Five Tips for Toronto Pride

Author: , April 24th, 2014

World Pride Toronto 2014World Pride Toronto is hedging its bets on success when it joins forces with Pride Toronto on June 20-29, 2014 for what’s expected to be the largest Pride event in North America.

Chrystal Dean, Toronto’s World Pride manager, says Toronto is pumped. “We’ve got everything in place,” she said at her Pride Toronto office in Toronto in late March. “Each day scores of folks call to volunteer or ask to form partnerships. There’ll be representatives visiting from over 60 countries. We’re hosting the first ever human rights conference. Melissa Etheridge is headlining a free concert.”

Acrimony, coupled with financial and political chicanery, derailed previous World Pride festivities in Rome, Jerusalem and London. That won’t happen in Toronto, Dean said. And Toronto’s beleaguered Mayor Rob Ford – who refuses to resign even after admitting to smoking crack cocaine – may continue to snub Pride events as he has each year, but he has not prevented Pride Toronto from obtaining all necessary city permits.

By Robert Israel – Edge Boston | Toronto Gay Travel Resources | Other Gay Travel Events

Romantic Gay Vancouver

Author: , March 8th, 2014

Vancouver, BCWedding bells are ringing and you’re headed to Vancouver, the verdant metropolis of British Columbia that has enjoyed legal same-sex marriage since 2003. (Gay marriage was legalized across Canada in 2005.) This humble-yet-happening city of 600,000 residents is among Canada’s most gay-proud cities, with its annual midsummer Pride festival drawing as many attendees as the entire citywide population.

It’s hard to imagine a city more welcoming than Vancouver, where locals are so eager to share the best parts of their city that introductions may soon lead to a personal guided tour. For brides and grooms, arranging a memorable ceremony can be as easy as hiring one of a bevy of wedding planners, such as Viva Las Weddings and Two Dears and a Queer.

Or you can take the super-easy route and pay a local marriage commissioner about $80 to do the hitching as simply as you like. If it’s a dreamy honeymoon you seek, plan on some quality outdoors time by day with fun, gay nightlife to follow.

Authored By Kelsy Chauvin – See the Full Story at Edge Boston

Click here for gay travel resources in Vancouver.

Jasper Pride Festival Comes to Alberta in Two Weeks

Author: , March 8th, 2014

Jasper Pride Festival 2014Jasper Pride Festival 21-23 March 2014 – a three-day winter Pride event with skiing, ice hiking, drag shows, movies, concerts and more! Jasper Pride Weekend is made up of volunteers from all across the business, not-for-profit and LGBTQ community in Jasper in Canada.

Jasper Pride Weekend is the only Winter Pride Festival in the Canadian Rocky Mountains taking place late March or early April every year. It is attracting locals and visitors alike.

A formal committee was organized in the spring of 2009 and the event has grown exponentially since then. In 2013 a not-for profit Society was founded with the support of Jasper’s business community, Tourism Jasper and the Jasper Chamber of Commerce.

Authored By Kelly Riker – See the Full Story at Seasons of Pride

Click here for gay travel resources in Alberta.

Nuvo Hotel Suites, Calgary, Canada

Author: , March 2nd, 2014

Hotel Nuvo Exterior photo_20130215_1438156701[1] DSC_5982 (1024x687) DSC_5983 (1024x687) DSC_5986 (1024x687) DSC_5987 (1024x687) DSC_5989 (1024x687)By Roy Heale
In the heart of Calgary’s downtown is the trendy residential community known as the Beltline where comfortable and safe urban living is a recognised characteristic of the neighbourhood. Modern new high rise apartments blend with older historic buildings and everything architecturally in between to form a truly pleasant living environment for those who want to be close to the downtown commercial district. Naturally, this community is home to several new boutique hotels for the convenience of business and leisure travellers who want to share this urban experience. One of the most popular is the stylish Nuvo Hotel Suites which is perfect for a short visit to Calgary or an extended stay in the city.

This small boutique hotel is in an ideal location to walk a few blocks to the downtown business sector of Calgary, or the trendy and renowned 17th Avenue entertainment district. The suites are spacious and well appointed with all amenities including a kitchen for simple meals in your room. This is particularly good as the hotel is located just across from a Safeway supermarket with a great take-out deli section. There is a small work station area for a computer enabling guests to keep in touch while traveling. The staff are very efficient, friendly and helpful. Some parking is available but needs to be reserved in advance of arrival if possible. They offer free high speed WiFi and long distance calling within North America. Some units even have their own washer and dryer for the convenience of those on long term stays.

At Nuvo Hotel Suites, the guests’ comfort is a top priority and as a unique Calgary boutique hotel catering to a multitude of needs, they strive to provide an affordable, comfortable and convenient experience.

All of the hotel suites offer a spacious queen bed, with a top of the line mattress. If you require more sleeping areas, rooms are available with pull-out couches or a second bed. The property is a 100% non-smoking facility to protect the guests’ health and comfort during their stay. Impressive value is available in this exceptional downtown Calgary hotel which offers executive suites displaying unique artwork and contemporary furnishings.

Many local attractions are nearby, including the Saddledome, the Calgary Tower and the Calgary Stampede Fairgrounds. After a day of perusing the city’s offerings and exhibits, guests enjoy the multitude of dining and shopping options in close proximity to their Calgary accommodations. Some balcony rooms are available with a view of the breathtaking Calgary skyline, and all the rooms have windows which open to allow fresh air to circulate. Those traveling for business purposes will appreciate the complimentary Internet and phone services, and the automatic coffee maker available in each room offers the perfect beginning to your day in the privacy of your own room. Numerous local restaurants and bars, shopping amenities, recreational facilities and cultural experiences are easily accessible from Element Hotel. Just a few short blocks from the hotle is The 17th Avenue Entertainment District which is recognised as the heart of Calgary for dining and shopping.
Some Local Dining Options Include:
* Balo Vietnamese Restaurant
* The King and I
* Brewsters 11th ave
* Ric’s Grill
* Janice Beaton Fine Cheese and The Farm Restaurant
* Laurier Lounge
* Bonterra Trattoria
* The Coup + Meet
* Bumpy’s Cafe
* Nellie’s Cosmic Cafe
* Blowfish Sushi

Nuvo Hotel Suites offers the unique combination of contemporary styling, modern connectivity, and sophisticated, stylish decor to make your stay easier and more enjoyable. The friendly, knowledgeable staff is ready to help you with everything from a local restaurant recommendation to a last-minute photocopy need.

Facilities of NUVO Hotel Suites:
Bedroom: Alarm clock, Wardrobe/Closet, Extra Long Beds (> 2 metres)
Kitchen: Dishwasher, Microwave, Coffee machine, Kitchenware, Refrigerator, Oven, Stovetop, Toaster, Kitchen
Living Area: Seating Area
Media & Technology: Radio, Cable Channels, iPod dock, Flat-screen TV, Telephone
Food & Drink: Breakfast in the room
Internet: Free WiFi is available in the hotel rooms
Parking: Guest parking is possible on site (reservation is not needed) and costs CAD 18 per day.
Services: Express check-in/check-out, Laundry, Fax/photocopying
General: Non-smoking rooms, Family rooms, Heating, Allergy-free room, Non-smoking throughout, Air conditioning, Fan, Ironing Facilities, Iron

This is an affordable boutique hotel option in a perfect Calgary downtown location providing spacious, reasonably priced accommodations for short or extended visits.

For More Information Visit:
www.nuvohotelsuites.com

Featured Gay Friendly Accommodations: Hotel Hippocampe, Quebec City

Author: , February 21st, 2014

Hotel Hippocampe - Quebec CityPeriodically we’ll feature one of our properties here to let our readers know about some great gay friendly places to stay.

Only, Unique, Strickly Gay Hotel in Quebec: Quebec’s first and still unique exclusively gay hotel since 1974. Treat youself to an unforgettable experience. Keep your towel on an go from the hotel to sauna hippocampe.

See the Hotel Hippocampe Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Gay Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals in Quebec, Canada

Eating Out in Mont Tremblant, Quebec

Author: , February 17th, 2014

Eating Out in Mont TremblantDuring my visit to Mont Tremblant, of course I fancied it up for lovely breakfasts, lunches and dinner, but also I tried the local options and the some typical Quebecoise delights. The some of the highlights were my gourmet experiences at La Quintessence Restaurant, Patrick Bermand and sEb L’Artisan Culinaire.

But I also enjoyed to lovely lunches, one at La Diable Microbrasserie and the other at Windigo Restaurant at the Fairmont Hotel Tremblant.

La Diable Microbrasserie, is a true icon of Mont Tremblant, and gathering spot for lunch, drinks and dinners for skiers from all over the world. Since December 1995, we have been welcoming adventurers galore who want to get to know our craft beers that are creating a stir in Quebec. I enjoyed a great lunch and degustation of local beers. A great way to kick off my Tremblant experience.

Windigo Restaurant at the Fairmont Hotel Tremblant, during lunch, offers spectacular views of Mont Tremblant Station. Ski in, unwind over a chilled beer, try the great Onion Soup, and delight your eyes with the panoramic views.

Now, no visit to Quebec is complete, without trying some local iconic delights. which include Poutinerie (including daily Hand-Cut Yellow Fleshed fries, custom unique seasoning, fresh Quebec cheese curds and our signature rich homemade gravies). Best place for this will be Smoke’s Poutinerie.

Now time for desserts. First stop was the Sugar Shack. Maple products, soft ice cream with maple butter as well as honey and homemade jams, and my favorite the maple taffy on snow.

Last but not least, Beaver Tails for Canada’s favorite Whole-wheat pastries with your choice of toppings. A line of fried dough pastries, individually hand stretched to resemble a beaver’s tail. In my case I had it with Cinnamon and lemon.

A pending for my next visit, due to lack of time, is La Savoie for truly authentic fondues, raclettes and grill-stones. There you go, my 101 Eating in Mont Tremblant survival guide. Of course there are plenty more options in town, but being that I was there for only 4 days… there is so much I can eat right. Bon Appetit.

Authored By Carlos Melia – See the Full Story at The Carlos Melia Blog

Click here for gay travel resources.

Visiting Mont Tremblant National Park

Author: , February 16th, 2014

Carlos Melia SnowshoeingDuring my stay in Mont Tremblant, Quebec, Canada, I took a day of from the main resort activities, the luxury and comfort from my hotel the very lovely Hotel Quintessence and ventured myself for an overnight experience at Mont Tremblant National Park. The National Park is located approx. 45 minutes away from the resort. Mont Tremblant National Park or Parc national du Mont-Tremblant is a 1,510.10 km\0xB2 provincial park located north of the town of Mont Tremblant. It is the second largest national park in Quebec after Kuururjuaq National Park.

Created in 1895. it was originally called Parc de la Montagne-Tremblante (trembling mountain). It is home to 45 mammal species, including the park’s animal emblem, the wolf, and another notables such as moose, white-tailed deer, black bears and beavers.

All year long the park remains open and there are plenty of activities and options. I spent a day an a half Snowshoeing and Cross Country Skiing, and slept overnight at one of their great cabins. Are you a nature lover who enjoys wide-open spaces? Mont Tremblant National Park offers a wide variety of exciting experiences year round. Do you enjoy water activities, the outdoors and ecotourism? Are you an avid hunter or fisher, a history or science buff, or a gourmet?

With numerous educational and recreational activities offered in the heart of spectacular natural settings, Mont Tremblant National Park has something for everyone! During the summer, alternative activities are: Hiking, swimming, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, cycling… and the most fun, if you get lucky, close encounters with Bears.

All activities begin from the beautiful and modern Discovery Center. A simple, original, low-enviromental-impact building. There you can plan your stay, learn about some of the area’s finer points or just relax and enjoy a nice meal.

Snowshoeing. Appreciate the calm and purity of this season by putting on your snowshoes and heading off on the trails. Over 48 km of trails are spread over 2 sectors. The circuits are designed for families and seasoned users alike. In the Diable sector (26 km), you can go snowshoeing on the eastern shore of Lac Monroe, or on the following trails: Lac-des-Femmes, La Roche, La Corniche and Les Ruisselets, which leads to La Hutte hut. The popular Centenaire trail is also accessible on snowshoes! Snowshoes rental is available at the Discovery Centre and Pimbina Visitors Center .

Cross Country Skiing. In La Diable sector, 39 km of ski trails are marked and mechanically groomed. The trails are spread over 6 circuits, ranging from easy to difficult. You can take a break at one of the 6 warming huts heated with a wood stove. Skiing equipment rental is available available at Discovery Centre. We did a brief stop at one of the public Huts, to get warm. In this huts, visitors can choose to stay for the night if they want.

Around 4PM my activities where finished, and I decided to walk to my cabin, since I decided to spend the night on my own at the park. A 3 kilometers walk, that took me approximately one hour, with several stops for photo and video moments. Once I got to my Nature Cabin, I was quite impressed with the comfort and conditions of my cabin.

It reminded me a lot to the warms rooms at the ICE Hotel in Sweden. Comfortable all-wood cabins, can accommodate four people. (see photos below). This year they have also inaugurated the EXP Cabins (Experience Cabins) which are ultra cool. After the nature cabins, a new generation of accommodations made its entrance in Parcs Quebec in summer 2013.

The EXPs reflect the personality of each park, providing a different experience from one park to the next. Imagine a dwelling full of windows that lets the sights of nature come inside and gives you a sense of living outdoors. Designed for 2 people, the EXP is composed of one room and it has 2 single beds. It is fully equipped: hot water, heating, full kitchen, bathroom and 2-burner electric stove. Mont-Tremblant, Jacques-Cartier and Monts-Valin national parks are the first to have these buildings.

During the night I ventured on my own to do one of the runs, but was snowing so hard, was so cold and it was so dark, that I decided to go back to the comfort of my cabin, enjoy the lovely dinner, which was delivered to my cabin from one of the restaurants in Mont Tremblant Resort, and call it the day.

Authored By Carlos Melia – See the Full Story at The Carlos Melia Blog

Click here for gay travel resources in Quebec.

Embracing Winter in Quebec

Author: , February 12th, 2014

Quebec - Apple Maps

Apple Maps

There are cities where winter is something to be endured, where the cold months from November to March reduce citizens to shut-ins. Quebec City is not one of those places. In Quebec, the winter is celebrated. In fact, it may be one of the best times of the year to visit. Here’s how to enjoy it …

First, a note about the conditions. For sure, it is incredibly cold (winter temperatures can dip as low as -13*F), but with the correct dress, it can be manageable. Go for the three-layer technique: synthetic fabric on the bottom layer to allow humidity to escape the body, wool, flannel or fleece in the middle, and a wind-shielding exterior layer. Add a hat, scarf, mittens, and boots, and you’re ready to go.

Get into the Carnival Spirit

Undoubtedly the number one reason for visiting Quebec in the frigid winter is Carnaval de Quebec, the biggest winter festival in the world. The carnival, which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, offers 16 days and nights of outdoor parties, events, and parades. They’re all presided over by official Carnaval mascot Bonhomme, a big, lovable snowman clad in an arrowhead sash and red cap. Bonhomme’s home during Carnaval is his Ice Palace, which is constructed from 2,000 blocks of ice, and is open to visitors. It’s also the setting for nighttime dance parties.

Authored By Karen Gardiner Dion – See the Full Story at Sherman’s Travel

Click here for gay travel resources in Quebec.

Featured Gay Friendly Accommodations: Seaton Dream B&B, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Author: , February 11th, 2014

Seaton Dream B&B - Toronto, Ontario, CanadaPeriodically we’ll feature one of our properties here to let our readers know about some great gay friendly places to stay.

Newly Renovated – Private Bathrooms For All!: Casual elegance in the heart of the city. Located on a quiet tree-lined street only three stoplights away from the main intersection of downtown Toronto. Whether you’re enjoying the Garden Patio, drifting off to sleep on our luxurious mattresses, or savouring a delicious hot breakfast, we look forward to making you feel at home every minute of your stay.

See the Seaton Dream B&B Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Gay Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals in Toronto

Weekend Skiing in Quebec’s Mont Tremblant

Author: , February 11th, 2014

Carlos Melia SkiingIn my full winter olympics spirit, and invited by Tourisme Mont Tremblant, I spent my weekend at Mont Tremblant Station skiing in the Laurentian Mountains. And indeed my experience was very olympic and VIP, since my private instructor was Mrs. Ellen Guay, mother of the Canadian ski olympian Erik Guay.

So there where no room for error…. I spent a lovely weekend, only an hour away Non-Stop flight on Porter Airlines from New York City, staying at the exclusive Hotel Quintessence. Mont Tremblant, is North America’s second oldest Ski Resort at the highest peak of Quebec’s Laurentian Mountains. This year Tremblant is celebrating it 75th anniversary.

I spent a full day skiing and I must say, I LOVED IT. It was the right amount of people, great facilities, breathtaking scenery and pre/post Skiing the perfect balance of entertainment, relaxation, restaurants and happening.

I ski down both the North and South side of the mountain, only on the beginners runs, since I wanted to keep it safe…. after all I was working and reporting for you guys. I cannot wait to come back from more soon, this time…. on my private time.

Here is a survival list for Mont Tremblant in terms of Ski Gear. I come not very well prepared and I found all I needed either at the stores in the resort and at the Mont Tremblant Station Rental Shop, so do not panic. Obviously, equipment (ski, boots, poles). The helmet is not mandatory but strongly recommended.

The same goes for goggles, to protect your eyes from intense wind or snow. As for layers, it really depends on the weather, and the type of ski you are willing to do. If you are looking for a sporty, intense ski experience, I would recommend light layering, but with windstopping/humidity release attributes.

If it is really windy and cold, and you are not into very physical skiing, then you can go for something warmer. You might want to add a face mask to protect from frost bites in these conditions. For a morning like I had with temperature around -10C, I would go with warm smart socks, lightweight pants base layer, insulated snowpants, and similar for the body, lightweight base layer + polar or duvet depending on the weather, and a windstopping shell.

Good mitts are also primordial, and a Balaclava under your helmet if you have one, if not, a tuque with a neck warmer that you can wear high enough to cover your nose when it’s very cold.

Authored By Carlos Melia – See the Full Story at the Carlos Melia Blog

Click here for gay travel resources in Quebec.