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January | February 2014
contentsJanuary | February 2014 -

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




Michel Chicoine

Vancouver, BC



Andrew Dobson

Toronto, ON



Waheeda Harris

Toronto, ON



Daniel MacKinnon

Toronto, ON



Tara Nolan

Dundas, ON



Miriam Porter

Toronto, ON



Catherine Roscoe Barr

North Vancouver, BC



Melissa Vroon

Calgary, AB



Contributors to This Issue
  • Lola Augustine Brown
  • Glenn Cameron
  • Anne-Marie Forcier
  • Grant Fraser
  • Maureen Haley
  • Elizabeth A. Kerr
  • Josephine Matyas
  • Sandra Phinney
  • Debra Smith
  • Michele Sponagle
  • Mark Stevens

Thanks for your contribution!



It seems that the only thing anyone is talking about is the weather - and what a roller coaster ride it has been! If you need a break from the cold-ice-freeze-flash freeze, then take some time to settle into your favourite chair and catch up on the news from TMAC with this issue of TMAC Travels. 


It's a good read. Enjoy!




- Josephine Matyas, TMAC Travels editor

president_reportPresident's Report

For me, 2013 was the year of the list. I swear I wrote a bizillion of them. And I'm certain that 2014 will be more of the same. With that in mind, I present the top 10 reasons why you should attend the TMAC Conference in Pittsburgh (from May 28 to May 31):

  1. Pittsburgh rocks. If you could say that any city has it all, it's this one. It's a legendary sports town (Penguins, Steelers, Pirates) with an artsy alter ego, from the Andy Warhol Museum to a thriving theatre scene. And you'll eat well. Bon Appetit magazine pegged Pittsburgh as the next hot foodie town.
  2. Sharing and caring. The top reasons that TMACers cite as motivation for attending in the post-conference surveys is networking. If you're not there, you'll miss meeting our many new members and catching up with your peeps.
  3. Show your support. In terms of TMAC finances, the conference is our most important source of revenue. Your attendance helps to keep the money flowing in.
  4. It's awards time. To wrap up the conference, we hold the Oscars of Canadian travel writing and photography. It's recognition that says quality does matter.
  5. There's killer pre- and post-tours. Golfers, foodies, history buffs, artsy types, sports nuts and shoppers rejoice. The wide range of trips available ensures great story leads and a good time.
  6. It's cheap. TMAC conferences are great value. We're the Target of travel organizations! We don't charge extra for pre- and post-tours like SATW and we deliver plenty for every dollar you spend. Sign up before the early-bird deadline (January 31) and it's an even sweeter deal.
  7. Make your accountant happy and make the Canada Revenue Agency cry. Conference costs are tax deductible.
  8. Great weather. You might have noticed that we no longer hold our conferences in the dead of winter when your fingers freeze trying to take notes outside and all your photographs feature snow. May is gorgeous in Pittsburgh. The average temperature is 24 degrees Celsius.
  9. Taking care of business. While we do have a lot of fun at our conferences, we do get serious when we vote on new by-laws and elect new board members. This is your chance to shape the future of the organization.
  10. It's our birthday and you're all invited. TMAC turns 20 years old and the party will be grander than ever. And you don't even have to bring a gift. RSVP now here! 


- Michele Sponagle, TMAC national president


conference_committeeConference Committee Report

Registration for the 2014 conference in Pittsburgh launched in early December. Media members should register and pay by the early bird deadline (Jan. 31, 2014) to be eligible for the travel grant! Remember to submit your requests for pre- and post-tours too, but DO NOT book your transportation until you receive confirmation (by Feb. 28 at the latest).

Industry members should note that there are several sponsorship opportunities (many of them customizable) that might work for your needs - simply fill out the online sponsorship form at, or send an email to for more details.

NEW: Chartered bus possibility! TMAC and Visit Pittsburgh are investigating the interest in chartering a TMAC bus to travel from Toronto to Pittsburgh on Wed. May 28 and from Pittsburgh to Toronto on Sun. June 1. The cost is $50 CAN each way and the ride is approximately five hours. 


When registering for the conference, both media and industry members can indicate if they would be interested in one-way or return transportation by bus. Based on our members' responses, we'll confirm if the bus is a go by Feb. 28 at the latest. Media members who plan to participate in a pre-tour would have to make other arrangements to arrive in Pittsburgh in advance (and those who participate in a post-tour would have to make their own arrangements to travel home from Pittsburgh). 


TMAC celebrates its 20th anniversary at the conference and we know that you'll want to be a part of the festivities. Our friends at Visit Pittsburgh have brought together an enticing array of programming and our professional development crew has some surprises in store as well. We think you'll agree: Pittsburgh


- Jantine Van Kregten, conference committee  

FinanceFinance Report

The TMAC year-end was December 31st - the following report is based on the unaudited year-end financial information provided by TOCS. 


For the year ending December 31, 2013, TMAC's total assets were $111,893 vs. $128,810 a year ago. This decrease is primarily due to lower investment balances ($55,545 vs. $84,825).


Total TMAC revenues were $224,666. This figure is comprised of membership revenue ($86,622), conference revenue ($114,574) and other revenue ($23,469). Compared to the same period last year, revenues were down $23,582 or 9.5% ($248,248 as of December 31, 2012). Total revenues were down in all three revenue categories.


Total expenses were $251,805 compared to $249,738 for the same period in 2012. Total expenses are comprised of administrative expenses ($159,314) and conference expenses ($92,491). Management fees account for the largest amount of administrative expenses ($102,718) and venue (conference location) accounts for the largest conference expense ($49,200) followed by website expenses (3-Way Street) of $26,401. Despite an increase of $26,108 or 39.3% in conference expenses from 2012 ($92,491 vs. $66,383), total administrative expenses decreased by $24,041 or 13.1%. ($159,314 vs. $183,355). For this reason, total expenses have remained relatively unchanged for 2013. 


TMAC's Net Loss was considerably larger in 2013 compared to 2012. As of December 31, 2013, TMAC's net loss was $27,138 compared to a loss of $1,490 a year ago. 

- Grant Fraser, TMAC national treasurer


awards_entry2013 TMAC Awards - Just two weeks left until the submission deadline!

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. 


Last day to submit your entry for 2013 TMAC Awards is Friday, January 31, 2014. For more information and to submit your entry click here.


awards_sponsorsGenerous sponsors of the 2013 TMAC Awards!


Communications Committee Report
The tiny communications committee (Jantine Van Kregten, Joanne Blain, Glenn Cameron) is kickstarting the renewal of TMAC's outdated website.

Yellowknife-based Kellett Communications won the redesign contract and the work will also involve TO Corporate Services to ensure continuity. The new website will use responsive design, meaning it will be usable whether you're using a desktop, tablet or phone.

Stay tuned for more updates in the spring!

- Jantine Van Kregten, communications committee 


chapter_newsChapter News
BRITISH COLUMBIA - No report this month.

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


ab_chapterALBERTA & N.W.T. TMAC Alberta & N.W.T. members had a chance to expand their artistic abilities at Hotel Arts in Calgary during our November Munch & Mingle. Our studio, for 23 TMAC members and guests, was the cool, blue, mid-century modern Raw Bar by Duncan Ly, thanks to our genial host and fellow TMAC member, Fraser Abbott. Executive chef Duncan Ly's creations included a scrumptious seafood tamarind soup and a mini-buffet of contemporary Vietnamese creations. At the "crafts" table, with paintbrushes in hand, we swirled and dotted chocolate creations while enjoying a glass or two of wine and some fine conversation. Meanwhile at the bar, Christina Mah, Raw Bar's mixology expert was teaching some lucky members how to shake it up and create a perfect cocktail. 

We had the pleasure of meeting our newest media member, author and blogger Sarah Deveau of and we're happy to welcome new media member Melissa Vroon, of On the industry front, the Royal Tyrrell Museum will retain their membership in TMAC although Leanna Mohan has moved on to other opportunities.

Our board will see some changes this month. Jody Robbins will be joining the TMAC AB/NWT board in January. Her entertaining blog at is sometimes the only way to find out where in the world she is. Susan Mate, a founding member of TMAC Alberta, is stepping down from the board after 10 years of dedicated work that included seven years as a chair and co-chair and many contributions at the national level. Susan would like to let the membership know that "I love TMAC and hope to return when circumstances allow. TMAC is an amazing organization and I think the world of it." We think the world of you too Susan and hope to see you back soon.

Our next Munch & Mingle is scheduled for February, thanks to the organizing skills of the wonderful Ashley Meller, our M&M coordinator.

- Debra Smith, Alberta & N.W.T. chapter board member  

on_chapterONTARIOThe 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 Ontario Board would like to thank the Colorado Tourism Office who hosted the Munch & Mingle on Nov. 26, 2013 at The Drake Hotel. With more than 60 attendees and guests, the teams of Klint + Associates Inc. (KAI), Bannikin and, of course, the Colorado Tourism Office should be congratulated on a great evening. Although the weather did not behave quite right that night, The Drake Hotel's Sky Yard - transformed into the city's warmest après-ski lounge, Shack Chaud, complete with communal fire pit, vintage wool blankets, tented benches and the fresh scent of cedar - provided the perfect venue to show off everything that Colorado has to offer.

The 2013 TMAC Ontario Christmas Party was held in the elegant Azure Restaurant and Bar at the Hotel Intercontinental Toronto Centre. Our thanks goes to the teams at Jesson + Company Communications Inc. and the Hotel Intercontinental Toronto Centre who together made the event a resounding success. The evening started with a special welcome cocktail created by the hotel for our event, followed by an introduction to the hotel by its ever-charming general manager, Alexi Hakim as well as a presentation by Amanda Pausner from Grey Bruce County. More than 25 draw prizes were graciously donated from TMAC members, hosts and partners.

TMAC's January Munch & Mingle will be hosted by New Brunswick. Please consider inviting a prospective TMAC member, but please make sure to let us know. Details to follow shortly.

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!


2014 Munch & Mingle Calendar*

JanNew Brunswick Canada
MarchOntario's Southwest
AprilHamilton Halton Brant
JuneVisit Florida
JulyExplore The Bruce
SeptEaton Chelsea
OctStratford Tourism Alliance
DecTMAC Ontario


* Some hosts and dates to be confirmed.


For more information and to book a Munch & Mingle, please contact Munch & Mingle liaison, Jerry Grymek (


We are continuing to investigate ideas for professional development and are making this our number one focus in 2014. We are delighted to announce that we are working closely with Magazines Canada to enable TMAC members to access its many online webinars (at a special TMAC rate). We are also putting together a bundled price for Magnet - Canada's Magazine Conference ( More details will be sent out in January to all TMAC members.


If you have any ideas re: professional development workshops, please email them directly to professional development coordinator, Tracy Ford @ as soon as possible.


Over the past two months, seven new members have joined TMAC Ontario. Please welcome: Andrew Dobson, Waheeda Harris, Daniel MacKinnon, Tara Nolan, Miriam Porter, Chris Robinson and Alyssa Schwartz and make sure to introduce yourself at an upcoming Munch & Mingle.


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


I look forward to seeing you all at the Munch & Mingle in January.


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


atlantic_chapterATLANTICNo report this month.


- Lola Augustine Brown, Atlantic chapter chair


member_newsMember News
Congratulations to the five TMAC members who were finalists in the 2013 Ontario Tourism Awards Journalism Awards of Excellence! Amy Rosen, Mark Stevens and Melody Wren were finalists in the category Best Travel Media. Sharon Matthews-Stevens was a finalist in Best Travel Photography. Kate Pocock was a finalist in Best Travel Blog. Special kudos to award winners Mark Stevens, Amy Rosen and Sharon Matthews-Stevens!

Congrats to Mark Stevens. A story he wrote for Saltscapes about visiting Newfoundland was presented with the Award of Merit in the Historical Article Category at the annual festivities of the International Regional Magazine Association.


In Charlottetown, Confederation Centre of the Arts theatre recently closed to continue the next phase of a $7 million renovation to make the 50-year old theatre more comfortable (and safe) for the next 50. The theatre is scheduled to re-open by end of April.


Unsung Heroes: Jantine Van Kregten
By Sandra Phinney
Jantine Van Kregten

Jantine Van Kregten joined the Ottawa Tourism team in November 2003. Attending the 2004 conference in St. John's, Newfoundland, was an eye opener. Ottawa Tourism had cycled through a number of communications professionals over the years, and the first TMACer she met looked at Jantine's name tag and said, "Hmm. Ottawa Tourism, eh? I wonder who'll be at next year's conference?" 


Jantine secretly believes that her record-making 10 years at Ottawa Tourism can be traced back to that "Aha! I'll show you," moment. 


Over the past decade, Jantine's made some strong friendships among the TMAC family. She didn't start volunteering, however, until 2008, when she joined the Ontario chapter board. She says, "Somehow I found myself coordinating the RSVPs for the monthly Munch & Mingles - until the fall of 2012!" 


Please click here to read the entire article.

C'est un phénomène intéressant qui se déroule chaque janvier

Submitted by Anne Marie Forcier


Âpres l'excès des Fêtes nous semblons vouloir simplifier la vie...mais c'est bien plus que simplement 

retourner a un régime plus régulier. On dirait un désir de renouvellement pour bien démarrer la nouvelle

année. Nous décidons quelles bonnes habitudes nous devrions adopter qui nous aiderons à nous rendre à

nos nouveaux objectifs pour 2014.

Please click here to read the entire article.

idiot_guideThe Idiot's Guide to the Philosophy of Blogging

 By Glenn Cameron


The other day I met a kid who straps a camera on his head and jumps over stuff - big stuff. Then he posts the videos on YouTube and people make comments. Meet a Vlogger.

Consider this (we used to call them soap operas): a woman pays a babysitter to watch her kids while she expounds on head lice and yoga pants. People make comments. Meet Mommy Blogger.

A travel writer posts some stories from a recent sponsored trip. She talks it up on Facebook and links to it on Twitter. Her pictures are great. People comment and the destination is thrilled. She plans another trip. Meet the Travel Blogger. 


Please click here to read the entire article.

roiMeasuring ROI


By Maureen Haley, Development Counsellors International


When it comes to assessing the value of results - a.k.a. ROI - public relations professionals face an ongoing challenge. On one hand, thanks to concepts such as the Barcelona Declaration of Measurement Principles (Barcelona Principles), industry standards are shifting from advertising value and circulation figures (complicated by the growth in importance of online and social media) to more meaningful metrics such as quality of message and whether it reaches the targeted audience. On the other hand, many organization CEOs and top leaders still look for a black and white return on investment figure to measure success.


As PR professionals, we are frequently caught in the crossfire. Our challenge is to both understand and create meaningful measurement tools while at the same time demonstrating the value and success of various campaigns to our leadership.


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.

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