The beginning of the calendar year is always a time to take stock and perhaps make plans for the year ahead. In our household that means organizing a large box of paper for income tax time, thinking about new markets and new destinations.

There's been a lot of depressing news about the markets, the loonie and the state of the publishing world. A glass-half-full person would look for buying opportunities, pitch stories on affordable Canada and look beyond our borders for more lucrative-paying U.S. publications.

To help stay with that glass-half-full attitude, use your TMAC contacts for ideas, networking and support. The start of the new year is the perfect time to nurture these connections. That's part of what TMAC Travels is all about. Read, browse, call, ask questions. And, if you are in a position to do so, help others.

- Josephine Matyas TMAC Travels editor


January is an exceptionally busy time for TMAC: re-qualifications, renewals and conference registration and no matter how hard we try, there are always a few stragglers that keep us on our toes through February. In 2016, we are reviewing the possibility of moving the re-qualification process earlier in the year. Stay tuned.


At our January board meeting, it was decided to reinstate chapter funding and provide each chapter additional funds to support membership drives, host professional development workshops and/or help finance other local initiatives to benefit TMAC members. Details of this will be communicated to chapter chairs shortly and cheques will be issued once the renewal process has been completed, hopefully by Feb. 29.


The conference early-bird offer ends February 12, so register soon. As of today, more than XX media and XX industry have already taken advantage of the reduced rates.


As we continue to explore new ways to attract and retain our membership, whether through a marketing initiative, a membership incentive or a nation-wide professional development offering, extra resources will be needed to help make some of this great ideas come to fruition. A Call for Volunteers will be sent out shortly hoping to recruit some TMAC members to join the more than 25 volunteers already working very hard on your behalf.


Please continue to reach out to me directly with your comments and ideas.


I am looking forward to a great 2016 for everyone. Safe travels ... wherever you are.


Positive, pro-active and productive!


- Elizabeth Kerr, TMAC president


As we near the end to a long journey, I can comfortably say that our new website will be launched before the first day of spring. As many of you know, it has been a long and challenging process and I look forward to the day I announce its launch. Over the next month, we will be concentrating on refining the look and feel and updating fresh content wherever we can. Once launched and properly functioning, we will be creating a website committee to help maintain the site, including uploading content, testing and recommending new functionality, liaising with our developer and ensuring we stay current. If this is something of interest to you, please contact Maureen Haley at


TMAC 2016: Your Heart Will Never Leave

June 22 - 25, 2016 | Cape Breton Island 

Cape Breton Island is the place to be June 22-25, 2016 and while you're there, you'll enjoy connecting with friends and colleagues as you explore all things Cape Breton. Entertainment will be a classic East Coast treat; you'll enjoy a traditional lobster boil and expand your historical experiences with an evening at the Fortress of Louisbourg. 

Here are a few more reasons to join us for TMAC 2016: Your Heart Will Never Leave: 
  1. Media marketplace is the place to connect and conduct business - all under one roof! You'll connect with nearly 200 fellow TMACers. 
  2. CNN Travel calls the Cabot Trail, One of 49 journeys that'll change your life. Come and explore and let our host destination show you why this is true. 
  3. It's an island of "firsts"... first commercial coal mine; first constructed lighthouse and astronomical observatory. It's also home to North America's first single malt whisky distillery, Glenora. 
  4. Great artists and musicians hail from Cape Breton Island! Natalie MacMaster, The Rankin Family, The Barra MacNeils, The Men of the Deeps, and the late Rita MacNeil are only a few on the long list. 

But you better hurry! You only have a few short days before the early-bird deadline of February 12! 


What are you waiting for? Register today for additional savings! 


And media members, don't forget ... if you register on or before February 12 you are eligible to apply for the media travel grant. That's easy travel savings to help get you to Cape Breton. 


Full conference details are available at 


The TMAC Social Media Committee held a cross-country phone conference on Jan. 25. 

The various teams for the different platforms - Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram - have set up rotating schedules for weekly posting responsibilities. However, more volunteer manpower is needed. If you are interested in being involved - and it only requires about an hour a day or less, once every few weeks (less if we get more volunteers) - please get in touch with Kat Tancock ( ). Ideally, we'd like to have between four and eight volunteers for each platform. 

The committee is currently working on a more formal set of guidelines that will cover what material to post on the public platforms, what not to post and how we can use social media to recruit potential members to the organization. 

Members are encouraged to be active on all the platforms. This can be done by following TMAC on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. There is also now a national private group page on Facebook where stories, posts, industry news, etc. can be shared, then re-posted by a page administrator on the public page, where appropriate. The group page can also be a good conduit for professional development tips, posts, upcoming press trips, etc. 

We are trying to establish a regular routine on the Facebook group for regular posts from media members on Monday, industry on Thursday. There will also be reminders for people to share their other social media handles/links in the group page to help increase traffic to those platforms. 

Members with Instagram pages are encouraged to tag their photos with #tmacca to help the IG team like and share their images.


A new year, new beginnings! The TMAC Alberta/Northwest Territories chapter bid adieu to 2015 with the final Mix & Mingle event of 2015 held at Truvé Wines. The event was a success offering members complimentary attendance in exchange for a donation of a non-perishable food item. Our members really stepped up and donated 40 food items to help families in need. A huge thank you to our M&M organizer, Noelle Aune, for organizing the event and to Truvé Wines and The Italian Centre in Calgary for donating the venue, food, wine, and prizes for attendees.


In 2016, we welcome two new board members to the team. Barb Monro will be taking over the spot of secretary and Rose Bolton joins as a member-at-large. 2016 also brings with it a partnership opportunity with Alberta Magazine Publishers Association (AMPA), offering our TMAC members the AMPA membership rate for their upcoming conference March 3 - 4 in Calgary. In return we will be offering AMPA members the TMAC member rate at our upcoming professional development session being held this spring. AMPA is a non-profit organization of magazine publishers, and their supporters, working in Alberta. Attending the conference allows TMAC members the opportunity to connect with colleagues and hear industry experts from across North America share their insight, experience and expertise on the topics that matter most in the magazine publishing industry.


This year also sees a new direction in the chapter's social media strategy. Working with a journalism student at Mount Royal University, our current social media strategist, Seema Dhawan, is mentoring the soon-to-be-graduate on our current social platforms and developing a tactical plan to leverage our social channels to meet chapter goals.


Coming up next, our first M&M of the year celebrates Swiss heritage and B.C. mountain culture. The event host, Tourism Golden, will lead attendees back in time to explore Golden's heritage of the Swiss Mountain Guides brought by CP Rail to connect the first tourists to the mountains, and begin the story of mountain adventure tourism in the Canadian Rockies. While guests sample traditional Swiss cuisine they will learn more about Tourism Golden's extensive list of stories that are waiting to be told.


An Edmonton membership drive is also being discussed in an effort to encourage more talented media and expert industry representatives based in Edmonton to join the chapter. Planning has also started on the chapter's annual PD seminars with some exciting ideas and opportunities for exploration. More on this to come! 

We welcome all TMAC members and guests to our events. Contact us for more details on Twitter: @TMAC_AB


- Andrea Visscher, Alberta & N.W.T. chapter chair


On Nov.17, Colorado Tourism and Air Canada hosted a "Taste of Colorado" at The Stirling Room in the Distillery District. The event featured Bison, Beer and Bluegrass as we celebrated more than 20 years of Air Canada service into the Denver hub. It was a great event and the house was packed! For photos from the event, visit the TMAC Ontario Facebook page. 


The Ontario chapter had a fantastic year end Munch & Mingle at Hy's Steakhouse and Cocktail Bar on Dec. 9.

 Sponsors included Hy's (great food and great service), Wine Country Ontario (featuring four incredible wines), the City of Tokyo (terrific introduction to the city) and TourRadar (a relatively new tour company with a very exciting future). Sixty-five members attended the event that featured 29 door prizes as well as a Grand Draw Prize from Wine Country Ontario, won by Elizabeth Kerr. Hy's did an amazing job and a big thank you to all the TMAC members who helped make this a memorable evening. For photos from the event, visit the TMAC Ontario Facebook page. 

The Ontario board held a meeting at the Chelsea Hotel to discuss a number of issues and plan the agenda for the next few months. The board acknowledged that membership growth and retention are key objectives for the Ontario chapter and we will be calling on all Ontario chapter members to assist with growing and retaining membership, inviting members to attend and take advantage of the opportunity to network at the Munch & Mingles, and be supportive of TMAC, our fellow members and our future as an organization. 


We are still looking for hosts for our April M&M, July Road Trip, Sept. M&M, and Dec. Holiday M&M. If you are interested, please contact 


The agenda so far includes: 

  • Feb. 23 M & M - Sponsored by the Ontario Chapter with Special Guests from Cape Breton 
  • March 22 M & M - Sponsored by Blue Mountain 
  • April M & M - Open for hosting 
  • May M & M - returns to the Chelsea Hotel for a wonderful outdoor feast at the famous food truck! 
  • June 22-25 - TMAC Conference and AGM in Cape Breton. Ontario chapter meeting on June 25 from 9-10 am. 
  • July Road Trip - Open for hosting 
  • Sept. - Open for hosting 
  • Oct. - We may defer activities in favour of the Go Media Marketplace. 
  • Nov. - P.D. session: Every question you've wanted answered on how to use WordPress 
  • Dec. - The greatly anticipated end-of-year M & M - with prizes for all! Open for hosting. 

 - Steve Gillick, Ontario chapter co-chair (media)


The TMAC B.C. chapter is in full swing, following the launch of our membership drive on Nov. 9 at the Pan Pacific Vancouver. We're busy reaching out to potential new members, engaging with our current membership and welcoming new members to the chapter and organization.


We will be holding our Spring PD session on Sat. March 12 at The Listel Hotel in Vancouver where we will provide an update to our chapter membership, discuss topics that are affecting both industry and media, and listen to a captivating key note and panel. The full agenda and invite will be sent out to members soon!


Finally, our members continue to share pitches, stories, and published works through our active Facebook group, which is helping to ensure that we're highlighting the amazing work being done by our membership. 


- Brian Cant, B.C. chapter chair


Normally, things are a little quieter on the East Coast but this winter seems to be full of activity. At our annual meeting last summer, we spent a fair bit of time discussing how we could grow our Atlantic Canadian TMAC family. And the results are showing! We are thrilled to welcome new members to our small but mighty team: Helen Early (media - Family Fun Canada), Jon Tattrie (media), Kate Conklin (new media relations contact for Destination Halifax), Rhonda Hutton (Destination St. John's) and Larry Peach (Municipality of Claire/La Baie Sainte-Marie). 


We are equally excited to be helping our friends at Destination Cape Breton get ready to host everyone June 22-25, 2016 in Sydney! The planning committee has been working hard to make this one of the most memorable marketplaces yet. In the meantime, here are a few East Coast new nuggets to whet your appetite:

  • Mont Farlagne Outdoor Centre in Edmundston has new owners, a new vision and new activities. Now owned by a group of local investors, the Mont Farlagne Outdoor Centre is more than just a ski hill: it now has a mechanical rolling carpet located on the beginner's hill; a redesigned snow park; an ice climbing wall; and a snowshoe trail. Stay tuned for more to come this summer! 
  • In recognition of the resort's 75th anniversary, GolfNorth has announced plans to re-establish Cape Breton's Keltic Lodge and Cape Breton Highlands Links as the #1 destination for food, golf, scenery and hospitality in Atlantic Canada, with over $2-million in improvements scheduled to be completed by mid 2016. 
  • The Residence Inn Moncton by Marriott is undergoing interior renovations to its 133 fully equipped guestroom suites, with completion by March 2016. The upbeat redesign includes suites, corridors, lobby, breakfast room, gym and meeting spaces. In addition to the newly renovated hotel, The Keg Steakhouse is located on hotel property and welcomes all guest to enjoy a fine dining experience. 
  • 2016 marks the 75th anniversary of the official opening of Port-Royal National Historic Site as the first major reconstruction undertaken by the federal government. Completed in 1940 (official opening 1941), the reconstruction of the Port-Royal Habitation brought a new era of interpreting the past. The anniversary will be celebrated in 2016 with a series of special events, a commemorative publication and the completion of a new welcome kiosk for visitors. 
  • Kejimkujik Seaside will offer a new program this year: "Gone Crabbing" is "scientourism" at its best - a unique coastal experience to help restore the estuary at Kejimkujik Seaside. Launching July in and August. 
  • In 2017 the long awaited Tall Ships Festival is coming back to Halifax! - Pam Wamback, Atlantic chapter chair
- Pam Wamback, Atlantic chapter chair

Industry member Martha Chapman is pleased to announce she is now doing the Canadian PR for World Expeditions, a worldwide adventure and active travel company with over 1,000 itineraries. These range from bike-and-barge in France to numerous tours in the Himalayas (Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan). World Expeditions is a leader in sustainable travel and even has a sustainable travel manager based in their Ottawa office. The company also has a division for young travellers - perfect for gap-year people - and a charity challenge division amongst its several companies. Although at this time there is no budget for media travel (working on that!) the company's well-travelled and welcoming staff are a great resource for expert input on worldwide tourism trends. Contact Martha at

Judy Ahola, from Nest + Nosh PR, would like to announce her move back to Vancouver as of Jan. 2016. She will continue to represent many of her hospitality clients in Toronto from the west coast. She'll join TMAC's Vancouver chapter and looks forward to welcoming all Toronto members for a taste of the city. She can be reached at


Atlantic chapter member, John Sylvester's piece, "New Zealand - Landscapes of Middle Earth" appears in the winter 2016 issue of Outdoor Photography Canada magazine. It's a travel piece about his two month journey through New Zealand. One of the photos featured in the story was "Highly Honored" in the landscape category of the Windland Smith Rice International Photography awards and appears in the 20th anniversary issue of Nature's Best Photography magazine.


John Sylvester has a new book coming out in April with Nimbus Publishing: The Little Book of Newfoundland & Labrador, similar to the successful "LB of PEI" published a few years ago. Aimed at the tourism market, it features images from John's extensive travels through Newfoundland and Labrador.


Discover Saint John is thrilled to welcome a new Executive Director, Victoria Clarke. A well-known figure in the Saint John community, Victoria is a recognized expert in fundraising and revenue development with proven results. Her most recent positions include Associate Director of Revenue Development at the Canadian Cancer Society of New Brunswick and the acting CEO of the Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation.


Darcy Leblanc has also joined the Discover Saint John team as the sales manager for its new Festival and Events office officially opened in early August.



Sheila Hansen

Canada Wide Media

 Vancouver, BC

Amanda Mackay

Calgary, AB

Nicola Gordon

Guelph, ON

Jon Tattrie

Halifax, NS

Kate Robertson

Castlegar, BC

Jen Mallia

Edmonton, AB

Alain Clavet

Montreal, QC

Larry Peach

Municipality of ClareLittlebrook, NS
Virginia Lewis

Loud + ClearSt.

Catharines, ON


By Sandra Phinney


When Mark Stevens started writing in the late 1990s, little did he know that he would evolve into an award-winning travel writer. Nor did he know that he would end up spending mega hours serving on various TMAC committees - including the Ontario board, media membership committee, PD committee - and eventually ending up on the national board co-chairing TMAC.


How did this come about? Mark had a wanderer's spirit from a young age. He ventured to Newfoundland to attend university; then trained to be a hospital orderly (knowing this could land him a job anywhere). But what he calls his "real education" came later when he became a high school music teacher in 1985, morphing into the head of that department which lasted for 20 years.


Mark wrote his first travel story while taking an online writing course. Encouraged to sell it (and other assignments) he says, "I was a travel writer before I knew I was a travel writer! I actually thought it was an easy gig. Little did I know."


Since those early years, the successful wordsmith has seriously studied the craft of writing. He reads Best American Travel Writing every year, adding to his current collection of nearly 200 books about the craft of writing.


Asked about tips for anyone who aspires to win travel writing awards, Mark says, "Revise, revise, revise. Do your homework. Read your stuff out loud."


Regarding TMAC's potential (which he believes is huge) he's also concerned about some less-than-collegial sentiments that seem to have emerged. "I sometimes worry about TMAC [from exchanges with members at the conference, or on the listserv]. If I am part of that, I regret and apologize. I want us to be more collegial and inclusive - supportive no matter who you are. I honestly think we have lost some of that."


On the up side, Mark continues to be active, and loves working with other volunteers. "Co-chairing TMAC gave me a chance to work with Jo Matyas, a consummate professional who cares deeply about integrity and the health of TMAC."


Regarding his many roles as a volunteer, TMAC Travels posed the question, "Why bother?"


Mark replied, "As a collegial organization (at its best anyway) TMAC has given me travel, networking and professional opportunities. It can be a source of support. If I don't bother, who will?"


He'd love for every member to ask themselves: What are my skills? What could I do if ... The answer could be as simple as taking attendance at a Munch & Mingle.


There's an old African proverb: "If you want to walk fast, walk alone. If you want to walk far, walk together."


Volunteers like Mark Stevens help an organization to endure ... and "go far."



Linked with permission from the website, an article by freelance writer Nathaniel C. Oliver on points to think about as you assess how much your work is worth.




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 with witty, brilliant, interesting and insightful answers from our members.

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


This month's question:

Please share your best packing tips so we can all travel lighter in 2016.

Melody Wren, Writer, Blogger, Photographer shared:

  1. Always carry small package of wet-wipes - indispensable for so many situations. 
  2. I always travel with carry on luggage only to avoid the wait at either end.
  3. If there is a chance you won't be able to find it where you are going, take it with you. I once packed two inflatable pool chairs just in case my rental in Spain didn't have any. It was a good call. 
  4. In order to not over pack, I make a simple itinerary of approximately what I will be doing every day and write down the clothes I will wear, using many items more than once.  

Josephine Matyas, Writer/Photographer, shared her tips, adding that she has managed a month of time on the road with just a carry on-size suitcase. Here are her tips:

  1. Create a packing checklist beforehand (so you don't forget anything) and invest a bit of time going through your travel itinerary to determine the number and types of events and activities. That way you can pack only what you need. Pare down what you are going to bring.
  2. Shoes and boots take up a lot of space. Choose wisely and take footwear that can do double duty if possible (i.e. daytime walking shoes that can pair with pants or a skirt for a more dressy evening).
  3. Choose black. Black hides dirt and goes with almost everything.
  4. Choose quick-dry wear when possible - from underwear to tops and shorts - and do a small laundry in your hotel room nightly. It will be dry by morning.
  5. Use packing cubes that compress air and take up less space or special packing tools like the Eagle Creek packing folder for shirts. Mesh packing cubes and regular Ziploc bags are fantastic for keeping things organized.
  6. Rolling your clothes takes less space than lying them flat in your suitcase. Fewer wrinkles as well.
  7. Wear your bulkiest clothing on planes and trains getting to/from your destination.
  8. I often take along clothing pieces that are ready to be passed along out of my wardrobe. Old socks and undies get worn and then tossed along the way. Clothing like t-shirts, shorts, etc. get left behind at my destination.
  9. I have a hard-sided regulation carry-on suitcase that has an expandable zippered option to create just a bit more space inside. The hard side means I can safely store electronics and breakables inside if needed, before it gets shoved into the overhead bin. The expansion feature gives me a bit more space if I pick up souvenirs along the way.

Gillian Hall of Media Relations, Destination Quebec, shared this tip:


My travel trip for females is jersey tops and dresses. They are light and you can literally roll them up and fit quite a few in carry-on luggage ... bonus: they don't crush.

She also suggested a blog that might be helpful.


Jan Napier - Writer, shared these tips:

  1. Start with a small bag, a very small bag. 
  2. Roll clothes in packing cubes.
  3. These are my favourite packing cubes but there are other companies that make them. Stores like Mountain Equipment Co-op sell them.


Brian Cant, 

Jan Feduck, 

Steve Gillick,  

Elizabeth Kerr, 

Sandra Phinney, 

Josephine Matyas, 

Andrea Visscher, 

Candice Walsh, 

Pam Wamback,


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 $75, please contact TO Corp at


The newsletter also seeks chapter news and info on press trips (short descriptions with dates, rough itineraries, requirements - e.g. assignment letter) as well as tips, news and updates submitted by members.



Items must be sent, with "TMAC TRAVELS" in the subject line, to Josephine Matyas at Items may be edited for length, grammar or clarity.


March/April 2016February 17
May/June 2016April 21

Travel Media Association of Canada | 21 St. Clair Avenue East | Suite 802 | Toronto | Ontario | M4T 1L9 | Canada