Monday, March 03, 2014
Depending where you get your Hollywood news, this year's Oscar swag bags passed out to certain nominees* were valued anywhere from $20,000 to $85,000 each. But the most common dollar amount being tossed around is $55,000 -- and that's a lot of gratis product for folks who can afford to buy it on their own! Officially called "Everyone Wins at the Oscars" Nominees Gift Bags, they're produced by the LA niche marketing company Distinctive Assets.
Two Canadian companies were represented in the swaggery, one based east, the other west. Quebec's Rouge, located in Notre-Dame-Des-Bois in the Eastern Townships, produces organic maple product. In addition to being included in the 2013 Oscar swag bag, they scored swag with the Grammy Awards, too. For the March 2, 2014 Academy Awards show, nominees were showered with $280 worth of Rouge products: syrups, salad dressings, jellies and maple mustard. They also received a certificate of adoption for a live maple tree in Quebec.
Vancouver-based Rocky Mountaineer was also included in the Oscars VIP gift bags. The nominees who don't take home an Oscar will receive a three-day trip for two in premier GoldLeaf Service onboard Rocky Mountaineer's Coastal Passage route. The new route will make its debut on May 10, 2014 and travels between Seattle, Washington and Banff, Alberta in the Canadian Rockies. Travelers will stay at luxurious hotels along the way.
*The Everyone Wins at the Oscars VIP gift bags were given to nominees for Best Actor/Actress, Best Supporting Actor/Actress and Best Director.
Monday, February 17, 2014
|The Fairmont Vancouver Airport is to the right of the control tower at YVR.|
To celebrate the occasion, each month through October 2014, there will be "15" offerings from the hotel and guests may share their favorite memories through social media at #FairmontYVR15. Current specials are featured on their website, including a limited number of $15 room rates on the actual anniversary date of October 7. A year-round Celebrating Anniversaries package offers rooms from $249 with a $15 per person food and beverage credit. Reservations may be made through 800.441.4114 or www.fairmont.com.
|A well appointed and comfortable room at The Fairmont Vancouver Airport.|
The hotel also offers a number of unique packages. If you're traveling to the sun, store your winter woolies at the hotel and retrieve them on your return; newlyweds may leave the wedding gown behind and pick it up cleaned and boxed following their fly-away honeymoon; and families may book a second room at half price.
The Fairmont Vancouver Airport also has a Fish Valet who "checks in" prize catches upon their return from BC's west coast fishing lodges. The hotel stores them in its special fish freezer on the Departures level. Recent "stayovers" included a 900-lb. sturgeon and a 180-lb. halibut, while others end up on dinner plates, courtesy of the hotel's chef. And on the human side of things, blogger Jaeger Mah "lived" at the airport for 80 days, which I wrote about in a previous blog post. How fun would that be?
The Fairmont Vancouver Airport. Photos by Sue Frause.
Monday, February 10, 2014
Who knew you could become an instant Canadian with just a few squirts of a Life-Transforming Breathspray? One of my friends gave it to me for my birthday, knowing that I'm a Closet Canuck! Here's the description on the back of the package:
"You may have read about Canadians in books or watched documentaries about their country on TV. But you probably never imagined that you could be part of this alternative lifestyle ... for less than the cost of a glass of beer."Being Canadian is considered an alternative lifestyle? That part made me laugh! And even more so as the description rambled on:
"Feel Canadian and instantly experience an enhanced appreciation of fresh water lakes, rippling streams, moose, squirrels, bears, maple syrup and loons. Discover simple pleasures like trout fishing, snowshoeing, wiener roasts and campfire sing-a-longs. And, best of all, look and feel Canadian!"This goofy I-Wanna-Be-Canadian product is one of many offered by BlueQ, a company out of Pittsfield, Massachusetts. So how does the peppermint flavor breath spray taste? Not bad. Sort of like misty Altoids. But do I look and feel Canadian instantly? Not really, but I am flying to Nanaimo and Victoria, BC next week via Kenmore Air. Pretty cool, eh?
Monday, February 03, 2014
|Timbits and coffee at Jean Lesage International Airport in Quebec City. Photo by Sue Frause.|
I didn't realize Tim Hortons turned 50 until I arrived at Quebec City Jean Lasage International Airport. It's my size airport, and after checking my bag through to Seattle (via Air Canada to Montreal and Vancouver), there was a Tim Hortons glowing bright right before security. Gotta have my Timbits!
If you're not familiar with Timbits (pictured here before I devoured them), they're the brand name of doughnut holes sold at Tim Hortons. They were introduced in 1976 and available in various flavors that differ from store to store. But I prefer the plain cake doughnut hole.
Back to Tim's golden celebration. First off, they introduced cups featuring the new 50th anniversary logo and 50 Years Fresh tagline. Although it looks like my cup here at the airport is leftover from the holidays, the bag with the Timbits has the new look.
Tim Horton opened in Hamilton, Ontario in 1964 and today they have 4,350 restaurants across Canada, the US and Gulf Cooperation Council (read my post about their restaurant in Dubai). They claim to serve nearly eight out of every 10 cups of coffee served in Canada! The chain was founded by professional hockey player Tim Horton, who died in a car accident in 1974.
Tim Hortons 50th anniversary party will be held May 17, 2014. In the meantime, you can follow them on Twitter and Instagram (@TimHortons) and via #Tims50th on Facebook.
Read more about Quebec City at my EatPlaySleep blog.
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
The celebrations aren't over! Chinese New Year, which is January 31 this year, is a second chance to say farewell to bad habits and bring in some good ones. Also called the Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, Chinese New Year is the largest celebration of the year for many cultures throughout Asia. Chinese New Year 2014 is the Year of the Horse, supposedly a lucky year.
One of North America's most authentic and elaborate Chinese New Year celebrations is in Richmond, BC. With a Chinese population of more than 44% (Canada's largest per capita percentage of Chinese descendants), Richmond is celebrating for two weeks, from January 24-February 8. Events include traditional lion and dragon dances, live music, art displays flower markets, gift fairs and food.
|Lunch at one of Richmond's many Asian restaurants. Photo by Sue Frause.|
Even YVR (Vancouver International Airport in Richmond) is getting into the Lunar New Year. After all, YVR has the highest frequency of flights to China (75 each week) of any North American Airport. On Friday, January 31, airport retailers and restaurants will be offering special deals, with lunch specials for just $8.88 (eight is considered a lucky number in the Chinese culture).
From 10 AM to 1 PM on January 31, gather 'round Bill Reid's The Spirit of Haida Gwaii: The Jade Canoe sculpture. There will be live music, Chinese ink brush calligraphy demonstrations, fortune telling and a traditional lion dance. Visitors will be able to park for $5 between 9-2; pick up vouchers at the customer care desk in the International Terminal, departures level. Or take the Canada Line to YVR.
A complete list of Chinese New Year events may be found at Tourism Richmond's website