The maple life The maple life

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Shangri-La Toronto

“What’s that?” I asked my cab driver, “It’s gorgeous.” ‘It’ was a silvery sculpture that reached into the sky and bought to mind flight and freedom right there on the pavement in downtown Toronto. “It’s the Shangri La” said my driver. “You’re kidding!” I said. “I’m staying there tomorrow.” I can’t help myself; I get giddy with delight over a fancy hotel. Holly Golightly may have gone weak at the

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Gulf Island Hopping Part 3: Pender Island

It’s as we cross the slender bridge which joins north and south Pender Island together, that I realise I really should have hired a car. I’d cheerily walked off the BC Ferry at Otter Bay and hopped onboard my shuttle ride to Poets Cove Resort, but twenty minutes drive and we still weren’t there. In my head, everything had been an easy hike away; in reality Pender was a lot

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Feeling at home in Fairmont’s Charlevoix Chateau

Out of all the things I imagined that I’d miss about home, one thing I didn’t anticipate missing was old buildings. Vancouver is such a modern city, it celebrated its 125th birthday in 2011. Gleaming high rises are everywhere and but it wasn’t until I arrived at the Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu in Quebec’s Charlevoix region and beamed at its stone exterior and gleaming wooden interior that I had a

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The Yukon Quest 2013

The Yukon has fascinated me. I’ve waited to write about the Yukon Quest race because I just keep reading more and more about it, losing myself down a rabbit hole of myths, legends and impossible-sounding stories which turn out to be true. This is a race like no other: one thousand miles in bitter sub-zero temperatures following the route of the historic 1890s Klondike Gold Rush route between Fairbanks, Alaska

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Licensed to thrill at Vancouver’s Shangri-La hotel

I’ve had my eye on the Shangri-La hotel  ever since I moved to Vancouver. Towering above the other buildings in the city, it’s been a glittering landmark and one that I’ve been increasingly eager to check out. Turns out waiting two months to visit was two months too long. Where has the Chi spa been all my life? Why aren’t I there right now? If I ask nicely, do you

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Ladies who lunch: Part 1. Glowbal Grill

If you’re going for lunch with a girlfriend you’ve not seen for a while, then there are a few important things a restaurant must have for it to be a success; patient staff who A) don’t try to hurry you up and B) don’t mind if you get a little flirty after that second glass of wine of wine, a secluded nook so you can spill major dirt without being

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Richmond Night Market

I’ve been eyeing up the Richmond Night Market ever since I first read about it, but every time I’ve visited Vancouver it was the wrong time of the year and it wasn’t on. Not this time! Finally I got to visit and it was just as good as I’d hoped. I went with friends (by far the best plan if you want to eat as much as I did. Share

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Travel tip #1: Learn to love jet lag

Almost ten hours flight from the UK and eight hours behind in time, jet lag is an inevitable part of any trip to Vancouver from Britain. After two days of 4.30am wake-ups, I decided that as an alternative to lying in bed, furious and unable to sleep, I’d try and turn this bitter lemon of an experience into lemonade instead. Getting up and heading out before the sun has poked

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Flying with your dog: happy landings

I’m here! Freak out over… My greatest concern about leaving the UK and coming to Vancouver was that Freddie, my beloved cocker spaniel, would not have a good flight. Turns out my dog is a better flyer than I am. I flew on Air Transat with Canadian Affair and they were just wonderful; incredibly calm, reassuring and understanding when I was wailing like a banshee at leaving my dog behind

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It’s hard to say goodbye…

There’s something they don’t tell you about when you’re getting ready to pack up and leave for a whole new life in a whole new country. I was expecting to be anxious about leaving; worrying over what to pack, what to ship and what on earth to take to the charity shops along my road in Brighton. I was even expecting to be upset about what the flight and trauma

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