Showing posts from January, 2010

The Charles Taylor Writer's Circle

The Charles Taylor Writers Circle on television tonight
Seamus O"Regan has an intimate conversation with the four Short Listed authors

TV personality Seamus O'Regan hosts a personal and revealing televised conversation with all four authors shortlisted for the 2010 Prize on Sunday, January 31st at 7:00 p.m. Bravo! Television will be airing The Charles Taylor Writer's Circle. a half-hour show featuring all four authors shortlisted for The 2010 Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction. The four authors talk unscripted with CTV's Seamus O'Regan in this special edition of the weekly Arts&Minds program.

Taped in Toronto's famed Masonic Temple before a live studio audience, this special edition of Arts&Minds features an intimate conversation with the four CTP finalists that gives the audience a first-hand account of the inspiration behind the authors' books, and an opportunity to speak directly to the authors and ask questions, town-hall style.

The 201…

Talk up Cayman's East End diving and you get the Black Dot


Warning to Cayman’s Rick the Pirate:
Talk up East End diving and you get the Black Dot.
By Stephen Weir
Diver Magazine November 2006

Rick the Pirate needs to be seriously bribed. The next diver to visit Georgetown, Grand Cayman owes it to the scuba community to slip a C-note to the official Caribbean island greeter and ask him not to tell people just how good the diving is on the Island’s remote East End.
Rick the Pirate is an American born, Cayman resident and works for a number of the fine shops in Georgetown. Every morning he puts on his hoop-earrings, knee high boots and sword and heads down to the waterfront. When he’s feeling particularly piratey he sticks a flintlock pistol into his wide black belt. His job is to “Ahoy” loudly at every “bilge rat” sporting an Hawaiian shirt and Tilley Hat that passes through the cruise ship gates. He posses for pictures with the Lubbers and recommends the best places to shop, to drink grog, to sunbathe and to dive.
“Arr Matey” said the 6ft somet…

Ottawa Winterlude – where a million people come to chill


Toronto, January 13, 2010 – It's a mid-winter post-holidaze festival. Ottawa is once again getting ready to launch Winterlude, a two week February celebration of the best the season has to offer.
The annual festival runs from February 5th to February 21st and presents a variety of amazing winter weather activities including, skating, skiing, dog sledding, an outdoor animated shorts film festival with a snow screen and even an outdoor musical concert featuring music performed on instruments made out of ice. And, don’t forget the food, indoors many restaurants have created an affordable Taste of Winterlude culinary program, while outside, ice hog grog and hot beaver tails (pastries) are mainstays.
Each year, over 1-million Canadian and international visitors experience the cold weather sights and sounds of dozen and dozens of Winterlude events (most of them free), including the largest skating rink in the world (the Rideau Can…

A Galapagos Shark Encounter

High Impact Eco-Tourism A Galapagos Shark Encounter

By Stephen Weir
in the Galapagos Islands
A mammoth shark to the left, an equally hefty one to the right. Two noble sharks so huge that as they glided by I could feel the wake of the water as it was pushed across their broad three-metre-long frames. In a snap I'd gone from a happy-go-lucky Galapagos Islands tourist to being the jam in a shark tooth sandwich.

For scuba divers, the Galapagos Archipelago is the place to see schoolinghammerhead sharks, sleepy white tip reef sharks and the odd whale or two. Like most divers, I'm not averse to swimming with sharks. But when the sharkis bigger, wider [THAN ME] and of a species suspected to enjoy the tasteof [HUMAN] flesh, well, it is time to reflect on why one got into the waterin the first place.
The Galapagos Islands are unique. Situated on the equator some 950 kilometres west off the coast of Equador, this remote volcanic archipelago remains much as it was millions of years ago. Its u…

SIDEBAR: Galapagos Diving - If You Go

Side Bar: Ecuador Hot Spot for Diving and Volcanoes

Ah, Ecuador. Erupting volcanoes are your fitting metaphor. This is a democratic country where the president's name is pencilled in, foreign workers disappear into the amazing rain forest and the national currency takes a dump - daily. [Ecuador got rid of its currency - the sucra - after this article was written and adopted the US dollar as its currency of record]
For the most part I was on tour with the Quito-based Metropolitan Touring Company. This is a family-run business that gives five-star service and tries to leave nothing to luck. But, as chance would have it, a few things beyond their control did occur, including the following:
Volcanoes. An inability to speak Spanish left me ignorant of the fact that, while I was in Quito, a nearby volcano had started to spew smoke and ash. I thought the locals wore face masks because of industrial pollution!
Funny money. The dive shop charged me US$110 for the rental of the scuba gear, tw…

Winter Wonderland at The Lodge in Jackson Village


On-going series - hotels of note in the Granite State

It is a compliment when travellers leave notes that say things like “The Lodge at Jackson Village doesn’t really feel like a lodge”.
There is a good reason why the four season award-winning White Mountain inn doesn’t feel like a Lodge – it is too roomy to be called a Lodge. Built almost twenty years ago, the Lodge almost began life as a townhouse complex, that plan didn’t come to be; instead the project was modified to create an upscale 33-room hotel within walking distance of the picturesque and historic Jackson Village. The conversion has resulted in The Lodge having more spacious suites than what even the most discerning tourists would expect!
The Belcher family who own and operate the establishment operate The Lodge. Continental breakfasts are served mornings throughout the winter, and all guests are offered access to free snowshoes! The Lodge is located on the Ellis River, and more than …

I knew New Hampshire made a new brew map (Mr. Simpson would be very proud ... burp)

Beer Me Up Homer!
Homer Simpson might be able to smell a brewery 100kms away, but for the rest of the world a map sure comes in handy. New Hampshire is home to some of the best breweries not only in New England but in the United States , and, to help beer lovers find them, the tourism department has published an informative locator map and online brochure. Finding out where to find the best brew is only a mouse click away.
The new Brewery Map lists 16 establishments visitors should visit. The breweries range from small craft breweries like the Smuttynose Brewing Company in Portsmouth to the full scale Anheuser-Busch Brewery in Merrimack.
The Brewery Map explores the wide range of award-winning breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs located throughout the state and the fresh, handcrafted, New Hampshire-made beer found along the way.
By necessity the new publication hops all across the state. And while it is a full-bodied online brochure, it is also very stout with trivia. Each page of…