Sunday, December 6, 2009

"Locals Know" Marketing Campaign

Iconic images of Canada have been overplayed, while many travellers and even locals are not aware how beautiful and surprising Canada really is. Unfortunately tourism officials used only these cliché images to tout Canada worldwide and locally… Until 2009 -

When a surprisingly fresh tourism campaign of Canada started.
Using photos and video submitted by Canadians to YouTube and to the Canadian Tourism Commission directly, this 2009 campaign highlights the best hidden travel gems across the country, such as

· A secluded canyon in Thunder Bay, Ontario
· A sparkling cobalt lagoon on B.C. ’s Sunshine Coast
· Desert sand dunes in Alberta

Recently touted in Forbes as one of the world’s top 10 travel campaigns, the CTC’s highlighting of Canada’s hidden gems have a timeless, placeless quality, underscored by the tag line, “Where is this?” While Canadians are accustomed to photographs of the Rocky Mountains, Niagara Falls and red-coated Mounties on Parliament Hill, there are amazing tourist sites that people might not know they exists in their home province.

Locals Know – Canada
The campaign gained popularity among travellers that are doing increasingly more online research. Fans have uploaded more than 2,000 “secret spots” onto the interactive website, which received 1.1 million page views – all within the first month. Clearly, tourists are seeking out trusted word-of-mouth recommendations.

Maps, Maps, Maps

WORLD OF MAPS, 1235 Wellington St, Ottawa

The map-seekers here, from military personal heading to the arctic to diplomats trying to pinpoint distant postings around the globe, say more about this city than a tour of the Parliament Buildings.

Usually the store caters to more common travellers. On any Saturday morning, you will often hear customers swapping advices on tourism sites and hotels to stay in New Zealand, or the best restaurants in Munich, while browsing guides and maps along the walls.

The store also has a special printer which allows you to pick any quadrant of the
earth and get a custom-made map. All the staff is well-travelled: the owners were even spending a year circling the globe before they settled 1994 in Ottawa.

If armchair travelling is more your style, you can purchase an old-fashioned globe with a bar hidden inside.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Dunes Gallery, PEI

One of the best spots in Prince Edward Island:
The Dunes Gallery combines outstanding art, delicious food and drinks, a shopping paradise for crafts from Canada and Asia, exciting architecture, beautiful, lush gardens and friendly hosts. It was there where I discovered the works of one of the world’s best jewelry designer and goldsmith, Eve Llyndorah.

I found the Dunes Gallery by chance.
In the middle of nowhere, potato-fields right and left, I dosed along a small country road between Charlottetown and the Prince Edward Island National Park. Suddenly I detected huge, really huge, flags ahead. Curious, I slowed down, wondering what such big flags are announcing. “Dunes Gallery” I read, when pulling into the parking lot. Well, what really caught my eyes and made me stopping were a Martini glass pictogram and the word Bar & Restaurant.

I yearned for a coffee and something good to eat. The coffee was outstanding (and I am really a connoisseur when it comes to Java), but the food was not only delicious, it was comparable to that of a 5-star restaurant!

I gave myself lots of time to wander the gardens, watched pottery crafters working, admired Eve Llyndorah’s magnificent jewelry art (and learned she lives on her own island in southern BC), marvelled at the exotic sculptures and browsed through books and gifts, before I settled on the roof top garden to “smell the roses” and enjoy the sunset colours of the sky.

It’s a heavenly experience and alone worth the drive to PEI. Next time I bring even more time to enjoy this place.

Baddeck, Cape Breton and Alexander Graham Bell

Come and you will love it:
Baddeck, once a ship-building centre, is now known as a lovely holiday spot at the Bras d’ Or Lakes. It is also the site of “Beinn Bhreagh”, Alexander Graham Bell's 243-hectare estate.

Bell and his wife Mabel, first arrived in Cape Breton in 1885 on holiday and fell in love with these beautiful surroundings. "I have traveled around the globe. I have seen the Canadian and American Rockies, the Andes and the Alps and the Highlands of Scotland but for simple beauty, Cape Breton rivals them all," declared the inventor of the telephone.

There is a terrific museum in Baddeck devoted to Bell's life and achievements that besides the telephone included an iron lung, the hydrofoil and one of the first airplanes - the first ever to take-off in Canada.

The Bells spent 35 summers at their estate (their descendants still own the property) and Alexander and Mabel are buried on top of the local mountain.

Don't miss:
The Best of the Bras d'Or Lakes Scenic Drive
Highland Village Museum
Orangedale Railway Station Museum
Rita's Tea Room
St. Peter's Canal National Historic Site
Wagmatcook Culture & Heritage Centre

Alex Michael Memorial Pow Wow
Big Pond Festival
Feis an Eilein (Festival of the Island)
Highland Village Day
Glenora Distillery
Canada’s only single malt whisky distillery, not far from Baddeck, offers distillery tours and free ceilidhs (celtic music) daily until mid October
The cosy restaurant and Hotel invite for an overnight stay (and to enjoy tastings). Sit in the lovely courtyard, complete with a running brook, or walk and photograph the scenic grounds.

Iceberg Alley

Newfoundland's Iceberg Alley is the only place in the world where you can see majestic icebergs floating their way down the Atlantic Ocean from Greenland. Best time of the year to see icebergs is between April and June.


The Iceberg Finder website shows you their exact positions. Popular places to experience the icebergs are St. John's & Cape Spear, Bonavista, Witless Bay, Twillingate, La Scie, St. Anthony, Point Amour, Battle Harbour and Cartwright.

Icebergs calve from Greenland’s west coast glaciers and float often for over a year before reaching the northern and eastern shores of Newfoundland.
Only 1%-2% of the more than 40,000 icebergs travelling from Greenland make it down to Ice Berg Alley. Often icebergs are over two and three stories high, and hide 90% of their mass below the water.

Many local companies offer boat tours along the coast to catch a closer experience with the majestic ice mountains. Bring your camera, lots of films!, sunscreen and sunglasses as well as a wind/rain jacket.

For kayak adventurers these currents are treasured as best spots in the world. It provides paddlers with the ultimate (but dangerously) close encounter with these grand and glorious ice sculptures, often accompanied with whale sightings. Will Gadd, an adrenalin junky from Alberta even climbs these icebergs - the ultimate in dangerous "sports".

Sailors are always respectful of Iceberg Alley. Full-sized icebergs have been dangerous obstacles for ships. Iceberg Alley is where the Titanic met its resting place in 1912.

Unfair Olympia treatment of Native Canadians

Racism and imperialism at the Vancouver Olympia Organizing Committee?

Imagine you own a business logo or a symbol that was used for centuries in your country and by your ancestors. One day a “foreign association” comes along and uses your logo/symbol in order to generate a lot of money with your intellectual property – without even asking you or paying you any royalty.
Would you sue them? Or just give in and watch how they rake in millions with your symbol?

Another scenario:
You are a young artist and you are to perform at the “foreign association’s” opening ceremony of a worldwide event. The rights to broadcast at this event are sold for mega millions to TV and radio stations all over the planet.

However, before you can perform you have to sign a five pages long contract that says:
  • You will not be paid for your performance at the opening ceremony
  • Your are a volunteer
  • You have NO rights to revenues for you artistry
  • You have to bring your dancing regalia and drums to the event at your own cost
  • You must send a photo of yourself in your dancing outfit
  • You are bussed in to entertain white people. After that, go home to your reservation! And don’t even think that you can stay in the city and enjoy any sport events...
Unfair you say?
Well, that’s exactly how the VANOC, the Vancouver Organizing Committee treats the artists that perform for them.
Big press releases tout Native Canadians as hosts, friendly welcomes of native chiefs are printed.
Former National Chief Fontaine was very polite (or erred) with his welcoming words years ago and for sure he did not know the content of the contracts then. He said:

“The 2010 Winter Games represent a turning point in our history. For the first time in Olympic history, Indigenous Peoples are full partners in hosting these Winter Games and we will work closely with the four Host Nations to ensure there are lasting legacies for our people.”
Lil’wat Chief Andrew added:
“Most of Canada’s history has been written in hundreds of years. Our peoples have shared these lands for thousands. We look forward to welcoming the world here for an authentic Aboriginal experience in 2010.”
(from VANOC's website).

Despite all this cant, the Olympic organizers use native land, their art, symbols, music and performances to make a lot of money.

Searching VANOC’s website for the Aboriginal Youth Gathering and their performance at the opening ceremony, it says: "Sorry, we could not find any matches for "Aboriginal Youth Gathering"

Symptomatic ??? Or just an error of the webmaster?

BTW: Canada and the United States are the only countries that refuse to sign the UN's Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples!