commemorative China
Own a piece of history with an official piece of Royal Wedding China. The beautiful pieces, made in Britain's famous Stoke on Trent potteries, are on sale from The Royal Collection. http://www.royalcollectionshop.co.uk/bOfficial-Royal-Wedding-Commemorative-China_b/products/33/

HMS Victory

43. Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
Visit the world famous historic ships at the home of the Royal Navy. Go aboard HMS Victory, HMS Warrior and see the Mary Rose Museum for a great day out in the South of England. http://www.historicdockyard.co.uk/

44. Poundbury
Visit the experimental urban village of Poundbury on the outskirts of Dorchester. It's built according to the principles of Prince Charles, who's known for holding strong views challenging the post-war trends in town planning. http://www.duchyofcornwall.org/designanddevelopment_poundbury.htm

45. Richmond Park
The largest open space in London, Richmond is a designated Royal Park. Don't miss the famous fallow and red deer that have been roaming the park since King Charles I used it as his hunting ground. http://www.royalparks.gov.uk/Richmond-Park.aspx

46. Rock, Cornwall
Sometimes known as "Chelsea-on-Sea", Rock is a famous seaside holiday resort in Cornwall and playground for the rich and famous. Needless to say, it's a favourite getaway destination for the younger royals. http://www.cornwalls.co.uk/Rock/

47. Royal Albert Hall
This distinctive building is recognised the world over. Opened by Queen Victoria in 1871, the Royal Albert Hall was named after her deceased husband Prince Albert. Each year it hosts more than 350 stage performances, including the world famous Proms. http://www.royalalberthall.com/

48. Royal Leamington Spa
Leamington is best-known for its natural springs. Don't miss the magnificent Royal Pump Rooms and Baths, which opened in 1814 attracting royal visitors hoping to soothe various ailments by bathing in the spa pools. http://www.shakespeare-country.co.uk/towns-villages/leamington.aspx

49. Eton College
William attended Eton College, a ten-minute stroll over the Thames from Windsor Castle. The College, founded in 1440 by King Henry VI to provide free education for 70 poor scholars, conducts guided tours during the holidays. http://www.etoncollege.com/

50. Henley Royal Regatta
Henley is a rowing event held every July on the River Thames by the town of Henley-on-Thames and is a highlight of the traditional English social calendar. http://www.hrr.co.uk/


51. Fortnum and Mason
This iconic retailer has had royal connections for over 300 years, since William Fortnum became a footman to Queen Anne. It holds two royal warrants and is renowned for the quality of its tea and its tail-coated shop assistants. http://www.fortnumandmason.com/

52. Frogmore House
Set in Windsor's Home Park, Frogmore House is renowned for its beautiful landscaped garden and 18th-century lake, and is where Queen Victoria is buried. http://www.royalcollection.org.uk/default.asp?action=article&ID=35

53. Green Park
One of eight Royal Parks, the Green Park was first recorded in 1554 as the place where a rebellion took place against the marriage of Mary I to Philip II of Spain. http://www.royalparks.gov.uk/Green-Park.aspx

54. Greenwich Park
Greenwich is one of the oldest of the Royal Parks, first recorded in 1427, and part of the Greenwich World Heritage Site, home to the Meridian Line and Old Royal Observatory. http://www.royalparks.gov.uk/Greenwich-Park.aspx

55. Haddon Hall
Haddon Hall is a fine example of a fortified medieval manor house in existence. Recently it has become a favourite film location, providing a dramatic backdrop for the film "Elizabeth" http://www.haddonhall.co.uk/home.htm

56. Hebridean Princess
The Hebridean Princess has been hired by the Queen for her annual cruise round the Western Isles. See the Highlands and islands of Scotland from the luxurious comfort of the ship, which carries just 50 guests. http://www.hebridean.co.uk/ship/index.html

57. Highgrove Shop
The Highgrove Shops in Tetbury and Bath, sell exclusive branded gifts for the home and garden inspired by The Prince of Wales's estate. http://www.highgroveshop.com/

58. Hollow Bottom
The Hollow Bottom at Guiting Power, in the Cotswolds is a 17th-century pub run by a consortium of jockeys, and is a favourite with Prince William's cousin Zara Phillips and friends. http://www.hollowbottom.com/

59. Household Cavalry Museum
The Household Cavalry Museum is a living museum about real people doing a real job in a real place. You can see troopers working with horses in the original 18th-century stables and hear first-hand accounts of their rigorous and demanding training. http://www.householdcavalrymuseum.co.uk/bookings.htm

Inverlochy Castle 60. Inverlochy Castle
Nestling in the foothills of Ben Nevis, Inverlochy Castle sits amidst some of Scotland's finest scenery - and you can stay there! Visiting in 1873, Queen Victoria spent a week sketching and painting and wrote 'I never saw a lovelier or more romantic spot'. http://www.inverlochycastlehotel.com/about.html

61. Jigsaw
Kate Middleton worked in the Kew branch of the popular British boutique chain, Jigsaw. Their flagship store is at 126-7 New Bond Street, designed 15 years ago by the super-minimal architect John Pawson. http://www.jigsaw-online.com/

62. Garrard & Co
On Albemarle Street you'll find Garrard & Co, which claims to be the oldest jewellers in the world and was the source of Kate Middleton's famous sapphire and diamond engagement ring previously Princess Diana's. http://www.garrard.com/

63. John Lobb Bootmaker
Walk like a Royal and get your shoes made at this wonderful old boot maker, holder of a Royal Warrant since 1863. http://www.johnlobb.com/

64. Kenilworth Castle and Elizabethan Garden
This vast medieval fortress which became an Elizabethan palace is one of Britain's largest and has connections with many monarchs, especially Queen Elizabeth I, who visited her favourite, Robert Dudley while he lived there. http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/kenilworth-castle

65. Kensington Palace
This was a favourite residence of successive sovereigns until 1760. It was also the birthplace and childhood home of Queen Victoria. Today Kensington Palace accommodates the offices and private apartments of a number of members of the Royal Family. http://www.hrp.org.uk/KensingtonPalace/stories.aspx

66. Kensington Gardens
Now a Royal Park, Kensington Gardens were once the private gardens of Kensington Palace. Remodelled by successive royals, today's gardens can be attributed to Queen Caroline, wife of King George II. http://www.royalparks.gov.uk/Kensington-Gardens.aspx

67. Leeds Castle
Near Maidstone in Kent, Leeds Castle is set in 500 acres of beautiful parkland and gardens, and is the result of 900 years of alterations and changes. It was a royal palace to the medieval and Tudor kings and queens of England. http://www.leeds-castle.com/goto.php?ref=y&sess=u0|p178|n0|c0|s0|g1|d0&pg=Home

68. London Eye
They say that on a clear day you can see around 40kms/25 miles from the top of The London Eye - as far as Windsor Castle in fact. So a perfect place to check out the Royal Wedding route. http://www.londoneye.com/

69. London nightclubs
Kate and William's favourite clubs have included Boujis, in South Kensington, the tropical ambience of Mahiki in Mayfair and Whisky Mist off Park Lane

70. Madame Tussauds
Visit Madame Tussauds to see waxworks of Princes William and Harry, the Prince of Wales and the Queen http://www.madametussauds.com/London/Default.aspx

71. The Mall
Designed as a processional route from Admiralty Arch to Buckingham Palace, The Mall has been packed with crowds on many memorable occasions and "balcony moments". It is frequently lined with colourful flags from around the world. http://www.londononline.co.uk/articles/Mall/

Wiltshire Heritage Museum In Marlborough 72. Marlborough
Kate Middleton went to school in the beautiful Wiltshire Downs, at prestigious public (private) school, Marlborough College. The school is not open to the public, but the town itself is pretty with two excellent tea-rooms. http://www.marlboroughwiltshire.co.uk/

73. National Portrait Gallery
To mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in 2012, the National Portrait Gallery will bring together 60 images of Elizabeth II spanning the 60 years of her reign - some on public display for the first time. http://www.npg.org.uk/

74. Notting Hill
Remember little William in his red school tie, being dropped by his Mum at Wetherby School in Notting Hill, London? On Saturdays make your way here to Portobello Road Market for antiques, vintage and posh food. http://www.portobelloroad.co.uk/

75. Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich
Originally established by Royal Charter in 1694 for the relief and support of seamen and their dependants, and planned by Sir Christopher Wren, the Old Royal Naval College later housed the Royal Naval College. http://www.oldroyalnavalcollege.org/

76. Open top bus tour, London
Check out the top royal locations in London with an open top bus tour. Hop on and hop off at palaces, squares, museums and galleries en route. http://www.bigbustours.com/eng/london/custompage.aspx?id=london_sightseeing_tour&gclid=CLjE_qSoxKYCFcbc4AodYxYOIg

77. Osborne House
"It is impossible to imagine a prettier spot" wrote Queen Victoria after her first visit to this Isle of Wight seaside palace where she lived with her beloved Prince Albert and their nine children. http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/osborne-house

78. Patey Hats
Top hats, bowler hats, polo caps, and hats for shows including Evita, and Les Miserables: Royal warrant holders Patey have been making hats of all types for over 200 years. http://www.pateyhats.com/

79. Penrhyn Castle
Located between Snowdonia and the Isle of Anglesey, this enormous 19th-century neo-Norman castle is crammed with fascinating items, such as a one-ton slate bed made for Queen Victoria., http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-vh/w-visits/w-findaplace/w-penrhyncastle

80. Penshurst Place
Once belonging to Henry VIII, Penshurst was used as a filming location for "The Other Boleyn Girl" (about the rivalry of Anne Boleyn, who became Henry's second wife and her sister Mary). http://www.penshurstplace.com/gardens_history.html

Chillingham Castle 81. Chillingham Castle
Once 'base-camp' for the 1298 conquering attack on William Wallace ("Braveheart") by King Edward 1, today it is visited as one of the most haunted stately homes in Britain. http://www.chillingham-castle.com/Index.asp

82. Chiswick
Kate Middleton briefly rowed with a crew called The Sisterhood who practised on the Thames between Chiswick and Hammersmith. Chiswick is also one of London's prettiest riverside suburbs, while nearby Hammersmith is famous for its gorgeous riverside pubs. http://www.visitlondon.com/areas/river/

83. Cirencester Polo Club
Princes William and Harry love polo and regularly play at the club in the Cotswolds, the most historic in Britain. http://www.cirencesterpolo.co.uk/

84. 1066 Battle of Hastings: Abbey & Battlefield
Discover the birthplace of English history, where the infamous Battle of Hastings was fought between William Duke of Normandy and the Saxon King Harold in 1066. The quaint town of Battle now stands where William the Conqueror built a great Abbey following his victory. http://www.visit1066country.com/

85. Airth Castle
Be King or Queen for the night with a stay at Airth Castle Hotel. Tucked away in the Scottish Heartlands on William the Conqueror's old stomping grounds, the 17th-century castle is framed with traditional turrets and surrounded by perfectly manicured grounds. http://www.airthcastlehotel.com/

86. Albert Memorial
Recently repaired in a conservation project by English Heritage, this gleaming gold statue memorial was commissioned by Queen Victoria following the death of her beloved husband, Prince Albert. http://www.visitlondon.com/attractions/detail/469906

87. Amberley Castle
Built in 1100, the castle has been visited by many royals including Henry VIII and Elizabeth II. Set in West Sussex and briefly owned by the Duke of Norfolk, the castle now houses a luxury hotel. http://www.amberleycastle.co.uk/

88. Arundel Castle
This spectacular castle is the current home of the Duke and Duchess of Norfolk, but is open to visitors year-round. It has been featured in many films, including Young Victoria and The Madness of King George. http://www.arundelcastle.org/_pages/01_castle.htm

89. Asprey
With locations in 2 of London's most fashionable neighbourhoods, Asprey holds a Royal Warrant bestowed by Queen Victoria in 1862 and is a premier British maker of luxury goods including leather, jewellery, china, and glass. http://www.asprey.com/

90. Aston Villa Football Club
Make sure to dress in claret and blue for the trip to Aston Villa in Birmingham to cheer on Prince William's favourite team in Barclays Premier League. http://www.avfc.co.uk/

91. Banqueting House Whitehall
The only remaining structure after Whitehall Palace burned in 1698, Banqueting House has been the backdrop for major events in British Royal history including the beheading of Charles I! http://www.hrp.org.uk/banquetinghouse/

92. Beaufort Polo Club
Head to the Cotswolds for a good gallop at the polo club that has been patronised by Prince Charles since it opened in 1989 and where Prince William and Prince Harry play regularly. http://www.beaufortpoloclub.co.uk/

93. Beaumaris
Nestled on the banks of the Menai Strait, the historic town of Beaumaris on the Isle of Anglesey is nearby the cottage Prince William and his soon-to-be bride share together. http://search.visitbritain.com/en-GB/Details.aspx?ContentID=650238

Borthwick Castle 94. Borthwick Castle
Find this twin-towered fortress in the rolling green hills of Scotland. Steeped in history, the castle is said to be haunted by a servant girl from the time of Lord Bothwick, who hosted Mary Queen of Scots on her honeymoon. http://www.borthwickcastle.com/index.html

95. Braemar Gathering
Her Majesty the Queen is patron of the Highland Games in Braemar (the Braemar Gathering). The celebration is loud and boisterous, featuring traditional Highland dancing and sports competitions (and the requisite bag piping!). http://www.braemargathering.org/

96. Caernarfon Castle
Towering above this pre-Roman town's picturesque harbour, the medieval fortress at Caernarfon was built by Edward I and offers beautiful views of the Menai Strait, the Isle of Anglesey and the Irish Sea beyond. http://www.visitcaernarfon.com/

97. Carisbrooke Castle
Best known as the site where Charles I was imprisoned, this beautifully-preserved stone castle was built in 1100. While there, catch a daily demonstration by the Carisbrooke donkeys, which still operate the tread wheel in the Elizabethan wheelhouse. http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/carisbrooke-castle/

98. Royal Variety Performance
Get tickets for this fantastic annual event where you can see Britain's top musicians, comedians and variety performers. Every year the senior royals watch the show which supports charities around Britain. http://www.eabf.org.uk/royal-variety-performance/

99. Royal Botanical Gardens Edinburgh
Just one mile from city centre, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh offers visitors peace and tranquillity amongst 72 acres of stunning scenery. Founded in 1670, the Garden is acknowledged to be one of the finest in the world. http://www.rbge.org.uk/

100. Castell Coch
Step into the pages of a fairytale with a visit to Castell Coch. This Gothic Revival castle is nothing less than magical; the perfect setting to image William and Kate's "happily ever after"... http://www.cadw.wales.gov.uk/default.asp?id=6&PlaceID=48

VisitBritain Media Contacts: Ted Flett, Tel: (416) 646-6676; e-mail: ted.flett@visitbritain.org

Canadians made 685,000 visits to Britain in 2009 and spent CAD $659 million (GBP £404 million) - making Britain the fifth most popular outbound destination overall for Canadians and the second most popular long haul destination.

Every year 17million visits are made by international consumers to the 57 websites that make up VisitBritain's global family of websites, www.visitbritain.com, which together provide information in 21 different languages.

The Visit Britain Shop is the one stop shop for all British attractions, events, shows, travel and transport - all the essentials for a fantastic vacation to Britain, helping our customers plan their travel in advance. Visit www.visitbritainshop.ca to save precious time from having to wait in long lines and money.

Read travel articles about this destination at: http://www.whattravelwriterssay.com/destinationEurope.html

British Columbia Golf

Golf Divas tee it up in BC:
It's no secret that women are taking up the game in record numbers, and at the renowned Golf Academy at Westwood Plateau in Coquitlam, there's ample opportunity to gather the gal pals for a lesson on the links during their popular Diva Program. The four-week lesson series, instructed by sought-after C.P.G.A. Professional Denise Whitworth, has two components: The Foundation and The Fundamentals. In addition, you'll learn how to improve your diva distance and your short game diva prowess. Aimed at helping women improve their skills, not to mention negotiate challenging moves, the Diva Program is one of many lesson packages available at Westwood Plateau. Featuring world-class facilities and a talented crew of C.P.G.A. Professionals, including John Aasen, the Director of Instruction and one of Canada's top teachers, the Golf Academy at Westwood Plateau is the perfect place for any diva - or dude - to learn. www.westwoodplateaugolf.com

Sumie Francois

Fairmont Hot Springs is Heating Up:
With its soothing natural hot springs, three diverse course options, and pristine Columbia Valley setting, it's no wonder golfers of all ages and abilities have been flocking to Fairmont Hot Springs for years. The three resort courses at Fairmont - Mountainside, Riverside, and Creekside - have always been fun, player-friendly layouts with relaxed atmospheres. Now under new ownership (Ken Fowler Enterprises), the resort has recently announced a comprehensive one billion dollar renovation. Besides major overhauling of the courses (details to be announced), the resort will feature new hot pools, hotels, restaurants, waterslides, a village, and much more. Our advice? Reserve your spot in the hot tub now. www.fairmonthotsprings.com

Hit the Thompson Okanagan Golf Trail:
Blessed with a Mediterranean-like climate, fruit orchards, vineyards, pristine beaches, and, yes, a host of world-class golf courses, BC's Thompson Okanagan is one destination sure to provide the perfect summer sojourn. Those fortunate enough to call the area home can play a different course every day for a month and still make it back to the pad in plenty of time to slap the steaks on the barby. But, thankfully, you don't have to be a resident to take a ride on the newly forged Thompson Okanagan Golf Trail. The trail, a marketing initiative by 14 of the region's finest facilities, includes new gems Tobiano and Talking Rock as well as long-standing favourites such as Gallagher's Canyon, Salmon Arm, and Osoyoos. Desert golf, mountain golf, parkland golf, lakeside golf, it's all there. To book your trail ride, visit www.togolfbc.com.

Getaway North Island:
In many ways, the courses at Storey Creek and Crown Isle - two of the finest on Vancouver Island - couldn't be more different. Storey Creek, a classic test cut through a secluded forest, feels miles from civilization; on many days, wildlife sightings have been known to outnumber golfers spotted on the greens. On the other hand, Crown Isle, while equally scenic, is situated in the heart of Courtenay and boasts a bustling and contemporary resort-style atmosphere. It also features a 48,000 square foot clubhouse and Resort Centre with, among other things, a classic car museum inside. Two vastly different experiences? You bet. And, thanks to the good folks at Golf Vancouver Island, you can savour both with their Getaway North Island package. Luxurious course-side accommodation at Crown Isle, two rounds of golf, preferred tee times, and a number of adventure add-ons will ensure this getaway is grand. www.golfvancouverisland.ca

Kids Play Free at Golf BC:
Unquestionably, for the game of golf to grow and thrive in the decades to come, our young people need to be encouraged to play - and we're not just talking video games. The GolfBC group, owners of nine of the top golf courses in the province including Whistler's Nicklaus North and Vancouver Island's Olympic View, are doing their part to encourage kids to hit the links with an ongoing commitment to make the game more accessible for our youth. In a nutshell: each of the nine courses will offer selective tee times throughout the year, seven days a week, when junior golfers (under 16) play for free when accompanied by a paying adult. So, little Johnny or Sally, put the joystick down, turn off television, and make your way to the golf course. Oh, and take Mom and Dad with you. www.golfbc.com

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BritRail (Track Facts)

Here are some tips to ensure that you have a "Bon Voyage"
  • Do purchase your BritRail Pass Before you leave home; it is not available in the UK.

  • Do treat your BritRail Pass like cash: it cannot be replaced if it is lost, stolen or left at home.

  • Do sign your pass and have it validated at a rail station ticket office before boarding your first train.

  • Do pack lightly. Self-help luggage trolleys are available at larger stations. Porters are scarce.

  • Do take as many trains as you'd like on each of your travel days. There are over 18,000 daily departures to over 2,500 destinations!

  • Do use the 'lifts' - i.e. - elevators - available at larger stations - to change platforms, it's easier than using the stairs.

  • Do check info boards before your train arrives in the station for the approximate platform location of first and standard class carriages or ask platform staff.

  • Do look for the large number '1' on train doors and/or a yellow-orange stripe across the top of the carriage, which identifies first class seating; a large number "2" denotes standard class accommodation.

  • Do remember most rail services are frequent, so seat reservations - especially in first class - are not usually necessary.

  • Do check www.nationalrail.co.uk/ for schedules; www.britrail.com for BritRail info.

  • Do sit back and enjoy the verdant British countryside from the armchair comfort of your BritRail seat.
Brit Rail

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Burnaby Village, BC

The roaring 1920s are remembered for flapper dancers, jazz music and prohibition. But in Burnaby Village, the 1920s were a much simpler time: pictures of King George V and Queen Mary covered the walls in the school house, the Union Jack flew overhead, and children enjoyed homemade ice cream while riding the new carousel. Experience life as it was in the 1920s at Burnaby Village Museum. A traditional BC Electric Railway tram stop village has been created with a combination of heritage and replica buildings on a 10 acre site. Period costumed staff and volunteers welcome visitors and give demonstrations in the homes, businesses and shops. An exciting must for every visitor is a whirl on the fully restored historic 1912 CW Parker Carousel. And yes, the tasty ice cream parlour is still open! Visit the Museum on May 19, 2008 to celebrate Victoria Day in grand style. For more details go to www.burnabyvillagemuseum.ca.

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CAA Membership Savings

Membership in the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) can save you a lot of money.

Canada (44 reasons to visit)

1. Tourism is good for the national economy contributing to 2% of GDP

2. Tourism contributes almost $20 billion to tax revenues that pay for health care, education, security, etc.

3. Canada has aboriginal tourism products that pre-date the pyramids of Egypt

4. Downhill skiing in Whistler/Blackcomb is world class

5. The tides on the Bay of Fundy are the highest in the world

6. Traveling in Canada supports 1.6 million jobs for Canadians

7. Traveling Canada supports close to 300,000 businesses, mostly small businesses

8. The tourism industry provides economic benefit to every community and region of the country

Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, Photograph by Prisma Bildagentu  Yoho Nationl Park, photo by Reiner Harsche

9. Catch and release policies in Northern Canada insure that fly-in fishing experiences are world record, trophy fishing memories

10. Where else would you find 'Anne of Green Gables?'

11. The view of the Niagara Falls on Canada's side is so much better than south of the border!

12. Viewing Polar Bears up close is cool

13. Being 'screeched' in Newfoundland & Labrador is a tradition for adults over 19 years of age!

14. Western hospitality is obvious, and contagious, when you participate in a Calgary 'White Hat' ceremony

15. Canada's cultural diversity is animated through our many events and festivals throughout the year

16. Where else can you find 4 seasons all in one day?

17. Museums

18. National Parks & Historic Sites

19. The Rideau Canal

20. You do not need a passport

21. Exploring the many attractions in your province has a much smaller environmental impact

22. You do not need to buy extra medical insurance

23. Every attraction accepts Canadian dollars

24. Canada boasts 14 UNESCO World Heritage Sites with another 10 on the tentative list

25. Where else can a visitor experience 15 different terrestrial eco-zones?

26. The country can be seen by foot, bicycle, or horseback via the Trans-Canada Trail

27. Other than remote Northern Sweden, Canada has the only Ice Hotel in the world

28. Quebec's history dates back 400 years

29. Canada boasts year-round events and festivals from coast-to-coast-to-coast

30. Canada is a fun destination for the whole family!

31. Discovering Nunavut - Canada's Far North.

32. Drive the Confederation Bridge, one of the engineering marvels of the millennium.

33. Many destinations are gay friendly.

34. Calgary Stampede

35. Our 41 National Parks

36. Mushroom picking.

37. Dog sledding.

38. Snowmobiling.

39. Fly-in trophy fishing.

40. Maple syrup, Winnipeg Goldeye, Pickerel cheeks, cod tongues and screech!

41. Heritage sites that pre-date the Pyramids of Egypt.

42. White water rafting.

43. Whale watching.

44. Zip lining over the treetops

(Source: CITC) www.tiac-aitc.ca

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Canada (Aboriginal Tourism)

The Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre in Whistler, BC draws on the story of the Squamish and Lil'wat nations, whose traditional and shared territories range from North Vancouver to Lillooet. www.aboriginalbc.com

Aboriginal Tourism

Other Aboriginal opportunities include:

Haida Heritage Centre:
Delve into the Haida Nation's past, present and future in a handsome, new, interactive cultural centre evocative of Aboriginal villages that once dotted Haida Gwaii, "the islands of the people," in northern British Columbia. Haida people have lived here for some 12,000 years. You'll learn about the Potlatch (elaborate ceremonial feasts), canoe carving, totem poles, storytelling and longhouses, traditional Haida dwellings. www.haidaheritagecentre.com

Great River Journey:
Travel 600 km (373 mi) from Whitehorse to Dawson City, YT through wild northern wilderness on this eight-day floating safari down the Yukon River. Your hosts, four Yukon First Nations - the Ta'an Kwäch'än, Kwanlin Dün, Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in and Selkirk - recently partnered with private investors to launch the unusual river cruise that gives visitors an intimate view of the culture, history, wildlife and geography of Canada's north. Travel with an experienced local guide and dine on traditional foods. www.greatriverjourney.com

Tla-ook Cultural Adventures:
On the west coast of Vancouver Island, BC, paddle in a traditional Nuu-chah-nulth dugout canoe from Tofino to nearby Meares Island, then hike through the magnificent ancient rainforest that First Nations activists saved from the logging industry in the 1980s. You'll pass through the land of the Tla-o-qui-aht people, part of the Nuu-chah-nulth language group. Nuu-chah-nulth means "people of the mountains and sea," and this 10,000-year-old culture has been influenced by the bountiful ocean and forest of giant trees and medicinal plants. www.tlaook.com

Cruise North:
Inuit-owned Cruise North Expeditions is the Canadian leader in Arctic cruise experiences. In July 2008, the cruise line will join with the Toronto Marathon for an Arctic Marathon cruise: long-distance runners race 42 km (26.2 mi) across picturesque Douglas Harbour on Hudson Strait, traditional hunting grounds of the nomadic Inuit. Some 200,000 Inuit share a similar culture in four separate countries of the Circumpolar Region, one of which is the western Canadian Arctic. Inuit believe everything in nature is infused with the spirit of life. Their existence is one of a precarious balance of survival in harsh conditions with dramatic beauty. www.cruisenorthexpeditions.com

U'mista Cultural Centre:
At Alert Bay, BC, on tiny Cormorant Island just off the northeast coast of Vancouver Island, the T'sasala Cultural Group performs colourful, traditional Kwakwaka'wakw dances in the Big House every Thursday through Saturday. The centre was "founded in 1980 as a ground-breaking project to house potlatch artifacts which had been seized by government during an earlier period of cultural repression. The return of the potlatch artifacts not only provided U'mista's name ("the return of something important"), and sparked a general trend toward repatriation of First Nations and cultural artifacts," according to the U'mist Cultural Society's website. www.umista.org

Cariboo Chilcotin Jetboat Adventures:
From June to September, take a five-hour tour to explore British Columbia's Fraser River and learn more about its significant role in the daily life of the Tsilqot'in (Chilcotin) people near Williams Lake. Sample traditional foods (wild tea, "hushum" or native ice cream), hike to an ancient First Nations village and view 8,000-year-old petroglyphs in the company of a naturalist and First Nations guide. You can also hear Chilcotin/Shushwap stories, learn about ancient pit houses and try your had at "dip netting," a traditional way to catch wild salmon. www.jetboatadventures.com

Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park:
The Siksika call themselves Niitsitapi or "the Real People," because they see themselves as equal partners in the universe with all other beings. Stories and legends abound. Camp overnight in a real tipi, traditionally owned by Blackfoot women with the entrance facing east. Tipis had a broad band of dark colour painted around the base representing earth with an overlay of stars. Tour archaeological sites or catch the World Chicken Dance competition at this eco-friendly cultural centre in the Badlands of southern Alberta, on the historic site of the signing of Treaty No. 7 between the Blackfoot Nation and Queen Victoria. www.blackfootcrossing.ca

Manito Ahbee Festival:
Manito Ahbee ("where the Creator sits") is a 10-day all-nations Aboriginal art and music festival held annually in Winnipeg, MB. Highlights of the 2008 event (Oct. 31 to Nov. 9) include a two-day Pow-Wow of dancing and dress competitions, and the Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards. Performances range from country and rock to hip hop and blues. The Métis Celebrations are about Métis heritage and history, featuring the band's unique style of fiddling and jigging, an integral part of their culture. The name, Manito Ahbee, refers to a sacred site (Bannock Point in Whiteshell Provincial Park) where First Nations traditionally gathered to share teachings and wisdom. www.manitoahbee.com

Metepenagiag Heritage Park and Outdoor Adventure Lodge:
Spend an afternoon exploring Mi'kmaq culture of Metepenagiag (Red Bank), "New Brunswick's Oldest Village." The Red Bank First Nation community is caretaker of two National Historic Sites: The Augustine Mound and the Oxbow. Share music and listen to stories as handed down through generations by Mi'kmaq elders, who have long greeted visitors on the banks of the Miramichi River. After a day of canoeing or fly-fishing on the nearby Miramichi, see historic Mi'kmaq ceramic pottery and archaeological finds, then tuck into gourmet Aboriginal fare at the 10-room, four-star lodge. www.metepenagiagpark.com

Aboriginal Tourism

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Canada (Birding)

Here are some of Canada's greatest spots to score your next eagle or birdie.

Since 1992, birdwatchers have thrilled to view thousands of bald and golden eagles soar between the peaks of the Kananaskis Valley during biannual migrations.

best viewing:
March through early April, and late September through October. www.eaglewatch.ca    www.discoveralberta.com

New Brunswick:
The annual ebb and flow of millions of migrating shoreline birds, including semipalmated sandpipers, is as awe inspiring as the amazing tides of the Bay of Fundy (the world's highest). best viewing: Early to mid-August, when individual roosts may be home to 100,000 birds or more. www.bayoffundy.com   www.tourismnewbrunswick.ca

For the adventurous birder, Churchill, MB, offers the chance to spy 270-plus species, including Arctic terns, harlequin ducks, tundra swans-and even the odd polar bear.

best viewing:
Summer; July is a particularly good time. www.birdersworld.com

Bird Watching

British Columbia:
The remote southern Chilcotins are home to raptors, songbirds and water fowl, including Canada and snow geese, red tail hawks, swans and orange-crowned warblers. best viewing: May through September, with May and June the optimal months. www.tyax.com   www.gobc.ca

Canada's most southern tip, Point Pelee, is a major stopover for many migratory birds. More than 370 species have been spotted here, which is likely why the area was named one of North America's "Top 15 Birding Spots" by Birder's World magazine.

best viewing:
Join the Annual Point Pelee Festival of Birds in early May. www.pc.gc.ca   www.ontariooutdoor.com

Canada's newest territory, rugged and otherworldly breathtaking, is a dream trip for many birders-as is the chance to spot rare, northern breeds. best viewing: Summer (July and August) is the easiest time to travel. www.nunavutparks.com   www.nunavuttourism.com

Birding in Quebec, especially around the romantic Gaspésie area, means an inspiring blend of forest and seashore watching, plus an equally rare opportunity to reward yourself with delicious French cuisine. best viewing: Springtime (although the cuisine is always in season). www.quebecmaritime.ca   www.bonjourquebec.com    www.birdwatching.com   www.camacdonald.com   www.web-nat.com


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Canada (CANOL Trail)

The trail is long. It's remote, un-patrolled and un-maintained. Should you run into trouble, no support crew will find you. You might encounter landslides and washed-out bridges, overturned cabooses and caribou. You might be hungry, but you'll wait for your helicopter food drop. You can tackle it on horseback, dogsled, skis or snowmobile, but the season for hiking is brief (July to August). The weather can be severe in summer, just when the mosquitoes are maddening and the bears dangerous. And that's precisely why you're here.

Not for the faint of heart or weak of limb, the CANOL Heritage Trail is one of Canada's most epic hikes. Running 355 km from the Yukon-Northwest Territory border to the banks of the Mackenzie River near the outpost of Norman Wells, the 20-day trek crosses mountain ranges, plains and countless streams. Its history is as fascinating as the trail is long.

In 1942, the Canadian government, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and civilian contractors undertook what was then the largest construction job since the Panama Canal. They dubbed the $134 million, three-year mega-project CANOL (Canadian Oil). After Japanese warplanes attacked petroleum stores in the Aleutian islands, the U.S. government had begun to worry about largely undefended Alaska and the health of its steady fuel supply. The solution? A pipeline from Norman Wells, just 120 km from the Arctic Circle, over the Continental Divide to the Yukon's Whitehorse, where a refinery would turn some 3,000 barrels a day of crude into gasoline. Just a year after it was completed, the Americans abandoned CANOL.

Today, most equipment still lies where it was left back in 1945: pumping stations, rusted vintage trucks with grass sprouting from their flatbeds, ghostly old buildings tilted with time, telegraph lines, potbellied stoves on which hikers can dry their muddy boots. All this is scattered against aspen forests, high plateau and sheer vertical walls, shared by you and a few ptarmigan, moose and Dall sheep-and year by year fading back into the wilderness. www.mountainriver.nt.ca   www.north-wrightairways.com   www.normanwells.com   www.explorenwt.com

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Canada (Disabled skiing)

Tommy Chevrette loves winter, loves the snow and loves to ski. But the kind of weather conditions a skier craves most-temperatures hovering around freezing, fresh snow from parking lot to mountaintop-are obstacles to people whose mobility is limited. "Winter is not good for wheelchairs," he points out. "They get stuck everywhere."

After volunteering at a local disabled ski school, and working with adapted ski equipment that left instructors with aching backs and pulled muscles, he decided to make his own sit-ski. "It's like your ski boot," he says. "It has to fit very well."

That's why adjustability, not to mention a pushup cylinder that takes part of the skier's weight for easy in-and-out, is the hallmark of Chevrette's ISOSKI (Iso-Ski). Skiers can also remain in the sit-ski when riding chairlifts; it safely tips back to accommodate the seat underneath.

Working with aluminum, rubber, fibreglass and Kevlar, Chevrette builds five to 30 sit-skis a year in his garage in his spare time, selling to ski schools and disabled skiers across North America. His customers include ski racers in Ontario and Quebec aiming for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Whistler, BC. "I've been able to ski down a double black-diamond run using it," says Chevrette. "It gives a person in a wheelchair freedom and autonomy. He can ski entirely independently."

Quebec disabled skiers Jean-Louis Notelteers and wife Michele Sansregret agree. "The reaction of able-bodied skiers is usually, 'Wow, how do you ski so fast?' or 'Amazing. I'm not able to follow you!'" Notelteers says. The couple purchased two ISOSKIs in 2001 and have used them on slopes of Quebec and BC. "We were able to run some black diamond, and sometimes double-black, tracks," he says. "Finally, we felt included in the skiers' family."

Wheelchair or no, all are welcome to hit the slopes in another one of the Quebec ski enthusiast's inventions, the Sno-Limo-a collaboration with brothers Paul and Guy Auger. It's a single-person sled-chair with room for a driver-ideal for those who might not be nimble enough to tackle the slopes solo. The "chauffeur" stands directly behind his passenger, guiding the sled down the slopes on skis attached to the unit. On the Sno-Limo, Chevrette says you get all the exhilaration of skiing, including the gentle sting of blown snow as you schuss down the slopes, plus you can ride the chairlift (remaining in the sled).

The Sno-Limo is currently on offer at four British Columbia ski resorts: Grouse Mountain, Big White, Sun Peaks and Whistler, where Chevrette is hoping to watch the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, "and see my equipment in action." www.evaluation-pep.qc.ca   www.sno-limo.com

Disabled Skiing

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Canada (Regional favourite foods)

Canada abounds with unusual, tongue-tantalizing regional specialties. And the names are as fun and exciting as the taste. Here's a stomach-filling trip across the country with distinctly Canadian edibles: savoury and sweet, intriguing and quirky; plus, where to fish and what not to drink.

Rappie Pie, Nova Scotia:
Rappie pie, a traditional Acadian dish with roots in Germany and Belgium, uses grated raw potatoes, chicken (variations include beef, shellfish, rabbit), salt pork or seafood, onions and various seasonings. In pioneer times, the gals in the kitchen squeezed the potatoes dry and used the potato water as starch for the weekly laundry. Not bad, eh? www.novascotia.com

Arctic Char, the North:
The icy, clean waters of the Arctic Coast lock in the distinct flavour that makes wild Arctic char one of Canada's most esteemed freshwater fish. The pink-flesh Arctic char's flavour and silky texture resemble a cross between trout and salmon. www.iti.gov.nt.ca

Poutine, Quebec:
Poutine (pronounced poo-TSIN), a calorie-packed fast food, comprises a holy trinity of thick-cut French fries, fresh cheese curds and hot gravy. It's so much a part of the Québécois diet that when troops from Quebec arrived in Afghanistan, poutine was added to the menu to make them feel at home. www.montrealpoutine.com

Saskatoon Berries, Saskatchewan:
Tart, juicy, blueberry-like Saskatoons make succulent pies and jam, as well as liquor for concocting lip-smacking mojitos. Originally derived from the Cree word for the berries, misaskwatomina, the berries were renamed by the minister John Lake after he came across them around 1882, when he founded a colony for teetotalling Methodists from Ontario in what is today Saskatoon. www.sasktourism.com

Winnipeg Goldeye, Manitoba:
Smoke-cured by Aboriginals as early as the 1890s, this coveted freshwater orange-gold fish was a steady item on Canadian Pacific Railway dining cars. When fresh, the flesh is soft and unpalatable, but when smoked, it becomes a true delicacy and commands a high price. www.destinationwinnipeg.ca

Butter Tarts

Butter Tart, Ontario:
The first butter tart recipe dates back to 1915. It consists of butter, sugar and eggs in a flaky pastry shell, similar to Quebec's sugar pie. Opinions vary about the addition of raisins or currants, maple syrup or walnuts, but everyone agrees that when you take the first bite of this unique, rich tart, it must crumble, allowing the gooey filling to run down your chin. www.canadianliving.com

BC Sushi Roll, British Columbia:
One of the best-known sushi maestros in Vancouver (OK, the world), Hidekazu Tojo, invented the BC Roll in 1974. A graceful construction of barbecued salmon skin, green onion, cucumber and a special secret sauce, the BC Roll can now be found in almost every sushi den across the city. www.tojos.com

Sour Toe Cocktail, Yukon Territory:
Dawson City has a bizarre drink called the Sour Toe Cocktail, which features a rock-salt-preserved human toe. Huh. Since 1973, the Downtown Hotel has served the cocktail and issued a certificate to patrons for their consumption. The rule: "You can drink it fast, you can drink it slow-but the lips have gotta touch the toe." www.sourtoecocktailclub.com

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Canada (Seven Wonders)

The CBC asked Canadians, "What are your Seven Wonders of Canada?" Folks nominated some 25,000 objects and places, which a CBC judging panel narrowed down to 52 nominees. These seven are the top picks.

Caribou Migration, Churchill  Perce Rock  Wood Buffalo National Park

Niagara Falls, ON. Sounds like Canada. What else? Majestic, overpowering, a cascade of rainbows. Few natural wonders tap into the Canadian psyche like the fabled falls.

The Canoe, Canada-wide. Canada: I canoe, therefore, I exist. To Canadians, the canoe says it all: Aboriginal heritage, the history of a nation, European voyageurs. Racing, rugged, seagoing cedar, birch, fibreglass or inflatable, it's our favourite way to see Canada!

The Igloo, Northern Canada. Cliché or no, you have to admit, these cozy, dome-shaped snow houses (from the Inuit, iglu, meaning "house") are pretty ingenious - a fitting symbol of Canadian ingenuity and manmade survival against the elements. What Canadian kid hasn't tried constructing his own?

Prairie Skies in MB, SK and AB. Immense, ever-changing sky, like an upside-down ocean, howling wind, unbridled freedom - the soulful prairie sky is muse to artists and nourishment for the Canadian soul. Think Neil Young's "Prairie Wind":
Late at night, lights dancing in the northern sky
Like the Indian spirits trying to show me how to fly
You can see into the future but it may be a mirage
Like a new car sitting there in your old garage
(Prairie wind blowing through my head...)

Pier 21, Halifax, NS. Canada's Ellis Island, the doorway to our multiculti national ID. Why we're proudly a patchwork quilt and not a melting pot. One Canadian immigrant said: "After 55 years in this wonderful country, there is still nothing that grabs my soul, my imagination, puffs out my chest and yes, even brings a little tear of joy to my eyes, than walking through Pier 21's doors onto the sacred ground that made it possible for me to become a Canadian."

Old Québec City, QC. La vieille capitale turns 400 in 2008 and the parties are already planned (celebrations start Jan. 1, 2008, see www.myquebec2008.com/en/calendrier_details). Founded in the early 17th century by French explorer Samuel de Champlain, the walled city is romantic and beautiful. "You can feel the history oozing out of the buildings" with its architecture, cobblestone streets, lush parks, formal gardens and rich heritage.

Canadian Rockies, AB and BC. Um, not sure we need to explain this one (see Niagara Falls). Jagged mountains, undulating valleys, glorious nature wild and untamed, turquoise-blue glacial lakes, the mystique of the train and Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel - it's one big pile of superlatives stacked one atop the other. www.cbc.ca/sevenwonders

Seven Wonders

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Canada (Winter Festivals)

Winter Festival When temperatures drop, we rejoice with winter festivals:

For about two weeks from January to February each year, visitors can wave the white flag at winter and surrender to all manner of snowy pleasures at the nation's premier winterfest-the Mr. Christie's Quebec City Winter Carnaval. Rev your pulse rate with a thrilling ride down the ice luge (but remember to first marvel at the view from the top). Nourish your inner child at the fabled ice castle with its fairytale sound-and-light show. Dance the Quebec two-step to keep your toes warm during the best parade east of the Calgary Stampede. And if that doesn't do the trick, try sipping a little Caribou. Allegedly once the blood of the animal, it's now a sweet, whiskey-based libation and the festival's signature spirit. www.quebecregion.com

Winnipeg's 10-day Festival du Voyageurs (Feb. 15 to 24) celebrates Manitoba's French-Canadian heritage and highlights Canada's fur-trade era through traditional music, dance and games at sites throughout the city. The annual fiddling and jigging contest, and the opening night torchlight parade from The Forks, appeal to all ages. The specially created Voyageur Park near the Red River offers big family fun à la tubing, snow golf, sleigh rides-and plenty of rib-stickin' food. www.festivalvoyageur.mb.ca

Only a cold heart wouldn't melt at the sight of the Ice Hog Family mascots of Ottawa's Winterlude. The Winterlude unfolds Feb. 1 to 17, at four locations across the nation's capital region. Every year, more than 650,000 visitors turn up for the party, almost a third of them out-of-towners. For many Canadians, it's a lifelong dream to glide along the famous Rideau Canal, the world's largest naturally frozen ice rink. But for the skating-challenged, there are plenty of other distractions-a giant snow maze, massive snow slides, a Snowbowl concert series and a national snow-sculpture competition. www.winterlude.gc.ca

Ottawa Winterlude

Each February, the Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous Festival beats back the winter blahs backcountry-style with dog howling, ice carving, axe-throwing, flour-packing, dog-sled racing and chain-saw chucking competitions. Head over to Main Street-aka Rendez-ville-for live entertainment and hot food. Make sure the kids (or the kid in you) don't miss the Sugar Shack between Third and Fourth Avenues. www.yukonrendezvous.com

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Canada (Wonders chosen by CTC)

Rocky Mountain National Parks (Banff, Kootenay, Yoho, Jasper) AB, BC
Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park (AB, with the US)
Badlands, Drumheller, AB
Peace-Athabasca Delta, AB
Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump (AB)

British Columbia
Haida Gwaii/Queen Charlotte Islands, BC
Spirit bears, Great Bear Rainforest, BC
Burgess Shale, Yoho National Park, BC

Polar bear denning area, Churchill, MB
Narcisse snake dens, MB

New Brunswick
Bay of Fundy tidal flow (NB, NS)
Hopewell Rocks, NB
Miramichi River, NB

Newfoundland and Laborador
Gros Morne National Park, NL
L'Anse aux Meadows, NL
Torngat Mountains National Park, NL
Iceberg Alley, NL

Northwest Territories
Nahanni National Park, NWT
Barren Lands, NWT
Wood Buffalo National Park, NWT

Nova Scotia
Old Town Lunenburg, NS
Fortress of Louisbourg, NS
Cabot Trail, NS
Pier 21, Halifax, NS
Peggy's Cove, NS

Mount. Thor, Auyuittuq National Park, NU
Quttinirpaaq National Park, north Ellesmere Island, NU (name means "top of the world")

Niagara Falls, ON
CN Tower Toronto, ON
Rideau Canal Skateway, Ottawa, ON
Niagara Escarpment Biosphere Reserve, ON
Trent-Severn Waterway, ON

Prince Edward Island
Confederation Bridge, PEI
Cavendish Beach, PEI

Old Québec City, QC
Percé Rock & Miguasha Park, Gaspé Peninsula, QC
Museum of Civilization, Hull, QC

Athabasca Sand Dunes, SK
Cypress Hills, SK/AB

Icefield Ranges of Kluane, YT
Wrangell-St. Elias/Kluane/Tatshenshini-Alsek/Glacier Bay World Heritage site (YT, BC, Alaska) - largest protected area in the world
Dempster Highway, YT/NT
Dawson City, YT

The Igloo, Northern Canada (NU, NT, QC, YT)
Ice roads, Northern Canada
Canadian Shield, NT, NU, ON, QC, MB
Caribou migrations, Northern Canada
The Canoe, Canada-wide
Trans-Canada Highway, across Canada
The Float plane, across Canada

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Canadian Tourism Commission

What kind of traveller are you? According to the CTC, there are the following nine types. Check to see where you fit in.

1. Authentic Experiencer

Independent and curious, you love to immerse yourself in the places you visit, before, during and after. In the world of explorers, you are an Authentic Experiencer. With a foot in both worlds, you appreciate the understated beauty of natural and cultural environments. You enjoy using all of your senses when you explore your chosen destination and really get to know the places you visit. You quickly adapt to personal challenges and risks, easily figuring out how to make the most of every situation. You want to be fully immersed in your travel experiences and tend to stay away from group tours and rigid plans.

Personality Traits: spontaneous, discrete, ethical, eco-conscious, independent, open-minded, curious.
Most likely to be seen at: nature reserves, world heritage sites, hiking trails, museums
Travel Values:
• Learns everything about a place, time, or culture before, during and after your travel there
• Enjoys vast natural settings and wonders
• Cultural immersion and integration with the local culture
• Travel is about personal development, not escape
• You are comfortable adjusting to new environments
• Seeks self-improvement through understanding others

2. Cultural Explorer

Easy-going and creative, you talk to the locals, get in on the action and take the road less traveled. In the world of explorers, you are a Cultural Explorer. You seek constant opportunities to embrace, discover, and immerse yourself in the entire experience of the culture, people and settings of the places you visit. Not content to just visit historic sites and watch from the sidelines, you want to participate in the modern-day culture as well. You often attempt to converse with locals, attend local cultural festivals, or go off the beaten track to discover how people truly live.

Personality Traits: positive, open-minded, curious, risk-taker, flexible, easy-going, energetic, creative.
Most likely to be seen at: heritage sites, cultural events, museums, festivals.
Travel Values:
• Journeys with like-minded people
• Enjoys ancient history and modern culture
• Seeks to learn everything about a place, time, or culture
• Constant exploration - always planning for the next trip
• Does not need to see every "recommende0d" site to have a good trip
• Experiences the culture as genuinely as possible

3. Cultural History Buff

Focusing on the cultures of others, you follow your interests with an open and detailed-oriented mind. In the world of explorers, you are a Cultural History Buff. When you travel, you are likely pursuing a personal interest or hobby, making the experience more intrinsically rewarding. You strive to go beyond our own roots to understand the history and culture of others. Traveling alone or in small groups, you seek the freedom to observe, absorb and learn at your own pace, unhurried by others or driven by rigid schedules.

Personality Traits: idealistic, positive, open-minded, independent, detailed, curious, progressive, considerate.
Most likely to be seen at: museums, galleries, heritage sites, festivals,
Travel Values:
• Learns everything about a place, time, or culture
• Hobbies; pursues personal interests when traveling
• Too much comfort detracts from authentic experiences, luxury hotels are not your style
• Rejects standard tourist "fare"; not afraid to chart your own course
• Likes to understand past cultures and their present context
• Prefers to visit places alone or in small groups
• Little interest in learning about one's own roots or heritage; focused on the cultures of others

4. Personal History Explorer

Explore your family heritage and share your discoveries with your friends when you get home. In the world of explorers, you are a Personal History Explorer. You travel to gain a deeper understanding of your ancestry and heritage. Your travel tends to be a shared experience, both during and after the trip. You feel safer when you stay at branded hotels and like to travel in style, comfort and security. You like to visit all of the important landmarks, so a carefully planned schedule, often as part of a guided tour, ensures experiences of a lifetime.

Personality Traits: conforming, traditional, ambitious, aspiring, anxious, social, family-oriented.
Most likely to be seen at: branded hotels, top restaurants, main attractions, guided groups.
Travel Values:
• Enjoys sharing experiences with close friends/family
• Indulgence - you prefer the best you can afford
• Likes to see and experience a bit of everything
• Not interested in learning about the cultures of others
• Constant travel is not a priority
• Seeks a deeper understanding of personal heritage

5. Gentle Explorer

Keep it simple: decide where to stay, how to get there and leave your worries behind. In the world of explorers, you are a Gentle Explorer. You like returning to past destinations and enjoy the security of familiar surroundings. You seek the most comfortable and serene places when you get away and avoid the unknown. Well-organized travel packages and guided tours that take care of all the details appeal to you - travel should be fun, not extra work! And if it's fun, chances are you'll be back.

Personality Traits: conservative, reliable, traditional, solitary, selective, discriminating, fun-loving.
Most likely to be seen at: branded hotels, spa, cottage, organized tour.
Travel Values:
• Seek comfort in familiar surroundings
• Prefers pre-planned trips that leave little room for error Selective - wants luxury, exclusivity and pampering
• Not sentimental and not concerned about travel memories
• Focuses on relaxation, not the local culture
• Likes organized tours that leave decision making to others

6. No Hassle Traveler

Keep it simple: decide where to stay, how to get there and leave your worries behind. In the world of explorers, you are a No-Hassle Traveler. As a bit of an escapist, you search for relaxation and simplicity when you get away. You prefer worry-free travel and spending time traveling with family and friends. Short breaks and getaways are preferred to long-distance travel. After planning the basics of the trip (accommodations, transportation), you like to fill in the details as you go. Along the way, you hope to see and expose your family or travel companions to the beauty of natural scenery and different cultures.

Personality Traits: flexible, rational, spiritual, careful, energetic, open-minded, discriminating consumer.
Most likely to be seen at: festivals, theatres, museums, guided tours.
Travel Values:
• Seeks a getaway from everyday stresses and responsibilities
• Likes the purity and serenity of open spaces
• Prefers safety of familiar places
• Not interested in standing out in a crowd or being obvious
• Many trips focused on visiting family and friends
• Enjoys group travel and socializing with others

7. Free Spirit

Seize the day and experience the best of life, check the next hot spot off your list and keep moving. In the world of explorers, you are a Free Spirit. Something of a thrill-seeker, travel satisfies your insatiable need for the exciting and the exotic. You like the best of everything and want to be with others who feel the same way. You have a lot of energy and want to see and do everything. It all adds to the fun! Young, or young-at-heart, you travel for the thrill and emotional charge of doing things. Carpe diem!

Personality Traits: open-minded, ambitious, enthusiastic, fun-loving, adventurous, curious, social.
Most likely to be seen at: luxury hotel, tourism hot spot, top restaurant, night club.
Travel Values:
• You're a sampler; you like to see and experience a bit of everything
• Indulgence - enjoy the best you can afford!
• Constant exploration
• Prefers journeying with like-minded people
• Assesses several options for the best value
• Free & easy - some structure and planned activities are good, if you feel like it

8. Rejuvenator

Leave work behind, sit back and relax. There's no time for stress when you're busy getting comfortable. In the world of explorers, you are a Rejuvenator. For you, travel is a chance to totally disconnect and just "get away from it all." All you want to do is escape, recharge and renew. You usually take short vacations to familiar destinations, often for family visits and celebrations. While you might seek out destinations with a few interesting things to see and do, you don't want overly-hectic schedules of events. After all, travel is meant to be relaxing, not extra work!

Personality Traits: family-oriented, traditional, ambitious, impulsive, relaxed, discriminating social.
Most likely to be seen at: family resorts, spas, hotel restaurants, tourist hot spots.
Travel Values:
• Seeks a getaway from everyday stresses and responsibilities
• Prefers familiar surroundings
• Wants comfort, but is not wasteful
• Likes sharing experiences with close friends/family
• Leave the culture and history for school, anything that might involve work is not a holiday
• Enjoys being pampered and cared for

9. Virtual Traveler

Follow your own schedule and keep things flexible and close to home. In the world of explorers, you are a Virtual Traveler. Tending to not travel very often, you prefer the comforts of home to the uncertainties of new places or cultures. Often very active locally, you usually find enough to satisfy your sense of exploration within your community. Rather than being restricted to the confines of pre-packaged tours, you prefer the flexibility of being able to decide what you want or don't want to do on your own. Your trips tend to be shorter, closer to home and centered on family events.

Personality Traits: community-minded, traditional, cautious, practical, modest.
Most likely to be seen at: motels, family events, cottage, casinos.
Travel Values:
• Enjoys simple, understated pleasures
• Seeks comfort in familiar surroundings
• Little interest in exploring cultural roots or historical sites
• Being part of the group and seeing all the main tourist attractions is not your style
• You like following your own schedule

Source: Canadian Tourism Commission
Photos: Courtesy of CTC

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