A quick note from your new editor... 

We're all probably familiar with the quote, "There is nothing permanent but change." 

You'll notice a few changes in this month's newsletter, aside from the new editor stepping into the shoes formerly worn by outgoing editor Jo Matyas. Some new people have stepped up to help contribute to this publication; as well, there will probably be some more changes and tweaks in the coming months as we work at making it an even better newsletter for all our members. 

If you do have anything you want to see, or would like to suggest a possible new idea for a regular section, please don't hesitate to let me know.

- John Geary, TMAC Travels editor 



A Little Maritime Hospitality

Given that pretty well every person who attended the TMAC Conference in Cape Breton was a travel professional, it's probably the world's worst-kept secret that we'd be expecting a heaping helping of hospitality.

The folks at Destination Cape Breton, led by Mary Tulle, TMAC board member, CEO and conference committee member par excellence, delivered whole-heartedly, not just serving up a delicious, delectable conference from Wednesday, June 22 to Saturday, June 25, but also offering a menu of excursions to media members before and after.

Think cold-water surf lessons, kayaking, hiking, sailing, golfing, fly-fishing, biking, lobster boils on the beach and beer and whiskey tastings. Think "lessons in history" - from stays at Louisbourg (a whole bunch of Parks Canada activities took place thanks to a partnership with Guy Theriault and his colleagues) to visits to a historic highland village.

"We based these trips on research we've done about the 10 reasons people come to Cape Breton," says Tulle. "And then we sent Randy Brooks out to make it all happen."

Tour ambassadors - musicians, retired teachers, business owners - shared their time and expertise, while chauffeurs, volunteers with the Celtic Colours Drivers' Association, got everyone everywhere on time, before, during and after.

"Something like 80 volunteers came forward," says Tulle. "But I'd be remiss if I didn't especially thank Ross Hunter, who really ran logistics," she adds.

With an influx of close to 200 conference delegates, logistics were key. People had to get to where they wanted to get to, they had to be fed, they had to be entertained, they had to be offered glimpses of Cape Breton, they had to experience a little Maritime hospitality.

Destination Cape Breton's success in each of these areas was a matter of consultation and careful planning both on island and in partnership with conference committee co-chairs Melody Wren and Jerry Grymek.

"We started planning this more than a year ago," says Tulle.

The end result?

Evenings that will be remembered forever, offerings that proved Cape Breton as one of the most hospitable of destinations.

Think Men of the Deeps in live performance, a songwriters' circle comprised of Gordie Simpson, Bruce Guthro and J.P. Cormier. Think a closing ceremony program (held on First Nations land), featuring M.C. Lyndon MacIntyre, suitably introduced by First Nations drummers and singers.

Remember how we stomped our feet to Natalie MacMaster and her husband Donnell Leahy, playing some of the world's fastest fiddles in the shadow of the world's biggest fiddle? Remember some of those evocative string stylings of Margie and Dawn Beaton?

Remember lobster dinners under the stars, starting with the appetizers and ending with the fireworks at Louisbourg?

But it wasn't all fun and games. A full slate of professional development sessions ranged from how to get a book published to how to start a blog, from how to stage and survive a press trip to how to use social media to market your product (ask Mary about the "Trump Bump.")

Even so, fun - and collegiality - still Trumped (sorry, couldn't resist!) most other activities except for, perhaps, the media marketplace (travel media's answer to speed-dating) and those essential annual general meeting elements like the big meeting itself, the awards presentations, roundtable discussions.

Perhaps one of the island's most famous residents, Alexander Graham Bell, summed it up best.

When asked about this maritime outpost, he shared the fact that he'd travelled the world, having visited any number of other places.

"But for simple beauty," he reportedly added, "Cape Breton rivals them all."

Ditto for hospitality.

- Mark Stevens,


I have just returned from a 37-sleep adventure in Cape Breton which was beautifully bookended by playing a round of golf at Cabot Links and participating (as a crewmember) in the Race the Cape, sailing (one day) in 30 knot winds with 60 knot gusts and more than 50 tacks during our 10-hour cruise. Some would say that was bliss. Others, more like hell. I loved it. Of course, the centrepiece of my Maritime adventure was TMAC's conference, which I am sure that all who attended would agree was a smashing success on every front.
Needless to say, not much has progressed during this particular summer and our first board meeting does not take place until after this edition of TMAC Travels has been distributed. I would, however, like to introduce our two newest members of the Board, Tracy Ford, Director of Public Relations Chelsea Hotel, Toronto and Suzie Loiselle, Media Relations Officer, Le Québec maritime. 
Tracy Ford has more than 30 years of experience as an accomplished public relations veteran in the corporate, non-profit and hospitality/tourism fields.  From 2001 to 2005, she was the Regional Marketing and Public Relations Manager for Delta Muskoka Resorts (part of the Delta Hotels chain). In 2005, Tracy joined the Chelsea Hotel as Director of Public Relations and this year, celebrates 15 years with the company. Tracy has been a member of TMAC since 2002 and as an Ontario Chapter Board Member since 2010.  She has taken on numerous roles such as M&M coordinator, membership committee member and for the past year, as Co-Chair. Tracy embraces her relationship with TMAC through conference participation and as a past conference sponsor, hosting an annual M&M at the hotel as well as hosting media on a regular basis. Her innovative thinking results in a unique spin and fosters the creativity of her colleagues and fellow TMAC members. She brings passion, enthusiasm and commitment to the organization and demonstrates the organization's principles and mission.
Suzie Loiselle has dedicated herself to Tourism! Graduated from tourism program at Cegep de Matane, Suzie multiple experiences in guidance, hospitality, organization and sales, skills that she still uses on a daily basis. Since 2007, she works as Media Relations Officer for Québec maritime where she proudly represents the maritime regions of Québec. Combining all her diversified experiences, Suzie is an accomplished professional who's passionate about her regions and loves to be involved with journalist projects. Each day is a new challenge! Suzie is known for her warm hospitality, personality, charisma and to go beyond what is expected of her.
The entire 2016/2017 slate includes:
Elizabeth Kerr, President
Melody Wren, VP, Media and Co-Chair, Conference
Jerry Grymek, VP, Industry and Co-Chair, Conference
John Geary, Secretary and Editor, TMAC Travels
Dale Dunlop, Director-at-Large and Chair, Governance and Nominations
Holly Lenk, Director-at-Large and Chair, Chapter Liaison
Mary Tulle Director-at-Large
Tracy Ford, Director-at-Large
Suzie Loiselle, Director-at-Large
Grant Fraser, who has served two consecutive terms on the board, will be instated as TMAC's Treasurer during our first board meeting.

As I mentioned during my presentation at the AGM, I have identified three key areas on which I would like to focus for 2016/2017, which, of course, will be discussed with the board to add, delete, revise and prioritize.
  • Resolution for the TMAC website
  • Development of a Strategic Plan
  • Volunteerism
I look forward to my second year as President, armed with experience, lessons (many) learned and some great new initiatives.
Positive, pro-active and productive!
- Elizabeth Kerr, TMAC president

(Editor's note: While no longer a board member, Grant Fraser has graciously agreed to continue on as the board-appointed treasurer for TMAC.)

Based on the financial information I received from TO Corp, here is my Treasurer's report for the period ending June 30, 2016:
As of June 30, 2016, TMAC revenues were $264,076. This figure is comprised of membership revenue ($96,722), conference revenue ($154,495), other revenue ($12,859) and travel subsidy/grant fund ($0).
Compared to the same period last year, revenues are down $47,479 ($311,555 June 2015). Membership revenue is down $10,273 from last year. Conference revenue saw the biggest decrease, down $18,127 from 2015.  
Total expenses were $110,788 compared to $138,436 for the same period in 2015. Total expenses are comprised of administrative expenses ($85,537), conference expenses ($8,915) and travel subsidy/grant fund ($16,336).
The conference expense figure is understated as all 2016 conference costs have not been accounted for. I will provide an updated conference expense figure in my next report. To date, management fees account for the largest amount of administrative expenses ($46,327). 
Net income for the period is down year-over-year. As of June 30, 2016, net income was $153,288 vs. $173,119. This figure will change as we near our year-end in December.

Total assets for the period are up for the period. $295,788 as of June 30, 2016 vs. $238,780 a year ago. This increase is primarily due to a higher investment balance of $71,116 vs. $0 as of June 30, 2015. This is a new high-interest, zero risk savings account which was opened earlier this year. 
Should you have any questions regarding TMAC's financial position please contact me at the email or telephone number below. 
- Grant Fraser, National Treasurer
Travel Media Association of Canada
(905) 844-7666

Tourism Toronto hosted a "Taste of the City" on a beautiful, sunny July 15, 2016 as part of TMAC Ontario's 2016 Road Trip.
Our day included a number of excited tours including zip lining with Treetop Trekking in Mississauga, enjoying the horse races and a buffet lunch at Woodbine Racetrack and cruising the waterfront on a boat cruise. The amazing day culminated with a comedy show in downtown Toronto. It truly was a taste of our fair city!  
Thanks to the team at Tourism Toronto for all its help.
The July Road Trips are popular as they allow a destination to host TMAC members for an entire day. If you are interested in hosting for 2017, please email
- Steve Gillick, Ontario chapter co-chair (industry)

British Columbia

The B.C. chapter celebrated its members during the annual Summer Sizzler, held waterside at the beautiful Ancora Waterfront Dining & Patio. 
A big thanks to the more than 50 members who turned up, to Avenue PR for working to showcase the venue and to Hawksworth Communications for supplying us with a selection of wines from the Oliver Osoyoos Wine Association. 
Stay tuned for info on a fall event, with details still to be confirmed. It's definitely going to be fun!

TMAC media members Jonathon Reynolds, Lucas Ackroyd and John Lee enjoy some cocktails. (Photo courtesy of John Geary)

Amy Chen from Town Hall Brands helps with one of the prize draws. (Photo courtesy of John Geary)
Morgan Sommerville, Brian Cant, and Marisa Cuglietta enjoy the sunshine at the BC TMAC chapter's Summer Sizzler. (Photo courtesy of Morgan Sommerville)

Andrea Vescovi, general manager of the Ancora Dining and Waterfront Patio, welcomes TMAC to the facility. (Photo courtesy of John Geary)

- Brian Cant, B.C. chapter chair

We'd like to extend a hearty welcome to four new media members to the chapter: Denise Davies ( (Jon Tattrie (, Mel Hattie (, Michael Haynes (  and two new industry members: Larry Peach with the Municipality of Clare ( and Jennifer Sullivan with Pier 21 (
How's that for expansion?!
We said goodbye awhile ago to Judy Dougan of Tourism Moncton and we welcome in her stead, Jillian Somers.
John Sylvester, who did a PD session focused on photography at the 2016 will offer a day-long workshop for members, in Halifax, this November. Plans are also in the works to have media members be introduced at the annual Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia (TIANS) conference.
The Atlantic Chapter wishes to thank Pam Wamback for leading the pack these past two years as chair, and Margaret MacKenzie and Allison Aiton for pitching in with secretarial duties. The current executive is: Sandra Phinney, chair; Helen Earley, vice chair; Darcy Rhyno, secretary; and Jan Napier, treasurer.


From Media:

Carolyn Ali, long-time member and former travel editor at the Georgia Straight, was very excited to report that she is joining the Destination British Columbia team to develop global marketing content. "I'm looking forward to working with such a talented group of people in Vancouver and so many of you working in tourism throughout the province!" she said.

From Industry:
Early August was a busy time for Parks Canada. The organization unveiled some brand new accommodation offers that are being piloted at some of their sites: the cocoon at Cape Breton Highlands National Park; the cube at Forillon National Park; the double-tent at Riding Mountain National Park; the Goutte d'O at Fundy National Park; and the tiny house at Waterton Lakes National Park.
For more information about these sites, Guy Theriault ( or Eric Magnan (
In addition to that, the Honourable Catherine McKenna announced $66 million in infrastructure for national park and national historic sites on Cape Breton Island.
Got some member news - media or industry - you want to share? Check the submission guidelines at the end of the newsletter, then email Helen Earley,
You can also share it in the national group's Facebook group page, "TMAC - Travel Media Association of Canada, National - members only"


Media: Jacqueline Louie

TMAC welcomes media member, Jacqueline Louie of Calgary. (The freelance writer plans to launch her website soon. In the meantime, find her on LinkedIn at Jacqueline says fellow Calgary travel writer Theresa Storm invited her to join TMAC. She says, "I was so impressed by the organization, the people and the quality of professional development that TMAC offers its members that I decided it would be a great organization to join."

As for what Jacqueline hopes to gain from TMAC, she says, "I am interested in continuing to learn and grow as a writer and to take advantage of all the professional development that TMAC offers members, and to do a lot more travel writing."

Jacqueline is already an experienced freelancer and a big fan of the Canadian Rockies. "I've done travel-related newspaper and magazine stories, mostly outdoor-related (Alberta in winter, horseback riding in southern Alberta) as well as a piece on an international choral festival in Powell River, B.C. as well as guest travel blogs on hiking in the Alberta Rockies, forest bathing in California, and romantic gardens in western Canada." But she adds that she was "completely wowed" by Yosemite National Park in the Sierra Nevada mountains and Joshua Tree, both in California.

Industry: Scandinave Spa

Scandinave Spa of Blue Mountain, Ontario (, one of TMAC's newest industry members, is represented by Mylisa Henderson, co-owner and director of marketing and sales.

Of Scandinave Spa, now in its tenth year of operation, Mylisa says, "It's regularly promoted by the Ontario Tourism Ministry as an iconic destination. As a unique experience that crosses both the attraction and wellness sectors of tourism, Scandinave Spa welcomes more than 115,000 guests yearly. We also partner with Grey County and the Apple Pie Trail (Blue Mountain Village Association), who are also members."

"We believe a membership with TMAC can connect us with people looking for an exciting product to feature year-round. Every day we see guests of all different backgrounds, cultures and ages visiting the spa. They all want to experience something unique in Ontario and feel a sense of thrilling adventure (especially in the winter)."

Scandinave Spa offers an escape from everyday stresses and routine, says Mylisa. "Nestled in the heart of a natural forest with views of the beautiful Niagara Escarpment, the spa offers outdoor relaxation and rejuvenation year-round, regardless of the weather."

Mylisa says of the spa's ultimate goal, "We pride ourselves on delivering that feeling of peace and we hope it inspires our guests to take more time for themselves".

- Darcy Rhyno,

Mark Stevens,

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:


Media Member News

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.


Industry Member News

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+HST, 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.



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