Edmonton Gets Hot with Ice on Whyte!

ice on whyte 2If you’re not familiar with the Edmonton area, then you might think the ‘Ice on Whyte’ moniker is either misspelled or an attempt to create a new version of an old word that sounds young, hip, and kewl. Rest assured, it’s spelled this way for neither of these reasons.

The festival is called ‘Ice on Whyte’ because it pays homage to the city’s famed Whyte Avenue, a popular street that is often brewing with fun and entertainment.

Celebrating its 10th year in action, the festivities run from January 25 – February 3, and feature a wide range of winter sights, sounds, and activities to highlight both the snow, ice, land, and people!

Originally created in 2003 by a group of individuals who wanted to showcase the fabulous art of ice carving, the event has blossomed to include all aspects of winter fun. Held in the popular area known as Steel Park or Festival Park, on 85th Avenue and 104 Street (not too far from Whyte Avenue itself), the hoopla is near impossible to miss because it fills the entire space with gorgeous, brightly-lit ice sculptures in addition to tons of live entertainment, food, and family fun.

Yet, the heart of the festival is still the famed international ice carving competition – which was officially endorsed by the National Ice Carving Association in 2009– the world’s preeminent authority on ice carving standards and art.

ice on whyte 3

During the competition, 10 teams of two will chip away at 15 blocks of ice (per team) for 2.5 days (35 hours total). Using these blocks, they’ll create one sculpture that must be 3.18 meters high and sculpted on all sides. All 15 blocks must be used, and snow made from the carving may also be used in the sculpture. In addition, there are no props, decorations or ice colouring allowed – this is serious ice carving my friend.

Visitors can also expect to find snow sculptures, a giant ice slide, a children’s play area, live music, entertainment and ice carving workshops too.

ice on whyte 5ice on whyte 9ice on whyte 8ice on whyte 7ice on whyte 5ice on whyte 4
No wonder the festival won the Alberta Tourism Award in the Alberta Pride Category in 2012!
Suffice to say, even though the event will bring the big chill in many ways, it is still among one of the hottest festivals in Canada this season!

Now that’s the Whyte stuff!

To see Sandman Hotel Edmonton West’s rates and hot deals, click here: http://www.sandmanhotels.ca/specials-rewards/hot-deals/

To see Sandman Signature Hotel & Suites Edmonton South’s rates and hot deals, click here: http://www.sandmansignature.ca/specials-rewards/hot-deals/

Sandman Remembers the Best of 2012!

Urgent assignment2012 was a year filled with an unbelievable amount of activity at Sandman Hotel Group. Whether it was awards and accolades for our flagship hotel in Newcastle, UK, the launch of our mobile app for the iPad and Android, amazing press and coverage for our hotels across Canada, or the expansion of our online social media presence, there was no shortage of excitement for everyone here at the Sandman family.

Kicking off our New Year, here is a list of our favourite stories from the past year!


Sandman Signature Makes a Name for Itself

Over the past year, Sandman Signature Hotels & Resorts have been making waves across the nation and overseas. For instance our Langley location picked up the 2012 Commercial Building Award of Excellence in Hospitality from the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board for being able to fulfill the following requirements:

• Does the development complement or add to the surrounding properties and neighbourhood?
• Is it esthetically pleasing?
• What construction materials were used in the overall design?
• Was it built in an environmentally sensitive manner?
• Does it incorporate any unique architectural features?
• How does this project compare to others in the same category?

An excellent list of categories to live up to, we couldn’t be more proud of their achievement!

Inn Focus

There was also great press for our other locations too! From our Sandman Signature Hotel & Suites Prince George getting front page coverage in ‘In Focus’ magazine, to our Sandman Signature Hotel Newcastle, UK getting coverage for … everything! From their décor, history, and ambiance to their highly coveted RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) North East Renaissance Award for commercial property of the year, the good news hasn’t stopped coming. In addition, the reviews keep pouring in for our Edmonton South, Toronto and Vancouver Airport locations too. Quite simply, Signature is making its presence felt in the hotel world, and we can’t wait to see what’s next for each special location!

i Love the Sandman App!

2013 also ushered in some technological treats for all our guests too. Where last year we launched our brand new mobile booking app for the iPhone and BlackBerry, this year we wanted to make sure we topped ourselves with our apps for Android and the iPad (not to mention the improved version 2 for iPhone and Blackberry).

iPad App

Many months in the making, our experts worked day and night to ensure that we offered guests the easiest, breeziest and most rewarding booking experience…and we were not disappointed. With a whopping number of users already, there is no doubt that our new technology makes booking with us fast, efficient, easy, and full of perks. Not sure what you’re missing? Here are just a few of the benefits you can get from our mobile app.

  • The ability to reserve at over 40 locations worldwide
  • Exclusive access to promotions and limited-time offers
  • GPS and interactive map
  • The ability to earn and redeem StatusPlus points towards free stays
  • The ability to view StatusPlus points balance and profile status

A Clean Sweep for Sandman Hotels in Alberta

If there is one thing our hotels are proud of, it’s our standards and service. That’s why we were elated to learn that once again, that several of our hotels in Alberta have received prestigious recognition from the Alberta Hotel & Lodging Association for Excellence in Housekeeping.


Our Sandman Hotel Red Deer, Sandman Hotel Calgary South and Sandman Hotel Calgary Airport all were recipients of this AHLA award which states:

‘As a recipient of the Housekeeping Award, you are among a select group of properties that participate in the Approved Accommodation Program [and] have achieved excellence in cleanliness, comfort, and maintenance. The Housekeeping Award is a reflection of your staff and your property’s commitment to providing visitors with clean and comfortable accommodation.’

Now that’s spotless news.

Social Media Expansion

This year also saw the rise of our social media expansion across several channels. From Pinterest to Google +, Foursquare, Pinterest, Instagram, Youtube, and the ever increasing growth of our Facebook and Twitter pages, there were so many new ways to interact with our guests, fans, and friends. We met so many new people that we decided to get to know them all even better with our ‘Share Your Sandman Story Photo Contest.’

Share Your Sandman Story

Asking our friends to share their Sandman stories with us was one of our most successful social media campaigns of the year, and we received entries from all over the world. Whether it was a story about a memorable family stay, wonderful weekend getaway, the perfect wedding or friendly service during frequent business trips, we got to see the real people who make our company a success with pictures too!

Throughout the summer months we also gave away tons of prizes to everyone ranging from restaurant gift cards, hotel gift certificates, and two brand new iPads.

Double the Luck with Lucky 13


Though it’s 2013 already, the number 13 played a huge role for Sandman in 2012. With our Lucky 13 Rewards Program, we decided to have a bit of fun and launch a campaign on Friday the 13th, called ‘Lucky 13 on Friday the 13th.’ Since there were two Friday the 13ths in 2012, we decided to make two fun videos for our friends detailing the special promotion which allowed guests to get DOUBLE the Lucky 13 stamps for every night they booked on the superstitious day. We were even lucky enough to get all-star backup quarterback for the BC Lions, Mike Reilly, to help us out.

In case you missed it all, check out some of our favourite videos, and moments below!

With so many events and activities, it’s pretty safe to say that 2012 was among one of our best years ever. However, we’re also willing to wager a bet that 2013 will be even better!



Sandman Supports the Kids This Season


For many Canadians, the holidays are a time of year filled with celebrations, family gatherings, and gift exchanges. Yet, for countless kids across the country, the season can be a difficult period to get through, and is a time when a helping hand makes a world of difference.  That’s why, this year, Sandman Hotels are making it their mission to give back to children and teens in need with an important charity campaign.

gift of giving

From November 15, 2012 to January 15, 2013 all 42 hotels across the nation will participate in Sandman’s ‘Gift of Giving’ promotion which, in partnership with Kids Help Phone, will raise funds and awareness for Canada’s only national non-profit youth counselling service. A trailblazer for essential youth services in Canada, Kids Help Phone remains the go-to service for kids, teens and young adults. Its professional counsellors offer help and hope on more than 55 issues that are of concern to kids today. That’s why Sandman is proud to join forces with them.

For the season, Sandman will be donating $1 from every reservation made under their ‘Gift of Giving’ rate to Kids Help Phone, with all donations matched by Sandman Hotel Group.

Why Kids Help Phone?

“In light of recent events not only with youth in Canada, but across the globe, we felt that it was important for Sandman to foster a Canadian-run network for youth this season,” says Salim Kassam, Vice President of Marketing for Sandman Hotel Group. “Our Company has strong family values, and we are invested in Canada’s children and teenagers, so we feel that Kids Help Phone provides one of the most vital services for kids of all ages these days.”

A Few Facts about Kids Help Phone KHP_EN_1C_RGB

In case you didn’t know, Kids Help Phone provides Canada’s leading toll-free, bilingual, and anonymous online and phone counselling and referral service for children and youth. As a non-profit group, they rely heavily on the support of companies and donors from across the country to ensure that every kid has someone to talk to in a time of need.

Available 365 days a year, 24 hours a day they also ensure that no call for help goes unheard, and their dedication is something that Sandman is proud to support.

‘No matter what young people contact us about – bullying, school, pressures, problems at home – Kids Help Phone’s professional counsellors are always there to provide non-judgemental support to kids from anywhere in Canada,” says Sharon Wood, President and CEO of Kids Help Phone. “Our service is available 24 hours a day, but we can only be there KHP_FR_1C_RGBfor kids through the financial assistance and support of companies and donors. We are delighted that Sandman Hotel Group has joined us in our mission to ensure young people across Canada always have someone to turn to. Thank you Sandman for reminding everyone that we, as individuals and as a caring community, can make a difference.”

Sandman Hotel Group will also be offering special room rates for those who book under the ‘Gift of Giving’ rate, which makes it the perfect present not only for you, but for the kids too!

To find out more about Sandman Hotel Group’s ‘Gift of Giving’ promotion, go to http://www.sandmanhotels.ca/giving

To find out more about Kids Help Phone, go to http://www.kidshelpphone.ca

Toronto Gears Up for the 100th Grey Cup!

It’s that time of year again. Nope, we’re not talking about Christmas (though for some people it’s just as exciting) – we are talking about the Grey Cup!

This year’s event will be held in Toronto and will feature the best Canadian football teams from the east and west battling it out in Rogers stadium. Home to the oldest team in history (139 years to be exact!), the Toronto Argonauts, this championship battle is guaranteed to be one of the best ever – and the city of Toronto is sparing no expense when it comes to the celebrations.

For ten days and eleven nights, there will be over 50 events including: a football film festival, a family fun zone, traditional team parties, galas, player awards, and non-stop live performances.

Among the performers expected are Faber Drive, Said the Whale, Fefe Dobson, Our Lady Peace, Spirit of the West among many others.Famous acts will be packing the OLG Stage at The TELUS Street Festival located on Front Street, from Simcoe St, to John St and north to Wellington.

In addition to live music, people who attend the Street Festival can also experience Canada’s largest Ribfest (featuring some of the best rib recipes in North America) in addition to an amazing outdoor beer garden and tailgate party.

 If you are looking for a little fun with the Family, you can also attend the Nissan Family Zone at Yonge-Dundas Square which will have non-stop slew of kid-friendly events for the entire duration of the 10 day, city-wide celebration.

Parents and children can enjoy educational programming, a mini football field with clinics led by CIS players, special performances on the Petro Canada Stage, games, giveaways for the kids, meet and greets with dancers and cheerleaders, great food and so much more.

Grey Cup Free Performance Schedule:


Friday, November 23 Sirius XM Winner – ERA 9 4:30pm
Classified 5:30pm
Rikers 6:45pm
Platinum Blonde 7:30pm
Bleeker Ridge 9:00pm
Faber Drive 10:15pm
Saturday, November 24 Bender 1:30pm
Sirius XM Winner – ERA 9 2:30pm
Carpet Frogs 3:30pm
Kira Isabella 5:00pm
Victoria Duffield 6:00pm
Fefe Dobson 7:00pm
Said The Whale 8:00pm
Zeus 9:00pm
Our Lady Peace 10:15pm
Sunday, November 25 Sirius XM Winner – ERA 9 12:30pm
Bombolessé 1:30pm
The Mahones 2:30pm
Spirit Of the West 3:30pm


Ticket Events:

*November 21 – Scotiabank 100th Grey Cup Gala

**November 22 – Gibson’s Finest Player Awards

November 22 – TELUS Players Party

November 23 – 24 – Molson Canadian House Concert Series

November 23 – 48th Vanier Cup

November 25 – The Official Pre-Game Party

With the final two teams hailing from Toronto and Calgary, there are sure to be quite a few fans flying in from all parts of the country. So if you are looking for accommodations close to the airport, our Sandman Signature Hotel & Suites is just minutes away. For a list of packages, hot deals and room rates, click here: http://www.sandmansignature.ca/specials-rewards/hot-deals/

Making a Month of Movember!

Some popular Movember moustache styles.Which one do you like best?

There are many exciting things to see in November. Outdoor enthusiasts can bask in the majestic scenery of snow-capped mountains and festive holiday goers can take in bright holiday light displays. Yet, perhaps the most exciting sight of all has less to do with the season and more to do with Tom Selleck and Salvador Dali.

What we’re talking about is Movember – the joyful time of year when men can experiment with their facial hair without judgement. Well, truthfully they may be prone to a well-timed joke or two, but it’s all in good fun because all proceeds from fundraising go towards prostate cancer and male mental health awareness.

A good reason to revel in ‘Mo’ if you ask us.


Movember began in Melbourne Australia some 10 years ago when a group of burly men decided to raise awareness for men’s health issues such as testicular cancer and depression. Now celebrating global success, the event has over 1.9 Million ‘Mo Bros’ and ‘Mo Sistas’ (as supporters are so affectionately called) from across the globe, with campaigns all the way from Australia to New Zealand, the US, Canada, the UK, South Africa, Ireland, Finland, the Netherlands, Spain, Denmark, Norway, Belgium and the Czech Republic.

In 2011, over 854,000 supporters from around the world raised an impressive $125.7 million for the initiative – with Canadians being the largest contributors to the Movember charities of any nation as of 2011!


On November 1st, many manly men register at Movember.com with a clean-shaven face. Then, for the rest of the month, these enthusiastic heroes ‘Groom, trim and wax their way into the annals of fine moustachery,’ as the official website states. These individuals also seek the support of their loving kin, friends and Mo Sistas to raise funds for the various charities the event supports.

In addition, the millions of fuzzy faces from around the world bring much needed advertising towards men’s health causes, but they do so in a way that is funny, endearing and light hearted.

At the end of the month, all participants are encouraged to create or attend a Gala Parté where they can celebrate their manly moustaches or shave them off in a fun-filled ceremony.

With a few of Sandman’s own kin ready to don their facial fur in a bid of support, Sandman is proud to wish everyone a Happy Movember – may the moustache be with you!

For more information about Movember in Canada, click below:


Prostate Cancer Canada

Prostate Cancer Canada implements Movember funds in programs related to awareness, public education, advocacy and support of those affected, as well as research into the prevention, detection, treatment and cure of prostate cancer. For more information on the programs funded by Movember please click here

Movember Foundation

The Movember Foundation implements funds raised across three programs: 1. An Awareness and Education program that significantly increases the understanding and reduces the stigmas of the health risks that men face. 2. The Canadian Male Health Network – a Movember initiative that was started to address critical men’s health issues. Male mental health is the first priority issue to be addressed by the Network. 3. Movember’s Global Action Plan that accelerates key outcomes in prostate cancer research by facilitating global research collaboration.

Movember Celebrations in Canada
Vancouver Gala Parté

Nov 28, 2012


The Commodore

868 Granville Street

Vancouver, BC

V6B 2C9



Calgary Gala Parté

Nov 30, 2012



421 12 Ave SE

Calgary, AB

T2G 1A5

Edmonton Gala Parté

Nov 29, 2012


The Starlite Room

10030102 Street

Northwest Edmonton, AB

T5J 0V6

Winnipeg Gala Parté

Pyramid Caberet

176 Fort Street

Winnipeg, MB

R3C 1C9


Ottawa Gala Parté

Dec 01, 2012


St. Brigid’s Centre for the Arts

310 St Patrick St.

Ottawa, ON

K1N 7E1

London Gala Parté

Nov 29, 2012


Jim Bob Ray’s

585 Richmond Street

London, ON

N6A 1L9


Ottawa Gala Parté

Dec 01, 2012


St.Brigid’s Centre for the Arts

310 St Patrick St

Ottawa, ON

K1N 7E1

Montreal Gala Parté

Nov 30, 2012


Theatre Rialto

5723 Avenue du Parc

Montreal, Quebec

H2V 4G9

Halifax Gala Parté

Nov 28, 2012


Pier 21

1055 Marginal Road

Halifax, NS

B3H 4P7