A minibus ramble through Scottish Highland history

As our minibus pulled to a stop, I felt suddenly that my grandmother’s love of the Highland landscape was surrounding us all

A minibus ramble through Scottish Highland historyI count myself lucky to have had a Scottish grandmother. She was a Graham of Montrose, and came from humble beginnings. I remember her describing something called a byre, and explaining that her mother lived in a crofter’s house with the cattle. From the moment I learned this, I have wanted to travel to northern…

The hardships of Orkney link to Canada’s early days

Displaced from their homes, many citizens of the Orkney islands ended up in Canada working for the Hudson Bay Company

The hardships of Orkney link to Canada’s early daysThe Standing Stones of Stenness on Mainland, the main Scottish island of Orkney, date back to approximately 3,100 BC. Stonehenge, to put the Orkneys in time perspective as a Neolithic parent to western Europe, was constructed from 3,000 to 2,000 BC. What was it about these outpost islands that attracted the earliest agriculturalists to their…

Niagara Falls is much more than a postcard

Niagara Falls is much more than a postcardYou could be forgiven for thinking that visiting Niagara Falls should take up no longer than half an hour. You drive to the falls, get out of the car or off the bus, take a photo and buy something from the gift shop, then leave. Well, if that's been your experience of Niagara Falls, we're…

Decoding Orkney by channelling the subtle Norse air

Part 1: A Scottish contribution to Canada’s Arctic genome can be found in the deep history of these remote islands

Decoding Orkney by channelling the subtle Norse airWhen you hear mention of the Orkney islands, off Scotland’s northeast coast, what do you think of? For me, they conjure up a northern vision of Orkneymen, the founding of the Hudson’s Bay Co. on May 2, 1670 (I still recall this date after wearing hundreds of HBC clothing labels over the decades), the Arctic…

Taking the air out of Airbnb

Toronto and Vancouver have restricted Airbnb listings to a primary residence. The number of listings is dropping fast

Taking the air out of AirbnbIn Canada, Airbnb is getting … well … deflated. The ironic reason is that it’s become too popular. Airbnb is an online service for “Air bed and breakfast.” It's for guests who want a cheap place to stay the night, even if it's on an air mattress. Since its 2008 launch in San Francisco, Airbnb…

Is the water safe?

Most of the time the water will be safe for drinking and eating and playing in but ...

Is the water safe?When people ask "Is the water safe?", they're usually thinking is it safe to drink. It's a basic travel concern. Can you drink the tap water? Should you brush your teeth with it? Do you need to drink and brush with bottled water? That's important to find out in order to stay healthy, but there…

Vegas, baby … a guide to poolside parties and clubs

You can go to Vegas to gamble, see expensive shows or to shop like crazy. Or you can go to party on the cheap, like we did

Vegas, baby … a guide to poolside parties and clubsLas Vegas in the summer isn’t a bad gamble, despite the heat and even if you don't gamble. My girlfriend, a friend and I recently spent four summer days in Vegas. The first thing you notice is the wall of dry oppressive heat. “Stepping outside is like checking the turkey in the oven,” someone joked.…

Take a gamble on Vegas

You can always find something to do that will fit your style and budget

Take a gamble on Vegas(Troy Media) Las Vegas, Nevada is a city with a reputation. You've probably heard it called "Sin City." You hear mottos like: "What ever happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas ... " So is it a good place for tourists? It all depends on what you want, but there's something for almost everyone. It all…

Turks and Caicos – the road less travelled, but it could be ours

Would it really benefit Canada to get into bed with these types – even if the bed was a hammock swaying in a tropical breeze?

Turks and Caicos – the road less travelled, but it could be oursI once had political aspirations. It was the early 1980s. A federal election was brewing. At the same time, a tiny chain of British islands in the Caribbean – Turks and Caicos Islands – had expressed interest in forming an association with Canada. What a great idea: Canada’s own warm winter destination. No more currency…

On your next trip, bring a bag of goodwill

A grassroots Canadian movement called Not Just Tourists encourages you to take suitcases filled with medical supplies to needy countries

On your next trip, bring a bag of goodwillWhen we think of helping people in impoverished parts of the world, we often think of signing online petitions, making cash donations or volunteering. But bringing about meaningful change can be as simple as carrying an extra suitcase on your next overseas trip. Avi D’Souza has been doing that for about four years, since he…