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November | December 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 Members



Virginia Lewis

Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake



Megan Stoudt

Hill and Knowlton Canada



Wendy Underwood

Fever Pitch Communications





Rayanne Brennan



Jim Byers


Sarah Deveau  

Catherine Dunwoody

Emma Gilchrist

Natasha Mekhail



Chris Robinson



Alissa Schwartz


Janice Tober 



contributorsContributors to This Issue
  • Deb Cummings
  • Jan Feduck
  • Anne-Marie Forcier
  • Grant Fraser
  • Maureen Haley
  • Elizabeth A. Kerr
  • Josephine Matyas
  • Jane Mundy
  • Sandra Phinney
  • Michele Sponagle
  • Mark Stevens
  • Melody Wren


Thanks for your contribution!


Lots and lots to think about, mull over, opine on in this issue of TMAC Travels. Learn about how to reinvent yourself with a business coach, the view of the press trip (from both sides of the equation) and Michele's thoughts on the changing landscape of membership vis-à-vis new media forms, bloggers in particular.

It's a good read. Enjoy! 




- Josephine Matyas, TMAC Travels editor

President_ReportPresident's Report

It's time for TMAC to grow up. When it comes to online media, I think we've been remiss in not recognizing its importance and place in the current media landscape. I feel like we have been like one of those people who said early on that the Internet would never last. Guess what? It is and it's shaping the world of travel in a big way. And now I'm encouraging an overhaul of criteria for media who blog and contribute to a wide range of websites.

I apologize for not getting it sooner. I resisted. I pushed back when members talked about bringing bloggers and other internet media into the fold at TMAC. But I do "get it" now. I've talked to fellow media members, industry people, bloggers, writers, and non-TMAC folks about where travel media is headed. And it's high time that we get with the times and bring them into the fold in a responsible, measured way.

In some ways, I feel like our industry members are ahead of the rest of us. They've had to navigate through the new media landscape on an almost daily. They've had to ask themselves questions like "Is this blogger someone my organization should support?" "Is that person an asset to us?" TMAC will be looking to answer the same things as an organization.

During our last board meeting, we had an excellent discussion about bloggers and website contributors. The jumping off point was an interesting report compiled by Lola Augustine Brown (Atlantic chapter chair). She did a small, targeted survey of some TMAC industry members about their expectations about blogging, online media and the role of TMAC. The message was clear. Industry folks do want bloggers to a bigger part of the organization, but they want to ensure that TMAC vets them with the same care given to every applicant.

Let's keep in mind that the general public who see and read what TMAC members produce now head online first and foremost for their travel information. Up to 85 per cent research their travel plans online, compared to 24 per cent for magazines and 12 per cent for newspapers (according to a Traveler's Road to Decision by thinktravel with Google). Shouldn't we be in step with what in happening in the real world?

Growing and evolving TMAC need not come at a price. We will allow the caliber of our media membership to slip. I will not allow that to happen. That would be totally against the principles that we have set for TMAC. It should still represent the top tier of working media professionals in Canada. That will not change, nor should it.

Moving forward, we will tackle the thorny issue of determining what makes a blogger suitable for TMAC. I have suggested looking at three aspects - a combination of professionalism, website stats (Google Analytics or what have you), and quality. A committee headed by Lola (with input from the membership committee, industry and a blogger who is currently not part of TMAC) will be making recommendations in time for our first board meeting of 2014.

I guess what brought this to a head for me was the fall media membership drive. I sent an invite to a blogger/writer I really respected. She has been enormously successful and is making a living as a result of her online presence. She sent me a note and said that she'd love to join TMAC, but as our current qualifications for media stand, she would only earn 10 points - far from the 50 points needed for approval to become a member. I was shocked and embarrassed, too. I knew it was time to re-evaluate our media membership criteria. I think is a crucial step in TMAC's future.

What do you think? Please write me with your thoughts/tips/concerns/feedback/rants/raves. This is an exciting time to be a part of TMAC. Let's do grow and do it right.


- Michele Sponagle, TMAC national president


FinanceFinance Report

As of Sept. 30, 2013, TMAC revenues were $224,299. This figure is comprised of membership revenue ($85,110), conference revenue ($115,149) and other revenue ($24,040). Compared to the same period last year, revenues are down 8.8 per cent ($246,024, September 2012). Total revenues were down in all three revenue categories.

Total expenses were $226,564 compared to $180,790 for the same period in 2012. Total expenses are comprised of administrative expenses ($115,670) and conference expenses ($110,894). Management fees account for the largest amount of administrative expenses ($71,130) and venue (conference location) accounts for the largest conference expense ($49,200) followed by the media subsidy/grant of $24,170. Much of the increase in the total expense figure can be attributed to a 67.1 per cent increase in 2013 conference expenses from the previous year ($108,894 vs. $66,383).

Net income for the period is also down year-over-year. As of Sept. 30, 2013 net income/(loss) was ($2,265) vs. $65,235 a year ago.

Total assets for the period were $60,963 vs. $136,786 a year ago. This decrease is primarily due to lower cash and investment balances.

- Grant Fraser, TMAC treasurer


awards_entry2013 TMAC Awards - Coming Soon!

It's time to submit your entries for TMAC Awards! Check your inbox on November 19 for more details and how to submit an entry. TMAC Awards is our annual recognition of the best stories and photographs produced by our members. Each winner receives a certificate and a cheque for $1,000, plus is eligible for travel assistance to the 2015 TMAC Conference & AGM with a value of up to $500. 


awards_sponsorsMany thanks to our current sponsors for their generous support of TMAC Awards!




chapter_newsChapter News
BRITISH COLUMBIA - Thanks to the support of The Fairmont Chateau Whistler, Tourism Whistler, Switzerland Tourism and of course our board, we have a waiting list to attend our professional development weekend this Nov. 8-10 in Whistler. We are also hopeful that this event will draw new members, both from media and industry.

And it also confirms the results from our Survey Monkey sent out to all our members last spring: that we are willing to travel outside of Vancouver and we are happy to pay for accommodation.

More than 60 people have registered for PD Day, which is a great turnout considering that we have 80 members. Of course having this event coincide with Cornucopia - that has generously invited us Crush, the Gala grand tasting event - helped sweeten the pot. Or whet the glass. 

At our national conference last June, chapter chairs got together for the first time ever. We shared ideas about our past and future events, and some information came as a revelation (for instance, I didn't know that "meet and mingle" events were 100 per cent sponsored - clearly not all provinces are made equal). Last week we had our first conference call (thanks to Elizabeth Kerr for setting that up) and we committed to participating in monthly discussions.

Once next week's PD Day is over we will be working on next February's PD lineup. But before that, our board will enjoy a well-deserved Christmas lunch at "Market by Jean-Georges" at the Shangri-La Hotel.

One last thing: I received my 2013/2014 Membership Handbook delivered yesterday and so glad we decided on keeping the print format. Call me old fashioned, but well done!

- Jane Mundy, B.C. chapter co-chair


ab_chapterALBERTA & N.W.T. - After a summer hiatus, the Alberta chapter gathered at one of Calgary's newest, and most innovative, culinary hotspots - Cuisine and Chateau. Billed as an interactive cooking school, C&C offers themed cooking, kids' camps, gastronomical jaunts to France, even team-building escapes, explained our hosts Thierry Meret and Marnie Fudge (how perfect is that for a pastry chef's name?). Delighted to share their trade secrets, the duo entertained us with tips on how best to blend creamy soups, create fizzy foams and preserve lemons. It's a cozy spot, tucked in behind Gratitude Cafe in Calgary's Kensington Village, built around an open kitchen, framed with the usual massive mirrors that reflect the goings on.


on_chapterONTARIO The Ontario board would like to thank the Kawartha Northumberland Region for hosting a very pioneering Munch & Mingle at the Centre for Social Innovation Annex on Bathurst Street in September. A farmers' market was set up to show off the many diverse interests, activities, foods and beverages the Kawartha Northumberland region has to offer. Exhibitors included: Cricklewood; Crosswind Farms; Empire Cheese & Butter Co-op; Franklin Farm Herbals and Market; P&H Farms; Marche 59; Traynor Farms; Willow Grove Farms; Little Pie Shack; Laveanne; Salem Alpacas; The Publican House Brewery and Kawartha Country Wines, all of whom put a great deal of time and effort into creating their individual displays. After 20 years as a professional chef across Canada, the Caribbean, the U.S. and Central America, chef Brian Henry showcased his culinary creativity with a selection of farm-to-table hors d'oeuvres to top off the evening.


The newly renovated Eaton Chelsea was host to the October Munch & Mingle - and in addition to escorted tours of the hotel's newest features, general manager Ron Pellerine welcomed TMAC with open arms. In addition to the wonderful appetizers and sweets - taking advantage of what Ontario has to offer in October - Eaton Chelsea took this opportunity to showcase its homemade classic Caesar to the crowd. Samples of the Eaton Chelsea house-made clamato juice went home with many guests. Rumour has it that the classic Caesar rim salt will be packaged and available for stocking stuffers this Christmas.

The Colorado Tourism Office is sponsoring our next Munch & Mingle on Nov. 26, 2013 at The Drake Hotel. The hold-the-date invite was sent out Oct. 31, 2013. Please make sure to RSVP by Nov. 19, 2013 @ to ensure a spot. Consider inviting a prospective TMAC member, but please make sure to let us know.

Plans are now underway for TMAC Ontario's Christmas event scheduled for Dec. 10, 2013. This year, we are co-ordinating a silent auction with some funds going to a local charity. Membership co-ordinator, Kimberly Hartley ( is spearheading the silent auction and door prizes. Secretary and professional development co-ordinator, Tracy Ford ( is currently researching venue options. For sponsorship opportunities, please contact co-chair Elizabeth Kerr ( Feel free to contact any one of us with donations and/or ideas. In the meantime, stay tuned for more details.

TMAC Ontario is delighted to announce that its roster of hosts for the 2014 of Munch & Mingles is almost complete; however, a few opportunities are available in the fall and we are more than happy to discuss 2015 openings too! For more information and to book a Munch & Mingle, please contact Munch & Mingle liaison, Jerry Grymek (

We are currently compiling a Survey Monkey to collect ideas and determine priorities for upcoming professional development sessions. Please look out for this survey to be sent out in November. Please take the five minutes required to complete it to ensure we capture everyone's thoughts. If you have any ideas you'd like added to the list, please email them directly to professional development co-ordinator, Tracy Ford at as soon as possible.

At any time, feel free to contact me with any comments or suggestions at or call me at 416-258-9948.

I look forward to seeing you all at The Drake Hotel in November.

- Elizabeth A. Kerr, media member and Ontario chapter co-chair


atlantic_chapterATLANTICNo report submitted.


- Lola Augustine Brown, Atlantic chapter chair


member_newsMember News
1. Media member Maureen Littlejohn recently returned to Canada after a year of volunteering with Swaziland Action Group Against Abuse. "I'm proud of my accomplishments, which included working to bring about legislative change in relation to domestic violence. Plus, I was able to explore Africa and write about it. It was a fantastic experience."


2. Kate Pocock ( won the 2013 CTC GoMedia award for Best Travel Blogging at the recent Canadian Tourism Commission conference in Prince Edward Island. The award was for a story on Toronto's Street Art for the Toronto Tourism site, SeeTorontoNow (


3. Kate Pocock ( worked this summer as text editor for Water, photographer Edward Burtynsky's latest book featuring essays and aerial photos of water around the world. The book was launched with a companion film, WATERMARK, which premiered at this year's Toronto International Film Festival. The companion worldwide photo exhibit opened Oct. 5 at three galleries in New Orleans, including the Contemporary Arts Center and the New Orleans Museum of Art (until Jan. 19). To watch how Burtynsky used drones to shoot some of these photos, see in the L.A. Times.


4. The Algonquin Resort, in St Andrews-by-the-Sea, Canada's first Marriott Autograph Collection property, will be opening late fall 2013, after completing a $30 million renovation.


5. The 2014 Congrès mondial acadien (World Acadian Congress) is fast approaching (Aug.8-24, 2014). The complete preliminary programming is available now on the CMA 2014 website at


6. Media member Toby Saltzman was awarded the 2013 Gold Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Award for her piece "La Dolce Amore, More Amore," as appeared in Cruise & Travel Lifestyles. The judges had high words of praise:  


"The only thing better than a superb travel writer is a superb and romantic travel writer - as Toby Saltzman proves in "La Dolce Amore," which chronicles the celebration of her 45th wedding anniversary during an Adriatic cruise. Visual writing captivates us from the outset. 

It is evident that Toby Saltzman knows how to twist and jive with descriptive language that makes us want to abandon the rat race and rekindle the joy of love on a romantic Adriatic cruise."  


7. Media member Gary Crallé garnered silvers at this year's SATW annual Bill Muster photography competition (held in October in Biloxi) in two categories: Animal and Natural Scenic. The Bill Muster competition celebrates personal creativity in traditional photojournalism. Although the process is now entirely digital, post processing (i.e. computer development) of images is not allowed outside of regular cropping, colour and contrast controls. Descriptions of the two silver-winning photographs:  


Animal: As an allegorical statement, Gary saw this small fish swept up in a day's trophy catch of marlin (Outer Banks, N.C.) as being akin to any creature, animal or human, caught in circumstances beyond their control and whose plight goes unnoticed.

Natural scenic: Sunrise penetrated translucent mists draped over the hills and gardens of Tenuta di Canonica, Umbria, Italy, with a magnificent view of the Tiber Valley, where the photographer was on assignment with Romantik Hotels. Documenting the morning light splendidly delayed breakfast a further two hours.


Unsung Heroes: Judy Hammond
By Sandra Phinney

Judy Hammond, Co-Partner with CLEAR Communications


Credit: Glenn Cameron

It's been said that volunteerism is not giving part of a surplus one doesn't need, but giving part of one's self.

Meet Judy Hammond, a co-partner with CLEAR Communications Inc., whose main concern is promoting the Canadian tourism industry with marketing materials and expertise, content, communications planning, product development, media relations, and a host of related tasks. She busts a gut for her clients and takes care of business. It's an all-consuming role. 

Somehow she finds time indulge in a daily dose of nature, and, when possible, she loves to swim, golf, hike, snowshoe, and walk her neighbour's dog. And travel. And root for her favourite hockey teams.
Please click here to read the entire article.
inquisitiveInquisitive 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 a question or two with witty, brilliant, interesting and insightful answers from our members. 

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

Click here to read the full article on measuring ROI on travel stories with tips provided by Alison Aiton, Ursula Beamish-Mader and Helen Lovekin.


Découvrez Les Voies Navigables De L'Ontario

Submitted by Anne Marie Forcier


Elles mènent aux mers d'eau douce que sont les Grands Lacs, à la baie Georgienne, au chenal nord de la baie, à la région de Muskoka, ou encore elles ouvrent sur le fleuve. Les voies navigables de la province, à découvrir, font des milliers de kilomètres, allant de la ville à la campagne, d'un environnement animé au calme d'une anse, en passant par des écluses qui rivalisent d'ingénierie.


La rivière des Outaouais

Longue de 500 km, la voie navigable de la rivière des Outaouais offre un paysage phénoménal. Cette majestueuse rivière remplie d'agréables surprises est bordée d'une forêt dense où l'on aperçoit, entre les énormes pins blancs, chevreuils, castors, loups, lynx et orignaux. À l'instar des coureurs des bois qui l'empruntaient, il y a 400 ans.


Please click here to read the entire article.

getting_outGetting Out of a Spin and Back on Track 

 By Sandra Phinney


Coming into the spring of 2013, things were grim. Due to a combination of circumstances over three years, (two hip replacements, too many trips, a prolonged bout of pneumonia, and a mountain of volunteer work) my income had taken a nose dive. I was derailed and in a terrible spin. 


So I hired a business coach, Ella McQuinn, to help me get back on track ( We met in person for two hours first session; subsequent sessions were by phone. Before the first session, Ella dished out some homework via email. She asked: "What do you want out of the coaching session - what would success look like? Imagine you at your greatest over the coming months. How would that look?" She asked me to write down my responses.


Please click here to read the entire article. 

 Pig Pen - July 23 Improved Office - August 11



writer_perspectiveAn Inside Look at Press Trips: A Writer's Perspective


By Melody Wren


I went on my first press trip a scant four years ago, and have been on numerous press trips since then. When I started out, I mirrored the behaviors of the other travel writers until I developed my own routines and methods. I categorically learned the most from group press trips and have since found them both instructive and markedly different from individual press trips, ironically more popular among more seasoned travel writers.


Please click here to read the entire article.


industry_perspectiveAn Inside Look at Press Trips: The Industry Perspective

By Maureen Haley, Development Counsellors International


A successful press visit, by definition, is one in which both the industry and media members are happy with the outcomes. This is best accomplished when both sides work together with an understanding of what the other needs in order to be "happy." The way to maximize that understanding is to see both sides of the equation. Here's the industry side.


Please click here to read the entire article.


TMAC Travels - Newsletter Submission Guidelines
TMAC Travels is published bi-monthly. 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 T.O Corporate Services 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 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 | ON | M4V 2Y7 | Canada