contentsJuly | August 2012 - Inside TMAC Travels
Quick Links
bod2012 Board of Directors


Michele Sponagle (media)

Phone: 519-442-6605



Jantine Van Kregten (industry)

Director of Communications, Ottawa Tourism

Phone: 1 (800) 363-4465 ext. 116


Joanne Blain (media)

Joanne Blain Creative Services Ltd.

Phone: 604-734-0584


Dale Dunlop (media)

Phone: 902-826-7713



Irene Knight (industry)

Manager of Public Relations, CN Tower

Phone: 416-601-4729



Glenn Cameron (industry)

PR Consultant, Clear Communications

Phone: 416 920-5817


Liz Campbell (media)

Phone: 416-207-9150


Grant Fraser (media)

Tee to Green Magazine

Phone: 905-844-7666


Dan Young (industry)

Public Relations Manager - CANADA, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc.

Phone: 416-947-4955 ext. 4458




Susan Mate (media)

Last Word Media

Phone: 403-230-0731



Sandra Phinney (media)

Freelance Journalist, Researcher, Photographer

Phone: 902-648-0462



Jane Mundy (media) 

Phone: 604-251-4443



Jerry Grymek (industry)

Phone: 416-440-2500

New_MemberNew Members



Jillian Dickens

Bannikin Travel & Tourism

Toronto, ON


Kiesha James

Park Hyatt Toronto

Toronto, ON

Daena Shaw

Tourism Windsor, Essex, Pelee Island

Windsor, ON

contributorsContributors to This Issue
  •  Ron Brown
  • Laura Byrne Paquet
  • Dale Dunlop
  • Jan Feduck
  • Hélèna Katz
  • Bruce Kemp
  • Susan Mate
  • Josephine Matyas
  • Jane Mundy
  • Sandra Phinney
  • Michele Sponagle

Thanks for your contribution!

Dear :

Who says that summer is a slow time? That's certainly not the case with the TMAC newsletter. This issue is filled with plenty of chapter and member news, and a slew of fantastic PD articles (thanks to Sandra Phinney and her team for the great material coming). There's something for everyone - from photography to organizing your business to volunteer recognition (kudos to our very own Martha Chapman).


Pour yourself an iced tea. Settle into the hammock. Enjoy the read.


- Josephine Matyas, TMAC Travels editor 

President_ReportPresident's Report

It's Canada Day as I write this and I'm feeling patriotic. Truth is, I'm always proud to be Canadian and travelling just underscores those warm and fuzzy feelings. I'm hoping too that there is pride in being a TMAC member. The organization aims to represent the crème de la crème of the travel industry. When you say you're a member, I hope it means something to you. We are almost 500 members strong, coast to coast. Collectively, media members represent top-tier media, from newspapers and magazines, to websites and photography. Our industry members represent not just Canadian destinations, but many from all over the world. And soon, in 2014, TMAC will be 25 years old.


There's so much to be proud of, yet I sometimes feel like there's some indifference to TMAC and what it does. I'm distressed to hear some PD sessions and Munch & Mingles held by the Ontario chapter are at less than capacity because members have said they will attend, then don't show up or let anyone know. It's just plain unprofessional and disrespectful to those who have organized the event and absorbed the expense. Especially in this penny pinching, financially sensitive environment, that should never happen.


Then there are those who cancel pre- and post-tours at the TMAC conference at the very last minute. Poop happens. We all understand that and sometimes you just can't attend - but not feeling like going is not a good reason to bail. The organizers in Fredericton were the epitome of grace under pressure and handled all the eleventh hour shake ups, but I can guarantee each of them lost sleep and, at some point thought their brains were going to explode.


There's a common thread here. Most of these activities are free, gratis, no charge, nada to media members. SATW charges one fee for the conference and then another fee for pre- and post-trips. TMAC charges zero. Should things change? Do we need to start putting a dollar value to some of the things that TMAC has, to date, offered its members for free? It might help us realize the value of what we receive and sometimes take for granted - myself included, until I started to serve on the board and could see firsthand the effort that goes into putting things together on our behalf.


TMAC media membership rates are significantly lower than SATW's, and other similar organizations for travel writers in Australia and Britain, too. I think most of us would agree that we get plenty for our membership bucks. But the status quo is changing. As part of TMAC's strategic imperatives, the board is determined to do more and give more - more PD sessions, more member (industry and media) benefits, discounts, constantly improving conferences, networking and travel opportunities. Will there be a fee for some of these? That remains to be seen.


As I begin my one-year term as president, the board and I are very much focused on ensuring that being a TMAC member remains a source of pride and you get maximum benefit for the fees you pay. In return, show understanding, support and consideration for those working behind the scenes to make TMAC events and projects successful. Volunteer, make constructive suggestions, share your knowledge.... And those, dear colleagues, never cost a thing.


- Michele Sponagle, TMAC national president


Finance_GovernanceFinance and Governance Report

There are two pieces of news that fall under the umbrella of governance. The first is that at the June 26th national board meeting, a motion was passed to institute a $5,000 honorarium for the president, to be paid half on inception and half upon completion of the term. The figure was based on a couple of facts - the reported average annual earnings for freelance writers in Canada as determined by the organizations like the Writer's Federation and Professional Writers Associaton of Canada; and the second was the roughly 25 per cent drop in income experienced by three past presidents due to the time needed to fulfill the needs of the position. At the AGM in Fredericton, TMAC members voted in favour to allow the board to put an honorarium in place.


The second item is that TMAC has filed the necessary documentation to confirm our compliance with the Not-for-Profit Act.


- Dale Dunlop, TMAC treasurer

bc_chapterChapter News

BRITISH COLUMBIAThe AGM of the B.C. chapter was held on May 24th at the Loden Hotel in Vancouver. Reports are summarized below.


Joanne Blain, the outgoing B.C. chapter vice-president and new vice-president (media) on the national board, reported on the all-day strategy and planning session held after the conference in Fredericton.


The national treasurer's report indicated that we are in good financial shape and the B.C. chapter will likely get funding this year.


Morgan Sommerville reported that, with the expected $2,000 contribution from the national board, we will be in good shape going forward. She said that in 2011, the B.C. chapter's expenses totaled $1,857 (for meetings and events). Revenue totaled $2,970 (membership contribution from national office and registration fees for PD Day held at the Richmond Oval). Net income totaled $1,113. Account balance as of December 30, 2011: $3,358.48.


Jane Mundy summarized the events held in 2011/2012, namely the Summer Sizzler last August at Rosewood Hotel Georgia, the membership drive last fall and a PD Day in March, 2012. Over 60 people including 20 non-members attended PD Day and we welcome ideas for PD sessions for this coming year.


Over the past year, Jane said the chapter has been working on recruiting new members -  from promoting our chapter's online presence through Facebook and Twitter to the recent PD day. There was also a membership drive at the October event, hosted by Tourism Fredericton (which generously donated two trips to the national conference). Our board has worked hard to entice members to events, both with terrific prizes and engaging speakers. It is hopeful that the new rules for membership will see more people joining in the upcoming year.


A new board was elected at the AGM. The B.C. chapter board as of May 2012:


  • Jane Mundy (president, media)
  • Robin Esrock (vice president, media)
  • Morgan Sommerville (treasurer, industry)
  • Liz Sperandeo (secretary, industry)
  • Jorden Hutchison and Andrea Visscher (events coordinators, industry)
  • Rose Chase, industry
  • Michelle Dunn, industry
  • Lucas Aykroyd, media
  • Remy Scalza, media

The upcoming Summer Sizzler event is scheduled for August 21 at Dockside on Granville Island and potentially the Coast Hotel for a fall event (topics TBA) - likely the end of October. We look forward to seeing everyone.


- Jane Mundy, B.C. chapter chair

ab_chapterALBERTAThe Centennial Stampede sneak peak woos TMAC members!

Last year, it was Will and Kate, this year it was TMAC's turn! The Calgary Stampede rolled out the red carpet last month to TMAC members, offering a sneak peek of this year's Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth. On June 5, the Stampede - celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2012 - hosted about 30 TMAC members and guests at a reception in the BMO Centre at Stampede Park. Eyes of the world were on the show last year when Prince William and his new bride Kate Middleton attended the Stampede for several days. Our June event didn't come with paparazzi, but it was a great preview that featured door prize draws, fabulous nibblies and informative tidbits about what's new this year at the legendary Wild West fair (July 6-15, The Alberta chapter doffs a symbolic white cowboy hat to its hosts, including TMAC industry member Lindsay Jardine, the Stampede's tourism and sales manager and her team, for a great party.


- Susan Mate, Alberta membership co-chair

on_chapterONTARIOThe Ontario chapter enjoyed its most successful Munch & Mingle of the year. Nearly 90 members attended the June 26 event hosted jointly by the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership. Included was a fascinating tour of the Picasso exhibit currently on display at the AGO. The new Ontario chapter board was also announced at this session with Jerry Grymek assuming the role as our new chair (industry).


On June 5, the Ontario chapter arranged a LinkedIn session at the LinkedIn headquarters on Yonge Street. Thirty-eight chapter members attended the session.

Our new board is looking forward to putting together another program of PDs, Munch & Mingles and socials. Meanwhile, we wish everyone a happy and productive summer.


- Ron Brown outgoing Ontario chapter chair

atlantic_chapterATLANTICA big thank you to Bruce Bishop for acting in the role of chapter treasurer for so long and to Jan Napier for stepping up to the plate to take the financial helm.


On a broader note, we are doing some long range planning for a combined mini press-trip and chapter meeting in Western Newfoundland in the summer of 2013. Meanwhile, Julie Watson, TMAC member from P.E.I., will deliver a PD workshop on various forms of book publishing on Oct. 27 in Halifax. We hope to have a "Google for Journalists" event, also in the fall. For both PD sessions we will partner with other writing groups and the Atlantic Magazine Association. Otherwise, media and industry members are going flat out this summer and everyone is in overdrive.


- Sandra Phinney, Atlantic chapter chair

Member_NewsMember News

Congratulations to media member Joanne Blain who won the Canadian Tourism Commission's award for top Canadian travel story at the recent GoMedia conference in Whitehorse, Yukon. Her award was for a feature in the Calgary Herald titled "Prince Edward Island's seafood nirvana."


Ten years ago Bruce Bishop was TMAC's national president, living in Toronto. This year he's opened a boutique PR company, Bruce Bishop Communications Limited, in Yarmouth, N.S. His first two clients couldn't be more diverse, but they have one thing in common: both sell products around the world. IMO Foods/Kersen processes and exports Nova Scotian herring and mackerel, while Italy-based Falc manufactures fine footwear. Bruce still finds time to pen occasional travel articles, but predicts he will be getting an industry membership in TMAC next year, since Falc also owns a hotel and vineyards on the central eastern coast of Italy. Join his Facebook page at or visit

Elements on Hollis (part of the Westin Nova Scotian Hotel in Halifax, N.S.) was selected as one of the Top 5 Canadian Restaurants by Food Network. The write up says, in part: "Elements takes pride in sourcing ingredients from numerous farms within a 50-mile radius of its harbourside location. As you'd expect, modern Maritime comfort cooking (with a few international influences) is on the menu. Your meal begins with a bit of whimsy, thanks to a house-baked brioche presented in a tin can. Then it's on to such seasonal delicacies as mussels, silky seafood chowder and a Lunenburg salt cod cake, plus larger offers like OceanWise-approved pan-fried haddock, and, of course, rich butter-poached lobster. There's even a brownie made with local craft beer for dessert!"

Gillian Marx was awarded the Canadian Tourism Commission's GoGetter Award for PR excellence at May's GoMedia conference in Whitehorse, Yukon. During the awards, the presenter described Gillian as "exceptional, tireless, dedicated and dynamic," adding, in part: "Not only does she suggest and eagerly customize innovative itineraries to meet the very particular interests of journalists and their outlets, but she also provides the genuinely welcoming personal interaction that makes a media trip productive and memorable. No media request is too taxing and no amount of time too much for Gillian to invest in helping with a story . . . When Gillian's in charge, you're in the heart of the Newfoundland action and never feel you're 'from away.'"

Sandra Phinney recently joined the Chichaku team ( as the Managing Editor for Atlantic Canada. At the moment, this part of the world does not have a presence on Chichaku but that is about to change. Sandra is collecting content and photos from industry partners in the four Atlantic Provinces. All the text will be translated into Chinese (and, eventually, into Spanish.) She's also in the process of writing stories for the site based on her frequent trips throughout the region. Check the site around the end of July and get a whiff of what's happening with this new venture.


Ontario media member Ron Brown is pleased to announce the publication of his latest book, Rails Across the Prairies, the Railway Heritage of Canada's Prairie Provinces, published by the Dundurn Group.


PDLinkedIn Forum Winners!

TMAC hosted a week-long forum (June 11-15) about LinkedIn, led by Luigi Benetton. During the forum, there was a three-day contest to see who could increase their LinkedIn connections. Theresa Storm led the pack with a whopping 136 new connections. Hélèna Katz and Shelley Cameron-McCarron placed second and third respectively. Theresa will receive a Smartpen set valued at $250; Hélèna receives Lonely Planet's Guide to Travel Photography (2012 ed.) and Shelley will enjoy a case of Covered Bridge Potato Chips from New Brunswick.

Access to forum materials:

All the material about LinkedIn that Luigi posted during the session (and there is a lot of it) is still available on the forum. Check out the home page:
(Registration and log-in required. After registering, please e-mail or to be granted access.)


MindsInquisitive Minds Want To Know

by Jan Feduck


Come on. We know you've got one. Send us a burning question to do with the business of travel journalism and we'll source out perspectives from a few experts who've "been there." Each issue of TMAC Travels will feature three or four questions with witty, brilliant, interesting and insightful answers from our members.


Send your questions to our new Q&A editor, media member Jan Feduck, 


Please click click here  to read the article.

 Back to Table of Contents 

AAUnsung Heroes: Martha Chapman

by Hélèna Katz


Whenever you reach for your TMAC membership handbook, think of Martha Chapman. Every year for about the past five years she has been assembling and proofreading this valuable networking tool, along with media member Cathy Stapells. She's the shepherd who volunteers countless hours to herd the information into a useable form, then schleps copies of the finished product to an Ontario chapter Munch & Mingle to save the association a few hundred dollars in mailing costs.

Please click click here to read the article.

FrenchWorking Smarter

by Laura Byrne Paquet


For freelancers, every day is full of choices: what to pitch, where to pitch it, which trips to take, what assignments to accept. If you're like me, you probably want to do it all. It's tempting to leave no stone unturned. After all, we never know what will pay off, right?


But one thing I've learned after too many late nights is that none of us can do it all.

Please click click here to read the article.

CameraIgnore Your Soul Mate, Size Does Count

by Bruce Kemp


Okay, so your significant other may have soothed your hurt feelings by telling you that size really doesn't matter. But that's not exactly true where it really matters - in photography - and I'm not talking about the length of your lens either.


Size matters when it comes to the physical presence of the digital sensor in your camera. Sensor size is measured in two ways.

Please click 
click here to read the article.
TMAC Travels - Newsletter Submission Guidelines
TMAC Travels is published bimonthly. 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 email by the middle of the 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 | ON | M4V 2Y7 | Canada