Florida drive law for Canucks on its way out/Port Hope Canada's #1/Deal of Day
I read in two Florida papers this morning, The Palm Beach Post and the Lakeland Ledger, that Florida's House of representatives yesterday voted to repeal that silly law about Canadians needing international driving permits.
As first reported by the Star (thanks to a tip I got here in the travel department), Florida had quietly introduced a bill to require all non-American drivers to have an international driving permit. Canadians were caught by surprise and huge lineups ensued at the Canadian Automobile Association offices that were selling the permits for $25.
Florida lawmakers reacted immediately, and state highway officials said they wouldnt' enforce the law. But it wasn't clear if ALL law folks in Florida would act the same way and some folks were (typically Canadian) still nervous.
Now comes word the Florida House voted to repeal the law on Tuesday and that it was headed to the state senate. The Ledger reported that a Senate committee will hold hearings on the issue on Thursday of this week and suggested it will go to the full Senate next week.
After that it will no doubt be signed - quickly - by the governor. I can't imagine anyone in the state citing a Canadian under the circumstances, but I guess it's still possible until the governor puts pen to paper.
Florida Rep. Ben Albritton, who had formally apologized to Canadian officials for the passage of the 2012 law, said he felt "relieved" that lawmakers were moving to correct the problem.
"And I hope the folks in Canada feel relieved," Albritton was quoted as saying in the Ledger story.
“We can let everybody know our state is open for business and we can roll out the red carpet,” said Rep. Daniel Davis, who is sponsoring the repeal effort.The Post quoted Sheila and Brian Sutherland, Toronto residents who spend three months each winter in Boynton Beach, as saying "they stayed cooped up in their Quail Ridge home this winter after learning about the law," fearing cops saying "Whoa, Canada,” if they drove by.
“We did not leave the property until we found out that the police weren’t going to act on it until further notice,” said Sheila Sutherland, 65, explaining that her son-in-law waited three hours in line to get one of the international permits here in Canada. “We take this seriously; we don’t want to break any laws.”
IS PORT HOPE REALLY THE TOP DESTINATION IN CANADA?
Please, no angry messages. No “we hate the Toronto Star Travel Editor” bumper stickers. No boycotts.
An item came over our travel wires this week from Canadian Press, stating that Quebec City came out on top as “Canada’s most interesting town” in a contest sponsored by Reader’s Digest.
The magazine’s readers were invited to write about their communities and a panel of judges selected the Quebec capital “based on the quality and the persuasiveness of the submissions,” said managing editor Dominique Ritter.
Runners-up were also named, split among various categories. And here’s where I take issue, nay umbrage.
Best cuisine was Iles-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec. Best destination overall: Port Hope, Ontario Also in the winners’ circle: best community spirt: Welshpool, New Brunswick; most entpreneurial, Chemainus, B.C.; healthiest St. Albert, Alberta; greenest, Craik, Saskatchewan; and most artistic, Bouctouche, New Brunswick.
Readers were also able to vote for their favourite entries (as opposed to the above awards, which went to a panel of judges). More than 1.4 million votes were cast, with Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, getting the most.
I can’t argue with Quebec as most interesting. It’s an awesome place, with history and great food and ambience to spare. I also love little Annapolis Royal, which has some great inns and pretty, gentle scenery and a fun little downtown with a goofy shop or two and nice restaurants.
But, really, Port Hope is the top destination in Canada? There was a nice entry on the Readers Digest contest website from Nancy Hooper, who wrote about the “Best Preserved Main Street in Ontario” and about the “crazy watercraft at the annual Float Your Fanny Down the Ganny event.” She also mentioned the lovingly maintained historical buildings, “rousing parades” and happy locals.
No doubt all true. But I somehow can’t see the Canadian Tourism Commission ripping up all those posters of Victoria’s harbour and Banff and old Montreal in favour of a new campaign based around Port Hope.
Likewise, how does Iles-de-la-Madeleine, visited by upwards of 13 people each year, get named for best food? I’m sure the seafood is awesome. And no doubt the locals are great, as one would expect in a small outpost. But getting the nod over Quebec and Montreal and Toronto and Vancouver? I don’t think so.
It’s all such silliness, really. And perhaps this reflects more upon Reader’s Digest than it does anything else. I mean, I doubt too many folks who flip through the magazine these days have even heard of Ossington Avenue.
Then again, there’s a lot to be said about not publicizing the obvious. If we all pitched our tents for Vancouver or Montreal (or Toronto or Calgary) things would be pretty boring. And I wouldn’t have anything to write about (insert smiling emoticon here).
To set the record straight, maybe I need a trip to Iles-de-la-Madeleine this summer. Or at least a weekend in Port Hope!
WESTJET ANGRY AT AIR CANADA DECISION
WestJet today responded to the federal government's decision to extend Air Canada's pension funding arrangemen.
Ottawa on Tuesday said it would give Air Canada more time to eliminate the $4.2-billion deficit in its pension plan, although it will mean restrictions on what the airline can pay its executives and apparently limit payouts to shareholders.
"While we recognize this has been a difficult decision for the government, we are disappointed with this announcement," said Gregg Saretsky, WestJet President and CEO. "We are supportive of a strong and competitive aviation industry in Canada. To that end, we trust this marks the end of special treatment for Air Canada as such treatment at the expense of other industry players has become too common. We look forward to working with the government to create a level playing field and an environment that supports a healthy industry that benefits the travelling public."
Nothing like a good bun fight in the aviation industry.
JAUNT.CA DEAL OF THE DAY IS GREECE
Jaunt.ca, a division of Torstar, has a deal this week for a great, nine-day/seven-night trip to Greece and magical Santorini, set at $3,504.
- BONUS: $150 Future Travel Voucher per person to be used on future vacations with Transat or Nolitours
- BONUS: Extend your flight from Athens for up to 30 days at no additional cost (accommodations extra) and return from Athens
- 9-Day, 7-Night Flavours of Greece Tour including visits to the the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Panathenaic Stadium, Acropolis Museum, Mount Parnasus, the Koutsoyannopoulos wine museum and more!
- Includes ALL MEALS which offers the rare opportunity of experiencing Greece the way the locals do!
- Includes return airfare from Toronto or Montreal to Athens on Air Transat, domestic round-trip flight from Athens to Santorini and airport/hotel transfers in Greece
- 7 nights' accommodation in 4-Star hotels (double occupancy). Hotels include the following or similar: Hotel Titania and Hotel El Greco
- Includes transportation via deluxe motorcoach and services of an English-speaking licensed tour guide (French assistance available)
- All transportation is included from your round-trip flight to Greece, to your deluxe motorcoach, to your flights between Athens and Santorini
- Taste a variety of scumptious Greek fare at all hours of the day as breakfast, lunch and dinner are all included
- Greece is full of beautiful sights from gigantic ruins to stunning seaviews
- Valid for travel on September 15, 2013
We also offer other departure DATES and GATEWAYS.
Call us at 1-855-687-5925.
- Pricing (per person):
Single: $3398 plus tax
Double: $2998 plus tax
Triple: $2948 plus tax
Single: $3904 tax included
Double: $3504 tax included
Triple: $3454 tax included
- Valid passport required for travel from Canada
- This offer is refundable until March 13, 2013 at 5PM EST. After that time, this offer is 100% non-refundable