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July | August 2013
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Inside TMAC Travels
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bod2013-14 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


Jo Matyas (media)

Phone: 613-546-6266


Grant Fraser (media)

Phone: 905-844-7666



Dan Young (industry)

Public Relations Manager - CANADA, Starwood Hotels &

Resorts Worldwide Inc.

Phone: 416-947-4955 ext. 4458



Joanne Blain (media)

Joanne Blain Creative Services Ltd



Glenn Cameron (industry)

PR Consultant, Clear Communications

Phone: 416-920-5817


Liz Campbell (media)

Phone: 416-207-9150


Mark Stevens (media)

Phone: 905-583-0059




Deb Smith (media)

D. Smith Ink Ltd.

Phone: 403-245-1239



Lola Augustine Brown  (media)

Phone: 902-412-3100



Jane Mundy (media) 

Phone: 604-251-4443



Elizabeth Kerr (media)

Phone: 416-258-9948


Anne Marshall (industry)

Phone: 705-295-4591 

New_MemberNew Members



Julia Montague

Tourism Richmond





Jeff Bartlett



Jennifer Foden Wilson


contributorsContributors to This Issue


  • Jan Feduck
  • Anne Marie Forcier
  • Jerry Grymek
  • Hélèna Katz
  • Josephine Matyas
  • Jane Mundy
  • Sandra Phinney
  • Debra Smith
  • Michele Sponagle
  • Mark Stevens
  • Jantine Van Kregten
  • Candice Walsh


Thanks for your contribution!

Dear  :
Hard to say if summer has really arrived in my neck of the woods - the weather has been a real see-saw. Sooner or later we'll have warm waters to swim in and gardens that are growing out of control. Enjoy it while we have it! 




- Josephine Matyas, TMAC Travels editor

President_ReportPresident's Report


Where were you? We missed you at the TMAC conference in Saskatoon in June. I know, I know. Life and work and family sometimes get in the way of your travels. I understand that, so please see my handy cheat sheet below outlining the top 13 things that happened during the conference:

  1. Pittsburgh will be hosting the TMAC conference next year (May 28-31), which also marks our 20th anniversary as an organization. The announcement came during a great lunch hosted by Visit Pittsburgh. It featured a Pittsburgh salad (French fries served on top of greens). Certain people at my table even asked for seconds! (I will not name names.)
  2. I wore a funny hat during my welcome remarks at the Western Development Museum. My first response to dressing up was: "There is not enough wine in the world to make me dress up in period attire." I guess there is.
  3. At the opening night buffet dinner, there were oodles of perogies. Being half Ukrainian, I rejoiced - with sour cream on the side.
  4.  At the media marketplace, I was able to find all my appointments without becoming disoriented and I didn't have to shout to be heard, thanks to a roomy venue.
  5. During the awards night, Remy Scalza was a multi-multi-multi-award winner in both writing and photography categories. His name may now be used as a a verb, as in "Man, I really remy-ed that golf game." Given the amount of money he won and was not there to claim, there could be A TMAC uprising if he does not attend the Pittsburgh conference. No pressure.
  6. The other highlight of awards night was the amount of dancing (including a conga line) that happened, lead by Guy Theriault and the Quebec contingent. 
  7. My pre-trip to Regina ended with the prairie fire challenge. It involved chugging a shot of Canadian whisky, spiked with hot sauce, preceded by a prairie oyster (a.k.a. calf testicle). Did it. Got the T-shirt to prove it.
  8. Also in Regina, I enjoyed a fine rib-eye steak cooked on the prong of a pitchfork flash fried in oil, thanks to Merv's Pitchfork Fondues.
  9. I thought the PD session on social media was awesome, lead by Ursula Maxwell-Lewis, Lola Augustine Brown and Andrea Young from Destination Halifax. After the session, some social media holdouts (yes, you Anita and Grant) were spotted busily tweeting. Both had ah-hah moments during the session. That's impact!
  10. At the open round-table discussions, we had a lively discussion about the expanding practice of pay-to-play. Some media folks accept payments from tourism organizations to place stories about their destination or service and then double-dip by receiving dollars from the media outlets where the content is placed. I'm on record as saying that I do not like or condone the practice. Frankly, I think it taints our profession.
  11. I'm still puzzled about what I witnessed as keynote speaker Monica Knight took the stage at one of the lunches. There was something about everyone having diamonds on the soles of their shoes and some unique dance moves. It was the most discussed and debated element of the conference!
  12. The TMAC board has experienced its annual metamorphosis. Dale Dunlop finished his term as treasurer. He was a wonderful addition to the board with honest and generous input on any issue addressed. (Dale will continue on as chair of the governance committee. Yay.) The incredible hard-working Irene Knight has earned a bit of a rest after her stint as secretary and member of the communications, and conference committees. The effervescent Dan Young replaces her. Mark Stevens and Joanne Blain were elected as directors-at-large. Jo Matyas is the new vice president-media. A fond farewell to chapter chairs vivacious Jerry Grymek (Ontario) and the remarkable and passionate Sandra Phinney (Atlantic). Thank you for all you have done for TMAC!
  13. And well, you're stuck with me for another year. At the AGM, the membership unanimously voted for me to serve a second term as president. The spontaneous burst of applause that accompanied the news warmed the cockles of my heart. Truly. It will be a great year ahead. 

- Michele Sponagle, TMAC national president


FinanceFinance and Governance Report

No report at this time. The September/October issue will have an update. 


Conference Committee Report

What a time we had in Saskatoon, A City on the Edge! The 19th annual TMAC conference and AGM went off in spectacular fashion June 12-15. 

Tourism Saskatchewan organized intensive yet fun pre- and post-tours for our media members and Tourism Saskatoon really outdid themselves with receptions, half-day tours, the dinearound and the wonderful gala evening with a roster of top-notch local performers.

Of course, the business portion of the event was valuable, too, with hundreds of one-on-one meetings and networking throughout the days and nights of the conference.

The conference committee implemented a new system for the marketplace based on comments received in past years-filling two half-days instead of one (long, intense) day. If you completed the post-event survey, you have our thanks! Your comments are always welcome

Other new additions - based on feedback from members - came via our TMAC Awards. New this year, "Honourable Mentions" were included in several categories. Here are your talented winners:

Business Feature

Liz Campbell - The Business of Feng Shui

Honourable Mention: Ken Hegan - Is Knee Defender Cool or Crazy?

Cultural/Historical Feature, sponsored by Canada's History

Remy Scalza - Blue Cruising in Turkey

Honourable Mention: John Lee - Booklover's Paradise

Honourable Mention: Michael DeFreitas - Shanghai and Beyond

Environmental/Responsible Tourism Feature

Charlene Rooke - Where Sustainable Meets Sybaritic

Honourable Mention: Remy Scalza - Greening of the Yucatan

Family Feature, sponsored by Tourism London

Deb Cummings - Bike, Eat, Repeat

Food/Drink Feature, sponsored by Travel Alberta

Josephine Matyas - Swiss Bliss

French Language Feature, sponsored by Québec City Tourism

Aurelie Resch - Amsterdam, la ville aux deux visages

Outdoors/Adventure Feature, sponsored by Tourism Saskatchewan

Remy Scalza - Cold Comforts

Service Feature, sponsored by Eaton Chelsea Toronto

Remy Scalza - Urban Wrangler in Canada's Caribou

Honourable Mention: Camilla Cornell - Europe Bound

Honourable Mention: Mark Stevens - Supernatural St Lucia

Story about Travel in Canada, sponsored by Tourism Yukon

Remy Scalza - Stampeding in Calgary

Honourable Mention: Mark Stevens - The Best of Both Worlds

Action Photo, sponsored by Ontario Parks

Laurie Carter - AIR TIME

Honourable Mention: Michael DeFreitas - Alaska's Wild Side

Honourable Mention: Remy Scalza - Wild Ride at the Calgary Stampede

Evocation of a Place Photo, sponsored by Ontario Parks

John Sylvester - The Torngat Mountains

Honourable Mention: Gary Crallé - A busker takes a break

Honourable Mention: Gary Crallé - Roman baths before a storm

People Photo, sponsored by Ontario Parks

Remy Scalza - Beach Buskers in Negril Sun

Honourable Mention: Michael DeFreitas - Cuban Man with Rooster

Honourable Mention: Jody Robbins - Perfect Weekend in Penticton


Of course, the "secret" of our 2014 conference destination has been let out of the bag - the wonderful city of Pittsburgh will be our hosts, May 28-31, 2014. Mark your calendar now and stay tuned for more updates!  



- Jantine Van Kregten, conference committee co-chair



Many thanks to the following sponsors of the 

2012 TMAC Awards for their generous support!






VolunteerVolunteer Committee Report

Volunteers are the lifeblood of TMAC. From reviewing membership applications to organizing professional development, media and industry members make the organization tick. This year marks the first annual TMAC Volunteer Awards, which were handed out during the conference in Saskatoon. And the winners are:

  • Atlantic/Quebec: Media member Shelley Cameron-McCarron
  • Ontario/International: Industry member Martha Chapman
  • Alberta/N.W.T.: Industry member Neil Bousquet
  • B.C./Yukon: Media member Joanne Sasvari

Nominations for the next volunteer awards will open in January. Many thanks to everyone who nominated a volunteer - and an even bigger thanks to all those who donate their time to TMAC. You rock!


- Hélèna Katz, co-chair, volunteer committee 


ChapterNewsChapter News
BRITISH COLUMBIAMore than 25 per cent of our members attended the 2013 BCChapterconference and a great time was had by all! We had a productive chapter meeting and for the first time ever, chapter chairs from across Canada got together. We discussed past events and shared ideas for future PD days, and we plan to have regular conference calls to better assist all our members.

B.C. members cleaned up at the TMAC 2013 Awards Ceremony, one member in particular. Remy Scalza emailed from Namibia: "I'm thrilled to have won multiple prizes in the 2012 TMAC Awards. I am in deep debt to Jane Mundy for collecting the prizes on my behalf and owe her at least a half-dozen umbrella drinks at the B.C. TMAC chapter's Summer Sizzler."

And this from Laurie Carter: "I am delighted that my photo of a wakeboarder taking air on Osoyoos Lake in B.C.'s Okanagan Valley is the winner of this year's Best Action Photo award. I thank all those involved in the awards program."

B.C. photographer Michael DeFreitas picked up two honorable mentions and at its recent annual Travel Media Awards luncheon during Caribbean Week in Toronto, the Caribbean Tourism Organization honoured Michael with three of its eight awards, including their Best Photograph, Best Feature by a Canadian Journalist in a Foreign Medium and Best of the Best awards. What an incredibly talented lot - well done everyone!

And congrats to Joanne Blain - although she stepped down as the national media VP, our chapter is thrilled that she was elected as director-at-large.

We are looking forward to our annual Summer Sizzler, which will be held July 24 on the gorgeous Hotel Georgia's patio. We also have in place our fall Meet and Mingle and recruitment drive at Grain, with thanks to Jayne Lloyd-Jones for organizing. And there is talk of a mini-PD day in November, an idea co-chair Carla Mont and I took home from our chapter chair meeting. Stay tuned.

- Jane Mundy, B.C. chapter co-chair  




Our chapter attendees had a fabulous time at the conference in Saskatoon and made a bit of a splash with three of our members taking home awards: Deb Cummings, Best Family Feature; Neil Bousquet, TMAC Volunteer Award; and Jody Robbins, Honourable Mention, Best People Photo. We congratulate them and all the TMAC award winners for their outstanding work.


We barely had time to unpack before some of our Calgary members were packing up again due to a splash of a different kind. But it takes more than a flood to keep TMAC members down and we are pleased to announce that Ashley Meller of Travel Alberta has stepped up to be our new Munch & Mingle Coordinator for the coming year.   


- Debra Smith, Alberta chapter co-chair

on_chapterONTARIOSo much to cover and so little time. Let's get to it . . .


What a conference - and thanks to Tourism Saskatoon for organizing all of the details. I was very impressed with our hosts and the city overall. Of note, the Ontario chapter session was a great opportunity for media and industry members to share key issues. I've heard from a number of you since that it was very productive, and I am happy to have helped lead the discussion.


One topic that came up was the issue of M&M event "no shows" and those that attend but do not RSVP. As voted on during the conference, the Ontario board will be implementing a new "three strike" rule to deal with repeat offenders. This is an important step and we hope to work together with all of you to make it successful. Be on the lookout for this note by the end of summer.


On a separate note, the Ontario board would like to thank social media expert Robert Rock for speaking to the Ontario chapter during our June 25 PD Session at the Holiday Inn Toronto Downtown Centre. Robert was able to talk about emerging new media and consumer channels, which was very insightful.


Looking ahead, we have an exciting M&M Road Trip event for July 16 hosted by Clarington Tourism. It's guaranteed to be fun for all who attend.


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


Looking to the fall, the Ontario chapter will introduce a few new members and I want to thank all of those that have served. As I step down as the chair, I plan to continue serving on the board. Elizabeth Kerr will be taking over as co-chair along with Anne Marshall next year.


Enjoy the summer everyone. I look forward to seeing you all during our fall M&M events - we have a number of excited hosts lined up!


- Jerry Grymek, industry member and Ontario chapter chair

atlantic_chapterATLANTICWe not only had a great turnout for the conference in Saskatoon, our chapter members took part in leading several workshops and roundtables. Hats off to them all! Now work is underway planning a full week's press trip and chapter meeting in Western Newfoundland during August. The focus will be Writers at Woody Point, with a lot of outdoor activities tucked in. In the fall we'll re-group for PD sessions, focused on book publishing and social media. This is my last roundup for the newsletter as the chair of Atlantic Canada. I now hand over the reins to Lola Augustine Brown.


- Sandra Phinney, past Atlantic chapter chair      


Member_NewsMember News

1. Some TMAC members recently participated in the christening of the Avalon Waterways Expression recently in Koblenz, Germany, as well as enjoying a Rhine cruise on board from Frankfurt to Amsterdam. Pictured on christening day were Martha Chapman (PR for Avalon in Canada) and media members Tim Johnson, sporting a tie "for the first time in two years!" and Kat Tancock. 


(From left: Martha Chapman, Tim Johnson, Kat Tanock)


2. TMAC media members brought home honours at the annual Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) Travel Media Awards during Caribbean Week in Toronto:

Michael DeFreitas was highly commended for his story entitled, "Antigua: A Beach A Day" in Cruise Holidays. 

Josephine Matyas was recognized for her feature entitled "Unspoiled Dominica is a promised land for hikers" in the Toronto Star.

Michael DeFreitas, won Best Photograph for an image that accompanied an article entitled "Dive into Fun - Amazing, Fantastic, Spectacular Caribbean Diving" in Passions magazine.

Sharon Matthews-Stevens was highly commended for her photograph which accompanied a story by Mark Stevens entitled, "The British Virgin Islands: Five Special Places for Snugging Down" in the dive magazine, All At Sea.

Diane Slawych was highly commended for her article entitled, "A sweet getaway for Mom - Saint Lucia visit better than a box of chocolates" in the Toronto Sun. 

Michael DeFreitas took the prize for Best Feature By A Canadian Journalist in a Foreign Mediumfor his piece on Anguilla entitled, "A Beach Less Traveled" in World Traveler magazine.

Loren Christie of CTV won Best Broadcast Feature for his piece on weddings in Anguilla. 

The Best of the Best award went to Michael DeFreitas for "A Beach Less Traveled" in World Traveler magazine. 


3. From lasso-ing her hat at cowgirl bootcamp to making a moosehair tufting that looks more like a bad hair day than a traditional aboriginal craft, N.W.T. media member Hélèna Katz likes to try things whenever she travels. Her newly launched Facebook page called Travel and Try introduces you to experiential travel opportunities around the world. Check out the page at or suggest hands-on travel experiences at


DaleDunlopUnsung Heroes: Dale Dunlop
by Mark Stevens


At some point you have to wonder about the irony of a well-respected lawyer whose math skills are so obviously bad he decided to throw his metaphorical hat into the travel-writing ring yet turned out to be one of TMAC's most illustrious treasurers.  At some point you really start to wonder how he finds the energy to do everything he does  -  and does well.


And at some point you wonder why. What does he get out of it?


It begs any number of questions, interrogations that will hopefully offer you insight in the peregrinations of this issue's unsung hero, Dale Dunlop, and challenge you to get more involved.


Please click here to read the article.

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 questions with witty, brilliant, interesting and insightful answers from our members.  Send your questions to Q & A editor, media member Jan Feduck, at


This month I asked the winners and runners up in the TMAC writing and photography competition for some "winning tips."


Please click here to read the article.

Champlain  Le Nouveau Monde de Champlain

by Anne Marie Forcier


Les années 2013 à 2015 constitueront une période de réjouissances en Ontario soulignant le 400e annive

rsaire de l'arrivée de Champlain et, donc, de la présence francophone dans la province. Plusieurs activités destinées au public de tout âge, descendance et origine seront organisées.

Le gr and rêveur Samuel de Champlain a profondément marqué notre identité collective... beaucoup plus qu'on pourrait l'imaginer !  Et les Premières Nations, telles les Algonquins-Anishnabés et les Hurons-Ouendats, ont eu une précieuse influence sur notre culture moderne.


Please click here to read the article.

SocialMedia Social Media: The Sunny Side

by Candice Walsh


A few days ago, myself and nearly 200,000 other people watched history being made as Wendy David filibustered a controversial abortion law in Texas. The conversation took place almost entirely on social media. Meanwhile, major news networks discussed the calorie content in blueberry muffins. Seriously.


The above example is really just a roundabout way of showing you how integral social media has become in our communications. While there will always be a place for traditional media, the opportunities being shared by the social world are brilliant.


Please click here to read the article.


Thanks to:


Jan Feduck

Anne Marie Forcier

Jerry Grymek

Hélèna Katz

Josephine Matyas

Jane Mundy

Sandra Phinney

Debra Smith

Michele Sponagle

Mark Stevens

Jantine Van Kregten

Candice Walsh



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 $100, 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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