A Titanic struggle to remember the Titanic sinking ... Air Canada biz class award
Okay, I'm not a Titanic buff. But I think a few things are indisputable about the famous ship that went down in April, 1912.
The ship was built in Belfast. It left the port of Southampton, England on its way to North America. It was destined for New York. It hit an iceberg some 650 kilometers off the coast of Newfoundland. Distress messages were received in Newfoundland. Many of those who died in the accident are buried in Halifax.
So, now, 100 years later, there's a big scramble to be the Titanic remembrance centre and, sorry to be crass, cash in on the Titanic craze. There's a massive centre being built in Belfast, due to open in the spring. That makes perfect sense. It's being built in the shipyards where the Titanic was hammered together and it's billed as the world's largest Titanic visitor experience. No problem.
There's a new Titanic exhibit set to open in Southampton in March, I read today. Seems natural enough.
There are Titanic artifacts at the Maritime Museum of thet Atlantic in Halifax. As well as the graves. Absolutely.
So what did I get in the mail on Thursday? A big package with a screaming headline that said 2012 is The Year of Titanic and that, in anticipation, "major tributes will be held around the world, with the epicenter of attention focused on ... The Titanic Museum Attractins in Branson, Missouri and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee."
Funny. I never realized that the Titanic was supposed to dock in New York and then make its way to New Orleans and steam up the Mississippi and then make its way on wheels to southern Missouri. Guess I should've stayed awake in history class in high school, eh?
I don't mind someone trying to build an attraction and make money. Heck, it's the Canadian and American way. But to suggest the epicentre (as we like to spell it) of Titanic remembrances will be in the middle of a couple of southern-midwestern states in the U.S. is the height of idiocy and Amero-centrism.
I have to say that the reviews of the Titanic Museum Attractions, as they like to call it, are pretty good. No doubt there are some good things about it. Apparently you can experience what it was like to walk the hallways and cabins of the great ship, touch a "real iceberg," walk the Grand Staircase, reach into freezing cold water and try to stand on the sloping deck of a ship.
One program is to collect red rose petals at the attraction in Pigeon Forge and have them released en masse by the U.S. Coast Guard in the spot in the Atlantic Ocean where the ship went down. Nothing wrong with that, I guess, but the language in the press release I got talks about the symbolism of roses and how folks who take part in the program - after paying an admission fee at the park, no doubt - will be able to "transcend time on the petal of a beautiful red rose to honor the men, women and children who sailed Titanic's maiden voyage almost a century ago."
The world saccharine meter just went off the charts, folks.
AIR CANADA KUDOS
Air Canada has been voted the Best Airline in North America by the readers of Global Traveler magazine in an international survey of business travelers.
The Global Traveler Tested Reader Survey awards are based on the responses of more than 36,000 readers of Global Traveler magazine. Global Traveler readers are frequent premium travelers who average 32 round-trip flights a year, with 78 per cent traveling in first or business class regularly. Must be nice.
"We are pleased to receive this endorsement from our customers who travel most frequently and are therefore best-placed to compare Air Canada's products and services with those of our North American peers," said Ben Smith, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer at Air Canada.
Canadians often like to joke about our biggest airline. But when you fly some of the major U.S.-based airlines, you quickly understand that, while not quite in the class of Emirates or some of the big Asian airlines, Air Canada for the most provides a very, very good flying experience.
FAIRMONT ROYAL YORK HELPS FAMILIES IN NEED
Nice to see the Fairmont Royal York participating once again in the Room at the Inn program. Now in its 19th year, the program provides free, short-term accomodation at Christmas time to families in need.
The hotel has partnered with St. Michael's Hospital, Casey House Hospice and Hospice Toronto and will up to ten "Room at the Inn" guestrooms per night, with a maximum of seven room nights per family. Eligibility is determined by medical experts.