No offence to Mr. Claus or Sunday's annual Santa Claus Parade. But if you're in Toronto this coming Sabbath and are looking for a reminder of warmer climes, look no further than Yonge and Dundas, where you'll find a welcoming reception from the good folks at Fort Lauderdale tourism.
They love their Canadians down in Florida, of course, where we're a huge part of the travel market. They're expressing their appreciation on Sunday with ten large ice blocks encasing colorful swimwear will surround a sandy palm tree-lined “island” in a promotion staged to attract Toronto residents to Fort Lauderdale’s sunny shores.
There also will be an appearance by the bureau’s Beach Mobile decked out with models wearing bathing suits (gee, you hate to see that). Street teams will distribute free ice scrapers (thanks for the reminder of what's to come, guys), lip balm and opportunities to win Fort Lauderdale beach getaways with airline partner Sunwing Airlines. For four hours Greater Fort Lauderdale will own four of the large digital screens and broadcast live streaming footage of Torontonians having fun at the beach as well as feature a live Tweet Board.
“The image of bikinis frozen in big blocks of ice should get the message across that Greater Fort Lauderdale is where you can thaw out and defrost your swimsuit, your nose, fingers and toes this winter,” said Nicki E. Grossman, president, Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Canada is our number one international source market and we never take that for granted. In fact, we are rolling out the “Defrost Your Swimsuit” campaign in Toronto even before it’s launched in the U.S.”
The event runs from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
AMERICAN ARROGANCE ON THE WANE?
Don't tell Mitt Romney, but an international study group says U.S. citizens are thinking more like Europeans these days. It also found that French citizens are FAR less ego-centric about their culture than you might have thought.
A fascinating study by the Pew Research Center finds that 49 per cent of U.S. respondents feel their culture is tops in the world. That's a lot, but back in 2002 you would've found that 60 per cent of Americans felt that way. By 2007, it was down to 55 per cent. And now it's just less than one-half.
As a born-and-raised American, I find that hugely refreshing. The U.S. is a hugely mixed bag with lots to offer, but I don't know how anyone in ANY country can say their culture is the best on the planet.
What's perhaps even more interesting than the U.S. number is the results for France. The study found that only 27 per cent of French folks feel their culture is better than anyone's, and isn't that a poke inthe eye to all those tourists who complain about French waiters?
The study found that 47 per cent of Germans think their culture is best (almost as bad as Americans, and probably not something that would surprise the Greeks). For Spain, the number was 44, and in Britain it was way down at 32.
Also fascinating were results on what people think about government. Asked what was more important, the freedom to pursue life's goals without government interference OR having the state guarantee no one is in need, 58 per cent of Americans cited the need to avoid government interference, compared to 35 per cent for the other side. No surprise there, I'd say. Actually, I might have expected a tally higher than 58 per cent on the no-interference side of the equation.
In Britain, 55 per cent of folks said having the state be sure nobody is in need was more important, with 38 per cent taking the non-interference side. In Spain, it was even more extreme, with 67 per cent opting for the state's role and only 30 per cent citing the need for government to stay out.
Asked about the importance of religion, 50 per cent of Americans said it was important, compared to 22 per cent in Spain, 21 per cent in Germany, 17 per cent in Great Britain and just 13 per cent in France.
There's tons more in the report, too. Great reading.