News and Notes: More preclearance locations, EVA is honoured and flying in a Martin Mars

Lots of interesting travel news and releases found their way to my inbox this week. Here are some of the ones that I wanted to share:

Canada expanding US preclearance to more cities

The Government of Canada announced the introduction of legislation last week to expand its preclearance agreement with the United States to a number of new Canadian locations, including Quebec’s Jean Lesage International Airport, Toronto’s Billy Bishop City Airport, Montreal Central Station and the Rocky Mountaineer.

The expansion – which now includes passage by land, water and train – will allow more Canadians to enjoy the benefits of preclearance, which include direct access to more U.S. destinations, and greater economic growth for local economies that will benefit from increased tourism.

Preclearance operations currently take place at eight Canadian airports: Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Halifax.

SKYTRAX awards EVA Air 5-stars

, an international air transport standards and quality rating organization, awarded EVA Air its prestigious 5-Star Airline ranking during a ceremony in Taipei, Taiwan last week.

SKYTRAX ranks airlines in five categories, from 1-star through the top 5-star designation. Its evaluations are recognized as a global benchmark for airline quality.

SKYTRAX sent auditors to fly the airline and analyze airport and on-board products in addition to front-line staff service on the ground and in the air. These auditors flew multiple EVA flights from different gateways and sampled all of the carrier’s cabin classes during the year-long certification process of.

EVA joins an elite group of carriers consistently recognized as the best of the best. The other seven 5-star airlines are All Nippon Airways, Asiana Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways, Garuda Indonesia, Hainan Airlines, Qatar Airways and Singa

A chance to fly the Martin Mars is a treat for AVgeeks

Coulson Flying Tankers – owners of the largest flying water bombers in the world, the mighty Martin Mars, announced last week the launch of the Ultimate Aviation Experience: A chance to fly the Martin Mars aircraft.

“The Martin Mars aircraft, holders of numerous world records, are truly amazing pieces of WW II history, as they are the largest aircraft ever built.  Before the fleet is retired, Coulson Aviation is offering Aviation enthusiasts a chance to fly one of these incredible pieces of aviation history,” said Wayne Coulson, CEO and President of Coulson Flying Tankers.

Coulson purchased the water bombers in 2007 with the notion to modernize these aircraft and continue to use them for aerial fire suppression through-out North America. They were the anchor of the BC Government Firefighting program until released from service in 2015.

More information can be found on the company website: or visit the experience:

Intrepid Travel launches new expeditions for 2016 & 2017


Intrepid Travel has added 12 new itineraries to its Expedition Range, taking the most adventurous travellers to some of the world’s wildest frontiers.

The 2016/2017 limited edition trips include exclusive experiences that may not be available in years to come, including:

These voyages are original, unexpected, and as far from the beaten path as possible. Initial departures for the 2016/2017 Expedition Tours are set for September 2016 with prices ranging from $1,045 to $7,235 CAD per person.

For more information on Intrepid Travel, visit

Air Canada launches 10 new international routes in one month

When Air Canada flight AC061 departed for Seoul, South Korea last week, it inaugurated the carrier’s tenth new international route in the past month.

Since May 19, Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge have, between them, started seven new non-stop routes to Europe and one each to Asia, Africa and Australia as part of the airline’s international expansion. In addition, Air Canada has also launched 11 new U.S. trans-border routes since the start of May.

“Air Canada has undertaken the most intensive period of international expansion in its history. Over the past month, through Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge we have launched 10 new non-stop, year-round or seasonal services to international destinations on four continents. This gives customers, in time for this summer, more choices of destinations and routings than ever before,” said Benjamin Smith, President, Passenger Airlines at Air Canada.

Along with year-round service non-stop between Toronto and Seoul, Air Canada has also started non-stop, year-round VancouverBrisbane service. Air Canada has also launched up to five-times weekly, year-round service between Montreal and Lyon.

Air Canada Rouge has begun operating seven new seasonal flights since May 19. The new city pairs include: Toronto and LondonGatwick, Glasgow, Prague, Budapest and Warsaw; VancouverDublin; and MontrealCasablanca.

Also since the start of May, Air Canada has launched 11 new transborder routes to the U.S. The new pairings include: Toronto and Washington-Dulles, Jacksonville, Fla., Portland, Ore., and Salt Lake City; Vancouver and San José, San Diego and Chicago; Montreal and Philadelphia, Denver, and Houston; and, beginning June 18, CalgarySan Francisco.

Hotel Guests can pan for gold to pay for their stay
in Northern California’s Gold Rush home of Jamestown

In a small town in Northern California, hotel guests have an opportunity to participate in a history-rich Mother Lode tradition that no place else can claim. They can pay for their stay in gold dust at the National Hotel in Jamestown.

In the early days of the Gold Rush, newly panned gold dust was widely accepted by taverns and boarding houses with a pinch buying a shot of whisky at most saloons. Now, the owner of the Historic National Hotel is bringing back the idea. Stephen Willey will accept gold dust as legal tender to make purchases for rooms, meals and drinks.
The offer is open only to overnight guests, who are free to pay for their rooms, meals and drinks with a precisely weighed and valued stash of gold dust.

How likely is a greenhorn panner visiting Jamestown to harvest enough gold dust from Woods Creek–where gold was originally discovered 168 years ago–to pay for two nights lodging, a couple of dinners, bottle of good wine and a few drinks at the National Hotel? Stephen Willey can’t say, “but being able to brag about it is worth every penny and pinch.” Willey also takes cash and credit cards.

For reservations at The National Hotel, visit

Hotels want you to celebrate the International Day of Yoga

In 2014, the United Nations General Assembly declared June 21 as the International Day of Yoga to bring the world together in a 5,000-year-old physical, mental and spiritual practice.

The Yoga Network of Canada and the InterContinental Toronto Centre (225 Front Street West) will be celebrating International Day of Yoga with a free mass open-house yoga class in the hotel’s lobby from 7 am to 7:45 am. RSVP to [email protected].

If you want to practice yoga in a more remote setting, nowhere else on the planet is it taken to a more elevated level of solitude than at Clayoquot Wilderness Resort on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, a luxury tented resort outpost, located in the UNESCO-designated Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve Area provides three options for guests seeking the ultimate yoga retreat, on Tuesday June 21 and every day during its five-month, May through September season. During each extraordinary experience, guests travel by helicopter to remote nature and serenity to find sacred solitude, including above the clouds to the 4,500-foot Ursus mountain top, on a private island beach, alongside whales and marine life or in an old-growth forest so ancient, the land vibrates with the healing energy of the ages.

Rates start at $775 per person CAD half-day, $1,550 per person full-day, minimum three persons.

Fore more information, visit

Heroes & Legends and U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame to open at Kennedy Space Center

With all the drama of an actual trip to space, guests of Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida will be greeted with a dramatic sense of arrival when the new Heroes & Legends featuring the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame opens on November 11, 2016.

Positioned just inside the entrance, the attraction will provide the emotional background and context for space exploration and the legendary men and women who pioneered our journey into space.
Through engaging storytelling, guests will embark on an awe-inspiring journey that begins with an immersive exhibit designed to spark thought and discussion about how society defines a hero. Then, through cutting-edge technology, interactive elements and engaging exhibits, visitors will be introduced to the heroes of the NASA space program: the pioneers who worked together to make space exploration possible.

For more information or to book a visit, go to

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