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Porter Airlines is Still King of the Island (Airport)

Free coffee and water in the lounge at the Island Airport in Toronto (Photo: Tom Purves)

When Air Canada moved back to Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport last year, flying a limited number of routes from the downtown terminal, business travellers collectively wondered if the good days were over. With multiple carriers using the island airport, would the free cappuccinos, wifi and newspapers—always provided by boutique Porter Airlines, previously the island’s only carrier—now a thing of the past?

The answer is no. On a recent flight, the departure lounge was busier than it was in former days, but it still offered all those endearing perks. And while Air Canada is there, this is still clearly Porter’s show. The airline operates the majority of flights here, and dominates the prime spots in the lounge. There have even been additions, most notably a grab-and-go sandwich and salad spot.

The bottom line: while it may be a little harder to find a seat, flying Porter from Billy Bishop is still a pleasure.

—Tim Johnson

 

Top Canadian Travel Deals This Week: August 31–September 6

Fairmont Le Château Montebello

British Columbia Deals

Ends today! Get $50 off select one-way trips within British Columbia on Air Canada with promotion code BC50; for travel until October 4. Book by Aug. 31. Get the deal.

British Columbia & Alberta Deals

Victoria and Banff are on sale at Expedia.ca: save up to 30% on hotels. Book by Sept. 30. Get the deal.

Alberta Deals

Stay at Bewster’s Mountain Lodge in Banff for half off the nightly rate. Book by Sept. 3. Get the deal. (more…)

New UNESCO World Heritage Site: Nova Scotia’s Grand Pré

The historic church at Grand Pré (Photo: H. Holm, Nova Scotia Photo Album)

Every year, UNESCO adds sites of cultural or natural importance to its World Heritage List. This year’s new UNESCO World Heritage sites include 25 places, among them a species-rich coral reef system in Palau, the supposed birthplace of Jesus in Palestine, and Nova Scotia’s own historic Acadian settlement of Grand Pré, which is a Canadian national historic site.

Founded in the 17th century, Grand Pré was a farming community that used a unique hydraulic drainage system to work the marshy land that is affected by the world’s highest tides in the nearby Bay of Fundy. Archaelogical remnants of the original village of Grand Pré can still be seen here, though the majority of the Acadian community was exiled beginning in 1755 in what is known as the Grand Dérangement, or Great Expulsion.

Grand Pré is Nova Scotia’s third UNESCO World Heritage site. Others are the historic maritime village of Lunenburg and the Joggins Fossil Cliffs palaeontological site.

iPads on Planes? In-Flight Ban on Portable Electronic Devices Under Review

By SHANNON KELLY

The dream of using your smartphone or iPad on planes to browse the Web during long runway delays could become a reality—at least in the U.S—as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reviews aircraft policies on portable electronic devices. (more…)

The Best Bathroom in Canada: Cast Your Vote Now

By SHANNON KELLY

Is this the best bathroom in Canada? (Photo: the Georgian Court Hotel)

An annual contest to find the best bathroom in Canada is underway, seeking, as contest host Cintas quips, to crown the “king of the throne”. (more…)

Google Street View Begins Mapping Canada’s Arctic

Google’s Street View tricycle in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut (Photo: courtesy of Google)

By SHANNON KELLY

Google’s Street View team has travelled to the Nunavut hamlet of Cambridge Bay, to map the most northerly region it has ever mapped.

The company will map the region using a tricycle equipped with a camera (transporting a Street View car up north was too expensive) and will receive help from community members to establish accurate maps. This is the first Google Street View project in Nunavut. Google is also donating computers so that community members can continually update maps in the region.

The maps will be available in the next few months.

Read more from the CBC.

Top Canadian Travel Deals This Week: August 24–30

Toronto Don Valley Hotel & Suites

Ends tomorrow! BRITISH COLUMBIA | Save 42% on a getaway to Vancouver Island at the Oceanfront Suites at Cowichan Bay, including dining credit. Book by Aug. 25

BRITISH COLUMBIA | Stay a Whistler resort for $99/night—up to 45% off—at the Pan Pacific Whistler Mountainside. Book by Aug. 27. Get the deal.

BRITISH COLUMBIA | Get $50 off select one-way trips within British Columbia on Air Canada with promotion code BC50; for travel until October 4. Book by Aug. 31. Get the deal.

B.C., ALBERTA, SASKATCHEWAN, MANITOBA & ONTARIO | On WestJet, fly for 20% less on select flights to/from destinations in BC, AB, SK, MB and ON with promo code WJC11 and coupon code 38QGKWH. Travel by December 14. Book by Aug. 26. Get the deal. (more…)

What Does Google’s Acquisition of Frommer’s Mean for Travellers?

By SHANNON KELLY

Google’s acquisition of travel publisher Frommer’s last week for $25 million was big news in travel. Google bought Zagat last year and seems to be steadily moving toward being a travel content provider in addition to a search engine with lots of perks for travellers, like Google Flight Search (launched in June in Canada) and offline maps (also launched in June, for Android users).

But can you trust a search engine that provides its own content? (more…)

Top Canadian Travel Deals This Week: August 17–23

Mont Tremblant

BRITISH COLUMBIA | Looking to treat yourself after the Wanderlust Festival? Reserve a 50%-off stay in Whistler at the Delta Whistler Village Suites. Book by Aug. 20. Get the deal.

BRITISH COLUMBIA | Stay at the Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa Resort on Vancouver Island for $99 per night—up to 50% off. Book by Aug. 22. Get the deal.

BRITISH COLUMBIA | Get $50 off select one-way trips within British Columbia on Air Canada with promotion code BC50; for travel until October 4. Book by Aug. 31. Get the deal. (more…)

Free This Week From Apple: Kayak Pro Travel App

The Kayak Pro app, one of Where.ca’s six favourite money-saving apps, is Apple’s free app of the week!

The app, normally $0.99, may be the best out there for finding deals on flights, with easy-to-use comparison tools and notifications. It also has rental car and hotel booking, flight tracking, airport information and tours and attractions information.

Download Kayak Pro free now for iPhone and iPad.

80% of Travellers Use Smartphones on Trips, But Not To Book

By SHANNON KELLY

Recent data shows that travellers are (figuratively and literally) tethered to their smartphones for trip planning and on the ground while travelling. The study, from eMarketer Inc., found that approximately 80 per cent of respondents use their mobile phone “all the time” while away. It also found that some 36.4 million Americans are expected to do travel research on their phones in 2012, with an anticipated 72 million using their phones for trip research by 2016. However, less than half of that number will, apparently, book their travel using their phone. (more…)

Travel Photo Tips: Take Better Pictures of Landmarks

Vancouver’s Lion’s Gate Bridge, from Stanley Park—one of Canada’s most-photographed landmarks (Photo: flyfshrmn98)

We’re loving the current series Globe & Mail on travel photography, including this week’s installment on how to take memorable landmark photos. Top takeaway: Go to a local souvenir shop and browse the postcards to “steal” ideas from the pros on how to angle your snapshot of a local landmark. (more…)