Air Canada strike could be looming...Santa Monica and California happenings
Good story by my colleague, Vanessa Lu, in Star business this morning. Things could change, but she points out that the sabres most definitely are being rattled as Air Canada's customer service agents bargain with management.
"After years of sacrifices to help the struggling airline, Air Canada’s 3,800 customer service agents are gearing for a fight, threatening a strike at midnight Monday night," Lu wrote in today's paper. "The Canadian Auto Workers union is meeting with the company at a downtown Toronto hotel in hopes of averting a strike."
She quotes Bob Chernecki, assistant to CAW national president Ken Lewenza, as saying there still are "major mountains" to climb as CAW types look over Air Canada proposals for a new, discount airline and consider changes to pension agreements.
“At this point, we’re not feeling very positive about the direction of it, but we’ll see," Chernecki said.
Naturally, yours truly is set to fly to Vancouver Saturday morning and return Tuesday morning; some eight hours after the strike deadline. Could be some good first-person colour, I guess!
SANTA MONICA ON THE MOVE
It was nice enough when I was living there back in 1979, but Santa Monica has really hit the big time in the past few years. The Third St. Promenade sparkles with great shops, hotels such as the Shangri-La abound and now there's Santa Monica Place, with more excellent shopping and a new market featuring everything from artisanal salami and bread to cookies and fresh flowers.
They also have outdoor dining with awesome views of the Santa Monica Pier (still going strong after all these years and a real joy to stroll along), the Santa Monica Mountains and, of course, the enormous beach and the blue Pacific's rolling waters.
A couple of former budet hotels have been turned into a new, boutique spot called The Shore, labelled as a new, environmentally friendly and luxurious property that's just across from the wonderful Santa Monica promenade; a lush series of winding paths along the bluffs that line Santa Monica Beach, offering fine views up to Malibu and down to the hills of Palos Verdes.
The Shangri-La, which has a cool rooftop pool, also has poolside cabanasand fire pits for chilly nights. Santa Monica marketing director Kim Baker tells me budget travellers have several options, including the Bayside, the Embassy Hotel Apartments, and, yes, the Hotel California (mirrors on the ceiling and pink champagne on ice, I suspect, are on your own dime).
Santa Monica not long ago was named one of the world's top ten beach cities, and it's hard to disagree.
OTHER CALIFORNIA STUFF
Lots more happening in other parts of the Golden State. Tourism folks put on a nice spread with good finger food and California wines the other night at the Dolce Social Ballroom on King West, and there were folks from San Francisco, Monterey, San Diego, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, the lovely Central Coast, and more.
A few tidbits from a huge pile of press releases and brochures:
- San Francisco is hosting the America's Cup in 2013. I had no idea. The new America's Cup World Series, featuring all America's Cup competitors - will be held in the summer of 2012. www.americascup.com.
- We all know about northern California's wines, but there's also a new Bay Area Brewery tours. They offer a six-hour public tour that visits three breweries for tasting, plus lunch and a souvenir glass. Visit www.bayareabrewerytours.com.
- The village of Solvang, a town near Santa Barbara founded by Danish folks, is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. It's not my cup of tea, but there are plenty of Danish-looking buildings (see photo), a windmill, and, yes, Danish pastries on offer. It's a lovely part of the state, very close to the wonderful restaurant The Hitching Post II, featured in the classic wine movie "Sideways." They have a great wine list and a fabulously inexpensive steak dinner with all the trimmings.
- Beverly Hills has a new website, www.lovebeverlyhills.org, with lots of cool stuff. There's plenty to like about Rodeo Drive, of course, not to mention fine cheese shops and swanky hotels. I was told there's now a tour that takes joggers on tours of the star's homes, which is a pretty fun combination of typically California activities when you think about it.
- The de Young Museum in San Francisco will feature "Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musee National Picassio, Paris from June 11 to Oct. 9. The exhibition includes more than 100 of Picasso's works from their traditional home in Paris, which is temporarily closed for renovations.