TMAC Travels
December 2018

There's plenty to tell you about in this issue of TT: newly published books by members, new tours offered in Ontario and a big event awarded to Richmond, BC highlight the news this issue. Also, of note: the TMAC Awards Committee has been working very hard to revise and improve our awards ceremonies, with several new categories added for 2018 TMAC Awards.

We do need to put the call out for someone to write new member profiles for media and industry members, as long-time contributor Darcy Rhyno will no longer be able to write that section. A big thumbs-up to Darcy for all his past contributions over the years.
Finally, we hope everyone in the association enjoys a safe and happy holiday season - see you in 2019!
- John Geary, TMAC Travels editor

1. President's Report
2. Executive Director's Report
3. 2018 TMAC Awards Update
4. Social Media Update
5. Chapter News
6. Member News
7. Did You Know?
8. Save the Date: TMAC's 2019 Conference & AGM
9. Contributors

2018 has been another excellent year for TMAC. Our conference in Victoria in May was one of our best ever as we welcomed Guy Theriaut and Yashy Murphy to our national board. Since May, the board, working closely with Executive Director, Elizabeth Kerr, has continued to move ahead on several key initiatives including the development of our new membership criteria. Your feedback has been instrumental in helping our membership committee establish new policies that reflect the ever-changing media landscape. In addition, under the direction of Tracy Ford, our awards committee is in the process of improving our awards criteria to better celebrate and reward the great work our members produce. 
2019 promises to be a transitional year for TMAC as the term for four current board members comes to an end. As we approach our annual  conference in Sault Ste. Marie in June, volunteer information will be sent out inviting any TMAC member interested in a board or committee position to apply. I encourage anyone interested in getting involved with TMAC to do so. 
That said, I would like to take this opportunity to thank our national board, chapter members, and committee volunteers for all you do to make TMAC the great association that it is. Without your time and effort, TMAC would not be where it is today. 
I wish everyone the best over the holiday season and hope our paths cross sometime in 2019.
Should you have any questions or comments, I invite you to contact me anytime at either 905-484-4642 or .


Grant Fraser , president
Travel Media Association of Canada


As 2019 approaches, TMAC prepares to send out renewal notices and start the  requalific ation process (for media members A-L).
Renewal notices were sent out on Thursday, December 13, 2018. Members have the option of paying online with a credit card through the website, via Interac e-transfer, wire transfer or cheque. Once you have completed the online renewal form, you will automatically be sent a summary receipt and an invoice for your records.
Reminders will be sent out weekly moving forward. Please note that membership fees must be paid in full in order to:
  • For Media - Submit a TMAC Award
  • For Industry - Sponsor a TMAC Award or Event
  • For All - Attend the 2019 Conference
Chapter funding will be calculated based on members in good standing as at February 28, 2019.
We sent out an update Monday, December 17 to all media members who will be required to complete the re-qualification process.

As you are aware, we have spent a great deal of time reviewing, revising and refining our media membership criteria, the results of which have been derived from the Media Membership Criteria Survey that many of you completed. We have completed the online portal and are currently testing the member submission experience.
We will be sending you more details as we get closer to launch to help you prepare. We hope to be ready to launch the first week of January. Because of the timing, your current membership will be extended until January 31, 2019.
We have committed to providing you with a customized Membership Directory in PDF format in early 2019. However, in order for this Membership Directory to be useful, it is important that your complete your profiles, if you have not already done so. Instructions are below for easy reference
All members are welcome to supply a photo, a favourite travel quote and author directly to me at Please ensure that the photo you provide is horizontal and that your face will not be hidden under the quote (in the upper left-hand corner). Moving forward, all member photos will be linked to his or her TMAC profile page.

KEY UPCOMING DATES - Details to Follow
Renewals - Now. Payments must be received by February 28, 2019.
Requalifications - January 7- January 31, 2019
Awards Submissions - January 7 - February 28, 2019
Conference Launch - February 4, 2019
Wishing everyone a very happy holiday season and a successful 2019 and beyond.

Elizabeth Kerr , Executive Director
Travel Media Association of Canada


Tracy Ford, Chair  and the TMAC Awards Committee that includes Michel Chicoine, Jim Kemshead, Jenn Smith Nelson, Mark Stevens and Margaret Swaine have worked very hard using membersh ip survey results to overhaul the annual awards for writing and photography excellence in the association.

Many of the previous categories were continued, but some new ones were added, based on feedback from the members. Some of the new awards reflect TMAC's move toward including digital/new media categories in our membership.
The call for awards will go out in early January 2019. They will close at the end of February, with judging set to take place in during the month of March at which point the finalists will be selected.

More details to follow soon.

Tracy Ford, Secretary, National Board & Awards Chair
Travel Media Association of Canada

Marc Smith, the new committee chair of the social media committee met with John Geary, the social media liaison to the national board in November to discuss moving forward with some new ideas for the TMAC Facebook group, which will become a "secret" group the first week of January, to eliminate non-members from applying to join.
We do ask members to please refrain from inviting non-members to join the group, as membership in the group is one of the privileges of membership in TMAC. That creates extra work for volunteers to check the status of people invited as well as those who apply from outside. As explained before, "secret" status will mean non-members will NOT be asked to join by Facebook - which is the case with every other type of group on the platform.
If you are already a member of the group, this change will not affect you in any way.
We have some new ideas about each day having a different category for each day of the week. We will resume with "Media Monday" and "Industry Tuesday" starting in the new year. We're going to add three other categories as well, starting in January.
We do need volunteers to help take weekly "shifts" for each of the three platforms: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This involves scheduling one post per day on each platform for five days a week. For example, the person taking a Facebook shift for a week will schedule a post each day on the public page. The person doing Twitter, the same.
The content for posting is generated by the links shared in Media Mondays and Industry Tuesdays. It involves about an hour a week to post on a platform for that week. We schedule "shifts" using an Excel spreadsheet that is sent to committee members every two months for a new round of "shifts."
If you've volunteered in the past on the social media committee; or if you have not, but you want to be involved, contact Marc Smith via email, Please cc John Geary.
John Geary , Social Media liaison to the TMAC board

September Fall Meeting and Trip: The Atlantic chapter enjoyed a visit to New Brunswick this September, visiting St. Andrews by the Sea, and the Island of Grand Manan, an island with no traffic lights only one grocery store, stunning hiking and outdoor adventure opportunities...and a couple of really nice restaurants and coffee shops!
One of the highlights of the trip involved whale watching aboard a former FBI jet boat in St. Andrews. For some of us, spending the night at the unique Castalia Marsh eco-retreat on Grand Manan also proved to be a real highlight.
Our next trip is going to be a winter adventure on Cape Breton Island, this February-March.
October PD Session: The Atlantic chapter held a PD session, Oct. 27 with professional photographer and TMAC member John Sylvester in Halifax at the new Central Public Library. The workshop was a huge success. Although we were few in numbers - three media, one industry, one guest - John provided insights into how he approaches doing a photo shoot to accompany an article. After lunch we put what we learned into practice at the Halifax Seaport Farmer's Market, then returned to the class setting for a critique of our efforts. Everyone gave this workshop an A+ rating.
Helen Earley , chair
Atlantic chapter board
After a fairly quiet November (for the chapter, not for its peripatetic members), the Ontario chapter had two important events coming up in December.
On December 4, we held our always-well-attended Holiday Munch and Mingle, at the first St. Regis Hotel to open in the heart of downtown Toronto. The 5:30-7:30 p.m. event was sponsored by Toronto Tourism.
Then, on December 11, Ontario TMACers were invited to the grand opening of the brand-new Visitor Centre Complex at Arrowhead Provincial Park, just north of Huntsville. It was a big day out, with a bus travelling north from Toronto starting at 8 a.m.  Ontario co-chair Rod Charles will bring high tech apps to the chapter, planning to link all executive members (some of us live outside the "Big Smoke") for a December executive meeting, and to stream our party to members unable to attend the downtown Toronto event.
We'll let you know how this goes - hopefully, it is a great step forward toward truly being the Ontario chapter, and not simply a GTA entity. That's our goal.
Paul Knowles , media chair,
Ontario chapter board
TMAC's Northwest Territories/Alberta chapter kicked off September by saying "Hola" with a themed Mix 'n' Mingle. Around 25 members met at Anejo Calgary, a Mexican restaurant for cocktails, Oaxacan-inspired appetizers, and a special presentation by Olympian Carey Mullen and his latest project called Vivo Resorts, located at Playa Escondido.
In November, 22 members had the opportunity to participate in an exclusive tour of Calgary's new Central Library, which opened to the public on November 1. The building is the city's newest architectural jewel, and we loved hearing directly from Mary Kapusta, their director of communications. Luke's provided coffee and gourmet donuts.
We will celebrate an incredible 2018 for the chapter with our holiday party at Heritage Park on December 17, sponsored by Tourism Cranbrook.
The chapter would like to thank all the board members, volunteers, media and industry members for their ongoing support of our events, professional development opportunities and conferences. Happy holidays to all!

Paula Worthington , co-chair
Alberta chapter board

Our autumn PD Day held October 13 was a great success with a heartfelt thanks to our sponsor, the new Civic Hotel: Autograph Collection and their marketing & sales director Kristin Bishop, who welcomed us to their spectacular contemporary lobby and conference facilities. Thanks also to Corporate Executive Chef Rajeev Arora for pro viding us with a wonderful selection of snacks and appetizers during the day as well as a stellar Indian Buffet for lunch.
Our featured topics included an interesting Culinary Panel with discussion between PR, chefs and reviewers which included Canada Top Chef and Iron Chef judge Mijune Pak, celebrated chef Angus An and TMAC BC industry member Sophia Cheng.
New B.C. member Josh Rimer showcased an interesting session on social media videos and YouTube 101 while an industry and media panel discussion about tourism fam tours which included industry members Andrea Visscher, Sabrine Robson and Heather McEachen with media members Joanne Sasvari and myself.
The PD Day ended with an informative B.C. wine seminar guided by Kurtis Kolt, who took the participants through the various wine regions of British Columbia. Thanks to the B.C. Wine Institute for showcasing some superb and interesting wines!
While we take a break for the holidays, we're also in the midst of planning a New Year's Mingler in January and our spring PD Day.
Wishing everyone a joyous and safe holiday season!
Nathan Fong, chair, BC board


Sandra Phinney has started a new business with Melanie Chambers called Heart Song Travel. The site will be live in the new year, challenging Canadians to travel in their own backyards (and telling the world about it.) Launch date? First day of Spring. Watch for it!
Helen Earley has been added to the masthead of local food and drink glossy Halifax Curated Magazine.
TMAC member and former Toronto Star staff writer Linda Barnard moved to beautiful Victoria, British Columbia in November. (Did the TMAC annual conference in May help seal the deal?)  Linda is looking forward to working with the BC chapter as she moves her freelance travel and food-writing business west, and she looks forward to seeing everyone at the annual conference in Sault Ste. Marie next June.

Last month the McMaster University Centre for Continuing Education (CCE) presented Grant Fraser, TMAC president, with an Appreciation and Exceptional Service Award for his work in the development and advancement of golf management education in the new online Business of Golf and Resort Management program at the school. It took place during the fall graduation ceremonies. Grant is not only the program's lead instructor in the program but also the school's connection to the golf industry.

"I am delighted to be a part of the McMaster CCE team," said Fraser after receiving his award. "The original GMIC online program in golf management was developed in 1999 to train the future leaders in the Canadian golf industry. Now, through McMaster's CCE, the program is even better."

Grant Fraser with Executive Director, Lorraine Carter (left) and  Program Manager, Christie McGaghran (right)

Habeeb Salloum received the 2018 Governor General of Canada's prestigious Meritorious Service Medal for his publications and contributions to Canadian Studies, more specifically in the fields of Canadian sociology studies, immigration studies, food culture, and the history of the Syrian immigrants in Saskatchewan. Only one is awarded each year. As well, his new cookbook, co-authored with Leila Salloum Elias and Muna Salloum, The Scent of Pomegranates and Rose Water: Reviving the beautiful food traditions of Syria was published recently by Arsenal Pulp Press (2018).

In Edmunston, New Brunswick, the Mont Farlagne Outdoor Centre is celebrating its 50th anniversary this season. The opening date for this season is: December 7, 2018.  To learn more about the centre, check out its website,

Tourism Richmond ( will host the 32nd annual Canada West Marketplace (CWM) trade show next year, in November 17- 20, 2019. Established In 1989, the three-day, four-night business conference combines appointments, social events, networking opportunities and pre/post fam tours into an intensive, but highly productive industry forum. Nancy Small, CEO of Tourism Richmond, says "CWM allows tourism suppliers to showcase iconic British Columbia and Alberta experiences to buyers around the globe. Having Richmond host this high-energy business conference allows us to showcase the best Richmond has to offer."
The Canada's West Marketplace trade show is a partnership between Destination British Columbia and Travel Alberta, created to effectively showcase western Canada tourism products to international and domestic tour operators and buyers. Each year, the trade show alternates locations between Alberta and British Columbia.
Oxford Tourism ( offers two new types of experiences for visitors to the Southwestern Ontario county.

You can step into the role of chocolatier for an evening as you work with local chocolatier, Cindy Walker of Chocolatea. You can learn the art of truffle making and handcrafting your own small batch of 12 truffles. Truffle Camp is offered several times a year including dates this December. The truffle making is amazing but what Cindy has created in her small shop featuring unique and local flavour combinations is truly memorable.

For a more outdoorsy food experience, Ottercreek Woodworks offers a guided "Tree to Table" walk inside a Carolinian Forest with woodworker Dave Schonberger. You get a behind the scenes look at life in a rural setting and get in touch with the roots of the forest. In the artisanal workshop you create your own live-edge charcuterie board alongside Dave using a piece of locally harvested lumber you select yourself. After getting your hands dirty in the woodshop, enjoy a handpicked selection of savoury, local charcuterie while socializing near the vegetable garden. Finally, return to the workshop to personalize your work and learn how to use your new charcuterie board at home. This experience is offered spring and fall. 



When I travel to impoverished countries, I usually take along an extra suitcase or pack extra needed articles into my existing case. I have been known to squish an extra 50 or 60 teddy bears into my case to give to group homes in the Caribbean and knowing that I could take an extra case and not worry about it would make giving even easier. A firm believer in giving back or making a deposit to countries I visit and not just making a withdrawal, perhaps the excess baggage grant will encourage others to do the same.
I recently traveled to Turks and Caicos, staying at Ocean Club Resort, supporters of a program called "Pack for a Purpose". This program is run through many destinations and encourages travellers to bring an extra article or two or an extra case with specific items listed on their website. The resort supports five local elementary schools and their needed items include general school supplies, flash cards, wall charts, reading books, art supplies, computer hardware and software, educational games and toys, basic first aid, and office supplies. The list of items needed is updated regularly. I put a call out to groups of friends, many who contributed to my extra 50 lb suitcase.  Last September, the devastating Hurricane Maria wiped out all of their school supplies and books.  Who wouldn't want to put back into the community in which they are staying?
The application with Air Canada is simple and straightforward to fill out, however, if it is for giving supplies to a charity, you must have the name of a registered charity and their address and website on hand to complete the application. Waiting time is approximately 14 days, but I received permission in three days. For five pounds (2.27 kilos) you can bring ONE of the following: 400 pencils, 500 band-aids, five deflated soccer balls and an inflating device, but so many other items to choose from.
A highlight of my trip, Ocean Club Resort Manager, Wilbert Mason took me to Oceta Jolly Primary School to present the supplies. A few of the boys fought over who would carry the case and I chatted to the group of enthusiastic students. It reminded me that as a travel writer, no matter where we are in the world, we can always help.

Melody Wren
National board member

The countdown begins. At time of writing, the 2019 TMAC Conference & AGM is 183 days away.
The Conference Committee, co-chaired by TMAC National Board members Suzie Loiselle and Guy Theriault, along with Liz Fleming, Jami Savage and  James Ross have met with our host Jennifer KingCallon to discuss how to raise the bar and make 2019 the most memorable conference to date... a tradition that will continue.
The PD Committee, co-chaired by Jami Savage and Jenn Mallia, along with Kelly Jessup and Jennifer Widmer are working hard provide new, innovative, and interactive sessions during the conference, some of which have been suggested by TMAC members through the Call for Ideas survey.
The Awards Committee, chaired by National Board member and Secretary Tracy Ford has assembled an amazing team of dedicated TMAC members including Michel Chicoin, Jim Kemshead, Jenn Smith Nelson, Mark Stevens, and Margaret Swaine, who have made many fantastic recommendations to the Board (now approved) for what will prove to be a more than memorable event.
The Sponsorship Committee, chaired by Jerry Grymek is currently working on some amazing new sponsorship opportunities for 2019. Volunteers wanted. Details to follow.
All will be revealed on or before conference registration launch on February 4, 2019.
TMAC Travels is published bi-monthly. Publication of solicited and unsolicited articles is not guaranteed. Final content is decided by TMAC Travel's editorial board and the national board. Submissions should fit into one of the following categories:
Professional news about you: books published, awards won, new markets obtained, positions attained, requests for travel-related information (story-specific requests ONLY), contact/profile information updates/changes.

Social notices about you: weddings, babies, non-industry awards and so on (at the editor's discretion and with a 50-word limit; these must be things directly connected to the member).
NOT allowed: requests for comps (airfare, accommodation, tickets, etc.), assignment requests, promotion of stories already written.
Professional news about you/your company: announcement ONLY of new products, new clients, travel-related info requests, contact/profile updates/changes.
Social notices: as per media, above.

NOT allowed: press releases, promotion of anything beyond new products, new clients or awards.
The newsletter also seeks chapter news and info on press trips (short descriptions with dates, rough itineraries, requirements - e.g. assignment letter) as well as tips, news and updates submitted by members.