Category Archives: Music

Road trip to Perth for 200th anniversary celebrations. Summer 2016

Adventures during our Perth-Ottawa Road Trip. Summer 2016

 

We left Toronto early in morning and after about an hour on 401 as usually stopped over at Big Apple. The place is well known for cute cafeteria, large giftshop, children`s outdoor pet zoo, and clean washrooms.

After arriving to Perth, we first stopped over at the Fairgrounds where the place was already prepared for the 200th years celebrations. One could see the rib grillers’ stands from all over Lanark county and the vendors offering foods and drinks to all tastes. There was a mini amusement park for young children with bouncy castles and a climbing tower. The stage was ready for musicians and singers; close by the stone carvers were competing in their art – the winners’ sculptures will become part of the new stone bridge being constructed in Perth and funded mainly by donations.

Perth lanark County
Building a New Bridge in Perth, Lanark County, Canada

 

Late afternoon we headed to the McReary’s beach resort. The resort has beautiful and spacious cottages and we stayed in one of them for the next 3 days. The resort is located on the beach and at the same time not far from the main road; that made it convenient for our local day trips exploring the area. Our cottage had fully equipped kitchen, bathroom, two bedrooms, living room and the deck with BBQ. The environment is really family friendly and kids were allowed to go around by themselves.

McReary Beach Resort
Paddling in McReary Beach resort

Once settled we all headed for a boat tour that was so much fun!

Water Fun on the lake near McReary Resort
Fun time at McReary Beach resort

We swam in warm lake water, did spectacular jumps from the boat and raced each other. On the way back to the cottage we saw two eagles high up on a pine tree.

Eagle nest near McReary Beach resort
Eagle nest near McReary Beach resort

Next to the beach there one can find a boat house with many canoes and kayaks to borrow, but we were too tempted to relax in the indoor pool; under same roof there is a sauna and hot tub. After dinner we played for a while and later enjoyed a beautiful sunset and the marshmallows roasted on the campfire right behind the cottage.

Family Nights at McReary Beach Resort
Marshmallow Party at the Cottage in McReary Beach resort

The next morning we went to Perth to see the 200th year anniversary parade, which was very well organized and included a lot of various performances. After the parade   we stopped by the ice-cream shop before heading to the park.

Not far from the park there was a farmers market where we bought local maple syrup and some homemade jams; the stands were also filled with crafts and flowers. It was a fine place to browse…

Perth Farmers Market
Farmers Market in Perth

 

200th Perth Maple Syrup
Special edition “200th anniversary of Perth” Maple Syrup at farmers market

In the park the speeches were already underway and we could see the Mayor and other city officials on the stage. At the end of the ceremony the Mayor handed the special capsule with the money collected for the construction of the new stone bridge to the builders.

After the official part everyone headed across the park to the spacious lawn where the dressed up musicians and dancers were getting ready to perform. The Scottish kilts in different colours, traditional musical instruments and actors were all mixed with the arriving public.
For the next hour we all could watch the scenes from the past brought by the musicians and actors to show the history of Perth from 19th century. The show ended by the guns’ salute and marching of the bands.

Perth 200th
200th anniversary of Perth Celebration

On the way back to the cottage we stopped again at Fairgrounds to have some ribs, check out the stone carving competition and listen to some music.

The day was almost done, we only had enough time to get back to the cottage for some swim in a pool and dinner.

The next morning we left early for the Blue Heron Golf club. The club house was already busy with the arriving golfers, so we quickly got ready and headed out to the course.

Blue Heron Golf Club
Playing Golf in Blue Heron Golf Club, lanark County, Ontario, Canada

The course has nine holes which makes it suitable for those new to the game or seasoned golfers. The beautiful landscaping adds to the natural surroundings creating pleasant environment – mix of water, forest and green lawns… after golf we all were ready to have good lunch, and decided to go towards Perth.

Perth, Lanark County
Beautiful Perth

On the way we stopped by the General store to buy sandwiches. Forget the sandwiches – in the middle of the store there was a small table where a lady was painting the large egg… The painting reminded us some fine antique porcelains, Easter eggs and may be Christmas… the paintings were filled with very fine details such as flowers, birds, butterflies, little bunnies and colourful ornaments. Hard to resist – we bought two beautifully painted eggs and then turned to sandwiches – we were hungry!

Tatlock Quarry
Observation Deck in Tatlock Quarry in Lanark County

After Perth our destination was Ottawa. Instead of staying in the city hotel we stopped at the Generations Inn., which is about thirty minutes away. Even before we open our bags right away kids went to swim in a lake… The Inn has three rooms with private bathrooms located in the old estate. The place is quite well known for the fact that the chief for the Ottawa Senators sometimes cooks his famous dishes for the guests, but you have to call in advance to find out when; we didn’t and so had to visit nearby restaurants.

Generations Inn
Funtime at “Generations Inn”

Next morning we were in Ottawa. First we visited The Museum of History, Children’s Museum and Parliament Hill, later the Airspace Museum and we finished the day watching the amazing Light Show that is projected right on the Parliament building.

In the Museum of History “Napoleon” and “Gold Rush” special exhibits were well worth to visit. Going back in times of Napoleon and learning about his personality and various projects was really like visiting France and Europe of that time. In the halls of “Gold Rush” we were able to wash some golden nuggets and learn about gold mining history. At the exit the special scale displayed the value of your weight as gold equivivalent in $$ – so we all got on! Worth millions!!

Children’s Museum is always full of kids and their parents. It’s a wonderful world of real things scaled to toy size. One can be a banker, another a salesman of Turkish rugs or spices, be a sailor or mechanic or dress up and go on stage!

After lunch on the French side in a small lovely café and some rest we headed to the Airspace museum. And that is where we spent a lot of time learning about airplanes, history of aviation and space exploration.

Ottawa Aerospace Museum
Aircraft tourbine in Ottawa Aerospace Museum
Fighter jet Simulator
Fighter jet Simulator in Ottawa Aerospace Museum

A bit tired we went back to the city to have dinner. And again we went to the Airspace Museum this time for the conference to meet the real astronauts Jeremy Hansen and Robert Thirsk.

Canadian Astronaut Robert Thrisk
Precious moments! Robert Thrisk autographed a book!
Jeremy Hansen and Jonathan
Canadian Astronaut Jeremy Hansen autographed my book

They were presenting the launch of the new recruitment campaign and there were various officials and a lot of fans. We even got a chance to chat with them and get autographs.

Jeremy hansen and Robert Thirsk
Children and Canadian Astronauts Jeremy Hansen and Robert Thirsk in Ottawa Aerospace Museum, July 2016

After such an exciting evening we were back to the Parliament Hill for the Light Show that presented the history of Canada in projected images accompanied by narration and music.

Parliament Hill Light Show in Ottawa
Parliament Hill light show, Ottawa, Canada

Tired after such a long day full of events we were ready to go back to Generations Inn for a good night sleep…

Next morning we were on our way back home. We decided to stop over in Peterborough and visit the unique lift locks. Dated back to 1900 the locks operate based on the natural powers created by the weight of the water in the tubs – this is the largest hydraulic lift lock in the world that raises boats up to about 65 feet high! It was a lot of fun to watch the boats go up and down – they looked so small compare to locks’ structure!

Before getting back on the road we stopped over for pizza lunch and then drove all the way home talking about places we liked most…

UNESCO new World Heritage Site in Stuttgart for Le Corbusier houses

Germany gains 41st UNESCO World Heritage Site

On July 17, 2016, the two Le Corbusier houses at the Weissenhof Estate in the Southern German city of Stuttgart were designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, making it the first World Heritage Site for Stuttgart and the 41st for Germany.
As part of a transnational joint application, Stuttgart and destinations in seven other countries applied to have 17 of Le Corbusier’s buildings listed due to the architect’s outstanding contribution to Modernism. The two Stuttgart houses are the architect’s only buildings in Germany and include the Weissenhof Museum, which illustrates the radical change in architecture around the time of the Second World War as well as Le Corbusier’s visionary thinking.
Germany’s other 40 UNESCO World Heritage Sites include the majestic Cologne Cathedral, the expansive Wadden Sea habitat, Classical Weimar and Regensburg’s charming Old Town. They can be explored on eight different themed routes<http://www.germany.travel/en/towns-cities-culture/unesco-world-heritage/unesco-routes/unesco-routes.html>, from natural wonders to architecture to palaces and parks.
For more information about Germany’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites, visit www.germany.travel/unesco.

Let’s Go to Perth celebrating 200 anniversary together! July 22-24 weekend

Suggested itinerary:

Day One: Friday, July 22

  • Arrive in Perth between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. for the BBQ Block Party http://bbqblockparty.com/ at the Perth Fairgrounds (50 Arthur Street)

Directions from Toronto (3hrs 46 mins):

https://www.google.ca/maps/dir/Toronto,+ON/Perth+Fair,+50+Arthur+Street,+Perth,+ON+K7H+3E3/@44.2698707,-78.9357309,8z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m13!4m12!1m5!1m1!1s0x89d4cb90d7c63ba5:0x323555502ab4c477!2m2!1d-79.3831843!2d43.653226!1m5!1m1!1s0x4cd27a443bbdbc8b:0x63becdf201c85aee!2m2!1d-76.2464385!2d44.892452

  • Lunch at festival food stations
  • Canadian Stone Carving Festival http://canadianstonecarvingfestival.com/
  • Dinner
  • Drive 17 minutes to McCreary’s Beach Resort to check in anytime after 4:00 p.m.

Directions: https://www.google.ca/maps/dir/Perth+Fair,+50+Arthur+St,+Perth,+ON+K7H+3E3/McCreary’s+Beach+Resort,+McCrearys+Beach,+Perth,+ON/@44.9570316,-76.3101839,12z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m13!4m12!1m5!1m1!1s0x4cd27a443bbdbc8b:0x63becdf201c85aee!2m2!1d-76.2464385!2d44.8924522!1m5!1m1!1s0x4cd2725b1659098f:0x32b0fe57cb669651!2m2!1d-76.2192498!2d45.0213694

  • Relax and enjoy the beach!

Day Two: Saturday, July 23

  • Breakfast
  • Travel for 14 minutes to Perth for Blast from the Past (Opening Ceremonies are at 11:30 a.m.) Full Event Schedule: https://perth200.ca/signature-events/homecoming-weekend/homecoming-weekend-schedule/
  • I suggest parking at Café Bean, 1 Sherbrooke Street East, Perth

https://www.tripadvisor.ca/Restaurant_Review-g499284-d8067083-Reviews-Cafe_Bean-Perth_Ontario.html

Directions: https://www.google.ca/maps/dir/McCreary’s+Beach+Resort,+McCrearys+Beach,+Perth,+ON/Cafe+Bean,+Sherbrooke+Street+East,+Perth,+ON/@44.9621085,-76.3101839,12z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m13!4m12!1m5!1m1!1s0x4cd2725b1659098f:0x32b0fe57cb669651!2m2!1d-76.2192498!2d45.0213694!1m5!1m1!1s0x4cd27a68a8055c4f:0xffaacf4efb660bd6!2m2!1d-76.246822!2d44.903985

  • Walk about 4 blocks for 8 minutes to Stewart Park (80 Gore Street East) to see the parade. Map: https://www.google.ca/maps/place/Stewart+Park+Festival/@44.8988287,-76.250517,15z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x41185e3fc910fbd2!8m2!3d44.8988287!4d-76.250517

Directions: https://www.google.ca/maps/dir/Cafe+Bean,+Sherbrooke+Street+East,+Perth,+ON/Stewart+Park+Festival,+Gore+Street+East,+Perth,+ON/@44.9014106,-76.2506273,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m13!4m12!1m5!1m1!1s0x4cd27a68a8055c4f:0xffaacf4efb660bd6!2m2!1d-76.246822!2d44.903985!1m5!1m1!1s0x4cd27a5d1804a2d3:0x41185e3fc910fbd2!2m2!1d-76.250517!2d44.8988287

  • In the afternoon, you may wish to return to the Perth Fairgrounds. Enjoy the Festival!

Day Three: Sunday, July 24

  • Check out
  • Travel home

Road Trip Itineraries in Maritime Quebec. Summer 2016 news

Road Trip Itineraries

The Gaspésie Tour is a legendary seaside drive that loops around the huge Gaspé Peninsula. Begin your journey in the region of Bas-Saint-Laurent. From the Kamouraska area, Route 132 will take you all the way to Gaspé, at the tip of the peninsula, via famous Percé Rock. Read more about this road trip itinerary.

This itinerary follows Route 138 from Tadoussac to Kegaska. From there, you can continue your journey aboard an authentic supply ship that will take you from village to village all the way to Blanc-Sablon. Out at sea and from the shore, you can observe up to 13 species of whales in this region, including blue whales, the largest animals on earth. Read more about this road trip itinerary.

In the maritime regions of Québec, ferries serve as an extension of the road network. In addition to allowing you to visit both shores of the St. Lawrence without retracing your steps, they are a novel way to travel and offer unique perspectives on the surrounding scenery and marine mammals. Read more about these road trip itineraries.

For a complete change of pace and scenery, nothing beats the Îles de la Madeleine. Whether you visit to enjoy the water and wind or to explore the rich culture of an island people surrounded by the sea, you will leave with wonderful memories and only one thought in mind: to come back for another visit! Read more about this road trip itinerary.

Exploring Sint Maarten with kids.

Traveling to Caribbean Sint Maarten, always was an expensive adventure, especially traveling with kids.

Calculating expenses, we found out that airflight takes half of budget.

Knowing that usually prices drop in October/November, then first week of January, and after April 15th, trips could become affordable with  Westjet, Sunwing, or Transat… We use mostly www.travelation.com or selloffvacations.com, or direct websites from airlines www.westjet.com, or aircanada.com, aa.com

Marigot Harbour in Saint Martin
Marigot Harbour Saint Martin

Last year our family stayed in villa on French side in Concordia district in Marigot.

Marigot
Marigot, Saint Martin , French West Indies

It was good immersion into local life, and good practice of French for kids.  We hiked on Fort Louis in Marigot, Tree Top Trekked at Loterie Farm, took windsurfing lessons on Galleon Beach (nearby is Butterfly Farm), fine dined in Grand Case, snorkelled and sun bathed on Friars Bay. The shopping we did in “U” supermarket, and fresh bread in local boulangeries. Few times we visited Grand Case for a nice evening stroll, beach comb and fancy dinner combination.

Saint Martin
Marketplace in Marigot, Saint Martin

From nearby Marigot Sea Port we took day trips to Anguilla and St.Barth. One day we spent in LoterieFarm. It’s a place to spend a whole day, first to go on Fly Zone (like Tree Top trek), and then soak and rest in the pool. We noticed many local families spent time on weekends here. I think our favourite beach in St.Martin is still on Happy Bay, and the runner up will be Friars Bay Beach.

Philipsburg, Sint Maarten
Philipsburg- the capital of Dutch side in Sint Maarten.

The choice and variety of hotels is also great in Dutch St.Maartten, from casino hotels, down to small boutique inns. We chose Joshua Rose guest house this time, cause of the good balance, price , location, and facilities.

Guest house located in the heart of Philipsburg, with easy access to transportation, beaches grocery stores and good restaurants. For dinner our favorite was “Green House” restaurant, with it’s great service, good variety and price combination. One evening we visited acclaimed “L’Escargot” with classy service and beautiful ambiance. Yes, it’s pricey, but you pay what you get, once for the trip is great. For lunch there are good places to eat like “GUSTO”, and few Chinese restaurants nearby.
I should mention the trip to “The Carousel” ice cream shop it’s well worth after lunch, and explore sophistication in ice cream variety. (Actually I tried once “Heineken Ice Cream”. It tasted good!). There are lots of photographs on display with famous people eating ice cream. Our kids, 8 and11, are too big for the Carousel to sit on, but they still enjoy the rides.

On the property of DIVI Resort, there are ruins of Fort Amsterdam, from there is a nice view of Philipsburg and Point Blanche Cruise Ship Terminal,. We spent hours there watching pelicans catch fish in blue waters down the cliff.

Sint Maarten
3D view of Maho Beach in Sint Maarten

Yes, we have to mention famous “Maho Beach”. The best time is after 1pm, when KLM / Airfrance jumbo jet is landing. It is really spectacular moment, quick and scary. Expect to see lots of tourists with cameras there.

 

Ultimate Fall Colour Adventure Contest runs until October 9, 2015

If you’ve ever visited Grey County during the fall, you know we’ve got something special here. From blazing colours atop the Niagara Escarpment to warm sunny days topped with crisp fall nights, from bustling farmer’s markets to orchards and vineyards tucked away in the Beaver Valley, fall in Grey County is a truly epic experience.

This fall, we’ve been sharing those fall touring opportunities with folks far and wide via a giant Facebook campaign. We’ve mailed out over 3000 packages with maps, brochures and information for those hoping to visit. At the heart of our campaign is the Ultimate Fall Colour Adventure Contest which will see one lucky winner walk away with a fabulous fall tour of Grey County, valued at over $3000. The contest runs until, October 9, 2015.

News From St.Kitts . August 2015 issue

St. Kitts Tourism Updates 

What’s New and Noteworthy on Island

Basseterre, St. Kitts –– The St. Kitts Tourism Authority summarizes the most recent tourism-related news, events and developments from the island, as follows-

Visitor Arrivals:

A proactive approach to building and supporting airlift services from key source markets continues to produce positive results.  Full year 2014 year-to-date scheduled arrivals posted a 6.5% year-over-year gain as compared to full year 2013.  From North America, total arrivals also continue to register strong growth, posting a 7.1% year-over-year increase.  For the first six months of 2015, system-wide scheduled arrivals posted a 6.7% increase over the same period in 2014.  From North America, total arrivals posted a 6.4% year-over-year increase.  Contributing to the continued growth are the capacity increases from the second Miami weekend flights, Seaborne and the additional April operations of Air Canada and Delta.  Delta is once again operating non-stop flights to St. Kitts from ATL year-round, plus the flight will be returning early from its fall hiatus with operations resuming as of November 7, 2015; American Airlines provided double daily flights during the holiday period from December 18, 2014 through January 12, 2015.  American Airlines also added Sunday non-stop flights from JFK operating June 21 through August 16, 2015, which complement the carrier’s Saturday non-stop JFK-SKB flights. In May 2015, St. Kitts welcomed new 3x weekly (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) non-stop flights from Barbados on Liat, complementing the carrier’s daily service to island from Antigua and St. Maarten. Further, Seaborne Airlines and JetBlue Airways, which is the largest carrier flying into San Juan, have finalized terms to begin a codeshare marketing relationship, expanding upon the carriers’ successful interline agreement in place since 2013, making St. Kitts will a JetBlue destination, with JetBlue flights from the US via San Juan to St. Kitts available for booking.  On August 10, it was announced that United Airlines is launching inaugural non-stop service from its New York hub at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to St. Kitts. Starting December 19, 2015, the flights will operate weekly on Saturdays through April 30, 2016.

Private Jet Terminal:

Construction is complete on the new private jet terminal, which opened in June 2014. The private jet terminal is a world-class facility at St. Kitts’ Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport located west of the main airport parking apron.  It consists of world class YU Lounge arrival and departure lounges, a dedicated crew lounge, a business center and related offices and processing facilities, as well as an elegantly landscaped courtyard.  YU Lounge services include greeting on the runway and transportation in a luxury vehicle to the facility, baggage handling, seamless customs and immigration processing, mouth-watering finger foods and complimentary beverages. Available to guests arriving by private jet or commercial aircraft, amenities of the facility include Apple computers, plush seating areas, bathrooms including showers and an outdoor lounge area (in the departures lounge). Further, the facility features fully equipped meeting rooms with complimentary wi-fi, device charging facilities, gourmet catering services and dedicated secretarial services. For private aircraft the facility provides a diverse range of FBO and aircraft dispatch services, including specialized and tailored services to accommodate operators and executives. The total cost of the final project estimated at US $15 million. The terminal has been constructed by Veling Limited and operated by Leeward Flight Services with full ownership to be transferred to The St. Christopher Air and Sea Ports Authority (SCASPA) at the end of the concession contract period.  Veling Limited is a global aviation solution provider with offices in Mauritius and London.  The architect and interior decorator for the new terminal is internationally acclaimed Bobby Mukherji & Associates, one of India’s top ten design firms.

New Resort Developments:

Kittitian Hill – As of December 2014, the 84-unit cottage hotel plus with seven, four-bedroom Farmhouses named ‘Belle Mont Farm’ is open to welcome guests.  Kittitian Hill has also opened The Kitchen Restaurant and The Mill Bar, also making their formal debut in December 2014.   Belle Mont Farm on Kittitian Hill immerses guests in local culture and heritage, an organic farming community, and distinct farm-to-table culinary experiences. Wellness offerings elevate mind, body and spirit. Kittitian Hill’s organic farm offers a world-class collection of exotic fruits and vegetables, with accommodations thoughtfully sowed in the landscape. Designed by award-winning world-renowned architect Bill Bensley, the hotel features panoramic views of the Caribbean Sea and neighbouring islands such as St Barths. Belle Mont Farm amenities include the Irie Fields Golf Course and The Workshop fitness centre. Set on a stunning 400-acre hillside site in the Northern part of St. Kitts, Kittitian Hill will upon completion consist of a cottage style hotel, creative arts centre, golf course and destination spa featuring indigenous treatments. Kittitian Hill is a contemporary Caribbean community for sustainable luxury living founded on the principles of holistic development based on environmental and community responsibility.  It is a member of the Preferred Residences® exchange network, a hospitality branded membership and exchange program for luxury shared ownership resorts offered by an operating business of Interval Leisure Group.

Park Hyatt – Groundbreaking on the Park Hyatt hotel at Banana Bay, Christophe Harbour, took place on June 3, 2013 and construction is underway on several buildings.  The final project will feature 200 hotel rooms and 50 branded residential condominiums. Phase One of construction has begun and will include the completion of 134 hotel guest rooms and related service facilities, conceptualized around a Caribbean village theme. Phase One of construction is scheduled for completion in late spring 2016.  The second phase of construction will include the completion of the remaining guest rooms and additional facilities. Development continues on the Christophe Harbour marina, with the naturally protected harbor to include 300 berths with the ability to accommodate the world’s largest superyachts, with the first yachts welcoming ceremony held at the end of 2014 and the official opening held on February 14, 2015marking completion of Phase One of the marina development. Christophe Harbour has also constructed an authentic, upscale beach club with a dock located around the old salt factory at WhiteHouse Bay, named SALT Plage, which opened in June 2014. The Christophe Harbour Development Company, Ltd (CHDC) is the master developer for Christophe Harbour, a luxury resort development currently underway.  Located on 2,500+ acres of the southeastern peninsula of St. Kitts, plans include a mega-yacht harbor, marina, Tom Fazio championship golf course and an impressive collection of restaurants, shops, boutiques, five-star hotels, oceanfront and hillside homesites and villas. Kier, a global construction company based in the UK and a publicly listed FTSE 250 company, is the main contractor for Phase One of the construction of Park Hyatt St. Kitts.  Kier’s plans for the development include providing employment in construction and maximizing the use of local materials and resources.  Approximately 350 construction jobs and additional training program jobs are expected to be created in Phase One.

Embassy Suites by Hilton St. Kitts – Announced on May 6, 2015 by Hilton Hotels following the signing of a franchise agreement with Caribbean-based developers Sterling Developments, the 226-suite hotel is currently in construction and scheduled to debut in the first quarter of 2017.  The condo hotel complex will include six towers, 3,847 square feet of meeting space, an infinity pool, a fitness center spa and kids’ club.  All Embassy Suites by Hilton signature spacious signature suites will have direct views of the Caribbean as well as a separate living area, private bedroom and wet bar fitted with a microwave, mini-fridge and coffee maker.  The new hotel will also offer the Embassy Suites brand’s signature features, such as an inviting atrium environment, where guests will have access to complimentary cooked-to-order breakfast and Evening Reception with complimentary appetizers and beverage. Restaurant facilities on the resort will include a three-meal restaurant, a specialty restaurant, and a pool and beach bar. The Embassy Suites by Hilton St. Kitts will be located in Pelican Bay, which is an exclusive private cove nestled on seven acres of gently sloping land, cascading down to a private beach on the Caribbean side of the island. Once complete, the hotel will offer easy access to the area’s main roads and downtown attractions, and is only 10 minutes away from Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport. The Embassy Suites will be Hilton’s first property in St. Kitts & Nevis.  Hilton Worldwide currently has 20 hotels open or in the pipeline throughout the Caribbean. Groundbreaking for the US $90 million development took place on March 11, 2013.

Koi Resort & Residences – First announced in February 2013, the first concrete pour took place in September 2014 and construction is underway on the US $180 million 298-unit Koi Resort & Residences in St. Kitts’ Half Moon Bay.  Piling has been completed and Phase One is scheduled for completion in December 2015 and will include the development’s first 80 rooms along with its beach bar, spa, conference room and fitness facility.  Situated on 16 acres of prime beachfront property adjacent to the Royal St. Kits Golf Club, it will feature 24 Half Moon Villas and 12 waterside villas with the rest being studio and one-bedroom units.  The mixed-use resort development will also include the renowned Koi Restaurant, beach club, and an exclusive ultra-lounge, all with a design that will combine colonial and modern architecture to capture the definition of rustic luxury.  An internationally-known brand with properties in the US, Thailand and Abu Dhabi, Koi Resort & Residences will blend the natural beauty of its beachfront location to create an architectural story of one living with nature.  All luxury villas and suites will have sweeping ocean views and guests will have access to a variety of state of the art resort features upon completion, including banquet and special event facilities, bars and restaurants, a destination spa, swimming pools and a wide variety of sports and leisure activities.

Imperial Bay Beach & Golf Residences – The US $10 million Imperial Bay Beach & Golf Residences broke ground on March 11, 2013 with construction, now well underway, having started at the end of May 2014.  The target date for completion of the project has been set for the second half of 2015.  Buildings 1 and 2, on which structures are completed and finishes have recently started, will house 12 units each on two levels. Buildings 3 and 4, which have started work on the second and third levels, will have three levels with each comprising 18 units and buildings 5 and 6, which are in the final stage of completing works on the first level, will also have three levels with a small basement with each building comprising 18 units, office and storage space. Set in St. Kitts’ Half Moon Bay adjacent to the Koi Resort & Residences, the project consists of six two- and three-story buildings housing 86 contemporary and traditionally-styled one bedroom condominium units with Atlantic Ocean views of Nevis as well as views of a lake and the Royal St. Kitts Golf Course.  It will also feature a common area with an office and leisure room, a swimming pool and manicured landscaping.

Silver Reef Resort – Phase One and Two of construction on this 90-room luxury residential development, which began in April 2011 and consisted of 36 one- and two-bedroom apartments each, is complete.  Groundbreaking for the Final Phase of construction took place on January 16, 2014.  Located at the front of the property, it will consist of two additional buildings comprised of three-bedroom apartments that are each 1,650 square feet.  These three-bedroom units will be the resort’s premium product and boast access to its three pools as well as views of the Royal St. Kitts golf course.   Set in the Frigate Bay area of St. Kitts adjacent to the Royal St. Kitts Golf Course and ten minutes outside Basseterre, this US $30 million development features villas and apartments in one- and two-bedroom configurations with spectacular views of both the Caribbean and Atlantic.  Silver Reef Resort also features landscaped gardens and freeform, infinity-edge swimming pools.  Built eco-sensitively, it employs a combination of common sense principles like orienting the buildings to optimize the breeze, recycling grey water, use of solar power and sourcing local materials to minimize the carbon footprint.

Pirate’s Nest Resort – Pirate’s Nest is a US $40 million, 246-room condominium hotel project in Frigate Bay being developed by T-Loft Property Development. Located on a 7.1-acre site, it will feature 41 condominium units in six independent buildings, each with three floors.  Groundbreaking took place in December 2013 and construction began in February 2015.

Existing Resort Developments:

Ocean Terrace Inn – Following an extensive renovation including rooms, restaurants and public spaces taking place in 2014 and early 2015, this iconic St. Kitts property reopened April 1, 2015.  The Ocean Terrace Inn (OTI) will now be marketed as a four-star property and feature 50 rooms and suites, each with their own private patio or balcony and a bright new Caribbean look.  There will be free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel and connections in guestrooms as well as a focus on hospitality and service to deliver a memorable experience.  The former Waterfalls restaurant has undergone a remodeling and will reopen as The Verandah, featuring Caribbean-Asian Fusion cuisines and sweeping views over the harbor and Basseterre.  The restaurant earns its name from its nine-foot wrap-around verandah, with seating either inside or outside. Located across the street and stretching out over the water, the property’s Fisherman’s Wharf restaurant was transformed in December 2013 with a contemporary modern decor and colorful accessories, open Display Kitchen, new Bar & Lounge and refreshed menus.

New Tourism Attractions:

St. Kitts Eco-Park – Tucked quietly into the hillside of the northern portion of St. Kitts, the 20-acre  St. Kitts Eco-Park is the island’s newest tourism attraction.  Created by the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis and the Republic of China (Taiwan) working in collaboration, it opened its doors to the public in November 2014.  The Park boasts the Caribbean’s largest greenhouse and offers picturesque scenic views of Mount Liamuiga, Brimstone Hill and the neighboring islands of St. Eustasius, Saba and even St. Barts.  Visitors can explore the St. Kitts Tourist Center and the Taiwan Tourist Center to learn more about both cultures as well as how the Park integrates the ideas and practice of tourism, agriculture and green energy.  For example, solar panels provide a significant portion of the Farm’s energy and all buildings were constructed using GRC (glass-fiber reinforced concrete) material, which is three times lighter and five times harder than normal concrete.  Guests can stroll the expansive grounds and enjoy focal spots like the medicine herbs garden with plants from both countries, the open-air tea house, the rose garden, the butterfly orchard, the desert plants garden, and a wide range of tropical fruit trees and crops. A visual highlight of the Farm is the “Sugarcane Labyrinth” shaped to represent both St. Kitts & Nevis and Taiwan, commemorating the sugar industry that was once an economic driver in both nations.  Inside the greenhouse, discover a large central space filled with plants as well as a dedicated area for growing different varieties of orchid.  The entrance fee for visitors is just US $8 per adult and US $4 per child.

Upcoming Events:

20th Annual St. Kitts Music Festival – For those who like to plan ahead, the dates for the next year’s St. Kitts Music Festival have been set for Thursday, June 23 through Saturday, June 25, 2016. Particularly for lovers of music and travel, this event is an ideal opportunity to combine a Caribbean island getaway with a fantastic musical event.  Taking place over the course of three nights, the sounds of popular local and international performers can be heard throughout Warner Park Stadium, where the event is held each year.  Having become known for featuring a mix of musical styles on the market, including R&B, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Reggae and more, there are sure to be songs for nearly everyone’s musical preference. Past artists have included such top acts as John Legend, Jason Derulo, Ciara, Trey Songz, T-Pain, Michael Bolton, KC & the Sunshine Band, Wyclef Jean, Air Supply, Billy Ocean, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Sean Paul, King Konris, Stephen Marley, Biggie Irie and Maxi Priest.  For the latest news and updates about this year’s event, follow the St. Kitts Music Festival on Facebook.  Videos of past Festivals can also be found on YouTube.

Recently Earned Awards & Recognitions 

With various new luxury developments making debuts in 2014 – including the openings of Belle Mont Farm at Kittitian HillSalt Plage beach bar and the super-yacht marina at Christophe Harbour, and the YU Lounge Private Jet Terminal, all taking place within the past year – a number of top publications have named the island among the hottest places to travel for 2015.  Here are just a few of the most recent-

 

About St. Kitts:

Located in the northern Leeward Islands of the Caribbean, St. Kitts offers a diverse tourism product developed from the destination’s natural beauty, cultural heritage and rich history.  The island’s stunning variety of tourism attractions include hiking or ziplining through the tropical rainforest, riding the Caribbean’s only scenic passenger which connects the island’s former sugar plantations, visiting the Caribelle Batik factory, and touring Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, which is the only man-made UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Eastern Caribbean. Among the more traditional vacation pastimes available are watersports, golf, shopping, tennis, dining, gaming at St. Kitts’ exclusive casino or simply relaxing on a sandy beach.  Accommodations range from intimate plantation inns to larger hotels and resorts.

For more information about St. Kitts, please contact the St. Kitts Tourism Authority toll free from the US at 1-800-582-6208 or from Canada 1-888-395-4887, e-mail info@stkittstourism.kn, visit www.stkittstourism.kn, or connect on FacebookTwitter and/or YouTube.

GREAT Value: 10 Free, Affordable and Unique Tours in Britain

6724There are so many free or affordable walking tours to choose from in Britain, delving into subjects from literature and art, to music and LGBT heritage. Get your walking shoes on!

  1. Charles Dickens walk around London – Free App

Follow the author’s footsteps around London with this app. You’ll be guided by GPS with suggestions for pubs along the way. Approximately two hours, search for ‘Walking with Dickens’ in the app store. www.dickenslondontours.co.uk

  1. The World Heritage Site Audio Tour of Bath, England – Free

Take yourself on a journey through Bath’s captivating sights, such as The Royal Crescent and Assembly Rooms. The tour comes with a free route map and 12 chapters/audio files. www.visitbath.co.uk

  1. Shakespeare Tour of Stratford upon Avon, England – $12 (£6)

Walk in William Shakespeare’s footsteps where he was born and buried. Highlights include the River Avon, Royal Shakespeare Theatre and Holy Trinity Church. Approximately two hours. www.stratfordtownwalk.co.uk

  1. Banksy tour of Bristol, England – $18.50 (£9.20)

Fans of provocative artist Banksy will love this street-art tour. What’s special about this tour is that the guides live and work in the local street art community. Approximately two hours. www.wherethewall.com/tours

  1. Food tour of East London – Pay What You Want

Eat like a king while spending only a few pounds. Sample samosas, taste the fish and chips voted ‘Best in London’ and peruse the hippest food trucks. Approximately two hours, suggested sampling cost $20-30 (£10-15). www.freetoursbyfoot.com

  1. LGBT Heritage tour of Manchester, England – $16 (£8)

Follow the stone rainbow flags to discover 200 years of LGBT life. Tour includes Mantos, the Gay Villages first openly gay bar and the statue of Alan Turing, the World War 2 mathematician persecuted for his homosexuality. Approximately 2 hours. www.manchesterguidedtours.com

  1. Mural Tour of Derry, Northern Ireland – $8 (£4)

Derry is divided culturally by hundreds of years of conflict by opposing religions. This historical tour explores the artistry and religious and political statements. Plus there’s free tea or coffee! Approximately one hour. www.derrycitytours.com

  1. Fear and Loathing in Cardiff tour, Wales – $12 (£6)

Wandering among Cardiff’s glorious gothic revival architecture, this tour takes in treachery, torture, execution, war, battles and piracy. Approximately two hours. www.cardiffwalkingtours.com

  1. Musical tour of Glasgow, Scotland – Free

Tour Glasgow to a soundtrack that features interviews with bands like Mogwai. You’ll find Franz Ferdinand’s Chateau and discover Glasgow’s cool underground scene. Download the tour through the Guidigo app and search for ‘Walking Heads.’ Four walks, all approximately one hour. www.walkngheads.net

  1. Rebus tour of Edinburgh, Scotland – $20 (£10)

Ian Rankin explores contemporary Edinburgh in his best-selling crime novels. Led by entertaining and knowledgeable guide Colin, the tour takes in locations featured in the books. Approximately two hours. www.rebustours.com

For more deals and discounts visit the VisitBritain Shop: https://www.visitbritainshop.com/

Info provided by:  Cathy Stapells

News from Montreal Tourism, Fall 2015 issue

Le 19 août 2015

Fall is an awesome time to be in Montréal. Things get cooking city-wide with three major food fests, a major photo exhibition and the best and brightest in new cinema. Plus, culture vultures can take in oodles of contemporary dance, a major indie music fest and a glittering line-up in symphony, ballet and the opera. Be here!

Visit the blog and see what’s happening in Montréal

Montréal indulges

Montréal’s got a crave-worthy calendar of events cooking for foodies. From August 20 to 24, Omnivore  features the freshest new talents in the SAT’s Foodlab kitchens. Celebrated Montréal chefs dazzle taste buds at the YUL EAT Festival in the Old Port, September 5 to 7. And MTL à TABLE  invites everyone to explore the city’s ebullient restaurant scene, October 29 to November 8. New food trends, up-and-coming chefs, cranked-up culinary classics, demos, dinners, parties: all this and more on the Montréal menu!

Montréal shows off

Montréal’s cultural calendar shines big and bright this autumn. Sensory Stories  at the Phi Centre invites visitors to rediscover narrative through virtual, interactive and immersive experiences until September 27. The World Press Photo  exhibition at Marché Bonsecours captures hearts and minds with prizewinning images until September 27, while the Festival du nouveau cinéma  provides a one-of-kind film fix by reeling in the planet’s newest and hottest works and talents from October 8 to 19.

Montréal is seriously festival

Fall’s bona fide festival time in Montréal too. Proving it is Festival Quartiers Danses  , which kicks it up with a fresh program of contemporary dance from September 9 to 20. On its heels is POP Montréal  , where seasoned and emerging musicians and plenty more happenings rock the city from September 16 to 20. The three-year-old Phénomena Festival  brings more boundary-pushing performances from October 16 to 23, while M for Montréal breaks out a huge new line-up of genre-spanning music, November 18 to 21.

Montréal keeps it classy

Montréal rolls out the red carpet to the classics this fall, with Maestro Kent Nagano conducting emBolero at the Maison symphonique de Montréal from October 20 and 21. The Opéra de Montréal thrills audiences with the emotion and intensity of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly  and Strauss’s Elektra  in September and November, respectively. And dance lovers can watch and wonder as the Grands Ballets steps it up with Kaguyahime  by choreographer Jiří Kylián, October 15 to 30.

New guided tour of the Olympic Park

As the Olympic Park’s 40th Anniversary fast approaches, we are offering guided tours that will teach you all about the highlights and proud moments of this mythic place  —located right in the city. The one-hour visit will take you on an informative tour of the Stadium and its brand new installations, showcasing the architectural masterpiece and its stunning history.

Race4Food

Three all-out food races around the Eaton Centre Food Court, with $1500 in prizes to be won! Place an order with a competitor, and they race around the food court at top speed to deliver the meal as fast as they can, without making any mistakes. Information at montrealeatoncentre.com

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CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel – The Exhibition
Until October 12
The chance to fully engage in the artwork in a way never before possible.

Gardens of Light
September 4 to November 1
This fall, the Chinese and Japanese Gardens will be offering two brilliant experiences you’re sure to enjoy.

24 Free Things To Do In Britain

Visit Britain

1. Many British museums and galleries offer free entry. Try former brewery The Tetley for modern art in Leeds, northern England or, for something tangier, Colman’s Mustard Museum in Norwich, eastern England. There’s also the British Museum, National Gallery, Tate Britain, Tate Modern in London, Tate Liverpool in… Liverpool (unsurprisingly) and hundreds more. http://thetetley.org, www.mustardshopnorwich.co.uk

2. Similarly, few of Britain’s famous churches levy visitors. Consider the Romanesque splendour of Durham Cathedral in northeastern England, or, in December, King’s College Chapel’s famous Christmas Eve carol service in Cambridge, an hour above London via train. Start queuing before 9am to guarantee entry. www.durhamcathedral.co.uk, www.kings.cam.ac.uk

3. While paid-for boat trips out into southwestern Wales’ Cardigan Bay give visitors the best chance of watching dolphins, climbing to the overlooking village of Mwnt makes an ace budget alternative. www.discoverceredigion.co.uk

4. Tickets to many BBC shows in London, Sheffield, Birmingham, Belfast and other cities aren’t priced; check www.bbc.co.uk/showsandtours/tickets/index.html for the latest availability.

5. Peckish? Entry to August’s Clitheroe Food Festival in northwestern England is gratis, as are its demos and near-limitless sampling nibbles. clitheroefoodfestival.com

6. There’s no charge for staring at the Cerne Abbas Giant, a huge chalk sculpture in Dorset, southern England, and one of Britain’s finest man-made landmarks. Nor at Hadrian’s Wall, which spans the length of far northern England. www.nationaltrust.org.uk, www.visitnorthumberland.com

7. A true Northern Irish landmark, the 125ft-high Scrabo Tower has wondrous views over Strangford Lough, just south-east of Belfast. No disbursement is needed to climb up. www.discovernorthernireland.com

8. Or there are complimentary natural wonders. Up in Scotland, Ben Nevis is the UK’s highest mountain, but can be climbed in four hours. Ninety minutes’ drive west of Cardiff, Wales’s Rhossili Bay is a regular in charts of the world’s best beaches. http://ben-nevis.com, www.visitswanseabay.com

9. Look out for Common Blues and rare Marsh Fritillaries for no cost at Dunsdon Nature Reserve in south-western England: the marshy meadows attract hosts of butterflies, particularly in May and June. www.devonwildlifetrust.org

10. One of the Northern Irish capital’s grandest buildings, Belfast City Hall offers free, one-hour tours (Monday-Friday, 11am, 2pm & 3pm; Saturdays 2pm & 3pm) on a first-come, first-served basis. www.belfastcity.gov.uk

11. A fun, modern form of treasure-hunting, geocaching necessitates only a GPS device (i.e. your phone) and some common sense. Themed trails can act as an introduction to scenic British spots – for example, the Brecon Beacons Collection in eastern Wales. www.geocaching.com

12. When a major auction house – Christie’s in London, say, or Birmingham’s Fellows – has a big sale, why not go and view the lots, posing as a would-be buyer? No dues are required to do so. www.christies.com, www.fellows.co.uk

13. While some Banksy works sell for millions, others by the mysterious graffiti artist remain open to all. Follow a Banksy Walking Tour around Bristol to spy some of the best-remaining pieces, beginning with The Grim Reaper on a harbourside houseboat. http://visitbristol.co.uk.

14. Alternatively, head to Crosby Beach, near Liverpool, to see the Another Place installation: 100 ghostly, life-size iron figures by sculptor Antony Gormley, sprawling almost one kilometre out to sea. www.visitliverpool.com

15. Free guided walks, taking in the iconic Royal Crescent, are available in Bath, southwestern England. Further north, choose between culture and architecture by downloading the no-cost Manchester Walking Tours app to your iPhone. www.bathguides.org.uk, https://itunes.apple.com

16. Every August, Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival incorporates thousands of freebie arts shows – drama, comedy, cabaret, spoken word and so on. Wander the city’s cobbled Royal Mile to collect flyer invitations. www.edfringe.com

17. Other than the expenditure of hiring a two-wheeler, Britain’s bicycle routes are free to enjoy. An hour from London, the Crab & Winkle Way is a leafy, seven-mile former railway line linking cathedral city Canterbury with the oyster-fishing hub of Whitstable. www.sustrans.org.uk

18. How about a free festival? There’s London’s famous Notting Hill Carnival on the August Bank Holiday weekend, or the Cardiff Summer Festival, a blur of street theatre, music and funfair rides. http://thenottinghillcarnival.com, www.cardiff-festival.com

19. City farms will delight small children, with pattable horses, mucky pigs and cuddly little lambs. There’s one within Birmingham’s Sheldon Country Park and also Rice Lane in Liverpool; entry to both is on the house. http://birmingham.gov.uk, http://ricelanecityfarm.org.uk

20. While Stonehenge charges visitors, Northern Ireland’s equivalent does not. The seven Beaghmore Stone Circles, a 90-minute drive west from Belfast, are wild and atmospheric; one, known as Dragon’s Teeth, boasts some 800 separate slabs. www.discovernorthernireland.com

21. One of Britain’s classic royal spectacles, Changing of the Guard ceremonies outside London’s Buckingham Palace don’t cost a penny to view. www.changing-the-guard.com

22. Just up the Norfolk coast is Britain’s best seal hotspot. Take a long-lens camera to Blakeney Point’s saltmarshes in December and you’ll get to see hundreds of cute grey seal pups. www.nationaltrust.org.uk

23. During September weekends in Scotland, Doors Open Days scheme enables complimentary access to a variety of heritage sites, buildings, farms and more. Last year’s highlights included Glasgow Cathedral and creative offices at Dundee’s waterfront District 10 development. www.doorsopendays.org.uk

24. Sure, some of Wales’ 400 castles impose an entry tariff; but not the little-known Dryslwyn – despite the fabulous Towy Valley views from its regal hilltop perch. http://cadw.wales.gov.uk