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Chile: Event highlights wine, food, culture of South American country

- October 22nd, 2014


Think of Chile and visions of a long country – 4,300 km in length to be exact – with fantastic wine, UNESCO World Heritage Sites like Easter Island and Valparaiso, and delicious seafood come to mind. But at a Tourism Chile event at Toronto’s Art Gallery of Ontario, I discovered Chile offers much more – from skiing to whale watching, magical caves to relaxing spas and retreats. To learn more about travel to Chile, visit


Canadian business travellers: Majority enjoy a break from the family, says new poll

- September 11th, 2014


The majority of Canadian business travellers secretly enjoy the break from their families when on the road, according to new data from a national Choice Hotels Canada poll.

In the survey of more than 1,500 Canadians, 55% of business travellers admitted they liked the alone time on the road and 23% said they wouldn’t even consider a job if it didn’t allow them to travel.

Business travellers said they most enjoyed the naughty perks of being away from home, including leaving towels on the floor (34%), eating in bed (34%), leaving clothes laying around (26%) and keeping lights and the TV turned on (23%).

Women were most likely to break out some bad habits when on the road, like eating in bed (32%) and hanging out in a bathrobe (25%).

New York hotel charges guests $500 for bad online reviews

- August 5th, 2014

Before you post that less-than-stellar hotel review online, you may want to check the hotel’s website for their policy on charging for negative reviews.

It sounds unreal, but a hotel in New York state has come under fire for just that. As Page Six reports, the Union Street Guest House in Hudson, N.Y. had posted a policy regarding wedding guests on their website, stating “that despite the fact that wedding couples love Hudson and our inn, your friends and families may not. If you have booked the inn for a wedding or other type of event… and given us a deposit of any kind… there will be a $500 fine that will be deducted from your deposit for every negative review… placed on any internet site by anyone in your party.”

Union Street Guest House’s owner Chris Wagoner said the policy was meant as a joke, though user Rabih Z. said the hotel had emailed him twice in 2013 threatening to charge him $500 for a bad review posted by a wedding guest.


The Union Street Guest House has since edited their website to remove the policy, but this hasn’t stopped the people of the Internet from posting a slew of mocking, negative reviews to the hotel’s Yelp page.


Battle for title of Canada’s top washroom returns for fifth year

- July 31st, 2014
Valleyview Shell Super Station

2013 winner: Valleyview Shell Super Station, Alberta.

The battle to name the king of all Canadian washrooms has returned for a fifth year.

The contest, sponsored by Cintas, a Canadian company that sells work uniforms and restroom supplies, sees members of the public go online to vote for their favourite public washroom, in hopes of it being crowned Canada’s top porcelain throne-room.

“This contest is fun but it also conveys a critical message that restroom hygiene matters – for good health and good business,” Leslie Molin, Cintas’ senior marketing manager, said in a statement.

Last year’s winner was Valleyview Shell Super Station in northern Alberta. What restroom will reign as Lord of the Latrine this year? See the top five finalists, chosen by Cintas’ team of editors, below and cast your vote at through October 2014.

Patria, Toronto

Patria, Toronto

Patria – Toronto, Ontario

Cintas says: In sharp contrast to Spanish-inspired brown and red hues that string the dining room walls at Patria, the washroom features clean white marble from ceiling to floor, and simple elegant fixtures. Golden faucets and mirror accents give the washroom a regal atmosphere, adding to the overall European experience.

Calgary Zoo

Calgary Zoo

Calgary Zoo – Alberta

Cintas says: Amongst giraffes, hippos, lions and gorillas sit the Destination Africa washrooms at the Calgary Zoo. The park takes visitors across the globe, from Africa to Eurasia, with lavatories to match in each locale. Each circular hut serves as a loo, complete with wall-to-wall tribal décor for a true glimpse into African culture.

Planet Hollywood

Planet Hollywood

Planet Hollywood – Niagara Falls, Ontario

Cintas says: The glamourous décor of the Planet Hollywood restaurant reminds guests of their favourite Hollywood classics, and the experience continues with a visit to their flashy washroom. The ladies’ room mirrors are “framed” with a pair of giant, hot pink, zebra print sunglasses, turning every woman into a star with a glance at her reflection. Meanwhile, in the men’s room, guys are doing a double take when they see what’s staring back at them. Cobalt blue sharks open wide to reveal mirrors between their terrifying teeth.

Shaw Club Hotel

Shaw Club Hotel & Spa

Shaw Club Hotel & Spa – Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

Cintas says: Style and radiance come together in this lavish loo. Upon entering the ladies’ room, guests are greeted by a modern glass infinity sink and simple stainless steel fixtures. The stalls feature large glass doors which fog up for privacy when the door is locked! Here’s the science behind it: sandwiched between the two panels of glass is a mixture of polymer and liquid crystals. A constant electrical current keeps the crystals in line and the glass transparent. But when the door handle is locked, the current is stopped, the crystals fall, and the glass looks clouded.

Vancouver Airport

Vancouver Airport

Vancouver Airport – British Columbia

Cintas says: Located in the C-Pier, Domestic Terminal of YVR, travellers find a clean, modern place to freshen up during their journeys. The washroom walls are covered in shades of blue, red, and yellow mosaic tiles and wave-shaped blue flooring winds down the curved corridor leading guests to their choice of bathroom stalls. White tile surrounds the hands-free sinks and towel dispensers, creating a cohesive and modern atmosphere.

Prince William, Duchess Kate and Prince George to spend summer vacation in Scotland

- July 21st, 2014
Prince George. (Reuters)

Prince William, Duchess Kate and Prince George. (Reuters)

Prince William, Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince George will spend their summer vacation at the Queen’s Scotland estate of Balmoral, US Weekly reports.

The royals will likely head to the Scottish castle soon after Prince George’s first birthday on July 22, which will be spent at the Cambridge’s apartment in Kensington Palace. Queen Elizabeth is even expected to attend the tiny prince’s party at Kensington, though the monarch has made it a summertime tradition to gather the royal family at Balmoral.

Balmoral Castle. (Fotolia)

Balmoral Castle. (Fotolia)

Queen Elizabeth can be seen with a young Princes William and Harry, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie and Zara Phillips at Balmoral Castle in the below BBC video from the early 1990s.

More Royal Travel:
Prince William and Kate’s top 10 travel destinations
Where the Royals travel as children
Duchess Kate and Prince George on Mustique vacation
Prince William, Duchess Kate on Maldives second honeymoon

US Weekly reports that young royals often spend time at Balmoral learning to ride or shoot, though George is still too young for those activities.

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall and Princess Anne are also expected to vacation at Balmoral this summer. The family often starts the day together with a large breakfast, followed by a picnic lunch, afternoon tea and formal dinner at night.