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How to spot a Canadian imposter when travelling

- June 28th, 2013
(Fotolia)

(Fotolia)

Have you ever heard of the American who sewed a Canadian flag patch onto his backpack to receive friendlier service when travelling abroad?

This urban legend may be rooted in reality, but that doesn’t mean that Canadian imposters are impossible to identify.

FlightNetwork.com has commissioned body language expert Mark Bowden of TruthPlane Inc. to demonstrate what kind of behaviours indicate a faux-Canadian, be they American or another nationality.

“Using quintessentially Canadian symbols, body language and facial expressions is a time-tested way to enhance the travel experience abroad,” said Allison Eberle, VP of operations for FlightNetwork.com, in a statement. “It’s not surprising that travellers from other nations would do their best to come off Canuck.”

Body language expert Mark Bowden demonstrates the "Cooler" - a Canadian can diffuse the tension by placing his palms down at hip level, and keeping a calm demeanour - and the "American Psycho" - an American might unintentionally escalate the situation by placing his arms in the air in an attempt to calm others.

Body language expert Mark Bowden demonstrates the “Cooler” – a Canadian can diffuse the tension by placing his palms down at hip level and keep a calm demeanour – and the “American Psycho” – an American might unintentionally escalate the situation by placing his arms in the air in an attempt to calm others.

Find Bowden’s hints for spotting imposters and standing out as a true Canadian below.

Mark Bowden’s top four imposter slip-ups:

Stars and Gripes Forever:
  Chin is jutted out, face is blank (or worse, frowning), causing the recipient of the message to assume something is wrong before the traveler has spoken

The Frost Bite:  An aggressive stance signaling displeasure, causing irritation

American Psycho:  A well-meaning but misplaced gesture that appears superior, placing outstretched arms with palms down, above the heads of others, in an attempt to calm a situation but has the effect of escalating it

The Polka-Loon (corollary to “Toque Tilt”)Overdoing friendly head tilt

Mark Bowden’s tips for identifying oneself as Canadian:

The Maple-o-gy:  A Canadian gesture showing submission by raising the shoulders in an apologetic motion, showing oneself to be no threat

The Cooler:  Placing bent arms with hands palm down at belly level to help diffuse a tense situation

The Canuck Crinkle:  Showing the creases around your eyes when smiling – indicates genuine friendliness

The Toque Tilt:  Slight tilting of the head when smiling, shows courtesy/congeniality

Calgary Stampede, the “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth,” will go on

- June 24th, 2013
A view of Stampede park, Saddledome and the city of Calgary from Scotsman's Hill on Sunday, June 23, 2013. (Al Charest/QMI Agency)

A view of the flooded Stampede park, Saddledome and the city of Calgary from Scotsman’s Hill on Sunday, June 23, 2013. (Al Charest/QMI Agency)

The Calgary Stampede, known as the “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth,” will be held as usual this year “come hell or high water.”

Flooding of the Bow and Elbow rivers caused damage in many parts of southern Alberta last week and water flooded the Calgary Saddledome and the Stampede grounds with just two weeks to go before Stampede opening day.

Today, Stampede president Bob Thompson said the popular summer event would proceed as scheduled.

“We have pumped millions of gallons of water from our facilities, scrapped the mud from our tarmac, commenced the clean-up of our park, all to welcome guests from around the world,” CBC reports he said at a press conference. “We will be hosting the greatest outdoor show on Earth, come hell or high water.”

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Catherine arrive on a horse drawn wagon at the Calgary Stampede at the BMO Centre in Calgary, Alberta, July 7 2011. (ANDRE FORGET/QMI AGENCY)

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Catherine arrive on a horse drawn wagon at the Calgary Stampede at the BMO Centre in Calgary, Alberta, July 7 2011. (ANDRE FORGET/QMI AGENCY)

The Stampede Parade will also go ahead, though officials said its route may be altered through a damaged downtown.  The parade marshal will be Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield.

Gallery: 100 years of the Calgary Stampede

The Stampede celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2012. More than 1.4 million people visit the Stampede for the landmark occasion. In 2011, newlyweds Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge opened the Stampede during their summer tour of Canada.

The 2013 Calgary Stampede will run from July 5 to 14.

Job action by Canada’s foreign service workers hurting tourism?

- June 21st, 2013
(Fotolia)

(Fotolia)

Job action by Canadian foreign service officers is creating a backlog on tourist visas for visitors wanting to come to Canada.

The Globe and Mail reports that walkouts in Canadian embassies and consulates have created delays of up to six weeks for the processing of new tourist visas for would-be visitors from China, India and Mexico.

With the summer tourist season upon us, the Tourism Industry Association of Canada is worried about how the job action will affect Canada’s tourism industry.

“For our industry, this is tantamount to a retail clerks’ strike in the middle of Christmas,” David Goldstein, president of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, told the Globe.

Canada’s Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers has been staging walkouts at various international locations as part of the job action. The PAFSO wants to negotiate with the Treasury Board over what is says are “wage inequities.”

“The escalated scope and intensity of service withdrawals this month are a direct consequence of the federal government’s refusal to engage meaningfully with its employees on the issue of pay equity,” Tim Edwards, PAFSO president, said in a statement. “While we’re eager to get back to work, these disruptions will continue until Treasury Board offers a fair deal to our members.”

The union’s contract with the government expired in mid-2011.

“Resolving this situation would cost less than 2.5% of the total Foreign Service payroll – a tiny fraction of the economic impact that the Government’s inflexibility is creating,” said Edwards.

Destinations for Pride Week, babymoons and Canada Day

- June 21st, 2013

Whew! The end of June is going to be busy!

Toronto is gearing up for Canada’s largest Pride Week festivities, the tabloids are in a frenzy over the birth of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s baby girl – now said to be named North West – and the upcoming arrival of a new royal baby for Prince William and Kate Middleton, and Canadians all across the country are getting ready to celebrate the 146th birthday of our nation on Canada Day.

Thankfully, there are plenty of travel deals to help you celebrate all the occasions and stay on budget. Here are some of the best:

REUTERS/Mark Blinch

REUTERS/Mark Blinch

PRIDE

Preferred Hotel Group: This chain of hotels has more than 160 TAG-approved or IGLTA-member hotels and resorts in their Preferred Pride collection, from Orlando to Amsterdam, from Montreal to Cape Town. Each of these properties is offering the Preferred Pride package through December 31, 2013, a special offer that caters to all travellers who want to celebrate Pride, featuring the best available rate.

Skyline Hotels & Resorts: Book the Pride Package with any of the three Skyline properties in Toronto - The King Edward, Pantages or Cosmopolitan hotel – and receive one all access pass per adult to PRISM Toronto Pride events.

Related: Top 10 places to celebrate gay rights
Related: World’s top 10 Pride festivals

AFP PHOTO/LEON NEAL

AFP PHOTO/LEON NEAL

BABYMOONS

Half Moon, Jamaica: Parents-to-be deserve a getaway before baby is born and the soothing setting at Half Moon and the Fern Tree spa is the ultimate relaxing escape.  The Half Moon Babymoon package includes three nights all-inclusive accomodations,  plus three signature Fern Tree spa treatments per person:  a 50-minute massage, a 50-minute facial and a choice of a scrub or soak. Prices start from $2,550 CAD for the 3-night all inclusive package based on two adults sharing a superior room. Rates are valid now until December 14, 2014.

Related: Top babymoons for the expectant royal couple and all parents-to-be
Related: Top mommymoons for Kim & Kanye and all new parents

Jeff Bassett/QMI Agency

Jeff Bassett/QMI Agency

CANADA DAY

Where are Canadians headed this Canada Day? Hotwire.com has released a list of the 10 most popular Canada Day destinations, based on bookings on their site. The top 10 are all in North America, with Toronto the top destination for the third year in a row. See the top 10 – and the average hotel price on Hotwire for each destination – on the map below.


View Top 10 Canada Day destinations – 2013 in a larger map

Related: Where in Canada are you?
Related: Celebs who love travelling Canada

Hotel common areas most prone to hook-ups

- June 17th, 2013
(Fotolia)

(Fotolia)

The phrase “get a room” has never been more applicable.

According to a new survey from Misstravel.com, lust is in the air this summer and single travellers aren’t shy about hooking up at destination weddings.

The poll of more than 16,000 Americans found that 67% of travellers made a lust connection at a wedding reception and 76% of those people admitted they couldn’t even make it back to their hotel rooms before giving in to the passion of the moment.

Related: Is sex better on vacation? Canadian women think so
Related: Canadian women dream of sex outside the hotel room

“A lot of things can happen on the way to the room,” Brandon Wade, CEO of Misstravel.com said in a statement. “In the heat of the moment, when you just want to feel loved right then, passion overcomes logic.”

The elevator, an abandoned conference room and the pool area were the most popular spots in hotels for a hook-up. The housekeeping closet, the roof, a balcony and the hallway were also listed as top spots for out-of-room romance.

Misstravel.com is a dating/travel website that says it “pairs beautiful people who want to travel with generous frequent flyers, eager to fund travel for the right companion.”

The 7 Most Common Areas Prone to Hotel Hook Ups

1. Elevator

2. Conference room

3. Pool

4. Housekeeping

5. Roof

6. Balcony

7. Hallway