Thousands of folks braved morning rain and enjoyed afternoon sunshine and sat on deep blue Muskoka chairs yesterday, when the replica was unveiled. TV crews filmed at the site in the morning and at lunch there was fresh lobster being served up to hungry passersby.
“You get something like 25,000 people walking past this intersection every day, so we figured it was worth it,” said Patrick Sullivan, CEO of the Nova Scotia Tourism Agency. “Toronto is the largest city in Canada and an important market for Nova Scotia’s tourism industry so we thought it appropriate to extend a formal invitation.”
It’s a smart move, even if it did cost (Sullivan confessed) more than $100,000 and uses 30,000 pounds of sand for the base.
"Almost 500,000 visitors come from Ontario every year," Sullivan told me. "We wanted to finish our campaign with a big exclamation point."
Visitors to Peggy’s Cove west are encouraged to post a photo of themselves with the lighthouse with the hashtag #peggyscorner from now until June 9 for a chance to win a daily prize of a fresh lobster dinner for two delivered straight from Nova Scotia. There’s also a chance to win an all expense paid trip for four valued at $10,000 with the recently launched Hit the Road With Me Facebook contest. Simply “like” Nova Scotia on Facebook, enter the contest and you quality for a chance at four return flights, accommodations, a rental car and spending money. Hit the Road with Me is open until June 25 and you can enter the contest daily.
The tourism folks also have a Nova Scotia food truck/mobile kitchen that will patrol Ontario and Quebec until late July.
It's a beautiful province with tons going on; great restaurants, a fabulous coastline and the wonderful city of Halifax just for starters.
SNOWBIRD TAX TRAP?
I wrote in this space earlier this week about how U.S. politicians are considering a couple of bills that would allow Canadians to spend eight months of the year in the U.S., versus the current limit of six months. I pointed out there are health care issues as provinces tend to restrict the number of days Canadians can spend abroad and still get coverage. In Ontario, OHIP allows us to be gone no more than seven months.
Now comes word of a potentially bigger issue: taxes. I got a note from Moodys LLP to say Canadians would be subject to U.S. taxes if they stayed more than six months, which could be drastic.
While the proposed legislation would allow the individual to remain in the US for a period of 240 days, the law does not exempt these days for tax purposes, said Roy Berg, a Moodys tax specialist. "In other words, the “day count” for purposes of the visa is independent of the “day count” for tax purposes. As a result the would-be holders of the Snowbird Visa will become subject to US income tax and US estate tax and hence have light the fuse on the Snowbird Visa TAX BOMB.”
SHERATON GETS SOCIAL
Here’s a great idea. Sheraton Hotels around the world, including the Sheraton Centre in Toronto and Le Centre Sheraton Montreal, will be hosting a Social Hour from Monday to Thursday nights each week from 5 to 7 p.m.
The program features top-rated wines from around the world (only wines with 85 or higher points from Wine Spectator magazine are included) and small glasses of wine will cost just $5; pretty good for Canada.
They’ll also have tasting events.
They held a reception Wednesday night at the Sheraton on Queen St. to toast the start of the event, serving up awesome pulled pork tacos and cheese and appetizers along with some stunning wines. I particularly enjoyed the Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon from California; rich and smooth and silky. Apparently it’s available at the LCBO for about $35, assuming you can get past the hordes of folks who’ll be lining up at the liquor store tonight to avoid a potential workers’ strike over Victoria Day weekend.
Similar events were held around the world, from Montreal to Buenos Aires to New York and Hawaii.
“Following tremendous early success, we’re proud to offer our guests at all Sheraton Hotels around the world the opportunity to experience this award-winning premium wine program,” said Michael Giguere, general manager, Le Centre Sheraton Montreal.
“As the world’s gathering place, we are continuously looking for ways to elevate our guest experiences with new social interactions and believe Social Hour to be a great program for both business and leisure guests,” said Tony Dunn, general manager of the Sheraton Centre Toronto.
There are more than 400 Sheraton hotels in nearly 70 countries round the world. Hseraton just finished a $6 billion global hotel revitalization plan and now is in the middle of an $8 billion global expansion in the next three years.
On a related note, Four Points by Sheraton will open its 175th hotel worldwide this year and plans for 200 by 2014. Among the properties planned by May of next year are Four Points by Sheraton Waterloo-Kitchener and at the Edmonton International Airport, as well as hotels in Edmundston, New Brunswick, Regina, Surrey, B.C. and at the airport in Kelowna, B.C. They also have plans for the Fort Myers Airport in Florida if you’re heading that way. Four Points also is debuting in Peru, Sri Lanka and Libya (Libya?) this year and expanding in Malaysia, Mexico and China, not to mention a new hotel in Brisbane, Australia.
AMERICAN TRAVEL PLANS
Trip Advisor did a story of summer travel trends and found these as the top five summer destinations: the ocean (51 per cent), the city (50), countryside (29), a national park (23) and a lake (17 per cent). One quarter of travelers said they’ll spend more on leisure travel than they did in 2012. Asked for their favourite summer treat, 33 per cent said ice cream. Top beverage was a margarita (nice choice), named by 15 per cent. Next favourite drink was beer (12) and iced tea (nine per cent).
THIS AND THAT
For the first time in the 25 year history of the park, a regular transit service is being offered from Toronto up to the Bruce Peninsula. The so-called Parkbus will soon be running, departing from various Toronto locations beginning at 7 a.m. and arriving in the Tobermory area sometime after 2 p.m. Folks can contact the company at 1-800-928-7101 or by emailing email@example.com. ... New Orleans has launched a new tourism campaign aimed at 35 to 65-year-olds, versus the party hardy sorts who come down for the pleasures of sidewalk and street drinking on Bourbon St. … I got a note from someone yesterday who represents the GSpot Hostel in Lisbon, Portugal. I didn’t know there was any such thing but a friend of mine at the office heard me mention the place and promptly replied: G Spot? I’ve been looking for that for years.” Ba-da-boom.
JAUNT.CA DEAL OF THE DAY
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