February is often known as "Heart Month," for many reasons.
It's probably best known as the month that is home to Valentine's Day. In keeping with that theme, we did a "short and sweet" survey asking TMAC members what they love the most about our organization, which we'll share here in our "Valentine's Day Issue."
This month we also have an update on our professional development webinar sessions being planned for the next year. We'll also introduce you to Lindsay Davies, our new social media coordinator.
Remember, if you have anything you want to contribute to future newsletters, check the guidelines at the end of the issue and be sure to email your material to me.
Happy Valentine's Day!
John Geary,  TMAC Travels editor

The last month at TMAC has been very busy with registration opening for or 2020 conference in Sudbury. Our hosts have unveiled a terrific list of seven pre-tours all of which feature the great outdoors of Northern Ontario which many of us enjoyed last year in Sault Ste. Marie. Frankly, I can't get enough of it and look forward to fishing, hiking, birding and canoeing in the Canadian Shield. The pre-tours also include Indigenous experiences, a touch of urbanity and pampering at some great resorts. And did I mention our first ever RV trip? The best thing about TMAC pre-tours is that every media member is guaranteed to get one and it's included in the modest registration fee. So, if you haven't registered yet, just look up those great pre-tours and I'm sure you'll be duly impressed.
Sticking with conference news, as you may have seen in a previous TMAC Travels, we have created a Future Hosts Committee whose sole purpose is to identify and secure bids from multiple potential hosts as far in advance as three years. I am pleased to report that the Committee has already had success and a number of really exciting venues have expressed serious interest in hosting us in the upcoming years. Traditionally TMAC has kept the next year's venue a secret, albeit sometimes a pretty open one. 
Lastly, have you noticed an uptick in your followers or responses to your tweets and posts lately? I know I have because our social media coordinator is making sure that they get wider exposure than ever by including the appropriate TMAC tag (#TMACtravel) on each tweet, post or Instagram. 
As always, our organization thrives when our members get involved, whether at the national or chapter level and if you are not currently a volunteer please take the time to see where you might make a contribution to TMAC. I've never heard one member they regretted doing so.

Dale Dunlop, president
February 4, 2020 - Registration for the 2020 TMAC Conference & AGM in Sudbury opened
February 29, 2020 - TMAC 2019 Award Competition closes

March 16, 2020 Early Bird Rates for 2020 TMAC Conference & AGM end
March 16, 2020 - FOR MEDIA ONLY: Last Day to Qualify for Travel Grant and Select Pre-tour
March 31, 2020 - Last day to Renew and/or Re-qualify before membership lapses
March 31, 2020 - Date on which Chapter Funding is calculated

April 2, 2020 - Travel Grant and Pre-tour Selection announced
April 30, 2020 -  Registration for the  2020 TMAC Conference & AGM closes.

May 5, 2020 - Media Marketplace Opens
May 26, 2020 - Media Marketplace Closes

June 2, 2020 - Media Marketplace Appointment Schedules Available
June 9-12, 2020 - TMAC's 2020 Conference & AGM

If you have not already done so, please complete your re-qualification process at your earliest conference to enable you to renew your membership and register for the conference in time to take advantage of the Early Bird rates. Just a reminder that media members who previously qualified under the pre-existing membership requirements and technically do not meet the newly adopted requirements will not lose their membership. You will be grandfathered in and are welcome to remain as TMAC members for the next two years, assuming, of course, that you meet the old criteria.

If you have not already done so, please renew your membership now.  Please note that Chapter funding will be based on the number of members in good standing at March 31, 2020.

Press Cards are in the mail for everyone who ordered one by February 7, 2020. If you haven't already done so, you can order your 2020 Press Card   HERE

Members and non-members are now able to add an event to the TMAC calendar. If you know of an upcoming event or awards competition you feel would be of interest to  members, please complete the SUBMIT AN EVENT form under EVENTS.

The TMAC website has a robust member search function under the MEMBERSHIP tab. You can search any and all media or industry members by accessing the MEMBER NETWORKING tab   HERE!

A reminder will be sent next week to encourage you to update your online profiles with suggestions and detailed instructions. Prior to the publication of the PDF version, you will have the opportunity to review how your profile will appear and approve it for inclusion. 

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, all are warmly welcomed. Please do not hesitate to reach out and ask. 

Elizabeth Kerr , executive director


Conference registration was launched on February 4, 2020 and more than 35 delegates have already registered.  Everything you need to know about this year's conference can be found HERE!








The 2020 Conference Sponsorship Package is available HERE. Please contact Jerry Grymek with any questions and to discuss
a potential sponsorship opportunity. Sponsorships start at $1,000 and we are happy to customize a sponsorship to suit any budget and message.

Given that February is often seen as the "month of love," we thought it would be nice to hear what TMAC members love the most about our organization.
Jim Bamboulis loves the camaraderie.
"As a new member, it's refreshing to know that your travel colleagues are whole-heartedly willing to help answer any and all questions, guide you in the right direction and help you grow your ambition rather than sabotage
your inspiration," he says.
For long-time member Melody Wren, the sense of community is an important part of TMAC.

"What I love about TMAC is the sense of community at every gathering," she says. "We are all involved in the same line of work so there is no explaining needed about any issues, good or bad, that we have going on. I also love that at every annual conference, I can be with my tribe, learn at PD sessions, network and we can all laugh together."
"I've enjoyed the professional connections and camaraderie in TMAC's BC chapter since joining in 2008," says Lucas Ackroyd. "Also, any organization that invites me to emcee a professional development day while dressed up as Darth Vader has got it going on."
"For me, TMAC is all about the people - all the people," says Jenn Smith Nelson. "They are my travel family and when we have the chance to come together, it brings out feelings of true acceptance and belonging. There is always an overwhelming sense of support and respect each time I get to hob nob or work with and alongside both industry and media."
"I could name a long list of people who have been supportive and helpful through the years," says Liz Campbell. "Or I could provide a list of benefits like the editor's list, awards, health insurance, and more. These are the obvious benefits of TMAC.
"But for me, it's the inspiration I draw from members who are doing extraordinary things, it's the laughter and the joy of our annual conference, and it's the knowledge that I'm part of an organization which values and uplifts my small contribution to the work of journalism."
For Gary Crallé, it's pretty simple what he loves about TMAC: "In a nutshell, what I like best about TMAC is being with a group of convivial, inquisitive, adventuresome people who enjoy learning and growing through shared travel experiences."
Our thanks to everyone who participated in this piece. Look for similar types of articles in future issues.
John Geary, TMAC Travels editor

After reviewing the survey responses from our members sent out last fall, the TMAC National PD committee and based on the survey responses from our members sent out last fall, we have settled on four webinar topics for 2020.
The first webinar will take place in mid to late March for our media members. It will focus on the number one issue raised by media members: how to identify and earn revenue through multiple revenue streams.
The second seminar is for our industry members and is set to take place in May-June before the conference in Sudbury.
A great feature of our webinars will be that members will be able to watch these after the live presentations at their own convenience. We are quite excited to build a library of resources for all our members.
Feedback and suggestions are always welcome. Just email
Marc Smith,
TMAC board member

Lindsay Davies
In December, TMAC hired Lindsay Davies as our part-time social media coordinator to help share and spread the wonderful work of our media and industry members.
This means that TMAC will be actively growing the association's social presence and sharing your work to a bigger audience across Canada and the world.
Lindsay, currently a media member from the Ontario chapter, has been busy managing our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts since then.
As this is a new initiative for TMAC, we will do this on a three-month trial basis to test it out.
If all goes as planned and as expected, this will become a permanent benefit to all TMAC members.
If you have any questions about our social media strategy or this new initiative, please reach out to Yashy Murphy at  or Marc Smith at , co-chairs of the TMAC social media committee.

For the fourth straight year, Vancouver writer and TMAC member Lucas Aykroyd is offering a $1,000 (U.S.) scholarship for women pursuing degrees in journalism, creative writing, or literature. The annual Irene Adler Prize essay competition opened Jan. 30. The deadline to enter
is April 30, 2020.
You can find more information about the scholarship here: 
Please feel free to share this opportunity with prospective applicants via social media, email, or word of mouth.

The Atlantic chapter has seen a few changes in membership this year, but we are still strong with 32 members, roughly divided between media and industry.

It's lobster season on our South Shore, so many of us in Nova Scotia are heading down the road to enjoy the month-long South Shore Lobster Crawl with lobster rolls, chowder, lobster beer - and even lobster gelato!
Over in New Brunswick, Fundy National Park offers cabins, yurts and the deceptively large Ôasis as cozy winter camping opportunities. The province recently welcomed Parks Canada's Guy Theriault and a small group of media, so watch for stories about fantastic east coast winter camping.
Speaking of being fantastic, both Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island are celebrating their places in the top 5 list of the 2020 Travel Lemming Reader Awards for emerging destinations, with Prince Edward Island at No. 2 and Nova Scotia at No. 5.
Later this month, TMAC Atlantic will host a travel writing workshop at Pier 21 Museum of Immigration, led by Sandra Phinney. That evening, our team - well, as many of us as possible!- will have a short chapter meeting followed by dinner in Bedford, Nova Scotia
If anyone from other chapters is free on the evening of Feb. 29, and you are in the area, please come along!
We continue to encourage new members, members without a Chapter (i.e. Quebec or US members), or members who are vaguely connected to the East Coast (or even members who just really like lobster) to join the ranks of our small and mighty chapter. Also, if you are in our region, please don't hesitate to contact us and say hello.
Helen Earley
Atlantic chapter chair
Isabel MacDougall
Atlantic chapter secretary

We hope you are having a wonderful start to 2020.
It's hard to believe January is already behind us! All eyes are already on Sudbury, our hosts for the annual conference in June.
We hope that you will take advantage of "Cash for Clips" this year. "Cash for Clips" is an initiative that gives journalists an opportunity to earn money for any stories that are written about the Ontario chapter's Munch and Mingle (M&M) events. It means so much when a destination takes the time and spends the money to host an event, so anytime that we can shine a light on their hard work is important.
Our board is looking forward to hosting some great M&M's this year. This will include an event Feb. 18 at Kai Restaurant hosted by Tokyo Tourism, an event in March hosted by Colorado and a road trip that is tentatively scheduled for Perth County. We will keep you posted on updates as we get them.
As discussed in our last newsletter, we are also working on the professional development initiatives, including contributions from former Toronto Star travel editor Jim Byers and award-winning food columnist Renée Suen. More details will follow.

Rod Charles , chapter chair
Ontario chapter board


We kicked off 2020 with our first event of the year on Jan. 30 with a professional development session at the Residence Inn by Marriott Calgary Downtown/Beltline.
Entitled, "The 2020 on the Media Landscape", an esteemed panel including Monica Zurowski, deputy editor of the Calgary Herald; Mario Toneguzzi, freelance writer, editor and content creator; and, Darren Krause, founder and editor of LiveWire Calgary. The panel was moderated by Jessica Harcombe Fleming, director at Beattie Tartan.
The panel chatted about everything from SEO and keywords to storytelling, trendspotting and navigating the ever-evolving digital landscape. To support our members spanning across Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the Northwest Territories, we offered the event in its entirety on Facebook Live through our members' page.

The 2020 on the Media Landscape panel in action. PHOTO CREDIT: Paula Worthington
After the panel, the group congregated downstairs at Stable Tenth Avenue Cafe for a happy hour and delicious food. Participants had a chance to tour the exquisite new rooms at the Residence Inn by Marriott, with a distinct Calgary flare and plenty of room for guests to feel at home.

A great spread at Stable Tenth Avenue Cafe, Residence Inn by Marriott Calgary Downtown/Beltline. PHOTO CREDIT: Paula Worthington

  A great spread at Stable Tenth Avenue Cafe, Residence Inn by Marriott Calgary Downtown/Beltline (Photo: Paula Worthington)
The board is now busy planning for its next event, surveying members, and looking forward to additional PD opportunities to share very soon.

Paula Worthington, co-chair
Prairies & NWT chapter board

Having finished the Chinese New Year celebrations, the Year of the Rat brings new beginnings as it is the start of the 12-animal zodiac for the Lunar Calendar.
And like our BC chapter, we have a lot in store for the coming year.
After a successful meeting with our events committee, we have planned a full agenda for the upcoming year starting with our February Mingler and other activities outside the Vancouver mainland.
We have plans for monthly activities including a Spring PD experience in Cranbrook, featuring Indigenous First Nations Tourism at the St Eugene Golf Resort in April; a visit on the Sea to Sky Highway to Squamish; and, learning about Chinese tea ceremony at the Dr Sun Yat Sen Gardens during our Cherry Blossom Season.
It's certainly a full start to the New Year!
For any national members, please let us know if you're in town to join for any of our activities!
Nathan Fong, chair,
BC chapter board

Canada Post released its From Far and Wide 2020 stamp series, featuring "Nine Must-See Canadian Sites". One of the nine stamps portrays Saskatchewan's spectacular Athabasca Sand Dunes Provincial Park, using a photo by Saskatoon authors and photographers Robin and Arlene Karpan. This is a permanent domestic rate stamp good to use for years to come. It is also available as a postage-paid postcard that can be mailed to anywhere in the world.   
Canada Post's official announcement called these nine places "Canada's most breathtaking vistas". The Athabasca Sand Dunes certainly fits that description. Here we find the largest active sand surface in Canada, and the most northerly major sand dunes in the world. They extend for about 100 km on the south shore of Lake Athabasca, near the northwest corner of the province. The dunes lie in the midst of boreal forest and lake lands, and are sliced by three rivers that flow into Lake Athabasca. The fragile ecosystem, which includes several rare and endemic plants, is protected within Athabasca Sand Dunes Provincial Park, formed in 1992.
To get this photo, the Karpans canoed up the William River from Lake Athabasca, then hiked west into the vast William River dune field, home to 40 giant dunes, some reaching 30 metres high and extending up to a kilometre long. Many towering dunes have a knife-edge crest, sculpted by wind action. They took this photo just before sunset, as the low sun threw one side of the dune into shadow and illuminated the other side with a rich golden glow. 
For more information and photos of the Athabasca Sand Dunes, see Robin and Arlene's post on 

Ayngelina Brogan is celebrating the 10-year anniversary of her Bacon is Magic site, a blog focusing on food and travel around the world.
Helen Earley recently visited the Pacific coast city of Mazatlan,Mexico, on assignment for Family Fun Canada, and returned home to work on several assignments about Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
Pat Lee completed the new edition of the Frommer's Easy Guide to Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, to be published in spring of 2020
Sandra Phinney is busy this winter delivering a series of workshops throughout Nova Scotia, focused on travel writing, memoir, and finding narrative non-fiction markets. She's also ordered a new canoe and is planning some major wilderness trips. (For a day or so she thought she was Sandra Phillips!)
Jason Nugent presented at the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design on Feb 6, as part of their guest lecture series in Advanced Studio Practice, where he discussed his practice, shared stories about expeditions, and talked about future work. The next issue of Above and Beyond magazine will feature Jason's article about ice fishing on Cumberland Sound.
When Lia Rinaldo isn't wearing her "media hat" she stays busy doing things like planning celebrations for this year's 10th Anniversary of Devour! The Food Film Fest which runs Oct. 20-25, 2020 in Nova Scotia.

Dale Dunlop,
John Geary,
Helen Earley,  
Isabel MacDougall,
Rod Charles,
Paula Worthington,   
Nathan Fong,

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.