Sandman Inn & Suites Vernon Gets a Beautiful Renovation!

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Close to both Kalamalka and Okanagan Lakes and minutes from Silver Star Ski Resort, Sandman Inn & Suites Vernon has 86 beautifully renovated guest rooms simply waiting for you to enjoy.

Perfectly situated between Kelowna and Kamloops and surrounded by natural mountain splendor, Vernon is a great location for road trip stopovers, scenic interior sightseeing and business travels alike. Centrally located, this Sandman features everything from a business centre, high speed Internet, meeting and banquet facilities to a relaxing indoor pool. Whether you’re looking to visit the nearby Kalamalka and Okanagan Lakes, Silver Star Ski Resort, surrounding wineries, or you simply want a comfortable nights’ rest, conveniences like an on-site Denny’s 24 Hour Restaurant make this the ideal setting for all your needs.

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Red Bull Canada cancels Cold Rush 2015

Red Bull - Revelstoke

Photographer Credit: Bryan Ralph/Red Bull Content Pool

Due to compromised backcountry conditions, Red Bull Cold Rush will be cancelled in 2015. With safety as the major priority, the decision was made by event organizers to call off the freeski event.

“This event requires deep powder snow to be a success. Safety for athletes and delivering a premium, progressive ski contest are our ultimate goals for Red Bull Cold Rush. Unfortunately, conditions will not allow for either,” said Scott Jewett, National Event Manager.

As a world class ski event that showcases athletes in some of the most challenging natural backcountry terrain, the contest is ultimately at the mercy of nature. While Revelstoke Mountain Resort has terrific terrain and snow on resort, conditions in the remote backcountry regions unfortunately do not support the needs of the contest.

Red Bull Cold Rush is an important pillar of the Red Bull snow program that aims to offer the best and most progressive freeski action, and will return in the future when conditions permit.

March Break Slide In the City

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“Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!'” ~ Robin Williams

Spring comes but once a year, and it comes with a rebirth of flora, warmer weather, and a week (or two) dedicated to enjoying the change.

As far back as history has been recorded, people have celebrated the arrival of Spring—including the ancient Greeks and Romans, who were all about self-indulgence. Of course, those rowdy crowds centered their jamboree on their respect for Dionysus or Bacchus, the Greek and Roman gods of wine. But what we now know as Spring Break really began because of two events: When Fort Lauderdale built Florida’s first Olympic-size pool in 1928, and when MGM released Where The Boys Are in 1960.

College Coaches' Swim ForumFort Lauderdale’s pool, considered mammoth at the time, brought the nation’s top competitive swimmers to the city during their break from classes, and by the late ’30s, more than 1,500 student athletes were flocking to the city’s College Coaches’ Swim Forum. The first of these forums was hosted in 1938, and droves of college swimmers made Fort Lauderdale their exclusive Spring Break home well into the ’60s. By that time, non-student athletes began to take part in what these swimmers had created; Time first mentioned the phenomenon in their 1959 article titled “Beer & the Beach.”

Where The Boys AreA year later, MGM released Where The Boys Are, a coming-of-age film that followed four college women during their spring vacation. And just like everything in a postmodern society, reality reflects art. Spring Break became a very real thing for any collegiate male or female who wanted to escape to sand and sun. In 1986, MTV launched its first Spring Break special in Daytona Beach, Florida, and found an annual tradition in showing what really happens on this mid-semester get-away.

By the end of the ’80s, the city that first made Spring Break famous—as evidenced by the 370,000 students who invaded in 1985—said it had had enough of the raunchy and unruly guests it had invited all those years ago. The city adopted stricter public drinking laws, and then-mayor Robert Dressler went on Good Morning America to say that Spring Breakers weren’t welcome anymore. Of course, by that time, there were plenty of other cities hosting their own annual parties—ensuring that Spring Break is a tradition that won’t die out anytime soon.


Mississauga PoolPlanning on visiting Mississauga this March Break?

Stay at Sandman Signature Mississauga Hotel and enjoy a family-filled getaway sure to keep your kids busy and happy.

With an indoor, heated swimming pool and 3-storey waterslide, let your kids splash around while you relax poolside with your favourite book. What a perfect way to let your children blow off some steam!

Book now before this deal slides away.

Book Dates: now – March 21, 2015
Stay Dates: March 13 -21, 2015

Rate:

  • March 13 – 14, 19 – 21, 2015: starts at $139
  • March 15 – 18, 2015: starts at $149

Includes:

  • Accommodations
  • Access to indoor pool & 3-storey waterslide
  • Complimentary continental breakfast for up to 4 people per night (based on 2 adults and 2 children under 16 years of age)

For more information, click here. See you this spring!

Terms & Conditions: Rates based on two (2) adults and two (2) children under the age of 16 sharing accommodations. Subject to availability, taxes, and applicable fees. Cannot be combined with other offers. Blackout dates and other restrictions may apply. New bookings only.

Happy Chinese New Year!

year of the goatThe Spring Festival, or Chinese New Year, is the most important festival for Chinese people. Legend has it that in ancient times, there was a monster called “Nian” (“year”) that would come out to eat people and animals on the eve of every New Year. To avoid the monster’s attack, people would flee to the depth of the mountains and call this day “Nian Guan” (meaning “the Pass of Nian”). On one New Year’s Eve, there came an old beggar in Peach Blossom Village, where an old lady gave him some food and asked him to hide himself in the mountain to avoid the monster Nian. The old man promised that he could drive the monster away as long as he was put up for the night at the old lady’s home. Being unable to persuade the old man into hiding in the mountain, the old lady went alone. In the middle of the night, the monster Nian dashed into the village. He trembled and cried when he saw the red paper on the door of the old lady’s house, which was brightly lit. Just as the monster reached the entrance, there came blasting sounds that prevented him from moving any further. At that time, the old man, wearing a red robe, opened the door and the monster was scared away. After that, on every New Year’s Eve, every household would paste red couplets, lit off firecrackers, and lit candles, as well as stay awake all night, to avoid being attacked by the monster.

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China’s most important holiday

Chinese New Year is the longest national holiday in China, spanning a total of fifteen days, and New Year’s Day is the most important date in the Chinese calendar.

Although China has used the Gregorian calendar since 1912, Chinese New Year is based on the ancient Chinese lunar calendar, and it falls on the second new moon after winter solstice – somewhere between January 21 and February 19, meaning it changes from year to year.

It is pronounced “Gong Xi Fa Cai” in Mandarin and “Gong Hey Fat Choy” in Cantonese, although both are written the same way.

Roughly a sixth of the world will celebrate it

As well as being celebrated in China itself, celebrations occur in Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, and all countries where there are significant Chinese populations.

London and San Fransisco both claim to host the largest celebrations outside of Asia but celebrations occur in most Western countries.

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Goat or sheep?

2015 is the year of the goat, but you may see it referred to as the “Year of the Sheep”.

The confusion stems from the Chinese character “yang”, which can translate in colloquial Chinese as either sheep or goat.

Those born in 1919, 1931, 1943, 1967, 1979, 1991, or 2003 are goats, who can count their lucky colours as brown, red, and purple.

Their characters are kind and peaceable, while their best months are August and November and their lucky flowers are primroses and carnations.

Year of the Goat

The Year of the Goat is just one of the 12 Chinese zodiac signs and each animal is matched to the elements (gold, wood, water, fire, and earth). This, coupled with different emperor reigns, helped people to remember who was when, enabling the Chinese to trace back 3,000 years with great accuracy.

Personality of the Goat

People born in the Year of Goat are tender, polite, filial, clever, and kind-hearted. They have special sensitivity to art and beauty and a special fondness for quiet living. They are wise, gentle, and compassionate and can cope with business cautiously and circumspectly. In their daily life, they try to be economical. They are willing to take good care of others, but they should avoid pessimism and hesitation.
chinese red envelopeChildren will sleep with money under their pillow

Children will be given red envelopes filled with money to bring happiness and good fortune.

The envelopes themselves are good luck, as well as the contents, and some children will sleep with their envelopes under their pillow for up to seven days to increase their luck.

A common misconception is that everyone receives money from everyone as part of Chinese New Year celebrations. In fact, only people who are not married receive the red packets of money (hong bak) and only those who are married give them out.

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Lantern Festival

The final day of Chinese New Year celebrations, Day 15, is the Lantern Festival, where red lanterns are released into the sky. The Lantern Festival is one of China’s important traditional festivals and can be traced back more than 2,000 years. At the beginning of the Eastern Han Dynasty, Emperor Hanmingdi was an advocate of Buddhism. He heard that some monks lit lanterns in the temples to show respect to Buddha on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month. Therefore, he ordered all temples, households, and royal palaces to light lanterns on that evening. This Buddhist etiquette gradually formed a grand festival among people.

Another story states that the Lantern Festival was originated from the Torch Festival. During the Han Dynasty, people in rural areas held torches to scare away beasts and insects to reduce insect damages and pray for a good harvest. Nowadays, during the Lantern Festival, people in some areas of Southwest China still have the tradition of lighting torches made of branches or reeds and dance in groups in the fields. The Lantern Festival became very popular during the Sui, Tang, and Song dynasties about 1,000 years ago. According to historical records, during the festival, hundreds of thousands of singers and dancers participated in the celebration which lasted from morning until dawn.

Happy Chinese New Year from all of us at Sandman Hotel Group!

How ‘X’ became the universal symbol for a kiss

Reposted from mashable.com

Kiss

IMAGE: LUKE LEONARD/MASHABLE

You’ve certainly seen it at least once today, if not actually used it yourself. The “X” as a universal symbol for a kiss is firmly rooted in our lexicon. It’s become so familiar that we barely think about it, but how did this letter become shorthand for a sign of affection? We take a look at why X’s equal kisses, and ponder whether they still will in the future.

History and theories

The Oxford English Dictionary’s definition of the modern alphabet’s 24th letter says the X can be “used to represent a kiss, esp. in the subscription to a letter.” But it’s not just letters or notes anymore. We sign off our text messages, emails, and even comments on social sites with X’s.

Oxford’s earliest written reference of the X used as a kiss dates back to 1763, in a letter from the naturalist Gilbert White. In 1894, Winston Churchill also sent kisses in a letter: “Please excuse bad writing as I am in an awful hurry. (Many kisses.) xxx WSC.”

There are many theories as to how this came to be. One visual theory holds that an X looks like puckered lips.

We cut to the chase and asked Marcel Danesi, professor of anthropology at the University of Toronto and author of The History of the Kiss! The Birth of Popular Culture, about his take on the tradition.

“The X has always been a Christian symbol, and it is the first Greek letter in the name of ‘Christ,'” Danesi says. “As far as I can tell, official letters in the medieval period and even after were literally sealed with the X — sealed with a kiss of faith, I guess.”

Danesi also explains that illiterate people used the X to sign documents. It was customary for them to plant a physical kiss on the X.

“From this domain, the X jumped into another domain, also to signify kissing but a different kind of kissing — romantic, rather than religious. At some point, this became a symbolic practice among everyone,” he says.

This shift from religious to secular meaning seems to parallel the shift to secularism in the Renaissance. Danesi is quick to say that this is all speculative. “But if you look at the historical documents, it seems like a plausible scenario,” he says.

So if X means “kiss,” why does O mean “hug”? Said to be a North American invention, this seems to have a relatively simple reason. X’s and O’s go together (as in tic-tac-toe or naughts and crosses) and an O looks like circled arms creating a hug.

The future

There is no doubt the X is still being used today as the symbol for a kiss — or more loosely, affection — but will the cool kids of 2115 still be signing off their holographic texts with an X?

As software and mobile platforms get increasingly better at presenting graphics, emoticons and emoji have become more and more popular. There are a wealth of fun options available to anyone on iOS, for example, to represent a kiss.

And this may be the problem. There isn’t one clear contender for the most commonly used icon to take the place of an X — nothing as instantly recognizable, or so beautifully simple as a good, old-fashioned X.

But the X has represented a kiss on paper, and now on screens, for centuries. It’s not going to be edged out by an upstart emoticon any time soon.

Glitter & Glitz in the UK’s Northeast

 Written by Laura Ferry, curator and writer of WhatLauraLoves

Ladies and gents, if you haven’t sorted out your plans for a loved up Valentines Day, then look no further than Sandman Signature Newcastle Hotel.

The day of love has conveniently fallen on a Saturday this year, and with many of us off work for the weekend, it is the perfect opportunity to escape our everyday lives for a night of luxury at a top city centre hotel.

Arrive at the hotel for your overnight stay as part of the Loved Up Experience and be greeted by a beautiful single stem red rose and a bottle of Moet Champagne, waiting patiently in your King Room for your arrival.

Feast on a luxurious box of chocolates from exclusive chocolatier Hotel Chocolat as you plan how you’re going to spend your £50 Eldon Square shopping voucher after your full English breakfast the next day.

I was lucky enough to preview one of the rooms and let me tell you, they’re beautiful, especially when the scene was set with a gorgeous dress and accessories from local designer boutique, Love Niche.

With large windows letting an abundance of light flood into the room, crisp white premium bedding and a bright, spacious bathroom with a walk-in rain shower and complimentry designer toiletries, I couldn’t help but beam when walking into the room. If my husband treated me to this Valentines Day package, I would certainly feel like a princess.

What is really unique about Sandman Signature Newcastle Hotel is that over 50% of the rooms have fitted kitchens and the ones that don’t still have a microwave, fridge, wine glasses and tea and coffee making facilities.

The hotel offers a unique service at no extra cost where you can tell them the foods that you would like and they will pop to Waitrose and have them waiting for you in your in-room fridge. What a fabulous idea; why pay a small fortune for a bottle of wine in a hotel bar when you can have your favourite brand chilling for you in your room? This also gives you the option of cooking for your other half this Valentine’s Day or taking them out for a meal to one of the many fabulous restaurants in Newcastle if you want a night away from the stove.

With busy lives, many of us don’t have the time to organise a luxurious romantic getaway but with this Valentine’s Day Package, all you need to do is make a quick phone call to the hotel and the rest will be taken care of for you.

I’m sure you’re wondering how much a night of luxury costs at the Sandman Hotel? Much, much lower than I thought that’s for sure. Most hotels seem to inflate their prices spectacularly for February 14th but not the Sandman, as their Valentine’s Day Package provides very good value for money. Last week, we stayed at The Lowry Hotel in Manchester where the breakfast alone, for two plus tray charge, came to an eye watering £48.90.

You can spoil your loved one with rates starting from only £219 for a King Room and upgrades to suites are available for only a small amount more. I’m sure you’ll agree that you’ll be getting a night of splendour at an affordable price in a hotel that’s conveniently located in the heart of Newcastle.

Call the hotel on 0191 229 2600 to book and let your Valentine’s Day be the best one ever!

Love is in the air And it smells romantic!

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Valentine’s Day = Love & Romance.

Every February, across the world, candy, flowers, and gifts are exchanged between loved ones all in the name of romance.

Roses
The rose, which is undoubtedly the most popular flower in the world, speaks of love and has been the choice of lovers in every century. If you rearrange the letters of the word rose you get Eros, the god of Love.

Cupidcupid
Cupid was one of the gods of mythology. In Latin, the word Cupid means “desire”. Cupid is typically represented as a chubby, naked, winged boy or youth with a mischievous smile. He possessed a bow with a quiver of arrows by which he transfixed the hearts of youths and maidens. Cherubs are descendants of Cupid. They are depicted as lovable little winged creatures without arrows and quivers. Cherubs were typically not mischievous like Cupid.

Dinner and a movie are nice, but why not step it up? February 14th is the perfect excuse to go all out for a loved one and do something you normally wouldn’t do.


love_114016054Sparkling, wine, chocolates, breakfast in bed… No matter where you are in Canada, Sandman has the perfect, romantic packages to spoil your loved one.

Sandman Hotel & Suites Calgary Airport has an ideal romantic weekend getaway for you and your significant other. Each Romance Package includes:

  • Accommodations
  • $30 gift card to Moxie’s Grill & Bar
  • A bottle of sparkling wine
  • Late (2 pm) check-out

Celebrate love at Sandman Hotel Langley this Valentine’s Day with the ideal romantic getaway. Each Romance Package includes:

  • Accommodations in an Executive Queen Suite
  • A dozen roses
  • $10 gift voucher to Denny’s per night
  • A bottle of sparkling wine

Sandman Signature Langley Hotel would like to make this Valentine’s Day your best one yet. Each Romance Package includes:

  • Accommodations in the Executive Jacuzzi Suite
  • Sparkling wine
  • A dozen flowers
  • Chocolates

Every day is Valentine’s Day at Sandman Hotel Penticton. With beautiful surroundings and an array of activities, we know you will create unforgettable, romantic memories. Each Romance Package includes:

  • Accommodations
  • A bottle of sparkling wine
  • Chocolate covered strawberries

Book Sandman Signature Prince George Hotel‘s Romance Package and let us take care of the details. Each Romance Package includes:

  • Accommodations in the Honeymoon or Executive Jacuzzi Suite
  • A bottle of sparkling wine
  • A dozen roses
  • A box of chocolates

Everyone deserves a special Valentine’s Day which is why Sandman Hotel Saskatoon is offering two amazing packages, ensuring there is something for everyone.

Package 1

  • A box of chocolates
  • $50 gift card to Shark Club Bar & Grill
  • Complimentary upgrade to the next best room type

Package 2

  • $40 Denny’s gift card
  • Kids amenities (chocolates, chips, and candy)
  • Complimentary upgrade to the next best room type

Sandman Signature Toronto Airport Hotel would like to present you with the ideal romantic getaway for you and your significant other. Each Romance Package includes:

  • Accommodations in one of our romantic Signature Suites
  • A bottle of sparkling wine
  • Breakfast in bed

Enjoy a night of decadence in a Penthouse Suite at Sandman Signature Vancouver Airport Hotel & Resort. Each Romance Package includes:

  • A bottle of sparkling wine
  • Chocolate covered strawberries
  • $20 gift certificate to Chop Steakhouse & Bar

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Red Bull Cold Rush Postponed until March 23-26 due to current backcountry conditions

Competitors scope venue before the Red Bull Cold Rush, Silverton, Colorado on March 5th, 2012. Photographer Credit: Ian Fohrman / Red Bull Content Pool

Competitors scope venue before the Red Bull Cold Rush, Silverton, Colorado on March 5th, 2012. Photographer Credit: Ian Fohrman / Red Bull Content Pool

Due to unstable conditions in the backcountry, Red Bull Cold Rush will be postponed until March 23-26 when it will make its Revelstoke Mountain Resort debut.

With safety as the major priority, the decision was made by event organizers to delay the contest.

“Recent warming has impacted our venues in remote areas of the mountain over the last few days. Safety for athletes and delivering a premium, progressive ski contest are our ultimate goals for Red Bull Cold Rush. Unfortunately, current conditions will not allow for either.”  –  Scott Jewett, National Event Manager for Red Bull Canada

As a world class ski event that showcases athletes in some of the most challenging natural backcountry terrain, the contest is ultimately at the mercy of nature and unseasonably warm temperatures have made current conditions less than ideal outside of the resort’s boundaries.

Revelstoke Mountain Resort is excited to welcome the athletes and the event to their mountain later in the season and are looking forward to an awesome event! See you in March Red Bull Cold Rush!

In the meantime, join us at Revelstoke Mountain Resort for epic skiing, amazing terrain, and the most snow in Canada! We are definitely still open (and you won’t regret experiencing the most vertical in North America)!

Competitors prepare for their runs at Red Bull Cold Rush in Silverton, Colorado on March 6, 2012. Photographer Credit: Christian Pondella / Red Bull Content Pool

Competitors prepare for their runs at Red Bull Cold Rush in Silverton, Colorado on March 6th, 2012. Photographer Credit: Christian Pondella / Red Bull Content Pool

Visit Kamloops… Get a Gift Card!

Photo courtesy of Destination BC

Photo courtesy of Tourism Kamloops

Fun Facts about Kamloops (courtesy of Tourism Kamloops):

  • The annual average of sunny skies is 2,047 hours, with an annual rainfall of 217.9 mm.
  • Kamloops has a growing season of 166 days.
  • The city area covers 311 sq km (Manhanttan is 59.47 sq km with 10 x the population!)
  • There are 82 parks in Kamloops, covering a total of 1,350 hectares.
  • Kamloops is one of only two places in Canada where the two national railways (CP and CN) intersect in city limits.
  • Kamloops is 250 km north of the Washington border; 310 km northeast of Vancouver, and 4,387 km west of Toronto.
  • Kamloops comes from the Secwepemc word “T’Kumlups”, referring to the flowing together of the North and South Thompson rivers.
  • Europeans arrived in Kamloops around 1811.
  • In 1893, Kamloops was incorporated with less than 1,000 people. Today, it has a population of nearly 85,000 and growing.
  • Riverside Park used to be owned by James McIntosh, one of the most influential men in Kamloops’ early history. McIntosh was employed by HBC. He helped build some of Kamloops’ first roads, developed hydro-electric power for the town, and acted as magistrate. His property includes 100 acres right on the river, which was sold to the city after his death.
  • Kamloops was once home to famous Canadian poet Robert Service who wrote recognizable hits like “The Cremation of SamMcGee”. He used to work at the Commerce Bank, which is now know as the Brownstone Restaraunt.
  • In 1888, the first electric light was installed on the corner of 1st and Seymour near City Hall.
  • Kamloops is Canada’s Tournament Capital and hosts over 100 tournaments each year consisting of 27,878 participants.

SIG_Kamloops_Exterior9957-edit$20 Gift Card – Opening Special

Travelling to Kamloops this winter or spring?

Book any rate at Sandman Signature Kamloops Hotel through our website, mobile app, or by phone and stay before April 30, 2015 to receive your choice of a $20 gift card to Esso, Starbucks, or Shark Club Bar & Grill. Simply print the voucher below and redeem upon check-in to make your gift card selection.

Click here for voucher

In addition, receive 200 bonus points just for booking your stay at Sandman Signature Kamloops Hotel via the Sandman mobile app before April 30, 2015.

Click here for more information about Sandman’s mobile app.

Book/Stay Dates: now – April 30, 2015


Kamloops view

Sandman Signature Kamloops Hotel faces both Riverside Park and The Thompson River, is located directly across the street from the Interior Savings Centre, home of the Kamloops Blazers, and provides a relaxed, elegant comfort.

Each of the 202 beautifully appointed guest rooms at this downtown Kamloops hotel, including the 100 suites, provides the perfect setting to unwind. Relax by the indoor swimming pool and hot tub, enjoy a delicious meal at Shark Club Bar & Grill, or exercise in the state-of-the-art fitness room. Modern amenities, such as complimentary Internet access and a business centre, makes travelling for work or leisure easier and elegant.


Voucher restrictions: Offer valid until April 30, 2015. Maximum of one (1) voucher per stay and can only be redeemed upon check-in. Reservations must be made directly through the hotel, the Sandman website, the Sandman mobile app, or through Central Reservations. Third party reservations do not qualify. Mobile app bonus points will be awarded for Sandman Signature Kamloops Hotel reservations only. Bonus points will be allocated to the guest’s mobile app account after hotel check-out.

Red Bull Cold Rush Announces Athletes & Course Details

Photographer Credit Mike Arzt-Red Bull Content Pool

Sean Pettit hits the Castle Jump at Red Bull Cold Rush 2012 in Silverton, Colorado.                  Photographer Credit: Mike Arzt / Red Bull Content Pool

Invitations went out in early December to a select group of the top freeskiers around the world to meet in Revelstoke, BC for one of the biggest showdowns in the backcountry.

With Red Bull Cold Rush returning after a two year hiatus, athletes were quick to RSVP for a chance to take on a new mountain and claim a winning spot at the legendary contest. As an invitation only event, the 2015 athlete roster is stacked with some of the biggest names in the game featuring 15 male and 5 female competitors.

Being a multi-disciplinary event that fuses big mountain, cliffs, slopestyle, and touring, the competitors come from a diverse background. Athletes will be pushed well beyond their comfort zone in a contest that seeks to reward the most versatile all-around skier. Slopestyle skiers most comfortable with throwing big spins in the park will find themselves negotiating the steep alpine terrain and massive cliff drops of the upper area of Revelstoke Mountain Resort on Mount Mackenzie and traditional big mountain skiers will take on rails, kickers, and other custom built features. To help even the playing field, the contest will include a larger focus on ski touring allowing athletes to potentially recoup points lost in disciplines that are not their strong suit.

Photographer Credit Bryan Ralph-Red Bull Content Pool_2

The view from the top of the Slopestyle venue for Red Bull Cold Rush 2015 in Revelstoke.         Photographer Credit: Bryan Ralph / Red Bull Content

The brand new playing field at Revelstoke Mountain Resort features one of the most all-encompassing contest sites in freestyle skiing, offering an amphitheater of powder that hosts four distinct venues each catering to one of the specific contest disciplines.

Tasked with the job of preparing the venue is veteran builder/freestyle skier Riley Leboe (Vernon, BC) who has been building jumps for as long as he can remember. Of the four contest zones, it is the slopestyle venue that Leboe gets most excited about which will feature roughly eight or nine jump and step-downs where skiers will have a choice to hit three features at the top of the venue, mid mountain, or at the bottom.

Photographer Credit Bryan Ralph-Red Bull Content Pool

Freestyle skier Riley Leboe working on a jump at the Red Bull Cold Rush slopestyle venue.        Photographer Credit: Bryan Ralph / Red Bull Content Pool

“Athletes are going to have to nail three jumps in each line… it’s hard enough stomping one jump first try in the backcountry, so stomping three huge tricks out here is really going to show the level that freeskiing is at,” says Leboe.  Beyond the built up kickers, the slopestyle course also comes equipped with some challenging natural terrain like wind lips and a step over that competitors can take advantage of, allowing them to pick their own unique lines on the slope.

Riley Leboe, Nick Leboe, Tatum Monod work on building the bottom jumps for the Red Bull Cold Rush Slopestyle course. Photographer CreditBryan Ralph/Red Bull Content Pool

Riley Leboe, Nick Leboe & Tatum Monod building the Red Bull Cold Rush Slopestyle course.    Photographer Credit: Bryan Ralph / Red Bull Content Pool

Putting this all together takes a six-man crew a full week on the mountain constructing the features entirely by hand. As a competitor in the event himself, Leboe is the perfect candidate to oversee the design of the course, ensuring it is up to the safety and skill expectations of his fellow athletes. He isn’t merely building his own personal dream park as he relies on the close input of other competitors. Athletes Dane Tudor, Chris Rubens, and Tatum Monod have already made a trip to visit Leboe on the build site. Regardless of the competitive format, the close knit group of athletes supports one another to simply ski the best they possibly can.

Here are your Red Bull Cold Rush 2015 competitors:

Male

  • Bene Mayr (GER)
  • Sage Cattabriga-Alosa (USA)
  • Sean Pettit (CAN)
  • Dane Tudor (CAN)
  • Sammy Carlson (USA)
  • Chris Rubens (CAN)
  • Kye Petersen (CAN)
  • Riley Leboe (CAN)
  • Callum Pettit (CAN)
  • Wiley Miller (CAN)
  • Logan Pehota (CAN)
  • Richard Permin (FRA)
  • Johnny Collinson (USA)
  • Stan Rey (SWZ)
  • Joe Schuster (CAN)

Female

  • Tatum Monod (CAN)
  • Michelle Parker (USA)
  • Ingrid Backstrom (USA)
  • Grete Eliassen (USA)
  • Suz Graham (USA)
Photographer Credit Erik Seo-Red Bull Content Pool

Red Bull Cold Rush 2011 in Silverton, Colorado. Photographer Credit: Erik Seo / Red Bull Content Pool

 

New Year, New Hotel – Introducing Canada’s Newest Sandman Hotel

Oakville-2-queens-stamp Oakville-king-stamp

We are so excited to announce the official opening of our newest Canadian hotel, Sandman Hotel Oakville!

Surrounded by restaurants, parks, sporting venues, and only 20 minutes from Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ), Sandman Hotel Oakville is excited to welcome you for your next family gathering, quick getaway, or business meeting.

Conveniently located on the Oakville/Burlington border between Niagara Falls and Toronto, this brand new hotel features 166 beautifully appointed guest rooms with excellent amenities, two on-site restaurants, and complimentary high speed Internet.

Welcome to the family Sandman Hotel Oakville!

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So Many Reasons to Stay: Convenient location | Kitchenettes, executive & one-bedroom suites | Complimentary parking | Complimentary high speed Internet | Chop Steakhouse & Bar | Denny’s 24 Hour Restaurant (coming soon) | Pet friendly | and more!


Join in our excitement and save 10% off the Best Available Rate simply by booking before January 15th.

For more information about all of Sandman Hotel Oakville’s amazing deals, click here. See you soon!

New Year’s Resolutions… This Year We’ll Actually Keep Them!

Learning a new language, reading more, going on a diet… Do you find keeping New Year’s resolutions to be an impossible task? Well, let’s do something different this year: let’s make resolutions that make sense.

Below are a list of seven resolutions that Sandman’s Head Office is going to (try) and live by for 2015.

push up

1. Do One Push Up Every-Other Day

That’s it.

Really?

Really.

Think about it. The biggest obstacle about working out is laziness and difficulty. When they get combined, the inconvenience of finding a gym, of committing an hour, of changing clothes and planning showers… it works against you.

So, every other day, do a single push-up.

Here’s what will happen. You’ll get into a rhythm and set reminders for your work-out. You’ll have a tiny sense of a continuing promise to self-betterment that is almost too small to forget or avoid. One single push-up with built-in rest days! How could you not?

You’ll gain confidence and a routine for working out, or at least a recurring reminder to think about it. You’ll have the pride of awareness and the momentum of successful obligation to build off; maybe that one push-up will lead to a full set. Maybe crunches too. But maybe not!

Because as long as you do that one push-up, you’ve reminded yourself that there’s room for more and you’ve lifted the fog of apathy from your mind. And, even if you don’t work out more that day, you’ve satisfied your mental requirement for more.
french-fries-2. No Bad Fries

That’s it.

Life is too short for bad french fries. If you’re going to treat yourself, you should appreciate it. Humdrum junk-food eaten without appreciation is a waste of the purpose of food; to serve you and to be savoured. Extend that, then, to all bad junk food; either get the good stuff or get nothing.

This resolution will make you healthier and/or happier. Because you’ll either opt for better fries – sweet potato, truffle-based, garlic parmed – or fries from a place you trust. Once you cut out the generic “I guess” unthinking acceptance of mediocre junk food, you’ll be more aware of eating habits and happier for them.

Keep in mind that this bans only the mediocre, unthinking regretful food – you’re absolutely encouraged to get the good stuff, good slices of pizza, favourite Ben and Jerry’s etc. Those are the better foods in life: this is just about avoiding the wack “I guess” pretenders from your life.

Cut the mediocre from your diet, and you’ll be healthier or happier. And hey, maybe both.

movie popcorn3. Learn More About Something You Love

Do you like movies? Watch more movies. Find the movies you always wondered about and watch them. Rewatch old favourites with a critical eye. Find out what you like about Scorsese or Tarantino or any other director that’s both good, hitting that cross-section of artistic, important, and fun.

If you like movies, pick a director from here: Spike Lee, Tarantino, Hitchcock, or Scorsese. All four directors are important, talented, stylistic, and enjoyable. Seriously.

People talk about learning a new language, or reading more, or any other resolution that sounds like homework. So why not blend the two and find that cross-section of the productive and enjoyable?

You’re more likely to do something you actually want to do. You don’t get credit for saying something.

If you like music, make sure you listen to all the albums you’ve heard are amazing. If you don’t know much outside of rap, but if you haven’t heard “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” do it right now. It’ll be the most productive, enjoyable, and important 68 minutes of your new year.

What else should people read, watch, and hear for the year? Leave your to-do list in the comments and borrow someone else’s. Yay! We’re productive now!

pinochio4. Tell The Truth More

Say nice things when you feel them, quickly choose the difficult truths you’re only going to choose later anyway and say “no” to things you don’t want before you regretfully find yourself at seven masquerade brunch-parties.

Cut to the chase in 2015. You’ll be happier, and it’s what you’ve wanted to do all along. Isn’t it relieving to have somebody else tell you to?

now5. List Out All The Things You’re Procrastinating And Practice Checking Them Off

None of that vague “I want to work out more!” stuff, either. The clear, simple “what do I need to do this year/month/week” type list.

Here’s an example list for a year’s resolution that gets to the gritty and will keep you accountable.

***

Cook stir-fry at least ten times.

Cook eggs at least twenty times.

Go to the gym at least ten times.

Read at least three novels.

Write at least twenty emails home this year.

(Insert yours here)

***

See? Those are tangible, check-off-able things you can do every day and will add up over the year. You want to cook more? Make a modest (modest! It should seem too easy on paper, because it’ll be much harder in life) numbered list of tasks. Every time you do it, you’ll see and feel the progress of taking a step forward, and you can see the evidence of your year and progress.

It’s like a diary of success that holds you accountable!

Yeah!

clothes donations6. Toss Everything That Sucks

Simplify your life.

Throw out old clothes that you hate (actually donate them, don’t throw them away) and any other clutter that holds you back, literally or otherwise.

Make space in your life. Leave it elegant and neat and see what new, lovely chaos will come to fill it. Sort through that chaos and take what you love. Toss the rest, and repeat it again.

That’s life, and the more space you give yourself to live in it, the happier you’ll be.

success17. Remember Your Successes

Take pride in your accomplishments and they’ll come to you more easily.

Savour your failures and you’ll find them everywhere.

Resolve to have a better perspective on yourself and your improvements in the new year and watch as you step up to fulfill the promise of your attitude.

Feeling good provokes good results. It’s a rare and lovely synergy that should be savoured.


Have you made any New Year’s resolutions? Tell us about them and how you plan on keeping your resolutions this year.

Happy New Year’s from all of us at Sandman Hotel Group!

Santa Claus is Coming to Town!

“SANTA’S COMING! I KNOW HIM! I KNOW HIM!” ~ Buddy the Elf

Santa has officially arrived at Revelstoke Mountain Resort and the first thing he did was hit the slopes. Merry Christmas everyone!

Photo by Agathe Bernard

Photo by Agathe Bernard

Photo by Agathe Bernard

Photo by Agathe Bernard

Photo by Agathe Bernard

Photo by Agathe Bernard

Photo by Ian Houghton

Photo by Ian Houghton

Photo by Ian Houghton

Photo by Ian Houghton

Photo by Ian Houghton

Photo by Ian Houghton

Photo by Ian Houghton

Photo by Ian Houghton

Photo by Ian Houghton

Photo by Ian Houghton

Photo by Ian Houghton

Photo by Ian Houghton

Photo by Ian Houghton

Photo by Ian Houghton

Photo by Agathe Bernard

Photo by Agathe Bernard

Red Bull Cold Rush is Coming to Revelstoke Mountain Resort!

ColdRush_Logo-edited

After a two year hiatus, the biggest event in backcountry freeskiing returns to its roots. Fusing the disciplines of backcountry slopestyle, big mountain, cliffs and alpine ski touring, Red Bull Cold Rush will return to Canada from February 3-6 at Revelstoke Mountain Resort in British Columbia. The Red Bull Signature Series event will see a handful of the world’s premier skiers invited to battle it out for a chunk of the $36,000 prize purse awarded to the most versatile, well-rounded freeskiers.

The return of Red Bull Cold Rush means a blend of fresh powder and fresh ideas. Along with the new location in Revelstoke, the event is also being updated with fresh elements including innovative on-mountain features and a  competition format that places a greater focus on alpine touring. But one thing remains the same: the peer-judged three-day competition will see athletes pushing one another to raise the bar of backcountry freeski progression.
P-20120217-84660_News (1)
“Red Bull Cold Rush is the one and only top tier event that I, and all the other backcountry skiers, have to express our type of skills in a competition format. The fact that this amazing event is coming back to Canada just gets me all fired up! It’s where I spend my winter doing what we do, so I’ll be right at home this year” says Sean Pettit, professional backcountry freeskier and two-time winner of Red Bull Cold Rush in 2010 and 2011.

HISTORY OF RED BULL COLD RUSH

In an event that pits man against nature, nature always has the upper hand. Born and bred in Canada, the first ever Red Bull Cold Rush was set to take place in 2007 at Red Mountain in Rossland, BC, but Mother Nature had other ideas. Due to warm temperatures and a deep freeze that followed, the terrain was deemed unsafe to ski. When the event returned to the mountain in 2008, it was a skiers’ dream come true. Blue skies and deep snow greeted some of the best freeskiers in the world. Dave Treadway ended up at the top of the podium followed by Sean Pettit in 2nd and the late JP Auclair in 3rd.

In 2009 and 2010, the event moved to Retallack, BC pushing riders further and into new and challenging territory. A year later, Red Bull Cold Rush moved south of the border for the first US event held at Silverton, Colorado where it remained for a second year into 2012.
P-20120306-00109_News (1) REVELSTOKED! THE MOUNTAIN

Even in the powder-heaven that is the BC Interior, Revelstoke was a stand-out destination and obvious choice to play host for the return of Red Bull Cold Rush. Revelstoke Mountain Resort boasts the most vertical in North America at 5,620 ft. of lift accessed terrain, two alpine bowls and legendary glades. The only resort worldwide to offer lift, cat, heli and backcountry access from one village base, it has become a true ski mecca and synonymous with backcountry adventure.
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“This is the perfect event for us because it showcases all we have to offer – our diverse terrain, excellent conditions and all the challenging vertical and features they could event want” says Revelstoke Mountain Resort General Manager Rob Elliott.

On average, the mountain’s peak receives roughly 30-45 ft. of the fluffy stuff every year. For those in search of the white room, the high altitude and location in BC’s Interior Selkirk Mountains brings some of the most consistent quality snow in the region.

RMR - Ian Houghton 4PEER PRESSURE: EVENT FORMAT

There’s nothing more important than impressing your friends, and that is exactly what the premier field of 15 men and 5 women will do throughout the peer-judged event as athletes aim to raise the bar of backcountry freestyle progression.  Following each run, competitors will evaluate one another on performance basing scores on style, speed and technique.

Spread across three powder-laden days, the competition focuses on several distinct ski disciplines including backcountry slopestyle, big mountain, cliffs and alpine touring in order to find the best all-around freeskier. Each day of competition will focus on one specific discipline, with a new emphasis on the ski touring component that will see athletes traversing to different areas of the mountain in the shortest possible time. Athletes will now be able to accumulate more points through the touring portion, helping to offset potentially lower scores in other disciplines that might not be their strong suit.

PARTNERSHIPS   

Red Bull is excited to have the support of Revelstoke Mountain Resort, Selkirk Tangiers Heli Skiing and the The Sutton Place Hotel. In addition, for Red Bull Cold Rush 2015, Red Bull is excited to announce partnership with The North Face, official host of the ‘Big Mountain’ day of competition.  

About Revelstoke Mountain Resort

Since 2007, Revelstoke Mountain Resort (RMR) has offered the most vertical in North America at 1,713 metres (5,620 ft.) of lift-accessed terrain, 3,121 acres of fall line skiing, 2 high alpine bowls, and 65 named runs including legendary glades and phenomenal groomers. Revelstoke Mountain Resort is also the only resort worldwide to offer lift, cat, heli and backcountry skiing from one village base. Across our group of companies that include RMR, Revelstoke Cat Skiing and Selkirk Tangiers Heli Skiing, skiers and snowboarders have access to a total of 515,000 acres of terrain. For all the latest news, visit www.revelstokemountainresort.com.

About The North Face

The North Face, a division of VF Outdoor, Inc., was founded in 1966 with the goal of preparing outdoor athletes for the rigors of their next adventure. Today we are the world’s leading outdoor brand, creating athlete-tested, expedition-proven products that help people explore and test the limits of human potential. We protect our outdoor playgrounds and minimize our impact on the planet through programs that encourage sustainability. The North Face products are available at premium and specialty retail sporting goods stores globally and we are headquartered in California on a LEED Platinum-certified campus. For more information, please visit www.thenorthface.com.

About The Red Bull Signature Series

The Red Bull Signature Series is the most progressive action sports property in the world, featuring best-in-class events such as Frozen Rush, Joyride, Rampage, Straight Rhythm, Mint 400 and Volcom Pipe Pro. These represent a collection of the most innovative snowboarding, skiing, surfing, mountain biking, skateboarding, motorsports and BMX events on custom courses inspired by the athltes themselves.

Falling in love with British Columbia & Alberta, all over again

Beautiful British Columbia and Wild Rose Country are complete understatements when it come to one of the most beautiful videos ever shot.

Ben Brown, an English videographer, truly encapsulated the beauty and thrill of living in Canada and makes everyone want to get out there and travel.

Watch this mind blowing video and tell us your favourite part. Enjoy!

Sandman Signature Newcastle Hotel: Official Hotel Partner of the Newcastle Falcons

Newcastle - Falcons sponsorship

Staff from Sandman Signature Newcastle Hotel pose with members of the Newcastle Falcons.

The Newcastle Falcons announced yesterday they have two new partners for the remainder of the 2014/15 season: Sandman Signature Newcastle Hotel, their new official hotel partner, and Shark Club Bar & Grill, the gastronomically minded sports bar situated within the hotel’s premises.

The Newcastle Falcons (formerly Gosforth FC/Newcastle Gosforth until 1996) is an English rugby team that returned to the Aviva Premiership on May 29, 2013 after a season in the RFU Championship. The club was established in 1877 and played under the name Gosforth Football Club until 1990. The name was then changed to Newcastle Gosforth and the club began to play at Kingston Park stadium in Kingston Park, Newcastle upon Tyne. At the start of the professional era, the club adopted its current name Newcastle Falcons.

The partnership will see a number of events for Falcons’ supporters and corporate clients staged over the remainder of the current season at both Shark Club and the Hotel. Falcons’ supporters as well as visiting opposition team fans will also be able to take advantage of some exclusive room rates at the luxury 4-star city centre hotel.

Speaking about the new partnerships, Newcastle Falcons managing director Mick Hogan said: “It’s fantastic news that both the Sandman Signature Hotel and Shark Club are partnering with the club for the remainder of the 2014/15 season. We look forward to working with both organisations to deliver a series of great events for our supporters and corporate clients over the next eight months. The management at the Sandman Signature Hotel and Shark Club are a very impressive and forward thinking team. They have already proposed some fantastic ideas that will mean this partnership really delivers for all involved.”

Newcastle Lobby2Executive General Manager of the Hotel, Paul Smith said: “The Sandman Signature Hotel ethos is to work closely with the business and corporate community, with relationships in our home region of the North East. As a top sports bar and dining destination for all the major sporting fixtures, Shark Bar & Grill was perfectly partnered to link with the Newcastle Falcons. We are proud to have a region which has nurtured so much sporting talent across the board, and we are delighted with this new partnership.”

Newcastle Legacy 03Sandman Signature Newcastle Hotel and Shark Club Bar & Grill were originally home to the former iconic Scottish & Newcastle Brewery which has played a significant role in the city’s history. The Hotel is surrounded by key attractions in the city including a thriving shopping district, China Town, Newcastle University, The Centre for Life, Quayside, the stunning North East coastal region and Intu Metrocentre, the biggest shopping centre in Europe.

SIG_Newcastle_Shark Club BarGeneral Manager of the Shark Club Bar & Grill Adrian Lowry said: “Newcastle Falcons are a perfect association for our profile at Shark. We are a sports bar destination with a fantastic sporting fixture diary available on 37 flat screens around the bar. We hope to see players, visiting teams, dignitaries, guests and VIPs in the sports bar throughout the season.”

The Hotel features a roof top gym, fast Wi-Fi, a range of luxury bedrooms including guest rooms with fully equipped kitchens, an optional Waitrose shopping delivery service and an overnight laundry service designed for the business, leisure and sport travellers.

The Hotel also offers extremely comfortable family rooms with extra large bunk beds, top quality mattresses, kitchens as well as the usual luxury suites and double bedrooms.

Newcastle Falcons next Aviva Premiership fixture sees them take on Saracens at Kingston Park stadium on Saturday, December 27.

For more information about Sandman Signature Newcastle Hotel, click here._B5J1560SIG_Newcastle_Bathroom1557SIG_Newcastle_Kitchen1479

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Revelstoke Mountain Resort Opens November 29

Gondola1Powder on the Menu — Revelstoke Mountain Resort Opening Weekend

As the snow continues to fall on Mt. Mackenzie, Revelstoke Mountain Resort is preparing to open November 29th amidst excellent early season conditions.

With over 270 cm of snow already, and a further 30-40 cm forecast before opening day, the 2014/15 season will be kicking off with a base of over 115 cm and enough powder to go around.

“Things are looking awesome! With all the new snow we will be opening top to bottom, giving skiers and snowboarders access to all 5620 ft of vertical,” says Mike Verwey, Mountain Operations Manager.

“Looking at the forecast, what is going to make this even better than past opening days is that we are going to have amazing visibility… after all the snow comes down, it is going to clear up and be bluebird for Saturday.”

One hundred per cent of the lifts on the mountain will be operational for the first day of the season, giving skiers and snowboarders access to nearly all of the 3,121 acres of inbound terrain.

With all that untouched powder being served up, Steve Bailey, Director of Skier Services and Base Area Operations says, “be prepared for Saturday to feel like heli-skiing, but for the price of a lift ticket.”

Lifts will start operating at 8:30am on Saturday, with the last ride on the Ripper at 2:30pm and on the Stoke at 3pm.

Sandman Hotel Revelstoke couldn’t be more excited for the upcoming 2014/15 season!

Opening day ski4

Gondola Cat Ski

 

Stay Warm with Sandman This Winter

Stay warmThe cold winter months have very few redeeming qualities. Many animals find that the best thing to do is simply sleep through it while studies show that human beings sleep more during the winter months as well. One of the few redeeming qualities of winter is snow.

There are few things more magical than looking out the window from your house and discovering those first flurries gently falling to the ground. Then the snow builds up outside our houses and we know the time has come to put on warm slippers, a cozy blanket, and curl up with some hot chocolate.

If snow and cold weather aren’t your thing, don’t worry. Sandman is the perfect place to stay warm this winter.

This winter, the Sandman hotels across British Columbia have the perfect offers to keep you warm.

Sandman Signature Kamloops Hotel

CorpKingDon’t let the winter blues get you down…
Sandman Signature Kamloops Hotel has the perfect warm-up package for you.

Experience British Columbia’s Friendliest City this winter with exclusive rates sure to keep you warm during the cold winter months. Simply book this offer before December 31, 2014 and save 25% off the Best Available Rate. There’s never been an easier way to stay warm and get away at the same time. Book Now

Sandman Hotel Revelstoke

SAND Revelstoke_Lobby 3It pays to plan ahead!

Reserve and pay for your winter getaway booking a minimum of 21 days in advance and save 15% off the Best Available Rate.

Now that’s savings made easy. Book Now

Sandman Hotel & Suites Kelowna

SAND_Kelowna_TowerSuite02Get the royal treatment with Sandman Kelowna’s Suite Deal!

For a limited time you can book an Executive Tower King Suite for $159 (normally starts at $184)! You’ll also receive a $50 gift certificate to Chop per reservation.

With over $75 in savings, you don’t want to miss out on the suitest deal in town!  Book your reservation online today. Book Now

Sandman Signature Vancouver Airport Hotel & Resort

SIG_Vancouver Airport_ExteriorPlan your weekend getaway with Sandman signature Vancouver Airport Hotel & Resort and receive incredible savings.  Book the Weekend Best and save as much as $50 on your accommodations!

Make your reservation online or call us at 1-800-SANDMAN (726-3626).

Sandman Hotel Penticton

poolWant to save while you stay with Sandman? Sandman Penticton’s got the perfect package for you. Simply book 2 or more nights and receive 15% off the Best Available Rate for a room of your choice.

Home to some of BC’s most celebrated wineries and surrounded  by picturesque lakes, mountains and  scenery, you can experience all that Penticton has to offer while enjoying our wonderful accommodations. Book Now

See you this winter!

Welcome to Sandman Signature Kamloops Hotel!

Sandman Signature Kamloops Hotel

Facing both Riverside Park and The Thompson River, our newest hotel, Sandman Signature Kamloops Hotel brings luxurious comfort and cutting edge technology in every room. Situated directly across the street from the Interior Savings Centre, home of the Kamloops Blazers, this six-storey hotel has been designed from the ground up, with the expressed purpose of providing our guests a relaxed, comfortable elegance.

Each of the 202 beautifully appointed guest rooms at this downtown Kamloops hotel, including the 100 suites, provides the perfect setting to unwind. Relax by the indoor swimming pool and hot tub, enjoy a delicious meal at Shark Club Bar & Grill, or exercise in the state-of-the-art fitness room. Modern amenities, such as complimentary Internet access and a business centre, makes travelling for work or leisure easier and elegant.

With smart design and hospitality at its finest, experience ease at its peak at Sandman Signature Kamloops Hotel.

Signature Corporate King Room

The lobby of Sandman Signature Kamloops Hotel

Indoor pool at Sandman Signature Kamloops Hotel

Shark Club Bar & Grill

Experience British Columbia’s Friendliest City in the winter. Stay at Sandman Signature Kamloops Hotel and enjoy exclusive rates!

Rate: 25% off Best Available Rate
Book Dates: now – November 30, 2014
Stay Dates: now – April 30, 2015

This incredible promotion is only available for a limited time. Book your room online before it’s gone!

Learn more

Lest We Forget

Remembrance DayThis year, November 11th  not only marks Remembrance Day but the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I. The poppy has a long association with Remembrance Day, but how did the distinctive red flower become such a potent symbol of our remembrance of the sacrifices made in past wars?

Scarlet corn poppies (popaver rhoeas) grow naturally in conditions of disturbed earth throughout Western Europe. The destruction brought by the Napoleonic wars of the early 19th century transformed bare land into fields of blood red poppies, growing around the bodies of the fallen soldiers.

In late 1914, the fields of Northern France and Flanders were once again ripped open as World War One raged through Europe’s heart. Once the conflict was over the poppy was one of the only plants to grow on the otherwise barren battlefields.

The significance of the poppy as a lasting memorial symbol to the fallen was realised by the Canadian surgeon John McCrae in his poem In Flanders Fields. The poppy came to represent the immeasurable sacrifice made by his comrades and quickly became a lasting memorial to those who died in World War One and later conflicts. It was adopted by The Royal British Legion as the symbol for their Poppy Appeal, in aid of those serving in the British Armed Forces, after its formation in 1921.

On May 2, 1915, John McCrae’s close friend and former student Alexis Helmer was killed by a German shell. That evening, in the absence of a Chaplain, John McCrae recited from memory a few passages from the Church of England’s “Order of the Burial of the Dead”. For security reasons, Helmer’s burial in Essex Farm Cemetery was performed in complete darkness.

The next day, May 3, 1915, Sergeant-Major Cyril Allinson was delivering mail. McCrae was sitting at the back of an ambulance parked near the dressing station beside the Yser Canal, just a few hundred yards north of Ypres, Belgium.
As John McCrae was writing his In Flanders Fields poem, Allinson silently watched and later recalled, “His face was very tired but calm as he wrote. He looked around from time to time, his eyes straying to Helmer’s grave.”

Within moments, John McCrae had completed the “In Flanders Fields” poem and when he was done, without a word, McCrae took his mail and handed the poem to Allinson.

Allinson was deeply moved:

“The (Flanders Fields) poem was an exact description of the scene in front of us both. He used the word blow in that line because the poppies actually were being blown that morning by a gentle east wind. It never occurred to me at that time that it would ever be published. It seemed to me just an exact description of the scene.”

Lest we forget.

poppies_115185034

Canada’s 10 Most Haunted Places

ghostWith Halloween just around the corner, it’s time to revel in Canada’s urban legends.

Spooks, specters and spirits abound, Canada is rich with ghost stories and tales of the supernatural. We’ve rounded up the most skin-crawling locations Canada has to offer, so you can find out whether there really is something to all these spooky tales (that is, if you think you can handle it). Read on to discover where you’re most likely to find things that go bump in the night…

Keg Mansion1. Keg Mansion, Toronto, ON

Today, it’s one of many locations of the Keg steakhouse franchise, but the Keg Mansion was once the private residence of industrialist Hart Massey and his family. As legend has it, in 1915, after the death of Massey’s beloved only daughter, Lillian, one of the maids was so stricken by grief that she hung herself. Another version of the story involves the maid killing herself for fears her rumoured affair with a Massey man would be revealed. Either way, the ghostly image of a maid hanging by her neck has been seen by more than one Keg visitor over the years.

banff springs2. Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, Banff, AB

Thought the Bates Motel in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho or Overlook Hotel in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining were scary accommodations, the Banff Springs Hotel is one of Canada’s most picturesque hotels, but it’s also rumoured to be one of the country’s most haunted. Built in 1888 by the Canadian Pacific Railway, this hotel is the site of numerous terrifying ghost sightings, including a murdered family in room 873, a bride who died falling down the hotel’s marble staircase, and a retired bellhop named Sam Macauley who continues to haunt the hotel dressed in full uniform.

chateau laurier3. Fairmont Chateau Laurier, Ottawa, ON

Business Tycoon Charles Melville Hays commissioned the Fairmount Château Laurier, but died tragically aboard the Titanic just days before the hotel’s grand opening in 1912. Hays’ spirit has since been rumoured to be seen roaming throughout the property. Had we invested our time and money into crafting the lavish Château, only to die mere days before its completion, we’d likely be inclined to return as well.

Ghosts-Old-Spaghetti-Factory-Gastown-Vancouver4. The Old Spaghetti Factory, Vancouver, B.C.

It’s been said that the ghost of a train conductor still haunts this popular eatery built atop an old underground railway track. Inexplicable cold drafts and mysteriously rearranged table settings are the calling card of the deceased conductor. Making matters truly skin tingling is a photograph of the 1950s-era, decommissioned electric trolley now featured in the restaurant’s dinning room. The photo depicts hints of “a ghostly figure”, believed to be the train conductor, standing on the steps of the trolley.

hocky hall of fame5. Hockey Hall of Fame, Toronto, ON

Prior to serving as Canada’s hockey shrine, this building was once a Bank of Montreal. Legend has it that a lonely bank teller named Dorothy took her own life after her romantic advances were rejected by the bank’s manager. Dorothy’s ghost is now believed to occupy the Hockey Hall of Fame, with some visitors reporting they heard inexplicable sounds of a woman crying throughout the building.

craigdarrock castle6. Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria, B.C.

Built in the 1890s for coal miner Robert Dunsmuir and his family, this Victorian-era mansion has since become an eerie Canadian tourist attraction. Rumours of a piano that plays by itself, and sightings of a ghastly woman in white have frequently been reported. Many attribute the castle’s supernatural proclivity to Dunsmuir’’s untimely demise just a year before the building was completed.

plains of Abraham7. Plains of Abraham, Quebec City, QC

In 1759, Major General James Wolfe and British soldiers staged a three-month siege of Quebec City against the French army, culminating in the Battle of the Plains of Abraham. Being the location of one of the most famous battles in Canadian history, it’s no wonder there have been numerous sightings of ghostly soldiers appearing throughout the Plains’ fields and tunnels. Both Wolfe and French Major General Louis-Joseph de Montcalm died in the battle – and we can’t help but wonder whether their spirits are still battling it out to this day.

maritime museum8. Maritime Museum of B.C., Victoria, B.C.

Located in Victoria’s well-known Bastion Square is the Maritime Museum, which was once the site of the city’s jail and gallows. Some say that if you look through the windows at the Museum’s entrance, a shadowy, slender, Van Dyke-bearded figure can be spotted gliding down the main staircase. The mysterious apparition is thought to be the ghost of Sir Matthew Baillie Begbie, Victoria’s infamous “Hanging Judge”.

government house, sask9. Government House, Regina, SK

This building, completed in 1891, has been the site of several reported hauntings over the years. Strange occurrences such as doors opening and closing on their own, the shuffling of footsteps, and eerie faces appearing in the reflections of mirrors have all been reported.

westpoint610. West Point Lighthouse, O’Leary, P.E.I.

The sight of a lighthouse, bathed in pitch black darkness, conjures up all sorts of frightful possibilities. Rumours have long swirled that the first keeper of the lighthouse, Willie, haunts the West Point Lighthouse Inn located next door. Talk about a turndown service you’d never want to get!

Lights, Camera, Action!

RMR Winter Wonderland 2Written by Revelstoke Mountain Resort

If you’re anything like us, you’re eagerly anticipating the first big snowfall of the season (and more importantly November 29!) and are on the lookout for anything that is going to get you amped for the upcoming season.

Well, look no further!

Here’s what you need to do: go grab some popcorn and get ready to see Revelstoke take over the big screen!

Last season we were lucky enough to have five of the top production companies in the biz shooting feature films here; and what better way to start getting psyched for the 2014/15 season than watching some of the biggest names in skiing and snowboarding tearing it up in our winter wonderland?

(Face it, it’s better than your idea of walking around in your long johns and ski boots for the next two months.)

You are sure to recognize some of your favourite RMR terrain in Lynsey Dyer’s highly anticipated film Pretty Faces. The movie, featuring all female skiers and geared towards a female audience, is the first first entirely crowd-sourced, crowd-funded ski movie.

If you get a chance to take in the latest Poorboyz masterpiece, Twenty, you’ll see Tanner Hall pushing the limits in the closing segment. Hall spent six weeks in Revy and says his part of the film is 100 percent shot here.

Other top films featuring Revelstoke in a major role are: Teton Gravity Research’s Almost Ablaze, Matchstick Productions’ Days of my Youth and Absinthe’s Heavy Mental.

Below are trailers and Revelstoke tour dates for these not to be missed films… just don’t blame us if after watching them you’re itching to rip some big lines.

Pretty Faces

For film tour schedule, click here.

Heavy Mental

For film tour schedule, click here.

Days of our youth

Playing at the Roxy Theatre, Revelstoke, Friday Oct. 16

Almost Ablaze

For film tour schedule, click here.

Twenty

For film tour schedule, click here.

Best reasons to travel in the fall

shutterstock_115225654Autumn is upon us, but that’s no reason to stop travelling. The fall season is one of the best times to hit the road, and here are a few reasons why.

1. Good weather
Just because the calendar says autumn doesn’t mean the weather automatically turns frosty. This sweater weather means you can bundle up in your favourite scarf or hoodie and enjoy the last few months outside before winter sends us indoors.

2. Festival season 
Many places host fall festivals that often revolve around the harvest, so just think of all the delicious food and wine you could be enjoying.
grape fall harvest

3. Fall colours
Regions like eastern Canada and the Rockies are especially beautiful at this time of year. As the leaves on the trees change colour and create an array of reds, oranges, and yellows, take advantage of nature’s perfect photography backdrop.

4. Crowds are smaller
The lower demand for travel during fall means lines are shorter and you won’t be shoulder to shoulder with other tourists. Children are back to school so the travellers you will meet tend to be couples looking for some peace and quiet. Your boss will also be happy to give you the time off because no one else is travelling.

5. Prices are lower
We saved the best reason for last! Fall is the shoulder season, sitting between the peak summer season and the busy winter season. The slower demand in fall means many airlines, hotels (Sandman included) and attractions charge lower prices in an effort to drum up business.
autumn leaves

See you this autumn!

Do You Steal Shampoo and Soap From Hotels?

hotel shampoo1Written by Travel Junkies

I have a confession to make. You know those little bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and lotions and those little single use bars of soaps that you find in hotel rooms? Well, we take them. All of them! We don’t go to the extremes of raiding the maid’s cart, as others may do, but if it is in the room, we take them. Of course, bathrobes, slippers, and towels are off limits, as that is just plain stealing. But those little bottles and soaps, we will clean them out.

While some of you may think “What’s the big deal, we do the same thing,” others may be shocked at our criminal behavior. I read an article awhile ago that called the act of taking those little bottles and soaps criminal and was appalled that anyone would commit such a heinous crime. But we see things a little differently.

hotel soapSome people actually collect those little bottles and soaps, while others take them just to take them. I believe the people that take them just to take them are wannabe kleptomaniacs that don’t want the guilt of stealing more tangible items. So why would we risk hard prison time over the taking of these little bottles of shampoos, conditioners, lotions, and soaps? Because we use them! That’s right, we actually use shampoo and soap and they are the perfect size for travel and camping. So instead of having to buy those overpriced trial sized bottles in the store, or buying small empty bottles and dealing with the hassle of having to refill them and spilling the contents all over the place, we just stick with the little hotel bottles and mini bars of soaps.

Now the big moral question regarding the taking of these little hotel shampoos and soaps is if in fact it is truly stealing, or do they want you to take them? I think the answer is they want you to take them. The little bottles and bars of soap are little mini billboards that you will see each time you use them. They are usually branded with the hotels name and logo, and not that of a skin and hair care company. I believe they want you to take them and so each time you see that little bottle you can think, “Wow, I had a great time at Hotel XYZ and I should go back there.”

Travel Junkies are a family of three from Portland, Oregon who sold their house, quit their good jobs, and left Portland November 1, 2012 to travel around-the-world for two years with their daughter.

 

Genius Travel Tips That Will Change Your Life Forever

Pack this, reserve that. Travelling comes with tips and tricks that don’t always save you time or money. That’s all about to change.

Vacation like an expert with Distractify‘s amazing travel tips.

1. Keep loose chargers and cables organized with a glasses case.

Keep%20loose%20chargers%20and%20cables%20organized%20with%20a%20glasses%20case.
2. Use straws to carry travel-size amounts of skin care products.

Use%20straws%20to%20carry%20travel-size%20amounts%20of%20skin%20care%20products.
3. Put a dryer sheet at the bottom of a suitcase to keep your clothes smelling fresh.

Put%20a%20dryer%20sheet%20at%20the%20bottom%20of%20a%20suitcase%20to%20keep%20your%20clothes%20smelling%20fresh.
4. Use a spring from an old pen to protect chargers from bending and breaking.

Use%20a%20spring%20from%20an%20old%20pen%20to%20protect%20chargers%20from%20bending%20and%20breaking.
5. Skip the long lines for airport bathrooms.
It may seem like common logic, but the first bathroom in the terminal is the most crowded one. Use the next one to skip the long waits and save precious time.
Skip%20the%20long%20lines%20for%20airport%20bathrooms.
6. Use a binder clip to protect the head of shaving razors.

Use%20a%20binder%20clip%20to%20protect%20the%20head%20of%20shaving%20razors.
7. If you forget your wall plug, charge devices through the USB slot on a TV.

If%20you%20forget%20your%20wall%20plug%2C%20charge%20devices%20through%20the%20USB%20slot%20on%20a%20TV.
8. Roll clothes, instead of folding, to save tons of baggage space.

Roll clothes, instead of folding, to save tons of baggage space.
9. If you have clothes that need to be folded, use tissue paper to keep them from wrinkling.

If%20you%20have%20clothes%20that%20need%20to%20be%20folded%2C%20use%20tissue%20paper%20to%20keep%20them%20from%20wrinkling.
10. Use a pill container to keep jewelry organized and untangled.

Use%20a%20pill%20container%20to%20keep%20jewelry%20organized%20and%20untangled.
11. Scan important documents before leaving for your trip.
In the event of theft or misplacement, it comes in really handy to have extra copies of your passport, identification cards and flight itineraries that you can easily access on your smartphone or tablet.
Scan%20important%20documents%20before%20leaving%20for%20your%20trip.
12. Speed Up Going Through Security
When going through security, stuff your small belongings like wallets, keys and phones into your bag before placing it on the conveyor belt. It eliminates the need for separate bins and saves you time.

Speed%20Up%20Going%20Through%20Security%20
13. Tuck your soap and wash cloth together with this easy-to-fold pouch.

Tuck%20your%20soap%20and%20wash%20cloth%20together%20with%20this%20easy-to-fold%20pouch.
14. A shower cap is an easy way to cover the bottoms of shoes.

A%20shower%20cap%20is%20an%20easy%20way%20to%20cover%20the%20bottoms%20of%20shoes.
15. Put smartphones in airplane mode to save battery and charge faster.

Put%20smartphones%20in%20airplane%20mode%20to%20save%20battery%20and%20charge%20faster.
16. Keep your headphones from tangling by winding them around a binder clip.

Keep your headphones from tangling by winding them around a binder clip.
17. Keep hair clips tidy with an empty Tic Tac container.

Keep%20hair%20clips%20tidy%20with%20an%20empty%20Tic%20Tac%20container.
18. Sit in the seats near the wing of the plane for the least turbulence.
The seats along the wings of a plane usually have the least amount of bounce when flying because it has more structural support.

Sit%20in%20the%20seats%20near%20the%20wing%20of%20the%20plane%20for%20the%20least%20turbulence.%20
19. Keep your travel-size containers and refill them, instead of buying new each time.

Keep%20your%20travel-size%20containers%20and%20refill%20them%2C%20instead%20of%20buying%20new%20each%20time.
20. To use Google Maps offline, type “OK Maps,” and the visible area will save for future access.

To%20use%20Google%20Maps%20offline%2C%20type%20%u201COK%20Maps%2C%u201D%20and%20the%20visible%20area%20will%20save%20for%20future%20access.
21. Cram the most into your carry on.
Vacuum sealed bags can save you a ridiculous amount of space in your carry on. Makes the need for checking a bag obsolete.

Cram%20the%20most%20into%20your%20carry%20on.

22. Instead of buying water at the airport, bring an empty bottle along and fill it up after passing security.

Instead%20of%20buying%20water%20at%20the%20airport%2C%20bring%20an%20empty%20bottle%20along%20and%20fill%20it%20up%20after%20passing%20security.
23. When reserving airline seats for two people, get the aisle and window.
If no one takes the middle seat you get a full row, and if someone does, just ask to switch so you can sit next to your travel partner.

When%20reserving%20airline%20seats%20for%202%20people%2C%20get%20the%20aisle%20and%20window.
24. Wait to buy airline tickets until 3pm on Tuesdays.
Typically this is when the big Airlines reduce their fares.

Wait%20to%20buy%20airline%20tickets%20until%203%20p.m.%20on%20Tuesdays.%20
25. Certain times are better for using the airplane bathroom.
Since most airlines don’t let you stand in line for the restrooms, the best times to use it are right after the plane has leveled off and 15-20 minutes before landing.

Certain%20times%20are%20better%20for%20using%20the%20airplane%20bathroom.
26. Get the Wi-Fi password for many establishments by checking the comments section of FourSquare.

Get%20the%20WiFi%20password%20for%20many%20establishments%20by%20checking%20the%20comments%20section%20of%20FourSquare.
27. Use your GPS when travelling abroad.
If you’re travelling abroad without an international plan, turn on airplane mode and turn off data to use the GPS without connecting to the Internet. Simply load the Google map of the area before heading out the hotel, and you’ve got a fully functional map to navigate the area.

Use%20your%20GPS%20when%20traveling%20abroad.%20
28. Skip the wait at the baggage claim.
Even if it’s not, marking your bag with a fragile label leads to gentler handling by airport staff. Also they’re often loaded on the top of the other luggage meaning it’s one of the first to come out at the baggage claim.

Skip%20the%20wait%20at%20the%20baggage%20claim.%20
29. Remove other tourists from your vacation photos.

Remove%20other%20tourist%20from%20your%20vacation%20photos.
30. Use ATMs instead of airport currency exchanges to save money.
Many ATMs will offer much lower rates than what you can get from the airport currency exchanges.

Use%20ATMs%20instead%20of%20airport%20currency%20exchanges%20to%20save%20money.
31. For bonus points, travel with a power strip and be the airport hero.

For%20bonus%20points%2C%20travel%20with%20a%20power%20strip%20and%20be%20the%20airport%20hero.
32. As a treat to yourself, send yourself a postcard from each day of your travels. 
It’ll be a nice treat to come home to and make the transition back to reality easier.

As%20a%20treat%20to%20yourself%2C%20send%20yourself%20a%20postcard%20from%20each%20day%20of%20your%20travels

Most importantly… keep travelling!

Written by Distractify, a leading entertainment company in the mobile era. Through an understanding of content creation and social sharing, Distractify publishes some of the most popular content on the Web, exploring culture, lifestyle, human insight, and humor. Since launching in October 2013, Distractify has reached over 200m global readers.

Congratulations Okanagan Valley!

Okanagan1

Their well-travelled expert nomination panel – a wine educator and a wine buyer – made the original selections and then readers voted daily during the contest’s four-week run.  While British Columbia’s Okananagan Valley enjoyed an early lead, fans of Portugal’s appealing Alentejo region eventually assured it took top honours.

The full list of winners in the USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice contest for ‘Best Wine Region to Visit’ contest category is as follows:

  1. Alentejo, Portugal
  2. Okanagan Valley, British Columbia
  3. Maipo, Chile
  4. Marlborough, New Zealand
  5. Croatia
  6. Napa Valley, California
  7. Tuscany, Italy
  8. Oregon, United States
  9. Hunter Valley, Australia
  10. Virginia, United States

Beautiful view from Sandman Signature Kamloops Hotel

Beautiful view from Sandman Signature Kamloops Hotel

With six hotels in the Okanagan – two in Kamloops, Kelowna, Penticton, Princeton & Vernon – many of which offer amazing Wine Packages, Sandman Hotel Group is absolutely thrilled about the Okanagan Valley receiving this amazing recognition.

If you have ever had the pleasure of travelling through the Okanagan, you have experienced great wines from a world where the most skilled grape-growers and winemakers create absolute works of art.

The below is an excerpt from one lucky traveller’s journal.

Driving south from Okanagan Falls, with a quick stop at the famous Tickleberry’s for a double-scoop black cherry ice cream cone (irresistible, by the way), the Valley not only heats up to over 40C most of the summer, but flattens into a narrow, guarded valley.

The terroir of the South Okanagan begins at the McIntyre Bluff, which lies on the western side of Okanagan Valley, halfway between Oliver, the self-anointed Wine Capital of Canada, and Okanagan Falls. Vaseux Lake, part of the Okanagan River system, nearly abuts this prominent landmark. This cliff is the steepest and most dramatic in the Okanagan Valley, and the valley itself is the narrowest and most constricted in the Okanagan at this spot.  It is here that the soils and climate begin to define a truly southern region unlike any other in British Columbia, or Canada, for that matter.

This distinctive valley is actually the northern most tip of the transcontinental Sonoran Desert with an annual rainfall of 9 inches or less and some of hottest temperatures in Canada. Its latitude is similar to France with long daylight growing hours, clear unpolluted skies and a light intensity that rivals any wine growing region in the world.

Okanagan vineyards_86651131It is gorgeous here, as everywhere you look the stunning landscape of sunburned hills, sandy desert with its silver sage, antelope bush, and prickly pear cactus, is abutted to the lush greenery of vineyard after vineyard. It is a beautiful collision of raw natural splendor and intrepid winemaker, lured here by both the potential and the challenges of a region so unlike any other in the world.

The South Okanagan is made up of three distinct benches each with its own microclimates that define each appellation.

• The Black Sage Bench sits on top of sandy soil that can run up to 300 feet deep. Parts of this area are protected ecological habitats that preserve antelope-brush, bunchgrass, sage and prickly pear cactus.

• The Osoyoos Bench is comprised of soils such as Stepney, Trepanier and Trewitt. These soils have developed in deep gravel-free and stone-free sandy, coarse-textured fluvioglacial deposits and minor fluvial fan deposits. The soils are well to rapidly drained.

• The Golden Mile Bench soils vary from Ponderosa, Ratnip and Stemwinder. They have developed in gravelly, cobbly, stony and bouldery coarse to medium-textured fluvial fan deposits.

OkanaganEach of these areas bring distinct wine characteristics equal to any appellation found in Burgundy, Bordeaux or the Rhone Valley in France.

The South Okanagan is fertile ground for B.C.’s ripest grapes and is home to the best Bordeaux-style (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc) and Rhone-style (Syrah) wines being made in Canada. On the white side, Pinot Gris is a specialty of the region along with Chardonnay and Gewuztraminer.

The area, collectively known as the South Okanagan Wine Association (formerly called Oliver Osoyoos Wine Country), is a region that includes 21 wineries, from McIntyre Bluff to the north to the U.S. border in the south. The stunning beauty of the South Okanagan combined with the near-perfect growing conditions for the major vinifera grapes make it an ideal location for touring, staying and tasting.

The region still has a rural feel to it and is unspoiled by major development, other than the rush by wineries to plant more vineyards, build larger tasting rooms and gorgeous hilltop winery restaurants.

Touring in this region is a wonderful mix of wine, pastoral beauty with creeks, lakes, the historic and aboriginal influences, and stunning lake-side resort relaxation in near-perfect weather conditions from spring to fall.

The Many Faces of the August Long Weekend

kids in grass_96137972Most Canadians are well versed in the stories of Christmas and Easter, and we all know that Canada Day recognizes the birthday of our nation. But for many, the first-Monday-of-August long weekend (often referred to on calendars as “Civic Holiday”) is shrouded in mystery and, at times, confusion.

Let us clear the air.

A long time ago, there was a lengthy and dreary gap between Canada Day and Labour Day where no holiday occurred. The first Monday of August, occurring right between the two, seemed like the perfect place for a summer holiday.

But there is more to it than that. Few know that what is most widely known as “Civic Holiday” actually has ties to the abolition of slavery which officially took place on August 1, 1834. Some communities across Canada call this “Emancipation Day”.

Across Canada, the day is known as “British Columbia Day,” “New Brunswick Day” or “Saskatchewan Day,” depending on where you are. Alberta calls it “Heritage Day,” and in Nova Scotia and PEI, they celebrate “Natal Day”.

In Ontario, the holiday has many aliases. It began in 1869 when Toronto City Council marked it as a “day of recreation”. Later on, Burlington recognized the Monday as “Joseph Brant Day”, while Brantford, Oshawa, Ottawa, and Sarnia all followed suit with names of their own (Founders’ Day, McLaughlin Day, Colonel By Day, and Alexander Mackenzie Day respectively). Municipalities across Ontario have a range of local names for the holiday honouring different historical figures, yet most Ontario workplaces simply go with “Civic Holiday”.

Today, Toronto’s official name for the first-Monday-of-August long weekend is “Simcoe Day”, and it coincides with Toronto’s annual Caribana festival. And although many organizations give employees the day off , this Monday is not a “statutory holiday” nor is it recognized or mentioned in Ontario’s Employment Standards Act.

As for Manitoba, there’s a new movement to have the weekend renamed Terry Fox Day starting next year. A bill to rename the holiday after the Winnipeg-born icon will be introduced in the upcoming fall session. Fox died in 1981 at the age of 22 while attempting to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research.

“His birthday is on July 28 — that’s very close to the Civic Holiday,” said Manitoba’s Premier Greg Selinger. “So it is just a way for us to think of his contribution as we are enjoying time with our family on the long weekend.”

No matter where you’re from, where you’re celebrating, or what you call the holiday, enjoy the long weekend!

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SANDMAN HOTEL GROUP PLANS FOUR-STAR HOTEL IN THE CITY CENTRE OF ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND

Robert Gordon University (RGU) has sold its St Andrews Street building in the heart of Aberdeen city centre to Sandman Hotel Group in a multi-million pound deal which will allow the university to continue with the development of its Garthdee campus.

Sandman will transform RGU’s St Andrews Street building into a four-star premium hotel complex with 220 rooms, including 61 one-bedroom suites, a restaurant, and convention facilities.

Professor Ferdinand von Prondzynski, Principal of RGU said, “The sale of St Andrews Street to Sandman Hotel Group will provide major benefits to the city as well as RGU. The capital received will allow us to continue with the development of our teaching and learning facilities, providing our students with an outstanding educational environment. In addition, the city will benefit from a new four-star hotel and a development which will help drive forward the regeneration of Aberdeen’s city centre.”

“We are thrilled to open our first hotel in Scotland and partner with RGU,” said Taj Kassam, President of Sandman Hotel Group and The Sutton Place Hotels. “Our brand of hospitality fits perfectly into the iconic city of Aberdeen. I was educated in Scotland and this is where I began my career, so it gives us a great feeling of pride and excitement to open a property here.”

RGU is currently in the process of building new facilities for the Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and Built Environment as part of the ongoing development of the university’s Riverside East building which opened to students in September 2013.

Professor von Prondzynski added, “Staff and students of the Scott Sutherland School will benefit from working closely with colleagues from other disciplines than has previously been possible. In addition, the development of our campus is allowing us to better engage with our professional and industry partners.”

The new facilities will complement the university’s existing buildings at the east end of the campus in terms of their innovative design and style, while providing an outstanding educational environment for its students.  The campus will retain its park-like ambience and provide a recreational setting for the benefit of staff, students, and the local community.

Which way to the beach?

Whether you’re looking for a stretch of sand to spread out and relax with a good book, an outdoor court to spike a volleyball, or a catwalk to strut your stuff, Vancouver’s got it. You’ll easily find a beach everywhere you turn.

The following is a list of some of the best beaches in the city.

Kitsilano Beach

Kitsilano Beach

If Vancouver is “Hollywood North,” then Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach – or “Kits Beach” to the locals – is our Venice Beach. Buff and bronzed bodies are sure to make their rounds but don’t be wary, you’re sure to fit in somewhere amidst the mix of joggers, stroller-pushing families, sun-worshippers, and everyday loungers. Grassy patches above the tide line are perfect for tossing the disc, the tennis courts are always popular, and the beach attracts volleyball players from all over the city. And don’t forget Kits Pool where kids and adults can splash away the day in an outdoor, heated salt-water pool with a wrap-around view of the city, ocean, and mountains. It’s almost three times the size of an Olympic pool.

Jericho Beach

Jericho Beach

When all the elements are right, fishing and a picnic at the Jericho Beach pier makes for a perfect evening. Enjoy the long, sandy stretch with stunning views of the North Shore Mountains and downtown core. It’s also a great spot for sailing, windsurfing, sea kayaking, and beach volleyball.

Spanish Banks

Spanish Banks

To commemorate the discovery of the Spanish explorers in 1792, the British named this particular shore Spanish Banks. The least crowded of Vancouver’s beaches, this stretch of sand is a wonderful retreat for those who wish to escape from the pace of city life. Skimmers alert: this is the perfect place for skim boarding once you learn the optimal tidal conditions.

English Bay

West End Beaches

The southern edge of the West End neighbourhood has two of the most attractive waterfront urban environments – English Bay and Sunset Beach. Amazingly, this large stretch of sand is no more than a 30-minute walk from Sandman Hotel Vancouver City Centre and an easy 10-minute walk from Sandman Suites Vancouver Davie – Street, with no commercial exploitation intruding on the peaceful environment. In summer, English Bay becomes a jumping off point for rollerblading adventures, strolling for ice cream, and picnics. Kids will love the floating slide and parents will appreciate the full time lifeguard. It’s also the place to lay down your blanket and look up to the sky during the Honda Celebration of Light international fireworks competition (2014 dates: July 26th, 30th & August 2nd)

Third Beach

Second & Third Beaches

Second Beach is a quick stroll north from English Bay into Stanley Park. Like Kitsilano Beach, Second Beach also has an immense, heated outdoor pool. Further along the seawall lies secluded Third Beach, which is due north of Stanley Park Drive. Locals tote grills and coolers to this spot, a popular place for summer evening barbecues and sunset watching.

Wreck Beach

Wreck Beach

This six-kilometre long, secluded beach is Canada’s first and largest, legal, clothing-optional beach. It’s located at the western tip of Vancouver, adjacent to the University of British Columbia campus, down a long flight of steep stairs. On a summer weekend, as many as 14,000 visitors flock to the beach which stretches from the Musqueam Reserve to Spanish Banks West. Vendors Row, located down the middle of the beach below Trail 6, offers snacks and refreshments. Note: Wreck Beach enthusiasts are a loyal and protective bunch who take their right to “bare” arms, legs and everything else pretty seriously.

Why Waste Time at the Beach?

Research shows that the sound of waves alters wave patterns in the brain lulling you into a deeply relaxed state. Relaxing in this way can help rejuvenate the mind and body.

Also, floating in water means blood is diverted around from our lower limbs and pumped towards our abdominal region – the part of the body near the heart – because we are no longer standing upright. Fresh blood being pumped around the body brings more oxygen to our brain which makes us more alert and active.

Fresh air for sleep

If you’ve ever wondered why we always sleep more soundly after spending the day on the beach, it’s because of the sea air. Sea air is charged with healthy negative ions that accelerate our ability to absorb oxygen. Negative ions also balance levels of seratonin, a body chemical linked with mood and stress. Which is why after a holiday you feel more alert, relaxed, and energized.

So next time you’re looking for an excuse to spend the day at the beach, the real question is, “Which beautiful Vancouver beach?”

 

SANDMAN ACCEPTS BITCOIN FOR HOTEL RESERVATIONS

bitcoinSandman Hotel Group is proud to announce they are now accepting bitcoin as a valid form of payment. As the first Canadian hospitality company to accept bitcoin, guests can now make reservations at over 40 hotels across Canada using the online currency.

Bitcoin is the world’s most widely used alternative currency with a total market cap of approximately $8.1 billion.

“Vancouver hosted the TED talk summit earlier this year. This event brought a diverse and tech savvy group of travellers and presenters to the city. Our hotels had a number of enquiries regarding payment through alternative payments including bitcoin. As a customer focused company with an eye on technology, we decided to incorporate this emerging technology as a payment option,” said Salim Kassam, Vice President of Marketing for Sandman Hotel Group.

“There is a great deal of concern regarding the fluctuation in values of bitcoin. This can be seen to a certain extent in any traditional currency. Bitcoin has seen larger fluctuations; however, we mitigate this by taking an instantaneous exchange value and converting them to Canadian dollars.

“We feel that bitcoin and cryptocurrencies may be here to stay. We can tell you without question that more and more of our customers are seeking to pay with this currency, and our job as hoteliers is to be accommodating to the changing needs and requests of our guests.”

Sandman has partnered with bitcoin payment processors Coinbase for the initiative. Coinbase is an international digital wallet that allows you to securely buy, use, and accept bitcoin currency.

To make a reservation using bitcoin is extremely simple. Guests visit Sandman’s website and select bitcoin as the payment option. An e-invoice is sent to the guest and they accept and transfer their bitcoin payment into Sandman’s bitcoin account which is hosted by Coinbase. Once the payment is confirmed, so is the reservation.

To find out more about Sandman Hotel Group, go to http://www.sandmanhotels.com.

SANDMAN SUITES ON DAVIE STREET HONOURS PRIDE WITH 55-FOOT RAINBOW

Rainbow

Sandman Suites Vancouver – Davie Street

Sandman Suites Vancouver – Davie Street was given a bold makeover last week when a vibrant 55-foot wide rainbow was painted on the roof of the hotel.

The hotel is not only located in the West End neighbourhood in Vancouver, but in the heart of the diverse Davie Street community. The hotel stands proud amongst a milieu of vibrant people, thriving shops and restaurants, and the colourful Davie Village.

“We are proud to call this community our home and want to illustrate our pride by painting the iconic rainbow crowned on-top of our hotel,” said Valentina Tang, General Manager of Sandman Suites Vancouver – Davie Street. “The concept behind the painting was: A heart of gold is where the rainbow begins. We are an inclusive organization and always like supporting our local communities.”

Join Sandman Hotel Group in celebrating the rainbow and its awareness by posting a photo on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #SandmanDavieRainbow.

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Sandman Suites Vancouver – Davie Street

Supporting the extraordinary efforts of two amazing boys

My Buddy BraydenQuinn Callander created the goal of raising $20,000 so his pal, Brayden Grozdanich, can get special surgery in New Jersey. Brayden, who is also seven, has cerebral palsy and the operation would try to relieve the pain from his muscles tightening as he grows. The two boys met in kindergarten, attend the same school in Maple Ridge, B.C., and belong to the same Beaver Scouts group.

In a note on an online fundraising page, Quinn explains: “Brayden has Cerebral Palsy, this makes it challenging for him to walk well because his muscles are very tight. Sometimes he can’t keep up with the rest of the other Beavers and he falls down a lot. Brayden gets daily physio therapy to keep him walking. Sometimes it really hurts him. When I was at his physio, I tried to keep Brayden calm when he was in pain.”

Brayden’s family plans to get the procedure called Percs Lengthening, reported Global News. A similar surgery is available in Canada, but it’s more invasive and takes longer to recover, said the news outlet.

“Please help me raise money to help my friend Brayden, he is a really good guy,” wrote Quinn.

The two boys set up a lemonade stand in front of the Pitt Meadows Superstore on Lougheed Highway on Sunday, July 6, and the quench thirsting drinks were a huge hit. Between the sale of the lemonade and online donations, they have raised over $48,000 which will go towards Brayden’s surgery, travel expenses, and physiotherapy sessions.

Sandman Hotel Group proudly supports the amazing efforts of both boys. You too can support their cause by donating online here.

Here’s a letter written by Quinn in support of his friend:

Hi my name is Quinn, and this is my buddy Brayden. We are both 7 years old. We go to the same school  and we are in Beaver Scouts together. Brayden has Cerebral Palsy, this makes it challenging for him to walk well because his muscles are very tight. Sometimes he can’t keep up with the rest of the other Beavers and he falls down a lot. Brayden gets daily physio therapy to keep him walking. Sometimes it really hurts him. When I was at his physio, I tried to keep Brayden calm when he was in pain. My Mom told me Brayden is going to have a special surgery to help release the muscle tightness and spastic action. The surgery is not done here in Canada, only in the USA. Brayden and his Mom will be travelling there in August for the operation. Since the surgery is not done in Canada, Braydens Mom and Dad have to pay for it. The surgery will cost $20,000. Please help me raise money to help my friend Brayden, he is a really good guy.

Thank you
Love Quinn

Reservations Made Easy With Sandman’s New Mobile App

Sandman Hotel Group is excited about making travel easier with the release of the new Sandman mobile app which will provide the best available rate found anywhere. Guaranteed!

Developed out of a desire to provide guests the fastest, easiest, and most efficient way to book a hotel room, the app allows the user to perform a variety of functions as easy as a few taps of the app. Other features include the ability to synchronize bookings between iPad, mobile devices and desktop as well as access to booking history.

Available for iOS and Android devices, our free app enhances the users’ experience for both reservations and beyond.

iphone-find-hotelUpdates and enhancements:

• The Best Available Rate that you will find anywhere. Guaranteed.
• Automatic enrollment in the StatusPlus™ Rewards Program where you can start collecting and redeeming points for future stays.
• Easy-to-use booking functions with booking confirmations and receipts stored in the app.
• Use group, promo, or corporate codes to access special rates.
• View upcoming reservations.
• Browse hotel photos, maps, and amenities.
• Browse city guides with helpful tips about your destinations

And much, much more!

“As the number of smartphones continues to increase and mobile apps play an ever-growing role in the way people conduct busi­ness, we knew the time was right for us to substantially improve our existing app,” said Salim Kassam, Vice President of Marketing for Sandman Hotel Group. “Today’s guests expect to be able to use their smartphones to do almost everything, and that’s realistic with our new app.”

To download: Visit Apple iTunes App Store or Google Play and search Sandman Hotel Group for free iPhone, iPad, and Android apps.

Click here for more information about our NEW mobile app.

20 Things You Didn’t Know about Queen Victoria

Victoria, British Columbia

Canada has been celebrating Queen Victoria’s birthday since 1845, but there’s a lot about the woman, to whom we owe the first unofficial long weekend of the summer, that you may not have realized.

Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria

Victoria, born May 24, 1819, was the daughter of Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn and Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. She married Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha in 1840, and the union produced four sons and five daughters. She died at 81 years old, on January 22, 1901, and was the longest sitting sovereign in history after a reign of 63 years and 216 days.

But while the day bears her name, here are 20 things you never knew about Queen Victoria or her holiday – or have long since forgotten.

1. Victoria Day is a Canadian tradition and doesn’t actually exist in most of England. But it is celebrated in parts of Scotland, especially Edinburgh, where it remains an official holiday.

2. While the holiday moves around a lot now (falling this year on May 19th), the original rules stated it be celebrated annually on May 24th, regardless of what day that was, unless it was a Sunday – and then the observance would be moved to the 25th.

That changed with an amendment to the Statutes of Canada in 1952, when the government declared Victoria Day would fall on the Monday preceding the 25th of May. It’s been there ever since.

And those of us who appreciate our long weekends are glad they made the change or we’d all be working on Monday – and getting Sunday off.

3. Victoria Day is a legal Canadian stat, which means it’s also observed in Quebec. But the idea of honouring a British monarch doesn’t sit well with many in Le Belle Province, where it’s known it be another name. Up until three years ago, it was called Fête de Dollard after Adam Dollard des Ormeaux a French hero who helped lead a force in what is now Montreal against the Iroquois in 1660.

In 2003, it was renamed National Patriots Day in Quebec, ignoring the Queen reference altogether.

4. When Victoria was just a little girl, she was known by her nickname, Drina.

5. Despite being born in England, Victoria only spoke German up until the age of three.

6. She was the first member of the Royal Family known to suffer from hemophilia, a fact that had many questioning the circumstances of her parentage.

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert

7. She married Prince Albert in 1840, although they’d known each other since she was 16. And it really was a family affair.

Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha was her first cousin and his father was her mother’s brother!

8. Because she was Queen, she had to propose to Albert, and not vice versa.

9. She took over the throne in 1837, after the death of William IV. She was just 18 years old.

10. Despite the somewhat imposing figure she’s been portrayed as in history, the real Victoria didn’t completely measure up. She stood just 5 feet tall.

11. She was the subject of at least six serious assassination attempts.

In 1840, an 18-year-old named Edward Oxford took two shots at her carriage as she was riding in London. He was accused of high treason but found not guilty by reason of insanity.

Two years later, a man named John Francis fired a gun at her carriage but missed. He was caught, convicted of treason, but avoided the death penalty and was shipped to a penal colony.

Less than two months later, a youngster named John William Bean fired ammo made out of tobacco and paper at the Queen.

And in 1849, it happened again when William Hamilton, who history books describe as an ‘angry Irishman’, fired a pistol at her carriage. He pled guilty and was also exiled to a penal colony.

They say if you stay around in politics long enough, you’re bound to make enemies. Victoria was living proof of that. The Queen was set upon again in 1850, when ex-Army officer Robert Pate hit her with his cane. He pleaded insanity but the courts didn’t buy it, leaving him to the same fate as Hamilton.

Incredibly, in 1882, there was yet another attempt on her life, this time by Roderick Maclean, who also missed her with a bullet from a gun. He was found insane and sent to an asylum for life.

Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria

12. When you see pictures or actresses playing Victoria, she’s almost always wearing black. That’s because when her husband died in December 1861, she went into seclusion and a perpetual state of mourning and never wore any other colour.

It’s long been rumoured she later married her Scottish butler John Brown, but that’s never been proven. She didn’t get back into the public eye until the early 1870′s.

13. She became a grandma at 39 and a great grandmother 20 years later.

14. The mother of nine suffered one of the major drawbacks of such a long life, tragically outliving three of her own children.

15. She was the first Queen of Canada, sitting on the throne when this country was founded in 1867.

16. She liked to drink a concoction called Vin Mariani.

17. It was Victoria who started the tradition of a bride wearing white. Before her wedding, a woman would simply wear her best dress, no matter what colour it was.

18. She was named the 18th greatest Briton in a BBC poll conducted in 2002. Winston Churchill was number one. Victoria was beaten out by, among others, Princess Diana (#3), William Shakespeare (#5), and John Lennon (#8). She was followed on the list by Paul McCartney.

Victoria, British Columbia

19. Victoria, British Columbia is named after her, but so is the capital of Saskatchewan – Regina.

20. She was the only British monarch in modern music history to be honoured by name in the title of a rock and roll song. “Victoria”, by the Kinks, #62 on the Billboard charts in 1970, although the record did understandably better on this side of the border.

Paul McCartney famously wrote his 23-second ditty “Her Majesty” tune for the Beatles’ Abbey Road LP, but it wasn’t put out as a single and it never mentioned the current Queen by name.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!

I love you mom

Memories and Mother

Mary R. Hurley

When Mother came to our room
To tuck us in at night,
Her face would look so gentle
In the soft, bedside light.
And though we may not always
Have behaved our best that day,
She’d let us know she loved us
In a very special way:

An extra fold to the coverlet,
A little pat, a hug,
And we’d settle down to dreamland
Feeling safe and snug.

And of all the childhood memories
That there have ever been,
We love best to recall the times
When Mother tucked us in.

Mother's Day

There are many, many reasons why we all feel the need to say ‘Thank You’ to our moms. So we compiled a list of 30 reasons, from our guests and staff, of why we love our mothers.

  1. She loves me for me.
  2. She always left notes in my lunchbox.
  3. She taught me manners.
  4. She loves to sing as loudly in the car as I do.
  5. She’s still happily married to my dad.
  6. She preferred I play outdoors instead of in front of the tv.
  7. For taking care of me when I was sick.
  8. She apologizes when she is wrong.
  9. She endlessly gives to others without expecting anything in return.
  10. She is gracious.
  11. She has a great sense of humour.
  12. She always sees the bright side of things.
  13. She is generous.
  14. She’s a fighter. Where there is a will there is a way, and she always figures out the way.
  15. She’s a great friend.
  16. She made me work the family business as a teenager.
  17. She’s a foodie.
  18. She tries new things.
  19. She made me write thank you notes as a child.
  20. She encouraged me to go to college.
  21. She took a car full of teenage girls on road trips.
  22. She let me make messes.
  23. She let my outdoor puppy sleep in the bed with me. One time.
  24. She believes it’s never too cold for ice cream
  25. She has amazing eyelashes.
  26. She doesn’t take life for granted.
  27. She is forgiving.
  28. She has the best surprises.
  29. She is humble, but has a strong sense of self.
  30. She loves hearing my big ideas.

On behalf of everyone at Sandman Hotel Group, we wish every mother a Happy Mother’s Day. Thank you for all the hard work you do!

Childhood Unplugged

Written and photographed by Sharalee Prang – guest blogger

spring break: bringing shrieks of joy… or pain across the nation.  i love my kids.  i really really do.  and i like the idea of spring break.  the reality of spring break, though, can be less than ideal, especially with young kids.  the ideal: let them stay up late for popcorn and a movie as a treat so that they will sleep in the next morning.  the reality: they stay up late and whine when they have to go to bed, even when it’s an hour past their regular bedtime.  the next morning they are up even earlier than usual, are grumpy, fight with each other nonstop and shoot you death glares when you suggest an afternoon “quiet time”.

so even though we didn’t have big plans to go away this year, we threw together a last minute one night “staycation” at sandman hotel & suites squamish.

squamish, here.we.come.

family vacation | sharalee prang photography_616family vacation | sharalee prang photography_615family vacation | sharalee prang photography_617family vacation | sharalee prang photography_619family vacation | sharalee prang photography_618another family showed up after we had been there a few minutes, so i put my camera away so that i didn’t look like a creepazoid. but i could have shot inside there all day.family vacation | sharalee prang photography_620on our way home, following google maps, i looked for the road that cut closest to the water and we ended up here. thanks google!family vacation | sharalee prang photography_621family vacation | sharalee prang photography_622family vacation | sharalee prang photography_623family vacation | sharalee prang photography_624family vacation | sharalee prang photography_632family vacation | sharalee prang photography_625family vacation | sharalee prang photography_626family vacation | sharalee prang photography_627family vacation | sharalee prang photography_628family vacation | sharalee prang photography_629family vacation | sharalee prang photography_630family vacation | sharalee prang photography_631family vacation | sharalee prang photography_633

a couple of polaroids from our little advenutre:squamish2squamish

Sharalee Prang is a lifestyle wedding and portrait photographer from British Columbia. She lives in a little town called Yarrow, but can also be found driving across the country with her husband and three kids in an RV or tucked away in the corner of the best coffee shop your city has to offer. She likes using natural light to creating authentic portraits of families and people in love.

Sandman Hotels ‘Sweep’ Housekeeping Awards in Alberta

2014 Housekeeping AwardThere’s a lot to be said about cleanliness in the hotel industry. It can make or break a guest’s stay and is a basic foundation for creating a relaxing and welcoming accommodation environment. At Sandman, we make sure all of our hotels adhere to only the highest standards when it comes to housekeeping practices.

Sandman Hotel Red Deer

That’s why we’re proud to congratulate Sandman Hotel & Suites Calgary South and Sandman Hotel Red Deer for receiving the prestigious ‘Housekeeping Award’ issued by the Alberta Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA).

A member-driven organization that represents more than 850 hotels and motels across Alberta, the AHLA is among the foremost authorities in the tourism and hospitality industry.

FB - Corporate Suite

Sandman Hotel Suites Calgary South Corporate King Suite

Both hotels are beyond thrilled to receive the awards which, as the official award states, are given to ‘…a select group of properties that participate in the Approved Accommodation Program and have achieved excellence in cleanliness, comfort, and maintenance. It is a reflection of your staff and your property’s commitment to providing visitors with clean and comfortable accommodation.’

Now that’s pretty spotless news.

Dining In The Dark All For a Good Cause

Written by UrbanXperience Events and Entertainment Inc.

dining-in-the-darkRooted in Europe where the concept was born in 1993, Dining In The Dark has spread all over the world. Allow us to show you what others are raving about while at the same time helping to raise money for the Canadian National Institute For The Blind (CNIB).

Join UrbanXperience Events and Entertainment Inc. for the most unique dining Xperience! Challenge your palate and pick out the mysteries of the menu as your senses will be heightened when you dine in the dark. Enjoy a three course gourmet meal like never before….

Hosted by UrbanXperience Events and Entertainment Inc.

Saturday March 29, 2014 at Sandman Hotel & Suites Abbotsford

Tickets $65*  (ticket sales end date extended to Wednesday, March 26th)

All proceeds will go to Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB)

How it works:

– The three course meal will be a complete mystery. The menu is set with no options; however, we can accommodate vegetarians if requested prior to the event night (please email info@urbanxevents.com). We have developed the menu with taste and texture in mind while keeping with familiar foods (fully cooked protein, starch, vegetables, etc.) to create the best possible Dining in the Dark Xperience!

If you have important dietary or allergy concerns, please contact us prior to purchasing your tickets for more information.

– Cocktail hour begins at 6pm. Dinner starts at 7pm. Blindfolds will not go on until dinner begins. We ask that everyone arrive no later than 6:30pm.

– The server will give you tips at the beginning of the meal to help you orient yourself.

– Wine and cocktails available throughout the event.

– At the end of dinner, we will reveal the descriptions of what you have just eaten, which will allow you to compare with your own impressions and guesses.

Dining in the dark is truly a sensory Xperience!

*cocktails not included in ticket price.

All Green Everything!

St. Patrick's DayYou wear a green shirt, drink green beer, and put on the accent for the day. And maybe, just to prove you really are one-eighth Irish, you’ll sip a Guinness.

It’s St. Patrick’s Day and it’s time to party.

But, have you ever considered what St. Patrick’s Day really means to the Irish? No, it isn’t a day dedicated to dark draughts and glittery shamrocks. The North American celebration actually has little to do with the man it’s meant to honour.

The story of St. Patrick

St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, was born in Britain around 390 AD. When he was 16, Patrick was captured by Irish raiders and taken to the Emerald Isle as a slave to herd sheep. After six years of enslavement, Patrick escaped and somehow made his way back to his family.

After returning home, St. Patrick’s story says he then heard a voice telling him he must go back to Ireland. From there, he became ordained as a priest and began spreading the message of Christianity throughout Ireland. St. Patrick died on March 17, 461 AD.

He is buried in Downpatrick, Ireland at the Down Cathedral.

The North American tradition

Three-leaf-cloverOne of the biggest mistakes North Americans make about St. Patrick’s Day is the shamrock. The shamrock is not a four-leaf clover — it is a three-leaf shamrock instead. This is because St. Patrick used the three-leaf version to represent the father, son, and Holy Ghost in Christianity.

Adding green dye to a light coloured beer is another tradition that is strictly North American.

There are only two proper ways to refer to this celebration: St. Patrick’s Day and St. Paddy’s Day. It should never be referred to as “St. Patty’s Day” because that would be a celebration of a hamburger.

St. Patrick’s Day Tidbits

– According to the 2011 census by Statistics Canada, Canada’s official statistical office revealed that the Irish were the 4th largest ethnic group with 4,544,870 or 14% of the country’s total population.

– The first St. Patrick’s Day was celebrated in 1759 by Irish soldiers serving with the British army.

– Montreal has held a St. Patrick’s Day parade every year since 1824.

– In Manitoba, there is a three-day cultural festival celebrating the occasion put on by the Irish Association of Manitoba.

– The shamrock is a registered trademark of the Republic of Ireland.

Famous Irish Musicians

The rock world is filled with the Irish. Most are blessed with huge Irish lungs and the humour that goes with their heritage. Some artists have used their stardom to promote their political beliefs and humanitarian causes. There are so many to name, but the ones who have taken their place in the rock ‘n’ roll history books who turned their talent into awareness.

Bono1Paul David Hewson is most commonly known by his stage name Bono and famous for being the lead vocalist of U2. Bono was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, where he met the members of U2. As the band matured, his lyrics became more intense and political. Bono is widely known for his activism concerning Africa, and the need to stop poverty and starvation. He has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, granted an honorary knighthood by Queen Elizabeth ll, named Person of the Year by Time Magazine, amongst many other awards and nominations. Bono continues to tour and perform while raising awareness for his many causes. He still resides in Dublin, where he purchased and renovated The Clarence Hotel.

Sinead O'ConnorSinéad Marie Bernadette O’Connor was born in Dublin, Ireland and rose to fame in the late 1980s with her debut album The Lion and the Cobra and achieved worldwide success in 1990 with a cover of the song “Nothing Compares 2 U”. Best known as the bald-headed Irish singer/writer who encountered controversy due to her forthright statements and gestures, ordination as a priest, strong views on organized religion, women’s rights, war, and child abuse while still maintaining a singing career. Her body of work includes a number of collaborations with other artists and appearances at charity fundraising concerts, in addition to her own solo albums.

John McDermottJohn McDermott is better known as a Scottish-Canadian tenor, his roots are both Scottish and Irish, and he has devoted much of his recordings to the Irish heritage. John was discovered by chance while working as a circulation sales representative for the Toronto Sun, he belted out an impromptu rendition of “Danny Boy” at a company party. “I grew up singing, but I thought everybody grew up singing. My dad and mom introduced us to music early on, and all of the McDermott kids could unleash a verse or two of ‘Scotland the Brave’ or ‘Green Isle of Erin’ on command. My song was ‘Danny Boy,’ and I sang it with pride, because even as a kid I knew what a powerful and emotive song it was.”

Irish RoversThe Irish Rovers are a Canadian Irish folk group created in 1963 and named after the traditional song “The Irish Rover”. The group is best known for their recording of Shel Silverstein’s “The Unicorn” in 1967. The Irish Rovers have represented Canada in no less than five World Expos, and throughout the years, have continued to tour worldwide. In 2010, the band celebrated their 45 years of sharing their music with the world by producing a CD and a DVD/television special filmed entirely in Northern Ireland.

So the history and the music endure, and the Irish should be thanked for that, as well as remembered for the price they paid by coming to Canada. Celebrate St. Patrick and his day – no matter where you are on March 17th!

Powder, Powder Everywhere!

Revelstoke Mountain Resort is currently the place to be. Between the copious amounts of powder and the upcoming Swatch Freeride World Tour by The North Face (March 10, 2014), there’s never been a better time to stay at The Sutton Place Hotel Revelstoke Mountain Resort.

Watch the latest videos showcasing Revelstoke Mountain Resort‘s beautiful winter wonderland.

 

 

Roses and candy and love.. Oh my! Happy Valentine’s Day!

Heart of RosesLove: it’s something we all crave. We are wired to not just need it but to want it too.

The English language only has one word assigned to convey multiple meanings of love. We use “I love you” with family, friends, and with the person we are in a relationship with.

It’s easy to understand what love for family means. The bond created by blood is intense and can never be broken.

It’s also easy to understand what love for friends means. This is a love that you choose to give. It is when you are so close with your friend you view them as if they are part of your family. You have an emotional connection with that person and you never see them not being part of your life.

But what does it mean when you tell your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, or partner that you love them? And more specifically, what does it mean to be in love? Clearly there is a difference between the two as we have all heard people say that they love someone but aren’t in love with them.

Instead of trying to figure out the meaning of love, we decided to let these adorable children explain it.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Romance. Love. Passion. Valentine’s Day is Back!

love_92877334“For it was not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart. It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul.” ~Judy Garland

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” ~Charles M. Schulz

“There’s a long life ahead of you and it’s going to be beautiful, as long as you keep loving and hugging each other.” ~Yoko Ono

“I love romance. I’m a sucker for it. I love it so much. It’s pathetic.” ~Drew Barrymore

“I like perfume and flowers.” ~Donatella Versace

february 14_93828682Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and whether you’re looking to spend quality time with your loved one, romance them, or both, Sandman Hotel Group has you covered. Give the perfect gift of a Sandman stay this February 14th.

A few of our hotels in British Columbia have embraced romance and assembled a variety of packages to suit every couple’s needs.

Sandman Suites Vancouver – Davie Street

Grab your loved one and spend Valentine’s in one of the amazing suites overlooking Vancouver.

Choose from one of two packages and create a night (or nights) to remember.

The Experience Package includes: a night’s accommodation in a one-bedroom suite, sparkling wine on ice in your room upon arrival, chocolate covered strawberries, rose petals scattered on your bed, breakfast for two at Moxie’s, and free parking.

The Valentine’s Indulgence Package includes: a night’s accommodation in a one-bedroom Jacuzzi suite on the penthouse floor, sparkling wine on ice in your room upon arrival, chocolate covered strawberries, an edible bouquet in a keepsake container, LUSH bath bomb and bubble bar, floating candles in your Jacuzzi tub, breakfast for two at Moxie’s, and free parking.

Sandman Hotel & Suites Kelowna

Treat your sweetheart to a Valentine’s weekend to remember. Indulge your passionate side with a night of decadence, sparkling wine and roses upon arrival, $100 Chop Steakhouse & Bar, and memories to last a lifetime.

Sandman Hotel & Suites Squamish

love_129289046Every day is Valentine’s Day in Squamish . With beautiful surroundings and an array of activities, all you have to do is add elegance and indulgence to your getaway. Spend a beautiful night in the mountains with a bottle of sparkling wine, chocolates, a rose on arrival, complimentary early check-in of 1pm and late check-out of 1pm, and complimentary upgrade to the next best room upon check-in (based on availability).

But BC is not the only province that knows how to spoil a loved one. Numerous Sandmans in Alberta have created beautiful packages sure to please your significant other.

Sandman Hotel & Suites Calgary West

The perfect getaway gift for you and your sweetheart awaits you. We’ll make sure you experience pure romance from start to finish! Treat your significant other to a romantic night away from home with our complete Romance Package, including a bottle of sparkling wine, a box of chocolates, and 2 – $10 Denny’s gift cards.

Sandman Hotel & Suites Calgary South

Treat your sweetheart to a romantic Valentine’s weekend away from home with our complete Valentine’s Packages. Simply book before February 7, 2014 and choose between our 3 offers:

chocolate_strawberry_93030673Package A: 1 Night Stay

  • 1 bottle of sparkling wine
  • chocolate covered strawberries
  • 1 $30 gift card to Denny’s

Package B: 2 Night Stay

  • Everything from Package A AND
  • 1 $75 gift card to Chinook Mall
  • 1 $30 gift card to Moxie’s Grill & Bar

Package C: 3 Night Stay

  • Everything from Package A & B AND
  • 25% off your 3rd night
  • 1 $30 gift card to Denny’s

No matter where you are or what you’re looking for, Sandman has the perfect amount of romance for you.

Rose Petals of Love

Hot cocoa without the mug!

beautiful winter“Winter is the time for comfort,
for good food and warmth,
for the touch of a friendly hand
and for a talk beside the fire:
it is the time for home.” Edith Sitwell

Brrrr. Winter is seriously in full force. Instead of getting upset, why not embrace the cold. Hot chocolate is the obvious choice on a cold winter’s day, but Sandman doesn’t conform to the norm. So instead of choosing just one yummy winter treat, we chose two: hot chocolate cookies. Yup, you heard that right. We literally put the taste of hot chocolate into a cookie.

Hot Chocolate Cookies

three cookies
A cookie twist on a classic cup of hot cocoa with a gooey marshmallow.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter
  • 1 package of semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 1/4 cups of packed brown sugar
  • 3 eggs at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 20 marshmallows
  • a white or mill chocolate bar (we used both)

Directions

  1. Over a double boiler, melt the butter and chocolate chips on medium low heat, stirring often. Once melted, remove the chocolate from the burner and allow to cool for 15 minutes.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder.  Set aside.
  3. In a mixer, mix the eggs, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Add the cooled melted chocolate. Then add the dry ingredients in two batches. The dough will be a thick cake batter. Chill the batter in the fridge for one hour. This is really important because if the batter is not chilled, it will be very sticky and difficult to work with.
  4. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Once the dough is chilled, line baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and place them 2 inches apart on the tray. Flatten the tops slightly.
  6. Bake for approximately 12 minutes, or until the cookie edges start to crack. While they are baking, cut the marshmallows in half and stick on square of chocolate onto each of the cut sides.
  7. Once the cookies are done, remove them from the oven and stick the marshmallows chocolate side down onto each cookie. Put the cookies back into the oven and cook for another 4 minutes, or until the marshmallows are soft.
  8. Remove the cookies from the oven and transfer them to cooling racks. Grate additional chocolate over the top of the cookie for garnish.
  9. Enjoy!

Fight Those January Blues

Sad DogMisery is expected to peak the third Monday in January (Monday, January 20, 2014) being that it’s the “most depressing day” of the year. (Note: you can say things like “is expected to” if one person expects it to be true.)

That one person is Cliff Arnalls of Wales, who created the formula to determine the worst day of the year. (Note: if you can find someone who agrees with him, we can say: “Researchers agree…”)

bluemonday2

whereby…

W = weather
D = debt
d = amount of January pay check
T = time since Christmas
Q = amount of time since failure to quit bad habit
M = motivational levels
NA = the need to take action

Even though the shortest day of the year is December 21st, the weather continues getting colder throughout the month of January. In fact, in the ancient Roman calendar, the year originally started in March and ended in December. The months of January and February were just one big shapeless clump of days, as the calendar was used mainly for agricultural purposes and was based on lunar cycles rather than solar.  In the 700s BC, January and February were “created” to fill in the gap.

By a couple weeks into the new year, the energy of the holidays has long dissipated, folks have failed all or most of their resolutions, and their bank accounts are still empty.

Of course, this is just a theory — one that has been dismissed by many. But if you do feel down around this time of the year, not all hope is lost. Experts may have found the most depressing day out of 365, but they have also found a number of ways to combat the accompanying feelings of depression.

To lighten the mood during Blue Monday or whenever all seems overwhelming, try these helpful tips:

exerciseGet out and exercise

Staving off the blue can be achieved in many cases with proper exercise and diet. In addition to improving a person’s self-image, exercising regularly releases feel-good chemicals in the body. Physical activity also increases body temperature which creates a calming sensation and reduces the release of stress hormones and other certain chemicals which can make symptoms of depression worse. Use Blue Monday to go out for a jog, play with your pups, or do a 20-minute round at the gym!

Be social

Celebrate Blue Monday with friends and family. Individuals who spend at least two hours a week interacting with others experienced less intense symptoms of depression compared to people who remained isolated. So if you are feeling down, make an effort to find some company!

Get Out of BedTake things one step at a time

For serious bouts of the blues, keeping things simple may be one of the best answers to fighting off Blue Monday. Instead of thinking about all the things you have to do, just focus on the task at hand. First, focus on getting out of bed. Once that task has been accomplished, focus on getting dressed, eating breakfast and getting ready for the day. By keeping things simple, you can feel a sense of accomplishment with each small task.

Keep up with a hobby

It makes sense that doing something you enjoy boosts mental health, and keeping up with a hobby has a positive impact even on patients with major depressive disorders. The use of hobbies to combat depression was primarily used by researcher Viktor Frankl, who created a psychotherapeutic technique called logotherapy. This form of therapy used hobbies and enjoyable activities to help refocus depressed individuals on what they felt was the meaning of life. Having a purpose, such as caring for a pet, helped bring patients back into a productive daily routine.

Do not fall victim of the hype

Who is to say your day has to be a bad one? Remember, you have control over your emotions and thoughts.

Helpful TipsTips for making it through Blue Monday:

“Have a party and celebrate” – Jack Gilbert, Ontario, Canada

“Exercise and bibliotherapy” — Dr. Alan Cohen, Royal College of General Practioners

“Watch the film ‘The Sound of Music’” — Ketan Shah, Harrow, England

“Move to New Zealand… It’s summer!” – Oliver, Auckland, New Zealand

Thank you, New Zealand, for rubbing that in.

Note: make sure to visit Sandman’s Facebook Page on Monday, January 20, 2014 for a giveaway that is sure to cure your Monday or January blues!

New Year’s Resolutions – Did You Make Them Realistic?

Travel Quote

Gulliver traveled. Look where it got him: lashed to the land by little people. Columbus, big traveler, right? Underestimated the circumference of the Earth and died thinking he’d found India. Sure, you can come up with justifications for never leaving the splendid safety of your office chair. Truth is, travel makes us better in many ways: better employees, better family members, and better friends.

Every year, the month of January makes us say things like: Out with the old; in with the new. It may be cliché, but every year, we say it. That may be because there’s something about the beginning of a new year that automatically sparks a desire to make a change or start something fresh. But instead of making a new year’s resolution that is unattainable, why not find something you will be able to achieve and enjoy at the same time.

iphone 5 cameraHow about learning how to actually use your camera? (Remember that there is a camera on your phone, so this applies to all smart phone users as well.) Our resident social media guru put together these five simple tips to help kick start your camera knowledge.

Number 1: Get to know your camera/phone functions. You don’t want to be fumbling with controls and missing moments.

Number 2: Turn your flash off for nightscapes. Flash can only travel a few feet, so there is no way it’s going to help you with that Vegas-by-night shot. Find a stable place to sit the camera, like a portable tripod or even a curbside newspaper box.

Number 3: Use flash in the sun. Try turning on the flash when you’re taking portraits of each other in harsh sunlight. It sounds odd, but flash will actually fill in the heavy shadows caused by the sun, giving you more even light and color.

Number 4: The landscape mode on your camera is designed to give you sharp pictures from a distance, along with rich blue skies and lush earth tones. Flip to this mode when you need it, and let the camera do all the work.

Number 5: Don’t always rely on zoom lenses to get you close to the action. Walk right up to your subject, interact with them, and get details that fly-by tourists would miss in their haste.

photo collageNow that you know how to use your camera, let’s put your new knowledge to use. And there’s no better way to test your camera skills than to go on a trip. Think about the amazing adventures, delicious food, and the beautiful photos you will take. Exciting!

There’s only one thing left to do. Plan the trip.

Why? Because the pleasure of pre-trip anticipation is invigorating. It’s why puppies are more joyful than dogs.

Pros to planning now: A vacation begins the second you start to plan it. Travelers’ moods improve as soon as the planning begins, even before the actual vacation starts.

Cons: Running out of toner the second you try to print your boarding pass. Trying to remember where you put the digital luggage scale. Rushing out to buy batteries for that digital luggage scale.

Canadian TravelSo where will your new adventure take you? If you’re looking to travel within Canada, your choices are endless.

Canada’s cities are energetic, multi-cultural, and most importantly, distinctive.  You don’t drive from one to the other expecting the same.  Vancouver and Victoria’s lifestyles are always relaxed, and while it may be wet, it doesn’t stop people from enjoying the natural surroundings of each city.  Booming Calgary and Edmonton reap the benefits of our natural resources.  Regina and Saskatoon proudly bring vibrancy to the prairies.  Winnipeg is a definite cultural centre at the heart of the country. Toronto and Ottawa are the corridors of business and politics.  Montreal enjoys a reputation as the coolest city in the country, if not the continent, while the streets of old Quebec City feel like they’ve teleported from Europe.  The history is everywhere in Halifax and Charlottetown, and the charm thick in Fredericton. In Newfoundland, St John’s witnesses the first sunrise of the continent, and its brightly painted houses as animated as its people.  Let’s not forget Whitehorse, Yellowknife, and Iqaluit, our vibrant outposts of the Great White North.

Whatever your new year’s resolution might be, whether it be travelling or learning how to use your camera, Sandman looks forward to spending time with you in 2014!

Ring in the New Year in Style… and with Good luck

GroupCelebrating_139152893Quick question: What will your wardrobe be on New Year’s Eve? Nice dress? Black tie? How about your, ahem, underwear? If you lived in parts of South America, it wouldn’t even be a question. In São Paulo, La Paz, and other spots, people don brightly coloured underpants to ring in the New Year — red if they’re looking for love and yellow for money.

champagne-NEW-YEARNo matter what we wear, though, New Year signifies a new beginning. Flipping open a fresh calendar, with its 12 pristine, as-yet-unmarked months, is perhaps one of the most universally hopeful acts we humans perform. Finally, a chance to shrug off a year’s worth of worries, conflicts, and mistakes. Finally, a chance to start over.

It’s no wonder we all welcome the holiday with such enthusiasm. In the U.S. (and in lots of other countries), the event is celebrated with fireworks and parades, drinking and toasts. Some cultures, though, have more unusual ways of ushering in the New Year.

In many countries, there’s a shared belief that specific actions taken on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day — or at the stroke of midnight — can influence the fate of the months ahead. In the Philippines, for example, wearing polka dots and eating round fruits is supposed to ensure a prosperous new year. In Spain, wolfing down handfuls of grapes as the clock strikes 12 is said to have the same effect.

In other countries, New Year’s customs are about driving away the bad spirits of the past year, so that the new one can arrive unsullied and uncorrupted. The purifying power of fire is often used in such ceremonies. During the Scottish festival of Hogmanay, for instance, parades of village men swing giant blazing fireballs over their heads as they march through the streets. In Panama, sculptures or statues of popular celebrities and political figures—called muñecos—are burned in bonfires. Other bad-spirit-banishing customs are less fiery and more fun, like the Danish tradition of jumping off chairs at midnight (which gives new meaning to the term “leap year”).

Corn BreadIf food is how you choose to celebrate holidays, there are multitudes of food that are said to bring luck and prosperity.

Black Eyed Peas: Resembling coins, these beans are said to bring prosperity in the New Year and are often enjoyed in the traditional southern dish known as Hoppin’ John, which in some households, may be preceded by a hopping dance performed around the table by the children.

Buttered Bread: New Years Day in Ireland is also known as Day of the Buttered Bread (or Sandwich, depending on the Gaelic translation). Tradition says buttered bread placed outside the door symbolizes an absence of hunger in the household, and presumably for the year to come.

12 grapesGrapes/Raisins: Tradition in Spain says 12 grapes or raisins eaten just before midnight (one at each chime of the clock) will bring good for all 12 months of the year, so long as you finish all 12 before the final stroke!

Greens: Because of their deep emerald color resembling money, healthy, hearty greens like kale, spinach, and collards are believed to bring wealth (and of course, health!) to those who enjoy it early and often in the New Year. For legume or meat-based dishes, a garnish of parsley is also said to ward off evil spirits.

Pork: Bring on the bacon! As pigs root forward while they forage for food (as opposed to cows, who stand still, or chickens, who scratch backwards), pork in all forms is enjoyed by many hoping to embrace the challenges and adventures that await them in the coming year.

Long Noodles: Signifying longevity in Asian culture, a stir-fry of unbroken noodles is a tradition believed to bring good health and luck in the New Year. Those who can eat at least one long noodle without chewing or breaking it is said to enjoy the longest life and best luck of all!

Lentils: Resembling tiny coins, the custom of enjoying lentils in the New Year is a common Italian tradition said to bring wealth.

Cornbread: Golden yellow and inarguably delicious, cornbread is especially popular in the South. Because its color is similar to that of gold, this bread is enjoyed by those hopeful for a prosperous year.

Round Foods: Cakes, pastries, cookies, and round fruits like clementines are often enjoyed on New Year’s Day as their shape signifies the old year has come to a close and the coming days hold the promise of a fresh start.

Whole Fish: In Chinese culture, serving fish whole (both head and tail intact) symbolizes prosperity, abundance, and a good year to come (from start to finish).

No matter how odd different traditions may seem to us, though, these customs share an optimism that’s hard not to appreciate. Out with the old, in with the new!

So no matter where or how you celebrate, Sandman Hotel Group wishes you a very happy and healthy new year. From us to you, may 2014 be full of joy, laughter, and loved ones.
Happy New Year in sparklers

Be Safe This Winter – Especially in Avalanche Terrain

Photo credit: Raven Eye Photography

Photo credit: Raven Eye Photography

Written by the Canadian Avalanche Centre

Visiting a Sandman hotel for some winter fun this year? There’s something seriously magical about sliding on snow, whatever your method.  The Canadian Avalanche Centre (CAC) reminds you that whether you’re skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, or anything else that gets you outside and onto the white stuff, you’ve got to be avalanche aware. Especially if you’re heading into avalanche terrain.

Photo credit: Raven Eye Photography

Photo credit: Raven Eye Photography

The backcountry can be an enticing place — it’s peaceful, awe-inspiring, invigorating, and it deserves your respect. Remember, the backcountry can be many miles from civilization, or it can be just beyond a boundary rope. Any time you’re going into the backcountry, remember the CAC’s three key safety messages: get the gear, get the training, and check the forecast. Essential avalanche safety gear is an avalanche transceiver, a probe, and a shovel. Training gives you the fundamentals of travelling safely in avalanche terrain — whether you’re new to the backcountry or have many days of experience under your belt, you owe it to yourself, your family, and your friends to know as much as you can about avalanche risk management. The avalanche forecast gives you avalanche danger ratings, crucial details about primary avalanche concerns, travel advice, info on avalanche activity, snowpack conditions, and forecast weather conditions for the region. Together, these pieces of the puzzle help you make better decisions in the backcountry.

So who is the CAC? We’re a not-for-profit, non-government organization dedicated to public avalanche safety in Canada. Founded in 2004, we coordinate public avalanche safety programs such as regional avalanche forecasts, deliver public avalanche awareness and education programs, provide curriculum and support to instructors of Avalanche Skills Training (AST) courses, act as a hub for avalanche information, and encourage avalanche research. We encourage safe, responsible backcountry use.

To enjoy the backcountry safely and responsibly, do your homework before you travel. Look through our online avalanche course for an intro to avalanche safety or a pre-season refresher (http://www.avalanche.ca/cac/training/online-course). Take an AST course in your hometown or while on your trip. (http://www.avalanche.ca/cac/training/ast). Check the avalanche forecast for the region you’ll be visiting (http://www.avalanche.ca/cac/bulletins/latest). Most importantly, have fun and stay safe.

Sandman is a sponsor of the Canadian Avalanche Centre and the Alberta Snowmobile Association’s billboard initiative for the 2013-2014 season. The objective of this program is to remind travelers to get important avalanche forecasts for three major routes in BC and AB.

Autumn Across Canada – Like the Changing of the Guard

Fall is a season that is deserving of its poetry. It’s not blatant like summer’s heat or winter’s snow. It’s a quiet season, when everything is looking to the colder, darker days for rest. With the storms that sway the trees and brilliant leaves that grace the forests, it’s also wildly beautiful. Travelling in Canada this fall, staying at the numerous Sandmans across the country, means bearing witness to the  stunning scenes that could inspire your own poetic musings.

autumn colours

A Wave of Colour
Fall means a change in the colours of the landscape, with spectacular reds, oranges, and yellows that gradually fade into winter’s whites and greys. The Niagara Parkway near Niagara-on-the-Lake is famous for its glorious fall colour, as are the sugar maples, birches, and beech trees of Quebec’s Laurentian Mountains. If you’re in the west, catch a view of the larches changing colours in the mountains around Lake O’Hara in the Canadian Rockies.

Awe-Inspiring Storm Watching
Go coastal, and feel the beauty of the rainy season. Vancouver Island’s Tofino and Ucluelet are famous for the beauty of the surf. Walk along the beach in the mist or pouring rain, or as the winter storms rage while you’re snug in an ocean-view lodge.

When the fall rains come to British Columbia, the streams fill up with spawning salmon.  The pounding water and rolling boulders are inspiring, and the crowds of visitors are mostly gone. grizzly bearFind a safe place to watch the water as it roars by, and you’ll understand the true meaning of the word awesome.

Eagles and bears accompany the salmon, feasting as the fish complete their life cycle. Goldstream Provincial Park near Victoria is an excellent place to go salmon-watching, while Brackendale near Squamish is known for its eagles. If you’d like to see wildlife of the larger, hairier variety, day trips and overnight lodges out of Campbell River bring visitors to see the grizzlies as they feast on the fall salmon runs.

Fall Sunsets That Will Blow You Away
On Canada’s prairies, the sky seems to go on forever, and so does the sunset. Sit next to a pond in the evening, enjoying the sounds as night starts to arrive.  Go north, and you’ll also have the opportunity to experience the Northern Lights, bits of colourful light that play across the sky in the dark.

Canada GeeseMigrations That Will Move You
There’s nothing like the honking of the Canada geese to get you in the mood for fall. It pairs nicely with a hot cocoa and a toque.

Across Canada’s north, wildflowers begin to fade, tundra readies itself for the cold winter, and the northern caribou populations begin to make their way south. 

If you’re looking for a somewhat more urban experience, Canadian wetlands play host to a myriad of bird species in the fall, as northern birds migrate south. At the Reifel Bird Sanctuary just outside Vancouver, the fall migration of Lesser Snow Geese arrives in October. Up to 20,000 of these birds come to visit the marshes of the Fraser Valley each year. The geese come from Wrangel Island in the Arctic, and they seek out the more temperate climate of Vancouver for the winter.

The Misty Shores
newfoundland_115011499In the fall, go for the mist rising off the lake or the seashore. Visit Canada’s east coast for beautiful lighthouses, tiny coves, and small villages as well as busy urban centres. More specifically, Nova Scotia’s Lighthouse Route for a collection of more than 20 lighthouses, scenic fog, and ocean spray.

A Canadian fall is all about the quiet mist and gently falling leaves. It’s also about the power of the storm and the magic of migration. It’s an awe-inspiring season of beauty, and one not to be missed.