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.

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

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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!

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!

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

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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!