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September 2017

This issue of TMAC Travels takes a detailed look back at the very successful Quebec 2017 conference. We'll recap the event itself, list the award winners, and highlight the important points that came out of the national AGM.

We also have quite a bit of news concerning what our members have been up to, ranging from first books to scholarship sponsorships, and much more in our Member News section.
A note concerning deadlines for future newsletters: We're aiming to get the bi-monthly newsletter out the second Tuesday of every other month. To do that, we need to have material in two weeks prior to that. We will make a slight exception in January, because of the holiday season. I will send out a call for submissions two weeks prior to the deadline, and a reminder a week before.

November 17
October 31
January 16
January 2
March 13
February 27
May 8
April 24

- John Geary, TMAC Travels editor 
  3. 2016 TMAC AWARDS
I hope you all have had a wonderful summer. Your National Board has already had its first Board meeting to kick off what is proving to be a year of some exciting new initiatives. I would like to personally welcome our new Executive Director, Elizabeth Kerr, into the fold and look forward to working closely with Elizabeth, the National Board, National Committees, the Chapter Chairs and you to make things happen and watch TMAC grow better and stronger with our new organization structure.
As your new President, one of my top priorities is to ensure that each Chapter has a voice at the National level. Whenever possible, I (or a National Board member) will attend Chapter meetings and, in turn, I will encourage Chapter Chairs to participate in National Board meetings. In partnership with the Media Marketing Task Force, chaired by Holly Lenk, we are conducting a full audit of the qualification process to ensure we maintain our high standards while being all-inclusive.
As a result of the November 2016 Strategic Planning Session, a great deal of time went into creating TMAC's new mission statement, which has now been approved by the Board.
"TMAC is a Canadian not for profit association serving industry and media travel professionals. We cultivate relationships that result in relevant connections, comprehensive opportunities and successful outcomes. As an organization, we strive for inclusivity, openness and forward-thinking in the ever-changing travel industry environment."
The Communications Committee, currently led by Elizabeth Kerr, has developed a new tag line, also approved by the Board, that will be incorporated into all future marketing materials:
"We Are Going Places"
Shortly, we will be reaching out to you directly to ask for photos specifically of you...going places...which we would like to use on our marketing materials and on the website. Details soon.
The Conference Committee, led by Suzie Loiselle, in partnership with the Professional Development Committee, co-chaired by Camilla Cornell and Anne Bokma, the Sponsorship Committee, chaired by Jerry Grymek and the Awards Committee, chaired by Tracy Ford are busy recruiting a few more volunteers and will be kickstarting the detailed planning process for the 2018 Conference and AGM in Victoria next May.
The website is being aggressively tested to ensure that when we do launch, it will be a resounding success. At some point in the process, you will be receiving an invitation to "update" your profile to ensure it is current, accurate, consistent and easily searchable. We are still reviewing the options on how best to capture your data with as little pain and inconvenience as possible. However, if we make the investment to get it right the first time, our TMAC online directory will be a vibrant useful resource once again.
We have reviewed all of our Committees and the resources needed and invite you to consider volunteering for one of the following positions. Detailed descriptions of each committee's roles can be found HERE . []. If you are interested, contact Elizabeth Kerr @ or any Committee Chair or Member.
Media Membership   Chair  Media 
 Media Membership
Members (2)  Media 
Professional Development  Member  Either 
Awards  Chair  Industry 
 Awards Members  Either 
Communications  Chair  Either 
Communications Members (2)  Either 
Sponsorship  Members (2)  Either 
Member Benefits  Chair  Either 
Volunteer  Chair  Either 
Social Media  Chair  Either 
I welcome any of your comments and feedback on how TMAC can better serve you. You can email me at  or contact me directly at 905-484-4642.
- Grant Fraser , President TMAC


The theme for the 2017 TMAC conference was " Quebec: So Europe, So Close."
The organizers and hosts certainly demonstrated that and showed us that La Belle Province is much more than just a European clone. Wandering around in the city itself, one does get the impression of being in a European city. The streets, heritage buildings, caf és, the air of sophistication... they all create the feeling that you've been whisked away to the old world.

One of the best ways to see the city is on a river cruise along the St. Lawrence at night, as we did with Croisieres AML during the conference - after being checked for any "dangerous diseases" by the ship's "medical staff," of course! Then there were the on-foot city tours offered by Parks Canada that provided us all with an up-close look at the city, along with some of its rich history.

Of course, there's much more to Quebec than the city...

There's the Quebec Maritime region where you can see whales, pet lynx, hike beautiful trails, or go for an invigorating ATV ride through the woods. If you like the outdoors, there were also other opportunities to enjoy it in places like the Laurentians, and the Mauricie and Lanaudière regions. If you like the great indoors, Laval was there with inside adventures like the Escape Room experience, indoor surfing, and rock climbing; just a bit south, you could help celebrate Montreal's 375th birthday. For foodies, some great experiences took place not only during the conference dine-around event, but at pre/post-tours in locales like Charlevoix and Iles de la Madeleines.


This year's awards ceremonies saw some new winners come up to accept awards for top notch travel writing and photography along with some familiar faces strolling to the podium once again. Details about the award winners are available further on in the newsletter.

The AGM was quite significant this year as there were some new proposed changes to the organization's structure and bylaws; those are addressed in the AGM summary further on in the newsletter.

Tourism Victoria put on quite an entertaining presentation to announce its role as the 2018 conference host with a game-show style performance that got everyone involved and keen about visiting the west coast next year.

The conference wrapped up with a wonderful meal and some great rockin' gospel by the choir at the Chapelle Musée de l'Amérique francophone. The atmosphere there was a microcosm of the warmth and hospitality shown to us throughout the conference by Quebec.

Tout le monde avait-passe un bon moment! Merci, Quebec City.
One of the highlights for everyone at the annual TMAC conference is the Gala Awards Presentation. This year was no different, as there were many winners of past awards as well as many first-time winners in the various categories.



Rhonda Krause, "Walk Down Shimbashi Street, Kyoto," published in Travel? Yes Please!, February 21, 2016
Sharon Matthews-Stevens, "Taking a Cruise on the Wild Side," published in Sailing, April 2016


Robin Karpan, "Bear Battle," published in, December 14, 2015
Sharon Matthews-Stevens, "Call of the Wild," published in Dreamscapes, Winter 2016

Photo Series

John Sylvester, "Adventures in Iceberg Ally," published in Outdoor Photography Canada, Spring/Summer 2016
Gary Crallé, "Silk Road Rising," published in Doctor's Review, April 22, 2016
Sharon Matthews-Stevens, "Sail Away to God's Island," published in Just for Canadian Dentists Magazine, Summer 2016


Anne Bokma,  "The Town That Paranoia Built," published in The United Church Observer, October 2015
Sandra Phinney, "The Birth of Mighty Micro-nation Outer Baldonia," published in, June 1, 2016

Responsible Tourism

Jane Mundy, "Vancouver Volunteer Uses Past Skills as a Cook to Assist Refugees," published in Vancouver Sun, December 1, 2016
Carol Patterson, "Turtles with Jobs," published in the Red Deer Advocate, January 23, 2016


Heather Greenwood-Davis, "Freedom in California's Fern Canyon," published in National Geographic Traveler, June 20, 2016
 Lisa Kadane, "Travelling with my Autistic Son," published in the Globe and Mail, August 16, 2016
Jennifer Merrick, "A Wild Wizard Adventure at the Edison and Ford Winter Estates," published in, June 30, 2016
Food and Drink

Cinda Chavich,  "Seaweed Season," published in Eat!,  July/August 2016
 Darcy Rhyno, "Once Upon a Vine: A Fairy Tale About Nova Scotia Wine, published in Good Taste, November/December 2016

French Language

First place: Aurélie Resch, "Les sentinelles du Pacifique," published in L'express de Toronto, August 2, 2016


Colleen Friesen, "Cycling Among the Mennonites," published in Adventure Cyclist Magazine, October/November 2016
Jenn Smith-Nelson, "Petting wolves at Quebec's Parc Mahikan," published in The South China Morning Post, December 12, 2015


Lisa Monforton, "Living on Cuban Time," published in the Calgary Herald, August 16, 2016
Tamara Elliott, "Secret Tricks and Tips for Booking Aeroplan Rewards," published in Globe Guide, November 23, 2015

Spirit of Canada

Sandra Phinney, "Mindful travel Port Medway a small village with a big heart (but not for everyone)" published in, August 28, 2016
Mark Stevens, "Sailing to God's Island," published in Just for Canadian Doctors, May/June 2016
Josephine Matayas, "Yukon Cold Spell," published in Doctor's Review, February 2016

Some significant changes were presented, discussed, and passed at the 2017 Annual General Meeting.
The biggest change came in the way president and vice-president of TMAC are elected. Several years ago, TMAC moved to a system whereby the president was directly elected by the TMAC members at the annual meeting. At the same time, we instituted a dual vice-presidency with the v-p media automatically moving into the presidency after a one year term.
Unfortunately, this system has not worked out as well as hoped. In order to bring stability to the presidency and in order to ensure that the transition from v-p to president goes smoothly, the board of TMAC recommended the following changes:
1. The president will now serve a two-year term.
2. The vice-president will serve a two-year term and then be elected to the presidency.
3. The positions of president and v-p shall be open to all TMAC members. This does away with the restriction that only media members could serve as president. We believe that is unfair to industry and unnecessary.
4. The dual vice-presidency will be eliminated.
5. The honorarium for president shall increase to $10,000.00 per annum starting with the next President. We believe this will attract more people to the position and enable industry members to compensate their employers for the time required to serve.
After much discussion, these changes were voted on and instituted.
 Grant Fraser 
 Vice President 
 Dale Dunlop   Media
 Treasurer  Mary Tulle   Industry
 Secretary  Tracy Ford   Industry
 Directors-at-large  John Geary   Media
   Jerry Grymek   Industry
   Holly Lenk   Industry
   Suzie Loiselle   Industry
   Melody Wren   Media
Thank you so much to the 38 media and 54 industry who completed the 2017 Conference Survey. 76 members entered the survey. Winners were selected using an automated random number generator...and the winners of a $100 TMAC Gift Certificate to be used towards the 2018 conference fee are:
  • Carolyn Heller
  • Paul Knowles
  • Minto Schneider
Overall, more than 85% ranked the conference very good or excellent. Many attended because of an interest in host destination as well as professional development.
Although there were some challenges with Guidebook, more than 75% of attendees used it effectively although felt that it did not deliver to its full potential. Overall, everyone supported the Green initiative, however there is still a strong desire for a printed version.
The evening networking events were very well-enjoyed, and, not surprisingly, the closing dinner at Chapelle du Musee de l'Amerique francaise was the most memorable event for all.
Professional development sessions gleaned higher attendance in 2017 than any other year. Most sessions were found to be very useful and some great ideas for topics and speakers for future conferences were shared.
All the pre- and post-tours were ranked very good or excellent. 44% of media attending had confirmed assignments prior to the conference.
Location, accommodation, meals and entertainment were all applauded loudly.

The comments this year were very construction and forward-thinking. All members of the 2018 conference team will receive a copy of the full report to ensure we address as many comments as we can. In the meantime, these are the top three recommendations made.
  • Ensure a better balance of industry and media to achieve full appointment schedules
  • Allow more time for an open media marketplace
  • Consider adding an award for an industry member
The BC chapter had a fairly quiet summer, but we closed it out in fine style the first week of September with our Summer Sizzler on board a yacht graciously supplied by Pacific Yacht Charters. Joining us at the event were Fanny Bay Oysters and the Oliver Osoyoos Winery, keeping us well fortified throughout the evening.
The event included the introduction of our new chapter chair, Caralyn Campbell. The board also presented Morgan Sommerville with a special parting gift to thank her for all her years of hard work as chapter treasurer.

Up next for the BC chapter is a special weekend PD session in Whistler. October 26-28, participants will take part in six different workshops that provide hands-on, educational labs on different aspects of social media. Stay tuned to the BC group Facebook page and your email box for more details.

- John Geary, for the BC chapter
After a very successful PD event at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge in April, the Alberta/NWT Chapter has been busy planning its events for the 2017-18 year.
We kicked off September with a Munch 'n' Mingle event sponsored by Tourism Golden, who shared some of the reasons why Golden, B.C. is a major attraction for people looking for authentic, mountain life experiences.
The board is now in the process of confirming fabulous M 'n' M experiences for the remainder of the year. We are pleased to continue to support our collaborative community of both media and industry members, and look forward to supporting our network as the tourism landscape continues to evolve in our region. 
- Paula Worthington, for the Alberta/NWT chapter 
From what I can tell from emails, Twitter, Facebook and sundry travel sites and publications, the one thing that Ontario chapter members have in common is that none of us were actually in Ontario for very much of the summer. It has been a very busy summer for this provincial group of travel writers - although we have only held one official group activity since summertime arrived.
That event was a day trip for more than a dozen Ontario chapter members to the Cranberry Resort in Collingwood. We were wonderfully hosted on a day that included spa treatments, golf, a very serious iron chef competition, a boat cruise on Collingwood Harbour, and more. Thanks to Cranberry Resort for a great day, and to Jerry Grymek for organizing it.
Speaking of Jerry, our man in Florida and the Florida Keys, our hearts go out to all our members who represent the areas of our world hit hard by weather catastrophes of late. Best wishes for fast recoveries in the Caribbean, in Florida and the Atlantic seaboard, in Texas, in Mexico, and in any other areas suffering under natural crises.
We began our new season with a Munch and Mingle as we celebrated an early Oktoberfest at the Chelsea Hotel, Sept. 19, hosted by the Chelsea, Lufthansa, and Mill Street Brewery. In October, Tourism Toronto hosts our members to a day of activity and an evening M&M.
The September meeting also marks the first official meeting of the new Ontario chapter executive, which includes co-chairs Paul Knowles and Rod Charles, secretary Jocelyn Black, past chair/president Steve Gillick, and members Jerry Grymek, Kimberly Hartley, Ron Brown, Jacqueline Swartz and Anne Marshall.
Other chapters might be interested to know that two key focuses for our executive this year are membership, and governance, as we seek to increase our numbers, and to develop a structure for the operation of a TMAC chapter. We've been consulting with national President Grant Fraser and his executive on the governance issues.
- Paul Knowles, media chair, Ontario chapter 

First Book Published by Jody Robbins
Calgary media member Jody Robbins' first book: 25 Places in Canada Every Family Should Visit (Touchwood Editions, 2017) is now on bookshelves. Released in time to plan your summer vacation and celebrate Canada's 150th birthday celebrations, it's every adventurous family's must-have guide.   
Families have different travel needs, and Robbins gives the scoop on affordable hotels, worth-it attractions and nature hideaways, in addition to doling out practical advice on making family travel smoother.  
If you'd like a review copy, please contact Tori Elliot at
Busy Times in the Maritimes
In Nova Scotia, the Cabot Trail, Cape Breton Highlands National Park and the Bras d'Or Lakes all received top rankings in the The 10 Best Readers' Choice Awards contest. The Cabot Trail ranked No. 1 in the country for Best Scenic Drive; the Cape Breton Highlands captured first place in Canada for Best National Park and the Bras d'Or Lake region ranked third for the Best Cottage Region in the country. The 10 Best Readers' Choice Awards contest lives on - a standalone travel media site. It is promoted across USA TODAY Travel Media Group's digital and mobile products, as well as via social media.
SkyWalk Saint John Opening Soon
SkyWalk Saint John will open in the next few weeks! It is one of only three skywalks in North America and the only one within a city and over water. It overlooks Reversing Rapids which is a unique natural phenomenon created by the collision of the powerful tides of the Bay of Fundy and the mighty Saint John River.
Discover Saint John Hosts Sean Yoro
Discover Saint John recently hosted world-renowned street artist Sean Yoro (Hula) (Instagram: @the_hula) who battled the world's highest tides to paint a beautiful mural at Pugsley Slip in uptown Saint John while balancing on his paddleboard. The mural is revealed twice a day with low tide. Sean's documentary of his experience was featured on the front page of CNN and has been shared all over the world.  
You can find a picture of the final mural online at
Sandra Phinney's Book To Launch in October
Media member Sandra Phinney's travel memoir, Waking Up In My Own Backyard ~ Explorations in Southwest Nova Scotia (Pottersfield Press) will launch in October. Sandra will do a series of readings throughout Atlantic Canada and Ontario this coming fall, extending into 2018.
TMAC Member Dale Dunlop Tours BC Parks to Celebrate Parks Canada 150th  
In honour of Parks Canada's 150th, media member Dale Dunlop is doing an RV tour of four fabulous BC parks for Canadian RVing magazine. He will also be doing individual detailed posts on each park, on the website visiting with Mount Revelstoke, then Glacier, then Yoho and finally Kootenay.
Lucas Aykroyd founded Irene Adler Prize - First Winner Announced
Some of our members may not be aware that long-time member Lucas Aykroyd founded a journalism scholarship this past spring. Kiley Bense won the inaugural 2017 Irene Adler Prize for her essay, "A History of One's Own." Bense, who will receive $1,000 toward her education, is starting her M.F.A. in creative nonfiction at Columbia University School of the Arts in New York.
The Irene Adler Prize offers a $1,000 scholarship to a woman pursuing a degree in journalism, creative writing, or literature at a recognized post-secondary institution in the U.S. or Canada, based on an essay competition.
"With close to 150 entries from talented women of different backgrounds, choosing a winner was exciting, humbling, and challenging," said Aykroyd. "Combining journalistic precision with poetic imagery, Kiley vividly explores the impact of her Irish family roots, and expresses her desire to emulate leading female historians like Barbara Tuchman and Jill Lepore."
TMAC Welcomes Media Member Ayngelina Brogan 
In 2010, Ayngelina Brogan left a career in advertising and bought a one-way ticket to Mexico. At first, her site Bacon is Magic was just a hobby to document her travels. Because she didn't speak Spanish, the only way she had to connect with people was through food. Says Ayngelina, "The landscape of social media and media changed, and I've been blogging professionally for four years." 
"Bacon is Magic focuses on culinary tourism," she says. "Our goal is to empower readers with what they need to know about our favourite destinations and flavours. From the best patisseries in Paris to how to make a classic ratatouille, we make the intimidating achievable."
Ayngelina Brogan 
Ayngelina says as a content creator, she uses words, photos, video and social media streams to find the best ways to share stories of the people and places behind meals she has experienced around the world.  
When asked what she hopes to get out of TMAC, she says, "It's all about community. I'm not a freelance writer or aspiring journalist. There's so much I can learn from other TMAC members."  
Of course, Ayngelina is equally passionate about food and travel. "My partner, who is now part of Bacon is Magic, is a chef and we own a restaurant in Toronto," she explains. "Before Loka opened, I planned a five-week trip to Italy that we dubbed our "Meatcation" as it was a tour of cured meat and its producers from north to south. This was my fifth time to Italy, but the most special as it was his first."
She concludes, "Travel is incredible solo, but it's also wonderful to share."
TMAC Welcomes New Industry Member Cathy Rehberg, Marketing Manager at Stratford Tourism Alliance
Cathy Rehberg is new to TMAC, but she has worked at the Stratford Tourism Alliance, a not-for-profit DMO, since its inception in 2007. She has a background in marketing, sales, project management and event planning.  
Cathy has a lot to recommend about her corner of the country.
"Stratford's reputation as Canada's premier arts town is recognized for classical theatre and draws visitors from around the globe."  
Cathy Rehberg
Cathy Rehberg

She adds, "Growing as a culinary destination, we are known for our excellent farm-to-table restaurants and distinguished Stratford Chefs School. Local craft brewers, a distillery and meadery, artisan cheese makers and busy weekly farmers markets create a foundation for fun Savour Stratford Chocolate, Bacon & Ale, Maple and Pumpkin trails. In addition, the Stratford visual arts scene is reflected in gallery exhibitions, artist studios and public art."
She hopes that membership in TMAC will "introduce writers to the many facets of Stratford beyond the theatre they know and love, including the beautiful parks and gardens, visual arts and galleries, music, heritage arc hitecture and culinary delights." She's also hoping to benefit professionally by strengthening her skills and meeting others to share great travel experiences in Canada.
A lover of travel herself, Cathy's most recent trip took her to Florida. "Being a bird lover, I explored several wonderful parks and added sightings of diamond back rattlers to my list. I visited two galleries and a museum and searched out culinary experiences reflecting the area.
"What I liked best about the trip was the variety of experiences, but not being over planned."    
Helen Earley
Grant Fraser  
John Geary
Elizabeth Kerr
Paul Knowles
Darcy Ryhno
Paula Worthington

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).
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.
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.