contentsMarch | April 2013 -

Inside TMAC Travels
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bod2012-13 Board of Directors


Michele Sponagle (media)

Phone: 519-442-6605



Jantine Van Kregten (industry)

Director of Communications,

Ottawa Tourism

Phone: 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




Deb Smith (media)

D. Smith Ink Ltd.

Phone: 403-245-1239



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



Chris Hamilton

Hamilton Conservation Authority

905-525-2181 x146


Andrea Holden

Czech Tourism North America



Vojtech Kacerovsky

Czech Tourism North America



Stephanie Saulnier

Georgian Bay Airways



Brenda Fields

Apple Core Hotels        



Constance George

Visit Pittsburgh





George Mucalov

West Vancouver, B.C.



Ken Hegan

Vancouver, B.C.


contributorsContributors to This Issue
  • Liz Campbell
  • Dale Dunlop
  • Jan Feduck
  • Anne-Marie Forcier
  • Jerry Grymek
  • Josephine Matyas
  • Sandra Phinney
  • Debra Smith
  • Michele Sponagle
  • Mark Stevens
  • Jantine Van Kregten


Thanks for your contribution!

Dear :

At this time of the year, I've had just about enough of grey skies, gritty sidewalks and puddles of slush. Springtime, already. We're ready for you!


If you're staring down one of those grey, discouraging days, try curling up in front of the fireplace and nosing through TMAC Travels. There's all sorts of great reading and ideas - from info on LinkedIn to how to find the perfect press trip, plus news about chapters and the upcoming conference.


Hope you enjoy!




- Josephine Matyas, TMAC Travels editor

President_ReportPresident's Report

In some ways, I was the most unlikely person to serve as president of TMAC. I'm not a joiner. I like working alone in my home office while my cats try to sleep on my keyboard. I don't like rules, corporate speak makes me nauseous and I prefer to colour outside the lines. But . . . and you know there was going to be one . . . here I am and I'm actually enjoying the experience.


I really didn't want to be president initially. I was content doing some work at arm's length on the membership committee. I got involved in that because I cared (and still do) about the caliber of members we welcome into TMAC. Then Joanne Sasvari called me and told me I should run for vice-president media in the next election, which, in turn, meant becoming president the following year. I said "no" right away, then softened and said that I'd think about it. I still didn't want to do it. I was intimidated because of the responsibility and the hours required to do a good job. So, the answer was "no."


Then, damn that little voice in my head that sounds like my mother . . . It kind of went like this. " You've been a member of TMAC for more than 10 years and it's only lately that you've volunteered to do anything. I raised you better than that. You need to do your part and step up. Or else, you won't get a pudding cup for

dessert." I'm not sure that voice said that last bit, but it might have. 


So finally, I agreed to run. It's kind of funny because I had run for some position eons ago when the annual AGM was held in Niagara Falls. I was full of piss and vinegar (another Momism), full of ideas and enthusiasm. I didn't get elected. I was so new that no one knew who the heck I was. This time, in Ottawa, I got elected because no one ran against me.


I am explaining all this because I want you to obey that mom voice in your head. I want you to consider running for a position on the board: a) because you're keen to, b) because you think you should because it's time you contributed something to the running of TMAC, or c) you have good ideas you'd like put into action. Any of the reasons above work, alone or in combination with others.


I promise that serving on the board is not as scary as it might sound. It won't suck every minute of every hour out of your day. You'll have plenty of support from your fellow board members and from TO Corp, our management company. They keep the running of TMAC going smooth and remind us that it's time to do certain things. The group at TO Corp is incredible and I would hate to think what life would be like for TMAC without them. It's a good crew that does the majority of heavy lifting, especially on the administrative side. Back, almost 20 years ago, we didn't need them when TMAC was a few dozen members. Now, we're nearing the 500-members mark, so we rely on them a great deal.


I hope that you've been paying attention and that little voice is getting through. You really need to consider being a part of the board. Without you and those willing to serve as members and volunteers, we're sunk. Really.


Consider the perks. You're in the loop, not out. People ask you for your opinion about stuff and they listen (mostly). Your conference fees are paid for, and some positions like prez and vice-prez, get all of their costs covered (transportation, hotel and conference fee). How sweet is that!? And if you think you'd like to be prez, you will get $5,000 for your time and suffering (like when someone complains there were no bran flakes at the breakfast buffet at the AGM).


Seriously, think about it and then contact Dale Dunlop ( He's head of the governance committee and he'll help guide you through the electoral process. (It's easy and painless, not like a colonoscopy.) And, if you do decide to run, I promise to give you a pudding cup in the flavour of your choice. For real.

- Michele Sponagle, TMAC national president


Finance_GovernanceFinance and Governance Report

The 2012 audit has been completed and the auditors found no matters of concern. The 2012 financial statements were released too late in February for approval by the national board. Look for them in the next issue.


Under governance, the Alberta chapter has been combined with N.W.T. to form a new chapter, the name of which is to be determined by the chapter. Under nominations news, it is time for all TMAC members who have not previously been involved with the national board to consider running either for one of the two director at large positions or media vice-president.


Irene Knight and myself will be leaving the board after a four-year stint and the nominations committee is looking for replacements. The benefits of volunteering were recently distributed to the chapter chairs and we hope they will be instrumental in getting the positions filled.


- Dale Dunlop, TMAC treasurer

ConfCRConference Committee Report

Over 150 TMAC members, including nine newbies have registered so far for the June 12-15 conference in lovely Saskatoon, a City on the Edge! And we're at roughly a 50-50 breakdown between media and industry, meaning great odds for making valuable connections.


Angela Moore of Tourism Saskatoon and Shane Owen of Tourism Saskatchewan drummed up interest in the two largest TMAC chapters, attending events in February in Ontario and in early March in B.C.


Media members who registered by the early-bird deadline received information on Feb. 22 about travel grant amounts. The travel grant program was bolstered by a generous donation of $10,000 by Tourism Saskatoon. Thank you!


On March 1, media members who registered to participate in one of the wonderful pre- or post-tours organized by Tourism Saskatchewan received confirmations. Pay attention when booking your travel, as some pre- or post-tours arrive or leave from a different airport!


Due to the extreme popularity of the tours, media members were assigned one tour each - either a pre- or a post-tour. Five media members received their second choices but all others were given their first choice of either a pre- or post-tour.


Industry members should also take a peek at the conference sponsorship opportunities to spread your message efficiently and effectively! Click here for the details now.


Of course, at the 2013 conference, the host of the 2014 conference will be revealed. Stay tuned!


Looking even further afield, in April, the conference committee will visit two  host finalists for the 2015 conference.


- Jantine Van Kregten, conference committee co-chair


Also. . . please don't forget to submit your nominations for your unsung heroes for the first annual TMAC Volunteer Awards - the deadline is month's end. Awards will be presented to a TMAC volunteer in each of four national regions at the annual conference in Saskatoon this June. Any member who helps make TMAC a better organization can be nominated (with the exception of current board members). Submit your picks to Dan Young at Starwood Hotels at


NMB2012 TMAC Awards Sponsorship

Knock, knock! That's opportunity knocking. There are still award categories available to industry sponsors.


Industry Members,


Excellence in travel writing and photography deserves to be recognized and celebrated. You can help get the word out that quality matters by sponsoring a TMAC Award. There are still some categories that are open to sponsors, so here's your chance to share the spotlight with a winner.


You'll be rewarded by having access to the podium as an award's presenter at the closing gala (June 15th) for the 2013 TMAC AGM/Conference in Saskatoon. Exposure beyond the podium includes having your organization's name and logo in the awards booklet, membership handbook, annual Report, and on You'll also have a chance for additional media exposure through the press release issued after the awards are handed out.


You will receive some of the best visibility at the conference and show that your support for excellence in travel content.


Open categories available for the 2012 TMAC Awards include:

  • Best Cultural/Historical Feature
  • Best Environment/Responsible Tourism Feature
  • Best Family Feature
  • Best Service Feature
  • Best Evocation of a Place Photo
  • Best People Photo

For more information, please contact Kyra Savolainen at or at 416-934-0599 ext. 313.


We thank the following TMAC Industry Members that have already confirmed their support as 2012 TMAC Award sponsors:






bc_chapterChapter News

BRITISH COLUMBIASince the TMAC B.C. board met for our Christmas Lunch at Fish Shack, we were busy putting together our Professional Development Day on March 2 at River Rock Casino Resort. We secured several speakers, including Dave Olson, a mixed media storymaker to talk about HootSuite and other social media, and Don Genovato speak on freelancer rights and contracts and more.


Claudia Cornwall, Ethics Instructor at Simon Fraser University (with Joanne Sasvari as facilitator) presented "Who are You Writing For" and discussed ethical issues pertinent to all TMAC members. For example, there have been instances recently where writers and broadcasters have approached industry for direct payments, not just hosted accommodations or meals. Is this ethical? And how do we address these conversations with transparency?


As well we are offering our members one-hour video editing sessions, six round-table discussions on a variety of topics and TMAC member Hans Tammemagi told us "How to publish your own professional books."

Thanks to Tourism British Columbia and Tourism Saskatoon who generously sponsored the event, and to the River Rock for providing us with a great rate. Last, but far from least, after our reception, we had a poker lesson and the games began!


I would be happy to share our detailed schedule with anyone. (The round tables and breakaway sessions took some planning!)


We have gained a few new members since last year and this PD Day should really boost our membership. As for future events, several venues have approached us, asking that we hold our next meetings with them. We are so popular.


- Jane Mundy, B.C. chapter chair

ab_chapterALBERTAThe Alberta chapter is excited to welcome two new members to our ranks with the creation of the new Alberta/Northwest Territories regional chapter. Welcome to media dynamo Hélèna Katz, former national president, and Julie Warnock of Northwest Territories Tourism! This initiative has been a long time coming, and while approved by the national board earlier this month, the chapter board plans to consult with our membership in both Alberta and N.W.T. to determine our new official name and nail down common goals and challenges.


Spring is almost here in the Rockies, but at our next Munch & Mingle, we'll get a jump on the season. MARKET is the first restaurant in Calgary with an internal home garden producing more than 16 different varieties of herbs, microgreens and vegetables. On March 19, we'll find out how executive chef and Top Chef Canada contestant Geoff Rogers cooks "in harmony with the changing seasons" while enjoying some locally inspired cocktails courtesy of mixologist Rebecca Davis.


Thanks to M&M coordinator Hala Dehais of Tourism Calgary, our networking sessions are becoming renowned as an inside track to the hottest new venues in the city and invitations for future M&M's are filling our calendar.


Our chapter board received a great response to our 2013 online PD survey that asked members what they wanted to see at our popular annual retreat. The board is busy planning a spring gathering that's tailor made for members and guests, based on choices and suggestions from the survey. We intend to develop an exciting and informative series of professional development sessions that will appeal to both industry and media members, followed by an optional day of activities. There will be lots of time to socialize and enjoy some local entertainment - chapter members should watch their email inbox for more details and a date very soon.


Thanks to the efforts of board member Deb Cummings, several TMAC members were able to attend the Alberta Magazine Publishers Association conference in early March and enjoy the excellent lineup of speakers at a discounted member rate. Meanwhile, industry member Carol Patterson has officially taken the reins as treasurer from the hands of former chapter chair/treasurer Susan Mate, who has put down the credit card and picked up a pen as board secretary.


A big spring bouquet of thanks to all our members for making TMAC a "value added" association.


- Debra Smith, Alberta chapter co-chair

on_chapterONTARIOThe Ontario board would like to thank co-hosts Tourism Saskatoon and Tourism Saskatchewan for hosting the February 2013 M&M at The Handle Bar in Kensington Market. Guests were treated to great food, music and a nice overview of what we can expect at the 2013 Annual General Meeting. Special thanks to Angela Moore and Shane Owen for being awesome hosts!

Looking ahead, we have already booked a number of exciting M&M events for the year, with only March and April left. If you or someone you know is interested in hosting a Munch and Mingle to promote your destination or attraction, please email as soon as possible. We are looking at the opportunity of a PD session for the end of March and will keep you up to date.


A reminder for Ontario media members regarding our Cash for Clips program. We are randomly drawing two $100 prizes from the pool of TMAC Ontario members who send in clips (or mentions, or blogs, or radio segments etc.) that resulted from contact with any of the Ontario TMAC Munch and Mingle sponsors or partners. If you have something to submit or any questions, please send a note to Sherri Telenko at


Finally, a couple of important notes about M&Ms. Please don't show up without RSVPing in advance. And, if you can't make it, after you have RSVP'd "yes," then please let us know. Hosts need accurate head counts for events to insure they organize adequate space, servers, food and beverages. Let's show our hosts how great we really are by being considerate guests!


Enjoy the last few weeks of winter...


Jerry Grymek, Ontario chapter chair

atlantic_chapterATLANTICThe Atlantic chapter met in Halifax Feb. 29/March 1 with media and industry members from P.E.I., N.S. and N.B. This was a partnership with the Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia (RANS), along with Province of Nova Scotia and Destination Halifax. Over the course of two days, chapter members were wined and dined at a gala SAVOUR event; had a private tasting tour with several producers at the Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market; visited ViewPoint Gallery (a fine art photography gallery); and attended live theatre performances. And, of course, we had a lively chapter meeting.


The next chapter meeting will be combined with a Newfoundland press trip this coming August.

- Sandra Phinney, Atlantic chapter chair


ProfileImportant TMAC Profile Maintenance - 2013 Membership Handbook

This is an official reminder to all TMAC members that they must update their profiles on by March 29, 2013 in order to ensure that their listing in the 2013 Handbook is accurate. After that date, changes to listings will only be considered on a case-by-case basis. Please note that any changes made to your profile on are not automatically reflected elsewhere.


Handbook profiles are pulled from the database only.


Member_NewsMember News

Development Counsellors International is now representing the Ministry of Tourism of Ecuador in Canada. Ecuador has officially rolled out its new international campaign, "I Discovered," in conjunction with their conscious tourism initiative which urges travellers to Love Life and create everlasting memories in Ecuador. This summer (June 2013) marks the launch of a new train service, Trén Crucero, connecting the cities of Quito and Guayaquil, offering a range of travel experiences along the way. For further details, contact Maureen Haley at


Media member Lucas Aykroyd launched his "What in the World?" column in The Globe and Mail in January. Running every Tuesday, it offers a humorous take on strange travel news.


Media member Lucas Aykroyd won four writing awards in the 2012 NATJA (North American Travel Journalists Association) Awards competition: gold for "On Tintin's trail to adventures in Peru" (Toronto Star), silver for "Whooshing backward at 160 km an hour" (The Globe and Mail), silver for "Victoria delights Britain's greatest characters" ( and bronze for "Spinning a whale of a tale" (Vancouver Sun).


John Nowlan and Sandra Nowlan were recent guests on Maritime Noon, a regional CBC Radio phone-in show. The topic was Southern Travel and they gave travel trips and answered questions from listeners about various resorts and cruises.


Dale Dunlop received a Silver Award in the Public Issues category (second place) from the International Regional Magazine Association for a sidebar piece he wrote about fracking for Saltscapes Magazine. Dale also replaced fellow TMACer George Burden as Quebec/Atlantic Canada director of the Canadian Explorer's Club chapter.


The inaugural Fundy Fringe Festival will be open to local, provincial and national performing arts companies and will take place Aug. 21-25, 2013 in uptown Saint John, N.B. The festival dates dovetail with the Island Fringe Festival in Charlottetown and the Atlantic Fringe Festival in Halifax, creating a Maritime fringe festival circuit. The plan for the first installment of the Fundy Fringe Festival is 125 shows over five days by 25 acts. Performers will be chosen by lottery, rather than the traditional jury system used by most festivals.
MindsInquisitive Minds Want To Know

by Jan Feduck


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, 


A special request to industry members to send a question for the next newsletter.


This month's question was sent in by a media member:


Q: Where do you get most connections for press trips - from networking, public relations companies, tourism boards, listings on sites such as Or do you set them up yourself?


Want to see the answers? Please click here to read the article.


 Back to Table of Contents

AAUnsung Heroes: May Givens
by Mark Stevens


May Givens may be the most unlikely looking bouncer you've ever seen. No big muscles, no black t-shirt. Instead, a pleasant petite lady with fiery hair - and a constant welcoming smile - who greets members at Ontario chapter Munch and Mingles, and has done so for years and years (despite her youthful appearance).


But cross the line, forget to sign up, don't pick up your name-tag, or try to grab an extra "loot bag" - or worse yet, forget to take your information package home - and she'll be on you like a pit bull.


For May takes this position seriously; for it is May who ensures that only the worthy pass through the portals of these monthly gatherings of the faithful.


And how faithful is May herself?

Please click here to read the article.


FALe Circuit Champlain (En Ontario)

Soumis par Anne-Marie Forcier

Rédigé par Andréann

Il y a 400 ans, Samuel de Champlain remontait le cours de la rivière des Outaouais et pénétrait le continent jusqu'à la magnifique baie Georgienne. Voilà une occasion en or de suivre les traces du père de la Nouvelle-France et de parcourir les Pays-d'en-Haut, version ontarienne.


Please click here to read the article.


FrenchPark'N Fly Rewards

by Liz Campbell


Are you taking advantage of TMAC's new agreement with Park'N Fly? It gives those members travelling from Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Edmonton, Vancouver and Halifax airports more than just a 20 per cent discount on rates. It costs nothing to join the TMAC corporate plan and here are some of the VIP perks you get in return:


Please click here to read the article.


LinkedInLinking In To LinkedIn

by Sandra Phinney


On Jan. 9, 2013, LinkedIn reached a milestone: it had 200 million members. Currently, it's adding a new member every two seconds.


LinkedIn's mission? Connect the world's professionals to make them more productive and successful. When you join LinkedIn, you get access to people, jobs, news, updates, and insights that help you be great at what you do.  


Please 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.

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