Edmonton Celebrates Its Heritage with the River City Roundup

Edmonton has many nicknames. It’s the ‘City of Champions’ and ‘Festival City’ too. Yet, the moniker ‘River City’ is what makes big news around this time of year. Why? Well, quite simply, ‘tis the season for the River City Roundup, a 10-day celebration of Edmonton’s Western heritage, which very appropriately is connected to the giant waterway running through the city.

What’s the Story behind ‘River City’?

Perhaps an obvious designation for those who are familiar with the area’s geographical structure, the ‘River City’ label stems from its landmark location nestled right along the mighty banks of the North Saskatchewan River.

Yup, it’s the North Saskatchewan River from space!

The North Saskatchewan River has the unique designation as a Canadian Heritage River. This is due to its important role in developing much of what is now modern-day Western Canada.

The river not only was a major transportation route for fur trade brigades, but it also provided a settling ground for many fur trade posts. This enabled the surrounding regions to flourish and also provided much of Western Canada with the necessities for urbanization and growth. Flash forward to 2012 and Edmonton now supports the famed North Saskatchewan River valley parks system – which is the largest system of urban parks in North America.

So, yes, the name ‘River City’ is well-deserved.

As the municipality gears up to celebrate, we thought we’d give you the scoop on all the exciting action happening throughout the area. Whether it’s chili cook offs, live performances or dazzling fireworks displays, you can find it all at the River City Roundup.

River City Round Up Kick-Off Party, Sir Winston Churchill Square, Friday: 11:30 am – 7:30 pm

River City Round Up’s Kick Off takes   place November 2-3 in Sir Winston Churchill Square. You can expect to see and   taste the best of the West with their 22nd   Annual Chili Cook Off where, for only $2 a bowl, you can try some of the most   coveted recipes in the nation with free entertainment and door prizes too! Cooking   goes from 11:30 am – 1:30 pm but don’t forget that the chili disappears fast, so arrive early to get you pick of the picante.

If   you’re looking for evening entertainment, head down to Buckle on the Square, as Sir Winston Churchill   Square breaks loose and comes to life with everything from beer gardens and BBQ   snacks to live entertainment.

If   you’re looking for some Saturday entertainment, then head down to City Market Downtown. Starting   at 10am, there will be a whole gamut of great activities including free   children’s crafts games, live entertainment, animals, food and more.

But   don’t leave too early, because at 5:30pm Canadian country music legend George Canyon arrives!   Performing on Churchill stage, his energetic show is sure to light up the   crowd – partially because it is immediately followed by a spectacular fireworks show!

Canadian Finals Rodeo at Rexall Place, Wednesday: 10:00 am – 11:00 pm

If you’ve got a soft spot for some good ol’ cowboy action then the Canadian Finals Rodeo is the one place you want to be. You can expect to see the best Bareback Riding, Steer Wrestling, Team Roping, Tie-Down Roping, Ladies Barrel Racing, Saddle Bronc Riding and Bull Riding folk in the nation, in addition to tons of prizes, contests and rodeo hoopla too.

Yee haw – River City, here we come!

To book your stay at Sandman Hotel Edmonton West, click: www.sandmanhotels.ca/hotels/edmonton-west/

To book your stay at Sandman Signature Hotel & Suites Edmonton South, click: www.sandmansignature.ca/hotels/edmonton-south/

To find out more about the River City Roundup, click: http://www.rivercityroundup.com/

Sandman Gets Style Savvy and Environmentally Conscious with Vancouver Eco-Fashion Week

Yves Saint Laurent once said “Fashions fade, style is eternal,” poignantly highlighting how fast, capricious and lavish the world of fashion is. From season to season, accessories to jackets, what people wear is a huge business across the globe and yet, so little attention is paid to how it actually affects the globe.

That’s why Sandman Hotels is proud to sponsor a strong group of rapidly expanding eco-minded style icons who know the difference between fashion that cuts down rain forests and fashion that is ecologically cutting edge. Founded by Myriam Laroche, Vancouver Eco-Fashion Week focuses on highlighting the world’s style leaders who source their textiles from environmentally and humanely responsible sources in addition to vintage and used clothing retailers who ensure that perfectly usable garments don’t end up in landfills.

The event will feature informative ‘smart talks’ on topics ranging from consumer behaviour and awareness to industry trends and recycling. It will also showcase the best of the eco-fashion runway with exciting fashions shows and parties.

Now in its 5th year running, the event has done a lot to ensure that the 3rd most environmentally damaging industry is on its way to a better place, and we couldn’t be more proud to support their cause –because, as Canadians, we know what it’s like to have a passion for your environment and the people who make it great.

To find out more about Vancouver Eco Fashion Week, click: http://ecofashion-week.com/

To see Vancouver Eco Fashion Rates for Sandman Hotel Vancouver City Centre click: http://ht.ly/eAg7R

To see Vancouver Eco Fashion Rates for Sandman Suites – Davie Street, click: http://ht.ly/eAgjN

Top Travel Destinations in the World – in Canada!

Penticton, BC

Penticton, BC – a ‘Top 10 Destination for 2012’

At the start of every new year, we are faced with an abundance of ‘lists’ which aim to anticipate trends for the coming months and inspire our New Year endeavours. From where to travel, to what to eat, what cars to drive, what gadgets to use, what clothes to wear, what music to listen to… the lists go on!

This year, we were particularly drawn to the travel recommendations – who doesn’t like to look at pictures of exotic vacation destinations and day dream about being there?

What struck us as we perused the plentiful 2012 travel lists titled ‘hottest’, ‘top 10’, ‘most exciting’ and ‘most mentioned (on Facebook)’, was the number of times Canadian destinations featured.

Singled out on an international scale and rubbing shoulders with some of the most exotic and exciting places on earth, these fantastic Canadian destinations all come highly recommended for 2012!

Penticton, BC

Yen Lee – Co-founder of Social travel site UpTake.com – and colleagues trawled Facebook, analysing more than 200 million comments for travel buzz. The result? The ‘Top 10 Travel Destinations for 2012’ based on the locations people were talking about most!

Making the list for Canada, is Penticton, BC with “beautiful beaches, a burgeoning wine industry and outdoor activities galore, it’s quickly becoming a year-round vacation hot spot.”

We couldn’t agree more!


Calgary, Alberta

Specifically, the ‘Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth’. The Calgary Stampede makes CNNGO’s list of ‘Top Places to Visit in 2012’. Rather excitingly, it also features on their list of ’15 Places to Party like a Rockstar’. 2012 marks the much loved rodeo’s centennial year – so expect even bigger and even better – if that’s possible!


Toronto, ON

Toronto – one of 2012’s ‘Hottest Destinations’

Toronto, Ontario 

‘Travel + Leisure’ highlights Toronto as a top travel destination in its ‘Hottest Travel Destinations of 2012’ list for its ‘remarkably hip restaurant, fashion and nightlife scenes’ amongst other things.


Bay of Fundy, Nova ScotiaThis ocean bay between Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Maine has one of the world’s most dynamic and dramatic coastlines…

The Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia narrowly missed out on being one of the New 7 (Natural) Wonders this year. It’s now been voted as a ‘Top Destination of 2012’ by travel website, Frommer’s.


Atlantic Canada

Atlantic Canada in its entirety makes CNN’s list of the ‘Worlds Top Destinations for 2012’, not only for its beauty, but for its connection to the Titanic. 2012 marks the 100th anniversary of the Titanic tragedy and the region plans to commemorate the historic event with many interesting exhibits, including a film festival in Halifax.


As an added bonus – apparently a trip here won’t set you back too much – the Atlantic coast also features in Budget Travel’s ‘Top Budget Destinations for 2012’. Budget Travel also highlights the region’s outdoor potential with the promise of ‘scenic kayak rides’, ‘whale watching’ and ‘wilderness hikes’!


Happy Travelling in 2012!

You’ll find Sandman Hotels at many of these locations, for details and current promotions visit our website, www.sandmanhotels.com.

Bears and the City

Sandman Hotel Vancouver City Centre can add a new attraction to its list of amenities… wildlife watching. (We can’t take the credit for that one. We stole it from a Twitter comment that came from one of our followers yesterday – thank you @AjwTourism!)

At about 3.20 yesterday afternoon, we received an email from the general manager at our city centre hotel, informing us in a ‘breaking news’ style bulletin that there was a bear roaming around in a garbage truck not far from the hotel.

Our first reaction was… ‘are you serious?’ However, shortly followed evidence in the form of three blurry cell phone shots. And sure enough, there it was; a black bear – wildlife’s ‘warrior’ – captured on camera against a backdrop of familiar Downtown architecture.

Vancouver Downtown Bear - found in a dumpster truck on Cambie and West Georgia

Police with Downtown bear Vancouver

Bear sightings in leafier, North Vancouver are quite common – but in the bustling, sky scraping metropolis that is Downtown Vancouver? We did a bit of investigating and yup, this appears to be the first instance of a bear venturing into Downtown as we know it today. Although we did learn that bears were often kept as pets in the early days of Vancouver. Take a look at these pictures from City of Vancouver  Archives.

Bears as pets from City of Vancouver Archives

Image courtesy of City of Vancouver Archives. Photographer: James L. Quiney. Item No: CVA 7-27 Year: 1911

City of Vancouver Archives - Girl with bear 1909

Image courtesy of City of Vancouver Archives. Photographer: James L. Quiney. Item No: CVA 7-13 Year: 1909

We’re still not entirely sure how the bear ended up on its city break. Some report that it was scavenging in dumpsters under the Queen Elizabeth Theatre and went unnoticed as workers emptied him, along with the trash into their truck. Others say perhaps the bear was already in the truck, brought in from an area where one would more likely expect to find bears.

What we do know, is that this bear has caused quite a stir. Within minutes, Twitter was alive with comments about the stowaway, #Downtownbear was trending – and sure enough, the bear even started his own Twitter account – ‘@YVRbear’. (Apparently he ended up in the dumpster after his bachelor party went awry.)

The good news of course, is that Downtown Bear is going to be fine. After being tranquilized, he was escorted away from the city and will be released back into the wild about 100km north of Vancouver this week.

New Hotel, New Blog!

This past month marked the opening of our newest hotel in the Sandman Signature collection. elegant. relaxed. comfort. has now arrived in Prince George, British Columbia!

And, with a new hotel must come a new blog, right? Well, not necessarily. We just thought it’d be a great time to re-introduce the Sandman Hotel Group blog. So stay posted to learn more about what’s new with the brand, and to get a feel for what we’re all about.

But enough about the blog – back to the new hotel!

Long known as the ‘gateway to the North’, Prince George has quickly become a major destination for resource-based business travel, in addition to being the main stopover city for those long-haul trips through the North. So, with this incredible growth in mind, we all got together here and thought, why not build a new hotel?

We can discuss the business behind it; land permits, meetings with the City, costs of materials, etcetera – all very necessary details to the process, even interesting depending on the way you’re wired. But now that it’s open, why not talk about the hotel itself?… specifically… the WOW factor!

Parlez Vous Francais, Anyone?

Lobby at the Sandman Signature Prince George

When’s the last time you saw neon, indoors, that looked this good? This feature is compelling on many levels, and is intended to serve a variety of functions. The most practical function: light. Probably second on the list: spark conversations. This piece prompts many to ask, “What does that say again?”, triggering now-distant memories of French class, trips to French-speaking countries. “bonne nuit. beaux reves. dors bien.” Once translated, the message is to encourage sleep – crucial in the hotel industry. “good night. beautiful dreams. sleep well.” Afterall, if you can’t encourage people to sleep, and to sleep well, then let’s face it, your days are numbered!

 Kate Kraumanis, lead Interior Designer of this hotel, says that this feature has definitely piqued the most interest so far. “I loved the idea of having a simple neon sign behind the reception but I thought if I wrote it in French it would not only act as a lighting feature but also spark conversation… mission accomplished! I have had more than a few calls and emails asking what it says and what the inspiration is behind it…”

The Sleep

King Room at Sandman Signature Prince George

Seriously folks.. how good does this look? Intended for people traveling on business, or young families stopping in for the night, each room in the Sandman Signature Prince George has been designed to make everyone comfortable – to make everyone feel as though they are at home.

Clean and simple – check.

Textured and appealing – check.

Modern and comfortable – check.

Nature, meet Contemporary. Contemporary, meet Nature.

Lobby of Sandman Signature Prince George

Some people prefer staying indoors, while others like to go play outside. The lobby is designed to have a contemporary cabin feel, incorporating small accents like the deer motif on the area rugs and the tree cut offs as side tables. To further the cabin atmosphere, seating is broken up into different areas, using of oversized floor lamps, soft wool area rugs, and comfy couches to help create separate living spaces, rather than the usual open-plan lobby.

This all being said, you have to see it to believe it! The next time you’re in Prince George, you’ll have to visit us. Call 1 800 SANDMAN and chat with our Reservations Agents about availability.