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July | August 2015
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Inside TMAC Travels
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bod2015-16 Board of Directors


Elizabeth Kerr (media)

Toronto, ON 

Phone: 416-258-9948



Jerry Grymek (industry)

Account Director, LMA Communications Inc.

Toronto, ON 

Phone: 416-440-2500



Melody Wren(media)

Guelph, ON

Phone: 519-836-6264



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



Glenn Cameron (industry)

PR Consultant, Clear Communications

Toronto, ON 

Phone: 416 920-5817


Dale Dunlop (media)

Head of St. Margarets Bay, NS

Phone: 902-826-7713 


Holly Lenk (industry)

Manager, Travel Media Relations, Tourism Victoria

Victoria, BC

Phone: 250-414-6974

Mary M. Tulle (industry)
CEO, Destination Cape Breton Association
Sydney, NS
Phone: 902-563-4636
New Members




Marela Lucero-Lee

PUNCH Canada Inc.

Toronto, ON



Douglas MacKenzie

Visit Phoenix

Phoenix, AZ





Shannon Leahy


Raystorm Communications



Rob Stimpson

Huntsville, ON



Scott Whalen

Belleville, ON


Contributors to This Issue

Thanks to:


Karyl Leigh Barnes,


Joanne Blain,


Anne-Marie Forcier,


Grant Fraser,

Elizabeth Kerr,


Anne Marshall, 


Josephine Matyas,


Barb Sligl,


Debra Smith,


Jantine Van Kregten, 


Candice Walsh,

Dear  :

I am pleased to resume my role as editor for TMAC Travels. Over the past year, it has beenmanaged by the ultra-professional, Joanne Blain. Thanks to Joanne for all her work and for raising the bar!

- Josephine Matyas TMAC Travels editor
President_ReportPresident's Report

I would like to welcome and introduce you to the new TMAC national board who was voted in at the AGM in Peterborough on Sat. June 13, 2015. Returning members include Jerry Grymek, VP industry, who is also serving as co-chair, conference committee as well as a member of the sponsorship committee; Grant Fraser (media), treasurer; Dan Young (industry), secretary; Glenn Cameron, director-at-large (industry); and Holly Lenk, director-at-large (industry), who is also serving as sponsorship committee chair.


New members include Melody Wren, VP media, who is also serving as co-chair, conference committee as well as chapter liaison Officer; Dale Dunlop, director-at-large (media) who continues to serve as chair, governance and nominations committee; Mary Tulle, director-at-large (industry) and John Geary, director-at-large (media).


We will be reaching out to the chairs and members of other TMAC committees to confirm who will be continuing and what, if any, volunteer opportunities may exist for 2015/2016. As you are keenly aware, volunteers are key to the success of any association-based, not-for-profit organization so please feel free to step up. At the outset, I'd like to thank Jo Matyas for volunteering to take over from Joanne Blain as the editor of TMAC Travels.


Our board will be setting some key objectives for this year during the first few board meetings taking place in August and September. Areas of discussion will include: communications, member retention and growth, and how to better serve our membership. This list will expand as discussions begin and we will keep you posted through the website and TMAC Travels. Feel free to reach out and make suggestions.


We are looking forward to this year and are committed to maintaining the level of dedication that the previous board, led by Josephine Matyas and Mark Stevens, demonstrated throughout their term. It was a personal honour working with both Jo and Mark who went above and beyond to pass the baton to me in an elegant, relatively seamless way. Thank you both, on behalf of your 2014/2015 board and the entire membership (if I may) for your commitment to TMAC. [APPLAUSE PLEASE!] It will, indeed, be a hard act to follow.


Positive, pro-active and productive!


- Elizabeth Kerr, TMAC president

finance_reportFinance Report

We are halfway through the year and TMAC's financial situation appears to be unfolding as planned. Revenues are up from this time a year ago and expenses appear to in line with what we budgeted for. I am waiting for our 2015 conference results from TOCS and will have a better picture of where things stand in my next financial update. In the meantime, please contact me at if you have any questions.


- Grant Fraser, TMAC national treasurer

awardsAwards Committee Report

The 2014 TMAC Awards were handed out at the annual conference in Peterborough on the evening of Sat. June 13. New this year, the board instituted Outstanding Achievement recognitions (where judges felt it was warranted), as well as a $250 Second Prize award, in addition to the $750 First Prize Award.


Congratulations to all the entrants and to all the winners:




Best People Photo (sponsored by Le Québec Maritime)

1ST: Bruce Kemp, "Inuit Madonna and Child" - West of the City Magazine - Nov. 2013

2ND: Debbie Olsen, "Weighing the Catch" - Red Deer Advocate - Oct. 2, 2013

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT: John Sylvester, "Nebraskan Rancher" - Country Extra - Dec. 2013/Jan. 2014


Best Action Photo (sponsored by Peterborough & the Kawarthas Tourism)

1ST: Remy Scalza, "Leap of Faith" - Canadian Geographic Travel - Summer 2014

2ND: James Ross, "Maui Tropical Storm" - Kamloops This Week - May 9, 2014

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT: Sharon Matthews-Stevens, "Racing in the Inner Harbour - Toronto" - Sailing - Wing and Wing Across Ontario - July/August 2014


Best Evocation of a Place Photo

(sponsored by Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation (OTMPC)

1ST: John Sylvester, "Beacons of Hope" - Country Extra - May 2014

2ND: Hans Tammemagi, "Hiker in Grand Canyon" - Indian Country Today - Jan. 11, 2014

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT: Hans Tammemagi, "Red Sand Dunes of Sossusvlei, Namibia" - Indian Country Today - Dec. 28, 2013

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT: John Sylvester, "Rainbow Bright" - Saltscapes - July/August 2014




Best Cultural/Historical Feature (sponsored by Québec City Tourism)

1ST: Nancy Wigston, "Loveable Leipzig" - TraveLife Magazine - July 2014

2ND: Natasha Mekhail, "Retail Zen" - Mercedes-Benz Magazine - Nov. 2013

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT: John Lee, "Act of God" - NUVO Magazine - Spring 2014


Best Family Feature (sponsored by Visit Florida)

1ST: Josephine Matyas, "Living in the Past" - Doctor's Review - Jan. 2014

2ND: Bruce Kemp, "Teach Your Kids How to Fish" - Boat Guide Magazine - Winter 2014

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT: Joanne Blain, "Prairie Roots" - Westworld Saskatchewan - Summer 2014


Best Environmental/Responsible Tourism Feature

(sponsored by Destination British Columbia)

1ST: Carol Patterson, "A Bird Poop Boom" - Red Deer Advocate - Dec. 14, 2013

2ND: Cinda Chavich, "Bear Necessities" - Get Lost Travel Magazine - April 2014

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT: Peter Johansen, "America's Worst Weather: A Trek up Mount Washington Can be Delightfully Foul" - Montreal Gazette - July 14, 2014


Best Outdoors/Adventure Feature (sponsored by Tourism Saskatchewan)

1ST: Mark Stevens, "Warming up to Winter" - Just for Canadian Dentists - January/February 2014

2ND: Chris McBeath, "Cheapskate Cruise Delivers Big Time Value" - Travelworld/ Morning Star - October/November 2013

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT: Jenn Smith Nelson, "In Saskatchewan, Bison are King" - - Oct. 24, 2013


Best Service Feature (sponsored by

1ST: Lisa Kadane, "Inclusive Disney" - WestJet Magazine - April 2014

2ND: John Lee, "The Ultimate Doctor Who: Fan-Boy Pilgrimage to Britain" - The Globe and Mail - Oct. 19, 2013

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT: Joanne Blain, "Play Hipster for a Day in Portland" - The Vancouver Sun - April 19, 2014

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT: Jody Robbins, "Doggy Downtime" - Calgary Herald - April 28, 2014


Best Food & Drink Feature (sponsored by Ottawa Tourism)

1ST: Amy Rosen, "The Future of French Food" - Air Canada enRoute Magazine - Oct. 31, 2013

2ND: Cinda Chavich, "Connect the Pots" - Doctor's Review - Nov. 2013

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT: Josephine Matyas, "Tidbits of Luxembourg" - West of the City Magazine - March 5, 2014


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

1ST: Remy Scalza, "Small Town Rodeo" - Canadian Geographic Travel - Summer 2014

2ND: Amy Rosen, "A High Way with Byways" - Food Arts - June 2014

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT: Bruce Kemp, "Northwest Passage: Where the Ghosts of History Roam" - West of the City Magazine - Nov. 2013

- Jantine Van Kregten, awards committee chair

conferenceConference Evaluation Summary

The theme for our 2015 conference in Peterborough was "Our Roots Are Showing," and it's safe to say that a lot of us let down our hair. From the opening reception where a little rain didn't interfere with reconnecting with old friends to a rollicking closing gala with the younger generation of the Leahy family, it was a conference to be remembered.


The results of our recent conference survey bear that out. Respondents were more or less equally split between media (51.2 per cent) and industry (48.8 per cent). Of all those responding, 39.5 per cent said their conference experience was excellent. 49.6 per cent rated it as very good and 10.9 per cent labeled it good. No one called it fair or poor, we're glad to hear.


In terms of comments, many respondents had high praise for our hosts at Peterborough & the Kawarthas Tourism, citing their organization, promotion, friendliness and professionalism - all "A++" according to one attendee. The pre- and post-tours also got a lot of praise, as did the entertainment and the meals.


On the minus side, many people mentioned that the space for our media marketplace was tight and the sound level was high - "too crowded and noisy" kind of sums it up. And some people said they had to wait too long for transfers between the venues and hotels.


Most people cited the media marketplace (93.2 per cent) as their main reason for attending, followed closely by networking (91.5 per cent). "Since freelance writers often work in a bit of a vacuum, I find the chance to interact with my peers very important," said one person.


The conference location was well rated, with 64.7 per cent of people rating it either excellent or very good. Some of you wanted to see a shorter conference, perhaps two or three days instead of four - 19.6 per cent of you said it was excellent the way it is, and 37.6 per cent said it was very good.


Since conference fees went up this year, it might not be a surprise that only 14.4 per cent of attendees called the price excellent, but just over 36 per cent of you called it very good and the same number called it good. The tight quarters for the media marketplace seems to have affected its grade a bit - 22 per cent called it excellent, while 39.8 per cent said it was very good.


As for what we could do to improve the media marketplace, "more space" was an oft-repeated comment. Almost everyone still seems to like the two half days of marketplace instead of one full day, but many, many people asked for a coffee (or bathroom) break especially on day one, when there is no open marketplace. "Four hours of talking with no break is far from fun for any of us," one person said.


A couple of people wanted to see a third half day added to the itinerary next time around. Some media members wanted to see more international industry representatives, and some industry wanted to see more media members, period.


Of all the receptions and dinners put on during the conference, the opening reception at the lift lock rated highest with 40.1 per cent calling it excellent, followed closely by the closing dinner at the Evinrude Centre at 37.9 per cent. The reception and awards presentation at The Venue got a 26.7 per cent excellent votes and the welcome reception got 18.5 per cent (blame it on the rain?).


Some people took the opportunity to chide their fellow members for continuing to talk while some of our invited speakers were at the microphone, especially at the lift lock event. Others mentioned that the tent venue was too noisy and wondered why we needed "biker dude security guards" at the doors.


For the local tours, 42.5 per cent of people said theirs was excellent, while 29.8 per cent called it very good. "Fascinating and totally unexpected," said one participant, while another said "fun with a soupcon of danger." And virtually all the guides earned high praise.


The dine-around was a big success, you told us - 68.8 per cent of you rated it excellent and 16.7 per cent very good. Even those of you who had to be moved to another restaurant because of a power outage seemed happy! "Terrific showcase for the region," one respondent said.


The media pre-tours also earned high marks, with 43.5 per cent of participants saying they were excellent and another 34.8 per cent calling them very good. Post-tours scored even higher, with 61.5 per cent of participants calling them excellent and 30.7 per cent pegging them as very good (despite the mosquitoes and black flies!) "Great hosts and guides. Fabulous place," said one happy camper.


One aspect of the conference that proved a bit controversial was our keynote speaker, Sean Cullen. More than 36 per cent of people in the audience rated him poor or fair, while only 6.7 per cent called him excellent. Although some people thought a comedian was a good addition to the conference, others wanted a more informative, relevant speaker. And many people felt he should have known who he was speaking to (hey dude, we're not travel agents!) and shouldn't have been allowed to run over his allotted time, cutting into the PD sessions. "Know your audience and come prepared instead of phoning it in" sums up a lot of the comments.


The professional development sessions scored with 10.1 per cent calling them excellent, 30.5 per cent labelling them very good and 28 per cent good. How to YouTube and Picture Perfect with your Smartphone got the highest ratings. Some industry members would have liked to see more sessions focused toward their interests rather than those of the media.


For future conferences, media members suggested PD sessions ranging from book publishing to how to monetize social media to finding new markets. For industry, a session on balancing media demands with policies and paperwork was suggested, as well as one on how to build a successful press trip itinerary.


Most of you seemed happy with your accommodations - 56.3 rated them excellent or very good. Staff at both host hotels earned high praise.


On the food and beverage front, the closing dinner at the Evinrude Centre and the lift lock reception were singled out for praise by several participants. Over all, 24 per cent of you called your dining experiences excellent and 38.5 per cent said they were very good. "Was amazed at the quality of the food. I admit to a bit of Toronto prejudice, but Peterborough's chefs set me straight." High praise indeed!


The TMAC awards program was rated excellent by 21.3 per cent of you and very good by 52.1 per cent. Some of you were happy to see three winners in each category this year. Most liked the fact that the presentation was short and sweet, but a few people were bothered by the photographer, who they found disruptive because she was too close to the audience.


Suggestions for future awards include ones for broadcasting, multimedia story packages, blogs and online features, travel books, sports tourism, international tourism, food and drink photos, nature and wildlife photos, YouTube videos and photos shot with a smart phone.


Spring is still the most popular time for a conference, you told us, with 57.3 per cent saying that's when they would like to see it. But almost the same number responded, "whatever best showcases the destination."


As for future venues, you were literally all over the map - several spots in B.C. as well as Montreal, Newfoundland, Europe, Banff, Yukon, Palm Springs and the Niagara region were all mentioned. One person was very excited about his or her top pick, "QUEBEC!!!!!" Okay, we heard you!


We're happy to hear that a good percentage of you seem to be quite happy about our 2016 venue, Cape Breton. A total of 61.5 per cent of you said "yes, absolutely!" when asked if you'll be attending. See you there.


TMAC Media Marketplace - Photo by Rob Stimpson


chapter_newsChapter News

albertaALBERTA & N.W.T. - It was another banner year at the 2015 TMAC Conference in Peterborough for TMAC AB & N.W.T. as four of our members took home awards. Kudos to Carol Patterson for winning 1st place for her story "A Bird Poop Boom" - Red Deer Advocate - Dec. 14, 2013 in the Best Environmental/Responsible Tourism Feature category (sponsored by Destination British Columbia); Lisa Kadane for her 1st place in Best Service Feature (sponsored by for "Inclusive Disney" - WestJet Magazine - April 2014; Jody Robbins, won an Outstanding Achievement award for "Doggy Downtime" - Calgary Herald - April 28, 2014 and Debbie Olsen, for her 2nd place Best People Photo (sponsored by Le Québec Maritime) for "Weighing the Catch" - Red Deer Advocate - Oct. 2, 2013. About 10 of our chapter members attended the annual meeting to discuss various issues and ways to improve services for our members including the desire to bring more bloggers into TMAC.


Back at home, our June Munch & Mingle was a well-attended affair at Heritage Park with about 20 members enjoying some bubbly and bites at the new Famous 5 Centre of Canadian Women at Heritage Park Historical Village. The centre opened last summer as Heritage Park's 50th anniversary legacy exhibit and has quickly become one of the Park's most popular stops. The building is a representation of Nellie McClung's Calgary home and is where the stories of the Famous Five group of women are shared. Many thanks to Barb Munro, Communications Specialist and TMAC industry member from Heritage Park for hosting us.

Have a wonderful summer and stay tuned for more chapter activities this fall.


- Debra Smith, Alberta & N.W.T. chapter chair 

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ONTONTARIO It was our pleasure to host the annual TMAC conference in Peterborough, Ontario June 10-13. Reports on the pre and post fam tours were encouraging and engaging. The Peterborough Kawarthas Tourism Team was small but mighty kudos to them for planning such a fun event. Local food and drink (Publican beer in Kawarthas design cans) were featured, as was the entertainment (Leahy Next Generation, Wakami Wailers).

Discussion at the annual chapter meeting in Peterborough included:

                            - Offering a solution for Munch & Mingle name badges - thank you to all delegates who recycled their TMAC badges with us.

                            - It was suggested we look at bloggers and other new media to increase our membership (topic for national agenda).

                            - Also suggested we look at reducing the initiation fee for returning members to encourage participation (topic for national agenda).

                            - As there are so many media events in Toronto it was suggested we look at a master list/clearing house to avoid duplicate functions (realizing many of the events are time sensitive).

                            - It was suggested that a listing of hosting opportunities be shared with the members so out of town members are able to attend Munch & Mingle events and stay over - perhaps the announcement of each M&M could include housing offers (thank you to Katharine and Eric Fletcher for their wonderful offer of hospitality in the Quebec countryside). The annual TMAC road trip is scheduled for July 21 to the Waterloo Region enjoy a day filled with story ideas, from markets to Mennonites. Space is limited. Munch & Mingles Ontario: September - Chelsea Toronto (always a formidable host); October - Professional Development Session*; November - Colorado*; December - Holiday Social*; (*dates and locations to be confirmed). "Why TMAC?" flyer is available electronically for those who wish to recruit new members. Thank you to Jacquie Durand for producing the document. The PanAm ParaPanAm Games are here in Ontario in July, the venues are widespread and the excitement is building have a wonderful summer! 

- Anne Marshall, Ontario chapter co-chair

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BCBRITISH COLUMBIA - The TMAC B.C. Chapter is getting into full-on summer spirit with our annual Summer Sizzler event in Vancouver. This year, we're mixing and mingling with chapter members and friends on the Westin Grand Vancouver Hotel's sundrenched rooftop #PopUpPatio. This is our first event with the BC Board's new chair, industry member Brian Cant of Tartan Group. We're happy to have Brian join the team, and we'll all raise a glass on July 23rd at the Summer Sizzler! Future fall events to be announced.


- Barb Sliglvice-chair, TMAC B.C. chapter


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atlanticATLANTIC - Province House in Charlottetown, P.E.I., the location of Canada's birthplace, has just closed for extensive conservation, which will take at least three years. Parks Canada was pleased to be able to partner with Confederation Centre of the Arts, right next door, to open "The Story of Confederation," a striking replica of Province House's Confederation Chamber. A 20-minute video, "A Building of Destiny," explains the significance of the 1864 Charlottetown Conference and nearby Province House National Historic Site. The Confederation Players will continue to perform around the grounds of both buildings as they interpret the roles of the founding fathers and stories of Canada's birthplace. Beyond the film and a very accurate reproduction of the Chamber meeting space, visitors will find interpretive panels and Explora - the official Parks Canada Province House app - to learn more about the events surrounding the founding of Canada. 


- Candice Walsh, Atlantic chapter chair

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member_newsMember News

A MUST-READ RESOURCE for PR pros pitching the U.S. and Canada: A survey conducted by Development Counsellors International (DCI) assessed the preferences of travel and lifestyle journalists on both sides of the border. What words in an email subject line catch their attention? What is the best time of day to attend a media event? Check out these findings and more by downloading your free copy of The Divergent Media Preferences of Border Buddies: US vs. Canada! (Free copy at:


evolutionThe Evolution of Media Influence in Travel Marketing

By Karyl Leigh Barnes


If you're a travel writer, you know a thing or two about change. Over the years, the number of digital travel magazines throughout Canada has grown, but the pay rates for digital content remain lower than rates paid for print articles of the same length. Newspaper travel sections, from Post Media newspapers to the Toronto Star, no longer have the healthy budgets they once did. For freelance writers in particular, this has made finding and maintaining income-generating outlets increasingly more difficult. Then, amid the changing media landscape, we've seen the emergence of "digital influencers."

Trust in "a person like me" has increased significantly since 2009 (Edelman Trust Barometer) and "digital influencers" are considered in the "people like me" category among consumers. These are individuals who have developed a loyal following online - their content (words, images and videos) can motivate their audience to act. This makes these influencers excellent brand advocates and niche promoters in the tourism space, especially when their passions and interests align with a destination or hotel's brand and its attributes. 


Please click here to read the entire article.  

frenchFrench Language Article: Les Debuts De L'Ontario Français

Par: Anne-Marie Forcier


L'histoire de la présence franaaise en Ontario débute avec les explorations du jeune Étienne Brulé en 1610 et l'établissement de la première mission jésuite à Sainte-Marie-aux-Pays-des-Hurons en 1639. Les français sont les premiers européens à révéler les ressources naturelles et économiques du territoire qui deviendra l'Ontario, et à

nouer des alliances avec les autochtones.


La présence française en Ontario remonte officiellement au 1er août 1615, date de la rencontre entre Champlain et le chef Huron-Wendaat à Toanché (maintenant Penetanguishene). Champlain a passé une année en sol ontarien en 1615-1616 afin de tisser des liens avec les Huron-Wendaat et établir les bases de la traite des fourrures en Ontario.


Le Circuit commence à Montréal et traverse les communautés de Hawkesbury, Ottawa, Mattawa, North Bay, Sudbury, Rivière des Français, Killarney, la région de la baie Georgienne jusqu'à la rivière Humber et la ville de Toronto. L'Ontario fetera cette 400e anniversaire de Champlain en 2015-2016. Soyez de la fete!

TMAC Travels - Newsletter Submission Guidelines
TMAC Travels is published bi-monthly. Publication of solicited and unsolicited articles is not guaranteed. Final content is decided by TMAC Travel's editorial board and the national board. 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.