Train trips with VIA Rail are about to get a little better.
Starting in Spring 2013, the new interactive digital platform will provide passengers on VIA trains in the Windsor-Quebec City corridor (sorry, that's all for now) "free access to Canadian programming, including CBC/Radio-Canada TV shows programs, documentaries and animation from the NFB, and "Heritage Minutes" vignettes and Memory Project veteran interviews produced by The Historica-Dominion Institute."
Over time, they said, entertainment will be added from other organizations.
"Over the past two years, VIA Rail passengers have become accustomed to world-class Wi-Fi on our trains. Today, we are pleased to extend our Wi-Fi offer with entertainment and information produced by Canadians, for Canadians," officials said.
Okay, it's not quite Netflix. But it's certainly a nice step, and fitting that the content will be Canadian.
The VIA press release says the "on-board entertainment initiative required a total investment of $543,000 by VIA Rail. This program is part of VIA Rail's modernization plan launched in 2007, and was made possible by the nearly $1 billion in capital funding announced by the Government of Canada since 2007 to rebuild aging equipment, refurbish stations, upgrade infrastructure, improve accessibility and support critical information technology projects."
Rail officials posted a YouTube video about the coming system, which you can find here.
FAIRMONT ANNIVERSARY DEALS
The legendary Fairmont Banff Springs hotel is celebrating its 125th birthday with a year-long deal. The special 125th Castle Celebration Package offers two nights in luxury and a daily resort credit of $125. Guests can enjoy sumptuous dining with expansive mountain views, golf on the world-famous Stanley Thompson golf course, hikes down the Spray Valley to the site of the original Rundle stone quarry or a sojourn in the world-class Willow Stream Spa. Available year-round, rates start from $359 per night with a minimum two night stay.
This is also an eventful year for Quebec City’s Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, which Fairmont said "is celebrating 120 years as the most photographed hotel in the world." The 120th Anniversary Package highlights the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac’s inauguration in 1893 with a special rate and historic gift. The package includes accommodation in a Fairmont room, a full buffet breakfast for two at Le Café de la Terrasse restaurant, a vintage reprint poster of the famed Château Frontenac, and access to the hotel’s indoor pool. Available through June 24, 2013, rates start from $189.30 per night (to celebrate the hotel’s opening in 1893).
(I don't know about that most photographed hotel in the world bit. But it probably makes sense when you think about the hordes of tourists in and around Quebec City in summer. There's no way to quantify these things and I guess there could be a hotel somewhere next to a famous landmark that has its picture taken more often, but I can't honestly think of one. I mean, there's no Hyatt Machu Picchu I know of and there's not yet a Comfort Suites at the end of the Golden Gate Bridge or a Ritz Carlton under the Eiffel Tower.)
In Arizona, Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is celebrating a quarter century of luxury. The AAA Five-Diamond resort’s 25th Anniversary Early-Bird Special is perfect for a summer getaway. The package includes nightly accommodation and a daily $25 USD food and beverage credit. Available for stays from May 27, 2013 to September 2, 2013, rates start at $125 USD per night.
The Star's Vanessa Lu reports on looming changes to staff on board Transat flights.Writing in today's paper, she says that because of stiff competition in the leisure travel business, "Air Transat’s flight attendants have agreed to $9 million in cost-saving measures.
About 1,750 flight attendants, represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees, voted 66 per cent in favour of the company’s plan, which will reduce the number of flight attendants on Airbus 330 wide-body planes to 10, from the current 11.
“They haven’t touched our salaries,” said Peter Buzzell, president of CUPE’s Air Transat component, in an interview. “Working with one person less, that just means we have to work a little bit harder.”
JAUNT.CA DEAL OF THE DAY: DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Jaunt.ca, a division of Torstar, has a deal on tap for the sunny D.R. this week for $1,087, including $388 in taxes.
- EXCLUSIVE SAVINGS: Save $300 per couple with Jaunt compared to what you'd pay for the same vacation on other sites!
- BONUS: ACV Privileges featuring exclusive check-in/check-out, 4 guaranteed a la carte reservations, 20% spa discount, and more!
- All-inclusive 7-night stay at the 4-Star Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo, located in Samana, Dominican Republic
- Includes return airfare from Toronto to Samana, and round-trip airport/hotel transfers
- Accommodations include a Standard Room featuring 1 king or 2 twin beds and a balcony or terrace. Maximum occupancy: 2 adults, or 2 adults and 1 child
- Daily breakfast, lunch and dinner, and unlimited alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks
- The exquisite natural beauty on the Samana peninsula
- It's a charming property that's perfect for family getaways
- Close the beautiful town of Las Terrenas
- Valid for travel on March 17, 23 & 24, 2013
Other DATES and GATEWAYS available. Call us at 1-855-687-5925.
- Pricing (Rates are per person, plus tax):
- Valid passport required for travel from Canada
- This offer is 100% non-refundable at time of booking