No ‘Trump slump’ for Canadians
Surprisingly, Canadians are continuing to flock to U.S. destinations despite the tourism “Trump slump”.
While the number of international visitors arriving in the U.S. from January to June dropped 3.9 per cent compared with the same period in 2016, the number of Canadians entering the U.S. during the same period was up 4.8 per cent. The decline in some markets seems to suggest a clear link between Trump’s rhetoric and people targeted by that rhetoric opting not to visit the U.S. For example, the number of visitors from the Middle East plummeted 30 per cent in the first half of 2017 compared to the same period last year. And the number of visits from Mexico dropped by almost 10 per cent.
Another good reason to pack up the family and head north this winter is to check out the Ice Trail at Arrowhead Provincial Park. Opened in 2012, the Ice Trail is a 1.3-kilometre skate path set amidst towering, snow dusted trees that winds through the East River campgrounds just north of Huntsville.
Whether you are an expert skater or just starting out, the Ice Trail offers an opportunity for everyone regardless of age or ability to enjoy the fresh air of the great northern outdoors in a whole new way and to discover the best that a Canadian winter has to offer. If you do plan to go it’s best to contact the park staff to make certain the Ice Trail is open. The number is 705-789-5105.
Consider a mid-week getaway as the Ice Trail is less crowded and watch for special events such as Family Day weekend and tiki torch nights. Algonquin Park, about 45 minutes from Huntsville, is also open in winter and offers skating at Mew Lake Campground.
Closer to home, outdoor public skating is offered at Harbourfront in downtown Toronto. It was great watching my grandchildren skate around the rink at Christmas. Hundreds of people of all ages take advantage of the activity in the heart of Toronto.
Nothing is more fun for the entire family than a small town’s annual winter carnival. Here’s a partial list of what is scheduled this winter.
The Bracebridge Fire and Ice Festival will take place Jan. 27 and the highlight is tubing down the main street.
The 51st annual Winterfest in Port Carling is scheduled for Feb. 2-4 and will be jam-packed with activities and attractions.
The Port Sydney Winter Carnival will take place Feb. 2-4 and the Dwight Winter Carnival will be held Feb. 9 and 10.
The Gravenhurst Winter Carnival is slated for Feb. 15-19. This annual weekend event has become so popular that it has expanded to include an entire week of activities including horse-drawn sleigh rides and a polar bear dip.
The Dorset Snow Ball will be held Feb. 16 and 17 and the Parry Sound SnowFest will take place Feb. 16-19.
The Algonquin Park Winter in the Wild is slated for Feb. 17 and Baysville Winterfest is scheduled for Feb. 24.
Looking for an unusual winter sport? How about dog sledding? It’s available north of Toronto and is offered by a large number of dog sled operators. No need to travel to the Arctic to try this thrilling winter sport. Two exciting dog sled events worth noting are the 24th annual Kearney Dog Sled Races Feb. 3 and 4 and the 34th annual Seguin Sled Dog Mail Run Feb. 17.
Another reminder that Monster Jam is coming to the Rogers Centre in Toronto Jan. 13.
Singapore Airlines new first-class suite has a leather lounge chair, a separate fully flat bed, a wardrobe closet with room for your suitcase and garment bag and tons of blissful private, personal space. The only catch, besides the $6,000 each way price tag, is that it’s only available in Airbus A380 aircraft doing Singapore to Sydney flights. Frequent flyers are hoping the seats show up soon on the New York to Frankfurt to Singapore route.
So far the U.S. is the only country to issue travel warnings to Cuba and did so in September after a number of embassy staff became ill in Havana. Cruise lines are still including Cuba as a port of call and thousands of Canadians plan to visit the Caribbean island this winter – me included.
Readers are invited to submit their questions or suggestions on travel close to home or far away to travel writer Bob Boughner at email@example.com.