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November - Table of Contents

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2009 Board of Directors


Hélèna Katz
Media, Northwest Territories



Judy Hammond

CLEAR Communications, Conference Co-Chair


Ted Flett  

Tourism Hamilton



Irene Knight

CN Tower



Sandra Phinney

Media, Atlantic Chapter Chair



Liz Fleming 

Media, Ontario


Josephine Matyas

Media, Ontario


Dale Dunlop

Media, Nova Scotia


Joanne Sasvari

Media, B.C. Chapter Chair


Margaret Mackenzie

New Brunswick Tourism

Ursula Maxwell-Lewis

Media, British Columbia

Jessica Harcombe Fleming

Bellstar Hotels & Resorts

Alberta Chapter Co-Chair

Marty Rice

London Tourism
Industry, Ontario Chapter Co-Chair

New Members




Helen Hatzis


Shalomlife Media Inc.

Heather Lochner


Gizelle Lau


Kevin Oke

Duncan, BC

Kevin Oke Photography

Darcy Rhyno

Little Harbour, NS

Jennifer Merrick


Contributors to this issue


Lola Brown

Martha Chapman

Debra Cummings

Hélèna Katz

John Masters

Josephine Matyas

Sandra Phinney

Marty Rice

Joanne Sasvari

TMAC members have been very busy the past month - check out the member news for the list of awards and accomplishments on both the media and the industry side! 

Besides the accolades, this issue is jam packed with info on the TMAC awards, the upcoming conference in Cardiff, Wales and all sorts of great ideas for finding new writing markets.

- Josephine Matyas, TMAC Travels editor

President's Report

applauseIt sometimes feels like I'm trying to outrun a bear. After being on the road for most of September, I was home just long enough to plow through a pile of freelance assignments, write a few more chapters of my book manuscript due December 1, reacquaint myself with our household and small farm routine, and dog-paddle my way through piles of TMAC emails. Then I was out the door again. I chaired our teleconferenced national board meeting while sitting in Ottawa - and afterwards went back to the business of trying to earn a living.


Fall is a busy time for many of us as the demands of our various roles (author, journalist, spouse, volunteer, dog/cat mother and alpaca mama) bang into each other. Sometimes having giant Post-it notes dangling at eye level from the shelf of my workstation help keep me focused on upcoming deadlines:


* November 30: If your last name falls between L and Z, and you haven't yet done so, please remember to submit your membership requalification package.

* December 4: Have some stunning writing and/or photography to share? Submit them for the TMAC Awards.


* December 15: Submit nominations for the 2010 national board. I've already lined up one person to run, but we need to find at least four more.  

* Membership Renewal notices will arrive in people's mailboxes by the end of November. That means I need to pay my dues so that I can attend the Wales conference.  

* Update my membership profile on the TMAC website so that my most current information is reflected in the 2010 TMAC handbook.  

Despite the stress and busyness, I'm a lucky woman. I have a partner who gracefully tolerates my absences and uses his culinary prowess to make sure I'm a well-fed writer whenever I'm home. And I have a national board that works hard to keep TMAC moving forward on many fronts. To all the folks who keep the bear from having me for breakfast - thank you!



- Hélèna Katz, TMAC president

Chapter News

Chapter_BCBRITISH COLUMBIA - The B.C. chapter of TMAC would like to extend a warm welcome to our newest media members, Heather Lochner of Vancouver and Kevin Oke of Duncan. We hope to see you both at an event soon!  

Now we have no excuse not to be ready when the torch is lit on February 12 and the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games begin in Vancouver . . . On November 4, the B.C. chapter gathered at the Fairmont Waterfront for an illuminating discussion of what we can expect during and after the Winter Games, and the kinds of stories we as travel writers can spin out of them. Our panel - moderated by Lucas Aykroyd and featuring the Vancouver Sun's Bev Wake, local TV personality John McKeachie, executive director of Alberta's Olympic secretariat Russ Tynan, the CTC's Gloria Loree and Walt Judas of Tourism Vancouver - was entertaining, informative and inspiring. We learned what worked (and what didn't work so well) at Calgary's Games in 1988, and shared in the on-the-ground experiences in Turin, Beijing, Lillehammer and other Olympic destinations. And perhaps most importantly, we got a peek at what local tourism folks are doing to make sure the story stays alive after the last duffle bag is packed and the flame is doused until 2012 in London.

The board wishes to thank all of you who worked so hard on this event, and to all our generous industry members who donated prizes. We honestly couldn't pull off these events without your contributions, and we appreciate every one of them!  

Mark these upcoming events in your calendars:   

January 16: The Business of Doing Business So, how's business? If you're like most of us, whether media or industry, you're finding 2009 a challenging year, and wondering what 2010 will hold. And that means you can't miss the B.C. chapter's Business of Doing Business event.  

Join us on Saturday, January 16, for a full day of seminars and workshops that will help all of us tackle our jobs just a little bit better. We'll explore everything from copyright issues to taxes to media training to branding - with a little socializing thrown in just for fun. It will be held at the Pinnacle at the Pier, a brand new business-oriented property on the North Shore, and will feature some pretty impressive speakers.   

Unlike most of our events, there will be a small fee attached to this one to cover the cost of speakers. We also hope to throw this open to other writers throughout the Lower Mainland, which means it will also be a terrific networking opportunity.   

Further details to be announced soon, so keep an eye on your inbox and check in with our Facebook group as well. 

- Joanne Sasvari, British Columbia chapter chair

Chapter_ABALBERTA - People in the Alberta chapter were hunkered down at their desks this month, beavering away. But we've all promised to peel away from our desks on November 18 for a Merry, Merry Munch & Mingle at Calgary's new Spur Gastropub. Although the gastropub concept was born in London it's taken other countries such as the United States by storm. Not content with a basic menu of beer and nachos, the idea is to elevate both so that pub grub becomes innovative and eclectic, as does the drink menu. This is one of Calgary's first gastropubs, so TMAC members are thrilled to be able to sip and slurp (yes, oysters are on the menu) down this trend. The pre-Christmas party is being hosted by Spur Gastropub at 5:30 p.m. on November 18 at 351 4 Ave. S.W., Calgary.

- Debra Cummings, Alberta chapter member

Chapter_ONONTARIO - The November Ontario Munch and Mingle is coming up and it's going to be a great evening of Spice, Sound and Live Grenadian Entertainment! The Grenada Board of Tourism invites TMAC members to Experience the Spice on Tuesday November 24 - hear the latest news and developments from the Spice Island and sample delicious tropical appetizers and cocktails. Here are the details: Tuesday November 24, 2009 (RSVP by November 19 to from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Rosewater Supper Club (19 Toronto St., Toronto - between Adelaide St. and King St. E.).  

In other Ontario chapter news . . . Ron Brown has been busy gathering archives and we hope in the future to pass the information along to the national board. It will provide TMAC with a nice history of our association.  

The Ontario Chapter is encouraging members to seriously look at attending the AGM in Wales this coming March. We are hoping for an increase in industry members to register and thus far we are delighted with the amount of media (87) of which many are from Ontario.

- Mike Keenan (media) & Marty Rice (industry)

Ontario co-chairs and

Chapter_NSATLANTIC -Media members are researching and compiling a list of collective market outlets for travel stories. As times get tougher and outlets are starting to shrink, and/or some magazines and newspapers are rolling out draconian contracts, our media members feel it's important to start expanding markets and finding magazines and newspapers that are freelance-friendly. We'll be looking to include U.S. and international markets as well as online markets. The project will start off in a small, humble way, but is expected to grow. We may consider bribes to share our compilation. Better yet, if every chapter did this, the Atlantic Chapter would offer to compile a master market database. Any takers?


Atlantic chapter members have been busy collecting awards - check out the Member News section of TMAC Travels for all the details!

- Sandra Phinney, Atlantic chapter chair

Conference Committee Report


On November 2, the conference committee, along with Robert Jones and TMAC Newsletter Wale Nov 09Eirlys Thomas of Visit Wales and Visit Britain's Meredith Pearson, locked ourselves in a conference room in Toronto and went through all the pre and post tour applications for TMAC's 2010 Conference & AGM: The Word on Wales, March 7 to 11 in Cardiff. As expected, some tours had far too many applicants; others, not enough. But for the most part, most of our members (and their companions) were able to get their first choices, and where they didn't, we did our very best to create memorable experiences for everyone.  

By now, you should have heard which tour you're on, and within a couple of weeks should have enough information to start making your travel plans. Several tours are now closed, but we've still got room on others for last-minute additions, and that includes industry members as well as companions. In fact, we'll be able to accommodate participants right up to mid-January. So, if you've been wavering over whether to go or not, you still have time to sign up - and of course we'd love to have you!  

At last count, we had 87 media members signed up for the conference, which is only five shy of our all-time record of 92 this year in Richmond. (And Wales is still four months away!) This will be the biggest gathering of Canadian travel writers in 2010, and it will be a terrific networking opportunity for our industry members, especially as we're also anticipating 15 to 20 U.K. media to join us for an informal marketplace and Castle Night.   

It's also a great bargain for our industry members: for starters, the cost of TMAC's marketplace is significantly lower than, say, SATW, and the number and calibre of Canadian writers is higher. And, thanks in large part to the generosity of Visit Wales, we've managed to keep prices so low that this should cost about the same as if the conference were in Canada. For instance, Air Canada is providing us with 25 per cent discounts on flights to Heathrow, hotels in Cardiff are massively discounted and, of course, all meals and entertainment are included in the conference fee. We've also built in extra networking opportunities and industry members can still take advantage of even more face time with media on pre and post tours, for only a small additional fee.  

At a time when the travel and media industries are undergoing such seismic shifts, nothing matters more than checking in with our colleagues, exchanging information, advice and, where needed, commiseration. Besides, with the program we have planned, this is the most fun you'll have all year!  

Visit for more details. And keep reading TMAC Travels for the latest Word on Wales.

- Joanne Sasvari, TMAC conference committee co-chair

Member News

Member_NewsSOS! Call for help!  Sandra Phinney is compiling a list of writing and photography awards that will eventually be shared with members (and posted in the members only section of our website.) We need your help. Please send names of any awards you know of to Sandra at


October was a rewarding month for Michael DeFreitas. He received a silver photography award in the 2010 SATW Bill Muster Photography Showcase for his image portfolio "Middle East Memories." Also, his "Red Boat in Bonaire" image won the Caribbean Tourism Organization's 2009 Best Photography Award.  

Mark Stevens was presented with an award for the Best Canadian Magazine Feature on a Caribbean destination by the Caribbean Media Awards for Canada. The story appeared in DreamScapes Magazine and was also awarded Best of Show as being the best of all submissions in all editorial categories.


Ontario Chapter member Lucy Izon has received the 2009 Best Travel Journalism award by the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation for her story "The Towers of Toronto," published in American Express Executive Travel Magazine.  

Ontario chapter member Josephine Matyas was the runner-up for the Travel Alberta Alto award for Tourism Media for her piece "The Road to Jasper," published in Kingston Life.  

Available Tuesday, November 10, Dog River Confidential: The Even More Super Complete Corner Gas Guide (Penguin Canada) is the followup to the 2006 blockbuster book Tales from Dog River. It showcases Michele Sponagle's best investigative work as she uncovers the business, the funny business and the magic behind the final two seasons of this iconic series. In Dog River Confidential, Sponagle takes readers behind the scenes of Seasons 4 to 6, uncovering the real-life inspirations that shaped each episode's storylines through more in-depth interviews, more secrets revealed and more fun trivia facts about props, wardrobe, Saskatchewan, and more. The book also takes readers through a heartfelt journey of the emotional last day of shooting the very last episode.


New Castle Hotels and Resorts was selected as one of Nova Scotia's top 15 employers in the annual competition organized by the editors of Canada's Top 100 Employers, recognizing the province's exceptional places to work. Of special note is that New Castle is the only hospitality company to be awarded such a distinction. Their holdings in Atlantic Canada include The Westin Nova Scotian in Halifax, The Digby Pines Golf Resort and Spa in Digby, Liscombe Lodge Resort and Conference Centre, The Hampton Inn & Suites Dartmouth and The Residence Inn Moncton.


The Westin Nova Scotian has just been notified that it has been awarded the prestigious AAA Four Diamond Award by the American Automobile Association.  

Pamela Beck, Media Relations & Tours Marketing Communications, Tourism P.E.I. is excited about one of her member's recent coups. Ship to Shore Restaurant in Darnley just learned that they placed No. 7 on the list of Canada's Best New Restaurants by the editors of enRoute Magazine. This is the only restaurant in Atlantic Canada to place on this list in the past two years.

Newfoundland and Labrador's tourism marketing efforts were rewarded by receiving nine coveted crystal ice buckets at the 2009 Innovation, Creativity and Enterprise (ICE) advertising awards held October 28 in Halifax. The province's multimedia tourism campaigns walked away with five gold and four silver awards for everything from their media plan to single print ads and TV campaign. Overall non-resident visitation is up 1.9 per cent over the same period last year; camping units are up 18 per cent; and traffic at provincial tourism centres is up about nine per cent. As well, since 2006, there's been a 152 per cent increase in visits to N.L.'s website. Worth checking out to see what they are doing right:  

At the TIAC Annual Gala Awards dinner (recently held in Saint John, N.B.) Atlantic Chapter members picked up four awards: 

  • N.B. Tourism and Parks (Fairmont Hotels & Resorts Marketing Campaign of the Year Award) for its "L'eau chaude-c'est juste le début" campaign emphasizing N.B.'s unique selling point: the warmth of its saltwater beaches. The partners developed creative, on-target and innovative campaigns that paid off through the year, increasing visitation numbers, destination awareness and appreciation level in the Québec market.  

  • City of Fredericton (N.B. Deloitte Innovator of the Year Award) won for edVentures, Atlantic Canada's largest and most diverse vacation learning program in craft and culture. The program aims to provide an exceptional, small group, hands-on learning experience from top-quality, experienced instructors in a refreshing, easygoing atmosphere. The program creates an iconic cultural narrative for the destination, which in turn highlights the city's craft producers, art galleries and heritage sites.
  • N.B. Tourism and Parks and T4G Limited (Pacrim Hospitality Services Inc. Online Innovation Award) for My Trip Planner, an interactive trip planning tool and mapping service that allows users to develop trip plans including accommodations and activities to museums and scenic drives, and to view the trip plan in a number of different formats. In just four months, close to 17,000 custom trip plans have been created for prospective visitors to New Brunswick. 

  • Sandra Phinney (Tourism Toronto Travel Media Award) writes for regional and national magazines and travel guides. She is an ambassador for the Atlantic region and looks for every opportunity to promote Eastern Canada to other writers, organizations and industry. Sandra also gives workshops on travel writing and photography throughout Atlantic Canada. She is currently writing a series that sheds new light on old communities.  
Several TMAC members are alumni of Travel Classics (formerly Troutbeck) and have created a Twitter list at: All TMAC members are invited to view the list and follow it. TMAC member Doreen Pendgracs would like to put together the same kind of list for TMAC members on Twitter. If you are interested in being listed, please send your name and Twitter ID to Doreen at

To Market, To Market


by TMAC media member, Lola Augustine Brown

In this month's column, markets columnist Lola Augustine Brown interviewed Amy Farley,  Travel + Leisure's ( senior editor on what she looks for when using freelancers. Lola also have a tip sent in from a TMAC member, Laura Paquet who has info to share on NileGuides, which is looking for writers in various Canadian cities.

Please click here to read the article.

Writing Tips

ask_expertWRITING TIPS

by Sandra Phinney

In this article, Sandra will show you how to complement your travel writing (and increase your income) by writing for trade publications.

Please click here to read the article.

National Board Seeks a Few Good Men and Women
nat_boardIf it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a board to run an association. At our annual general meeting in March 2010, TMAC members will need to elect five new directors to the national board. Please consider nominating someone (or have someone nominate you) whose experience, skills and commitment would enhance the board's performance. You will be receiving a nomination form shortly. Information is also posted online at the TMAC website at

TMAC Awards
awardGet your entries in for the 2009 TMAC Awards!


By now all media members should have received their packages for the 2009 TMAC Awards. If you haven't, you can download the information from

Each winner will receive a cheque for $1,000, a certificate and the considerable prestige of having had your work selected by a panel of professional writers, journalism teachers or photographers. Your work will also be posted to the TMAC website for others to admire.

In addition to the existing seven written and three photographic categories, this year TMAC has introduced a prize for Best French-Language Feature.


Please note that this year each entry must include:

  1. the completed entry form
  2. three identical hard copies of the story or photo as you submitted it to the publication (the hard copy need not be exactly what was run, but should be fairly close)
  3. a CD or flash drive containing exactly the same text or photo as in the three hard copies
  4. a tear sheet of the story or photo that includes the name of the publication, the publication date and your byline or photo credit
 The entry deadline is December 4, 2009. The awards will be presented at the closing gala of the TMAC Conference and AGM in Cardiff, Wales on March 11, 2010.

Update Your Member Profile
member_profilePlease update your profile on the TMAC website to ensure that the most updated information appears in the 2010 handbook. Go to: Click on either the Industry or Media Member tab on the left menu bar and then select "Change your Listing/Information." If you do not remember your login information, click on "Forgotten Password" and enter your email address. The system will send your login information shortly to the email address on file. To upload an image, click on Browse and select the image to be uploaded, then click on "Update Information".   

Be sure to:  

* indicate any address and email changes  

* changes in business information  

* update your credits, interests and other information (Media); or  

* business description and services available to media (Industry)

Advertise Your Organization in the TMAC Handbook
handbookIndustry Members:  What's a great way to raise your profile with TMAC members?


Take out an ad in the TMAC Handbook! It's affordable, targeted, and helps support a great organization.


Again this year we've got a variety of advertising options, from as little as $400 - and even the back cover (in colour) is only $2,500 for a whole year on the desk and in the eyes of Canada's premier travel media.


If you're interested in a display ad, please find out more at Deadline for space reservation is February 12, 2010.


Thanks for your support of our handbook, which many members tell me is "front and centre" on their desks!


Calling all Public Relations companies!


Why not expand your profile easily and affordably by listing your clients individually in the TMAC Handbook? That way, when media members are searching out contact information for your clients, they needn't know by heart everyone's client list.


For example, I don't imagine every TMAC member knows that I rep the island of Anguilla. So each year I make the modest investment of $25 and Anguilla gets its own listing in the Directory, referring readers to my company, Tourism Marketing International.


These days, $25 doesn't buy much (as we all know!) but it can make your clients easier to access - and easier to give coverage to - in the TMAC Handbook.


The order form is attached:


Thanks for your support of our handbook, which many members tell me is "the bible" of the organization!


- Martha Chapman, TMAC handbook committee chair

TMAC Travels - Newsletter Submission Guidelines
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. (For information on distributing electronic press releases to all media members for a fee of $75, please contact TO Corp at

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.

Items must be sent, with "TMAC TRAVELS" in the subject line, to Josephine Matyas at Items may be edited for length, grammar or clarity. The newsletter will be delivered to members by e-mail by the middle of every month.  Material should be sent by the 1st of each month unless the editor gives prior approval.

Travel Media Association of Canada | 55 St. Clair Avenue West - Suite 255 | Toronto | M4V 2Y7 | Canada