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July | August 2014
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Inside TMAC Travels
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bod2014-15 Board of Directors


Jo Matyas (media)

Kingston, ON 

Phone: 613-546-6266


Mark Stevens (media)

Caledon, ON 

Phone: 905-583-0059



Jerry Grymek (industry)

Account Director, LMA Communications Inc.

Toronto, ON 

Phone: 416-440-2500



Elizabeth Kerr (media)

Kerrwil Publications Limited

Toronto, ON 

Phone: 416-258-9948



Grant Fraser (media)

Tee to Green Magazine

Burlington, ON

Phone: 905-844-7666



Dan Young (industry)

Public Relations Manager - Canada, Starwood Hotels &

Resorts Worldwide Inc. 

Toronto, ON 

Phone: 416-947-4955 ext. 4458



Joanne Blain (media)

Joanne Blain Creative Services Ltd

Vancouver, BC 

Phone: 604-734-0584


Glenn Cameron (industry)

PR Consultant, Clear Communications

Toronto, ON 

Phone: 416 920-5817 


Holly Lenk (industry)

Manager, Travel Media Relations, Tourism Victoria

Victoria, BC

Phone: 250-414-6974

New Members



Sherel Purcell

Toronto, Ontario


Maryam Siddiqi

Toronto, Ontario





Galit Ben-Ary

Atlific Hotels

Toronto, Ontario



Summer Dhillon

Slap Marketing and Communications

Abbotsford, BC



Melanie Greco

Get Ink PR and Communications

Ajax, Ontario



Sean Layton

Lou Hammond and Associates

New York, New York



Contributors to This Issue
  • Gary Crallé

  • Jan Feduck

  • Grant Fraser

  • Elizabeth A. Kerr

  • Josephine Matyas

  • Sandra Phinney

  • Catherine Roscoe Barr

  • Debra Smith

  • Mark Stevens

  • Pamela Wamback

Thanks for your contribution!


 Dear  :


Since Jo Matyas has taken on the role of co-president of TMAC, I have taken over from her as editor of TMAC Travels. I will try to live up to the high standards Jo has set for the newsletter, and I hope to hear from all of you if you have something to contribute.


- Joanne Blain, TMAC Travels editor  
President_ReportPresident's Report

TMAC is at a crossroads in terms of changes to print media itself, in terms of the desire of many writers and industry members to be more inclusive, and in terms of the organization's financial state. Accordingly, as potential co-presidents we consulted with each other extensively and felt that we could best serve the organization as a team, rather than forcing one person to carry all the responsibility that the role of president brings.


We are confident that our strengths are complementary and we commit to serving the needs of the membership while endeavouring to maintain the business-like running of TMAC and maintaining the reputation for integrity and professionalism that has made TMAC such a great organization.


As we took over this joint position, we were first faced with the challenge of coming up with membership criteria for bloggers. We have heard that travel industry professionals across the country expect the board to set the standard for what constitutes a professional travel blogger and we all take that responsibility very seriously. We recognize that many members want to open the doors and we accept that reality. As of our most recent meeting, the board has approved the criteria for membership in a new category of travel blogger (100 per cent of their submitted travel content for consideration would consist of their personal blogs) and we will closely monitor its practical workings and will review the rules on a regular basis.


Given the primacy of TMAC's place in Canada's travel industry we, as co-presidents, very much felt the burden of "getting it right" the first time, as much as possible. We thank the committee of Michele Sponagle, Cathy Stapells, Laura Byrne Paquet and Lola Augustine Brown for their commitment to this process, for their hard work and for their patience and willingness to address both the input and concerns of the national board and of the membership as a whole. It has been a challenge for all and one which, quite frankly, has generated considerable passion.


The second issue facing us is equally important: financial responsibility. You may well be seeing changes in membership and conference fees over the next year and you will be asked to step forward to offer your expertise and labour. These are the only ways to ensure that TMAC stays solvent and viable for the long term.


The collegiality that we have seen in our organization through our years of involvement gives us hope that TMAC will continue to be a strong force in advocating for media members and will continue to make membership in it a smart investment for industry members.


We look forward to working with you all toward those goals.


Have a great summer.


- Josephine Matyas, Mark Stevens


2014 Conference Survey Report

As usual, you weren't shy in telling us what you liked and didn't like about this year's conference. That's great, because we use your feedback, positive and negative, as a tool for planning future conferences. So thanks to all who came to Pittsburgh and took the time to fill out this year's post-conference survey.


About 54 per cent of those who responded are industry members and 46 per cent are media members. We were pleased to hear that almost 23 per cent of you rated the overall conference experience as excellent, 60 per cent thought it was great, almost 16 per cent called it good and just 1.4 per cent rated it as only fair. One respondent commented: "A good mix of learning and networking with chances to have fun together." Just what we were aiming for!


The media marketplace and networking in general were overwhelmingly the most popular reasons for attending the conference, with professional development, tours (pre-, post- and local) and interest in the host city lagging behind. Even so, about 80 per cent of you rated Pittsburgh, our conference location, as either great or excellent. And about 65 per cent thought the same way about the length of the conference.


More than 90 per cent of you thought the conference registration fees were good, great or excellent. One comment: "I found the price to be very affordable - I'm in another professional association and their conference fee is almost four times the price, which means I can't necessarily attend every year."


We were pleased to hear that about 70 per cent of respondents ranked the media marketplace as great or excellent, with another 25 per cent calling it good and only 5.6 per cent giving it a fair rating.


You were a bit more critical of the professional development sessions - about 31 per cent of you said they were great or excellent, and 55 per cent called them fair or good. A couple of comments: "Not many people showed up, but I still thought the panel did a great job and shared useful info." And there was this: "I didn't feel that many of these options were really geared for industry, and the few that were covered topics that we have addressed in the past." Okay, we hear you.


We also got the message that the PD roundtables should have been better organized. "I thought that the roundtable leaders were very good but the overall execution was poor," one person said. Another added: "If the session were better organized or if the format were better understood by participants, the session length would have been sufficient. As it was, time was wasted determining where to go next and what the topic was to be discussed."


Most of you liked the opening reception at the Fairmont Pittsburgh and the closing reception at the Heinz History Center. You weren't as keen on the casual welcome reception at the Wyndham Grand. One person said: "A bit lacklustre, lacking info with poor food options, though staff were friendly and helpful." And a few people mentioned that the band at the closing reception was too loud to allow people to talk and network.


And the majority of you liked the local tours - 86 per cent rated them good, great or excellent. Your dine-around experience was more varied: About 55 per cent of you said the experience was excellent or very good, 22 per cent said it was good and about 22.5 per cent said it was "disappointing" or "very disappointing." To give you an idea of the range in responses, one person said: "An incredible, delectable meal served impeccably." Another said: "It's a chain, it's a steak house, I'm a food writer. Enuff said."


Both pre-tours and post-tours for media got high marks - between 75 and 80 per cent of participants in both rated them "great" or "excellent." One remark seemed to sum up the majority of experiences: "Superb tour and great hosts!"

We asked you about what you'd do to improve the media marketplace and you had quite a few ideas. Several people wanted a break mid-way through each morning session for hydration and (ahem) dealing with the side effects of hydration. Most of you loved the two half-day sessions and the open marketplace, which we introduced at the Saskatoon conference and continued in Pittsburgh. But several industry members shared this sentiment: "Get more media to attend. We need more meetings and there aren't enough media." And we'll pass this along to our staff representatives: "Additional shoulder massages by Tina and Olga, the hardest-working ladies in show biz."


About 57 per cent of you rated your accommodations as very good or excellent, although the Wyndham Grand did lose some points for small standard rooms, patchy internet service and high phone charges.


We asked you what speaker or professional development topic you'd like to see at a future conference and you gave us these ideas for topics, among others: "Better use of social media to enhance our travel experiences." "E-books." "More on the transition from traditional print to the web and implications for writers." "More topics specifically geared to industry." "More on photography." And there were two very specific suggestions for speakers: Chris Hadfield and Rick Mercer. Hey, Chris and Rick, how do you feel about Peterborough?


Finally, we solicited your suggestions on improving the conference experience. Those included having more free time to explore the host city, a "reverse marketplace" where the media sits behind tables and industry circulates, more innovative PD sessions, new ways to spur networking, more sessions on blogging and social media, and making the travel grant more flexible.


Your ideas on where to hold future conferences were incredibly varied, from Fiji to Fort Myers and Banff to B.C.  But we're thrilled that more than 71 per cent of you said "yes, absolutely!" to the question about whether you plan to attend the 2015 conference in Peterborough. See you there!   


- Joanne Blain  

Voyageurs from Peterborough and the Kawarthas at the Pittsburgh conference. Left to right, Guy Theriault (Parks Canada), Lori Waldbrook (Ontario Parks), Susan Quinlan (Peterborough Tourism), Anne Marshall (TMAC Ontario Co-Chair), Kelly Jessup (Peterborough Tourism), Fiona Dawson (Peterborough Tourism).

 Back to Table of Contents

TMAC_awardsTMAC Award Winners

The 2013 TMAC Awards were presented on May 31, 2014 at the closing gala of TMAC's conference and AGM. Each winner received a cheque for $1,000 and will also be eligible for travel assistance (up to $500) to attend the 2015 TMAC conference in Peterborough, Ont.


Best Cultural/Historical feature (sponsored by Travel Alberta)

WINNER: Lucas Aykroyd, "Russian city of Ufa intrigues outside hockey arena," Georgia Straight, February 27, 2013

HONOURABLE MENTIONS: John Lee, "A Pint and a Play in London Pubs," Los Angeles Times, March 17, 2013; Shelley Cameron-McCarron, "Halifax's haunted Citadel draws ghost fans after dark," Toronto Star, Oct. 26, 2012;  Lucas Aykroyd, "Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas delves into John F. Kennedy assassination," Georgia Straight, October 31, 2012.


Best Environmental/Responsible Tourism Feature (sponsored by Destination British Columbia)

WINNER: Charlene Rooke, "The Rainforest Café," Western Living, April 2013; HONOURABLE MENTION: Kat Tancock, "Hanging out with the Howlers," Globe and Mail, March 29, 2013


Best Family Feature (sponsored by Eaton Chelsea, Toronto)

WINNER: Darcy Rhyno, "Golfing with mom - lessons above and beyond par," Next Avenue, September 16, 2012

HONOURABLE MENTION: James Ross, "Upside Down on the River Noire," Ottawa Outdoors Magazine, July 2013


Best Food/Drink Feature (sponsored by Ottawa Tourism)

WINNER: Cinda Chavich, "Eating the world's rudest clam," Maclean's magazine, August 3, 2013

HONOURABLE MENTIONS: John Lee, "Glasgow tees up fabulous Indian curry for hungry travelers on a budget," Toronto Star, January 10, 2013; John Lee, "Hitting the high notes at B.C.'s rock 'n' roll wineries," Toronto Star, September 27, 2012


Best French-Language Feature (sponsored by Le Québec Maritime)

WINNER: Yves Ouellet, "Chypre-du-Nord: Karpas... jusqu'à la fin des terres!", Le Soleil, October 13, 2012


Best Outdoors/Adventure Feature (sponsored by Saskatchewan Tourism)

WINNER: Jody Robbins, "The world's most epic road trip," MSN Travel, July 2013

HONOURABLE MENTIONS: Lucas Aykroyd, "On Frozen Pond," Westworld Saskatchewan, Winter 2012; Mike Fisher, "Mexico's Top Lure," Up!, March 1, 2013


Best Service Feature

WINNER: Carolyn Ali, "Panama City's charm lies beyond the canal," Georgia Straight, Nov. 21, 2012 online, Nov. 22, 2012 in print

HONOURABLE MENTIONS: Josephine Matyas, "The Thrifty Parent's Guide to Family Travel," Backpack, January February 2013; Sandra Phinney, "Deluxe Diners," Saltscapes Food and Travel, Spring 2013 (April 25)


Best Story about Travel in Canada (sponsored by Tourism Yukon)

WINNER: Laurie Carter, "Circle North," Okanagan Life Magazine, Spring 2013

 HONOURABLE MENTIONS: Josephine Matyas, "Getaway BC Ranches," West of the City, September 12, 2012; Carolyn Heller, "Going Where No Roads Go in Ontario," Perceptive Travel, May 2013


Best People Photo (sponsored by Ontario Parks)

WINNER: Sandra Phinney, "Riding a camel in Wadi Rum led by a Bedouin," Travel and Escape, May 28, 2013

HONOURABLE MENTIONS: Gary Crallé, "Get in touch with your inner cowboy (man & puppy)," West of the City, Sept, 2012; Sharon Matthews-Stevens, "Cruiser with her dog in dinghy," All at sea, December 2012; Michael DeFreitas, "Indian Girl at Pow Wow," Outpost Magazine, July/August 2013


Best Action Photo  (sponsored by Ontario Parks)

WINNER: Sharon Matthews-Stevens, "Soldiers firing in battle of Stoney Creek Re-enactment," Visit Hamilton 2013-2014

HONOURABLE MENTIONS: Yves Ouellet, "Safari en Namibie: hallucinante faune et saisissant désert - Young zebras fighting," Le Soleil, December 2, 2012; George Burden, "Vancouver: The City that Booze Built: Vancouver Runner," Life as a Human, July 19, 2013


Best Evocation of a Place Photo (sponsored by Ontario Parks) 

WINNER: John Sylvester, "Black & White Photography - From Darkroom to Lightroom," Outdoor Photography Canada, Spring/Summer 2013

HONOURABLE MENTIONS: David Lasker, "Starry Sky over Pyramid Lake," Zoomer, July 2013; Jody Robbins, "Winter wonderland of Waterton,", January 4, 2013; Michael DeFreitas, "Evening Prayer at Jerusalem's Western Wall," Just For Canadian Dentists magazine, September/October 2012

Sharon Matthews-Stevens receiving an award for Best Action Photo

Congratulations as well to our Volunteer Award winners: Carla Mont (B.C. chapter), Megan Kopp (Alberta & N.W.T. chapter), Jerry Grymek (Ontario chapter) and Sandra Phinney (Atlantic chapter).


And thanks to our judges: Dan Brown, Don Genova and David Homel (writing categories); Boris Spremo and Mishell Raedeke (photography categories).


To read a copy of the winning articles and to view the winning photos, please visit TMAC's website at


Back to Table of Contents

Finance Report
Look for a post-Pittsburgh conference update in the fall issue of
TMAC Travels.


- Grant Fraser, TMAC national treasurer

chapter_newsChapter News
BRITISH COLUMBIA - The new TMAC B.C. board is in full swing, planning 2014-15 events and fielding new requests for membership, including those from bloggers interested in TMAC's proposed new membership guidelines.

Our Summer Sizzler is coming up on July 29 at the brand-new, buzzed-about Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar in Vancouver's Sutton Place Hotel.

Stay tuned for exciting details on our upcoming PD day this November!


- Catherine Roscoe Barr, B.C. chapter co-chair

ab_chapterALBERTA & N.W.T. July is the month that we Albertans dust off our cowboy hats and get in line for pancake breakfasts, good music and fun at the Calgary Stampede. Our Munch & Mingle this month reminded us that there's more to Stampede than cocktails before noon. We were treated to a behind-the-scenes tour of the state-of-the-art, $67-million Agrium Western Event Centre, one of only seven similar complexes in North America. 


Our industry partner Lindsay Jardine and Leah Jones, agriculture manager, showed us how the Calgary Stampede is putting the culture back in agriculture. Not only will the facility host international-level exhibitions and trade shows, it is introducing a globally focused educational program called Journey 2050 that will reach 10,000 Grade 7 students each year in the multipurpose rotunda. This facility, one of the largest projects in the Stampede's 100-year history, is meant to become a meeting place for urban and rural communities. 

Our tour guide was Bill Fraser, a longtime volunteer and advisor to the design team. The welfare of the animals was at the forefront of the project, based on years of input from farmers, ranchers and rodeo-exhibition experts. Human visitors will delight in the attention to detail in the bright, comfortable venue with uninterrupted sight lines; the seats were designed to allow for cowboy hats.


Our board is welcoming several new members for 2014. Lauren Webb from Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts has joined us as our new Munch & Mingle coordinator, Lori Bayne from Parks Canada is our new secretary, and Paula Worthington from Brookline PR will be lending a hand on the PD committee. 


We are well on the way to planning our calendar of activities for 2014-15 and we're looking forward to having more new members join the TMAC Alberta & N.W.T. chapter in the coming year.  

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

on_chapterONTARIO As I step down as chair of the Ontario chapter, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the 2013-14 board for their hard work and commitment over the last year: Anne Marshall, my charming co-chair, who will be officially taking over as chair for the 2014-15 term; the talented Igor Kravtchenko; the dedicated Tracy Ford; the ever-enthusiastic Jerry Grymek; the loyal Ron Brown; and the creative Kimberly Hartley, all of whom I am delighted to say have volunteered to continue to serve under Anne's leadership. I'd also like to thank May Givens and Jose Ridoutt Pilar, both of whom retired from the board earlier this year. 


As well, I'd like to welcome Steve Gillick to the board for the 2014-15 term. That leaves us with only one opening for a media member to ensure equal representation from both media and industry.  We all know that the strength, continued growth and evolution of an association such as TMAC can be largely attributed to its volunteers, so I would encourage you to consider joining so you can benefit from a great learning experience and a gratifying position. Anyone interested in finding out more should contact Anne Marshall at


The new board will be meeting in late summer to determine roles and responsibilities for the upcoming year, which will be announced at the first Munch & Mingle event in September as well as in an upcoming edition of TMAC Travels.


Munch & Mingle Update

On Tuesday, June 17, Visit Florida hosted a wonderful Munch & Mingle at The Drake Hotel, where several Florida partners showcased their destinations to attendees. Thank you, Visit Florida, for an evening of "liquid sunshine," fabulous Floridian-focused hors d'oeuvres at a great venue.


We invite you all to attend our next Munch & Mingle, an all-day adventure hosted by Grey County on Tuesday, July 22! It is open to all media and industry TMAC members who would like to experience adventure, excitement and good food.   Experience what makes Grey County fun during the summer, including feeling the rush at Walter's Falls, exploring the longest foot bridge in Ontario at Scenic Caves, visiting Georgian Hills Vineyards and enjoying lunch along Georgian Bay.  RSVP to before Friday, July 15. Space is limited. 


Mark your calendar for our upcoming Munch & Mingles. These include:  September 23, 2014: Eaton Chelsea 

November 25, 2014: Visit California  

December 9, 2014: TMAC Ontario Holiday Cheers Event


Please note some dates and hosts to be confirmed. Watch for details in your inbox and future editions of TMAC Travels. 


Professional Development Update

The Ontario board has designated October as PD month and is busy planning the details. To help facilitate this process, a survey will be sent to all members in early July. Please have your say and help make October's PD session a resounding success.


A Reminder Re: New Member Incentive Program

Invite a member to join TMAC this year for your chance to win! All those who introduce one member will be entered into a draw to win a $50 Visa card. All those who introduce two or more members will be entered into a draw to win a $100 Visa card. The person who recruits the most members will receive a $200 Visa card.

It was my absolute pleasure to serve as Ontario's chair for this past year, but I am truly looking forward to my new role on the national board as vice-president, media.

- Elizabeth A. Kerr, national vice-president, media and past Ontario chapter co-chair


atlantic_chapterATLANTICAt the Atlantic chapter meeting held May 31 at TMAC's annual conference in Pittsburgh, members elected the following officers for the coming year: Chair, Pamela Wamback; Secretary, Alison Aiton; Treasurer, Jan Napier. 


The chapter held a combined meeting and press trip from June 26 to 28 in Edmundston, New Brunswick. What a journey! We discovered a little-known part of Atlantic Canada with lots of story potential. Over the course of two days, we attended a hoppin' and boppin' blues and jazz festival taking place behind our hotel; had a tour of the New Brunswick Botanic Garden (highlighted by lunch in the herb house which included New Brunswick's famous fricot and buckwheat ployes rolled up with butter, brown sugar or molasses) and were mesmerized by Kronos, a contemporary stone circle in which Earth, humans and space come together. We also visited the Antique Automobile Museum and had a delightful guided tour of the Railroad Interpretation Centre.


On our last evening together, we had a special presentation of the upcoming World Acadian Congress which is taking place in the region this August. Two attendees stayed an extra day to have a guided paddle down the Green River. We now have plenty of reasons to go back!


In this coming year, the Atlantic chapter will be focusing on growing our chapter and professional development.


- Pamela Wamback, Atlantic chapter chair 

member_newsMember News

Yet again, TMAC members held their own at the Caribbean Tourism Organization's media awards in Toronto in June. Congratulations go out to Michael DeFreitas who won twice, for Best Feature in a Foreign Publication and Best Photo in Conjunction with a Feature Story. Liz Fleming got the nod for Best Online Story. Mark Stevens was recognized with Highly Commended citations in the Best Consumer Newspaper category and in the Best Feature in a Foreign Publication category. Great job, TMAC!


Dale Dunlop (media) received the award for the best Pittsburgh picture taken at the TMAC conference and is now looking forward to a free weekend in Pittsburgh.


Media member Hélèna Katz is currently working for Parks Canada in Inuvik as a tourism product development officer. She's part of a team that recently won a Parks Canada CEO Award of Excellence for the camping trips that Parks Canada organizes and leads into Ivvavik and Tuktut Nogait national parks.


Glen Bowie (industry) is happy to let the world know that The Algonquin Resort in St. Andrew's By the Sea officially opened on June 18 after an extensive renovation. This is the first Canadian hotel to be a part of Marriott's Autograph Collection.


Sandra Phinney (media) has just launched her new book, Maud Lewis and the "Maudified" House Project: The Story Starts Here. The book is a photo documentary of a community project in Yarmouth, N.S., in which artists painted 11 houses inspired by Maud Lewis, a world-renowned folk artist.


John and Sandra Nowlan (media) have a new website under development. Check it out at


PD_photographyPD Spotlight: The Art of Photography: The State of the Art
By Gary Crallé

Yahoo predicts that 880 billion photos will be taken in 2014. That's your competition for attention.

Gary Crallé


It's all over now but the seeing. Film photography was often a technically intense, zen-like experience. But that was zen; this is now. Digital technology has largely automated the technical aspects, enabling infinite experimentation and creativity. Just set your camera to "P" for program and forget the technicalities. On a cellphone or tablet, just push a button.

But professionals are expected to do more than merely record a subject. They need to communicate important facets of a story to readers and viewers. This analysis or understanding of a subject can be conveyed through a variety of imaging techniques, from traditional to modern digital photography.


The creative challenge now involves mastering the timeless aesthetic aspects of photography in order to make your visual statement. It's about seeing and feeling the essence of a subject. Ultimately, effective photos convey an idea or emotion through a point of view (P.O.V.) - that is, your interpretation.


Please click here to read the entire article.  

inquisitiveInquisitive Minds Want to Know

By Jan Feduck


Question: What is a travel book you have found inspiring, and can you share a blog that you have recently enjoyed or found informative?


Send your responses as well as questions for future issues to our Q&A editor, media member Jan Feduck, at  

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 Joanne Blain 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