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Activities & Interests

Past travel articles organized by activity and interest.


Saturday, August 17, 2013


Robert F. Kennedy Jr. lowers the helicopter window and gazes at the sheer snow-plastered face of Mount Kennedy, rising from remote ice caps in the heart of Kluane National Park.

Location: Alsek River; Kluane National Park; Mount Kennedy; Yukon Territory;

Subject: arctic; biography; ecotourism; environment; rafting; statements; travel

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Welcome to 'Serengeti of the North'

''Did you hear that?'' Wayne Sawchuk whispers, freezing mid-stride. For the past 24 hours we have tracked a lost horse through dense woods cloaking British Columbia's northern Rocky Mountains.

Location: British Columbia; Muskwa-Kechika;

Subject: ecotourism; environment; expeditions; parks; travel; wildlife

Thursday, August 30, 2012

My kind of river

A canoe trip through Chicago's industrial parks and historic downtown? In my quest for quirky, this was a no-brainer. I would see the city's great architecture without the gridlock and exhaust fumes endured by tourists who rubberneck from the asphalt. It would be simple, fast and environmentally friendly.

Location: Chicago; Chicago River;

Subject: canoeing; environment; tourism; travel; water pollution

Saturday, April 21, 2012


concierge@globeandmail.comThe question I love to travel overseas. What can I do to green my travel this year?The answerFor those of us who like to exercise our passports, the guilt-inducing facts are out there: A luxury hotel guest uses 1,800 litres of water a night. A village in a developing country uses 500 litres of water a month. But there's also hope.

Subject: ecotourism; environment; travel

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Does flying with biofuel lower the guilt emissions?

When it comes to air travel, I'm a ghastly carbon Bigfoot.Already this year, I've contributed to the release of several tonnes of planet-sickening carbon emissions into the atmosphere, just from flying. While it's possible to do damage-control by purchasing carbon offsets, in an ideal world, I wouldn't be creating all those greenhouse gases to begin with. What's an eco-guilt-ridden, wander-lusting traveller to do?

Location: Canada;

Subject: air travel; aircraft; alternative fuels; emissions; environment

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


On the railsA new rail excursion that promises panoramic vistas of the St. Lawrence River's north shore will be offered until Oct. 16. The 10-hour fall trips to the Charlevoix start and end in Quebec City and feature a three-hour stopover in La Malbaie. The three-course lunch and four-course dinner menus served en route were created by Jean-Michel Breton, executive chef of Le Fairmont Manoir Richelieu. Then, in February, the Train of Le Massif de Charlevoix will return for its winter season. Details:

Location: Cook Islands; Great Britain; Quebec; Tokelau;

Subject: airports; electronic surveillance; environment; marine parks; privacy; tourism; travel

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


In the walletThe environment is not a priority for the majority of Canadians when they travel. According to a Green Travel Poll conducted by the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, only 17 per cent have taken an eco-friendly trip. But six out of 10 people say they would consider one if the price was the same as a conventional vacation. To encourage green travel, TD FEF is offering a chance at winning three eco-friendly trips (value $12,000 to $15,000) to Canadians who sign up for its free e-newsletter. Details:

Location: China;

Subject: cruises; environment; surveys; theme parks; tourism; travel

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Arabian sights

My ride for the evening was a camel that sported a pink knitted face mask - the Bedouin who was leading our expedition deep into the desert told me it's best to cover camels' mouths to protect yourself from their drool. For the next hour or so, we rode Lawrence of Arabia-style from a desert oasis over trackless golden sand to the crest of a huge dune that seemed about as far from the cares of the world as you can get. There were no vehicles, no buildings and no sounds but the sighing of the wind.

Location: Arabian Desert; Dubai;

Subject: ecotourism; environment; hotels; travel; wildlife

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Canada's final frontier

Imagine for a moment that you are on a road trip across the country. Fed-up with honking horns, neon signs and busy byways, you swerve at the Rockies, and suddenly find yourself following the spine of the continent north toward the land of the midnight sun. What you seek is more notion than actual location, a refuge: the frontier.

Location: Peel Watershed; Yukon Territory;

Subject: development; ecotourism; environment; land use; travel

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Some kind of wonderful

I admit that I did not, in the past, afford New Brunswick much respect. In my mind, it was the charmless home of the spruce budworm, ''the drive-through province,'' as even locals call it. The Bay of Fundy's legendary tides had no pull for me.

Location: Bay of Fundy; Canada; New Brunswick;

Subject: environment; parks; tourism; travel

Monday, May 23, 2011


Let's face it, there's a selfish side to spa going. With some spas boasting a ratio of anywhere from three to five staffers for every guest, if someone wants a random cuddle, there's a line up of cuddlers-at-the-ready. How refreshing then, that the Four Seasons has just introduced a way for spa-goers to give back. For every ''Four Seasons In One'' treatment sold, the spa will plant a tree, working with the Nature Conservancy and their ''Plant a Billion Trees'' effort. Last month, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts announced a global commitment to plant 10 million trees to mark its 50th birthday.

Subject: donations; environment; hotels; review; spas; tourism; travel; trees

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Go with the grainGive your iPad2 a natural look with the new wooden Miniot cover. Carved in the Netherlands from a single piece of cherry, walnut, oak, maple or padouk (all sourced from sustainable forests), the cover has thin grooves that allow it to roll back into an adjustable stand that's perfect for movie viewing, picture taking and game playing.

Subject: accessories; environment; list; travel

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Exploring Jumbo

Twenty years ago, with a faded orange rope lashed to my waist and an unfamiliar ice axe in hand, I stepped atop the rounded summit of Glacier Dome, in British Columbia's Purcell Mountains. My nerves were tingling after an ascent that led past cavernous blue crevasses and up precipitous pitches of ice, and the vista before me was dreamlike: wave after wave of jagged peaks and shimmering ice caps in every direction. A furious storm had passed during the night, leaving the land caked in a pristine blanket of white.

Location: British Columbia; Jumbo Valley;

Subject: aboriginal rights; development; environment; environmentalists; grizzly bears; history; indians; land use; mountain climbing; native people; political; public opinion polls; skiing; tourism; travel; wildlife

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Slow food for frequent fliers

At Vancouver's trendy Coast Restaurant, cruise-ship tourists and executives in town for meetings know exactly where their dinner comes from: The names of the Vancouver Island fishermen and oystermen who caught their fare are listed on the menu.

Subject: environment; ethics; food and beverage industry; restaurants; tourism; travel

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Greenheart: Scotland's brave new world

After centuries of English domination, the Scots are taking back their country, reclaiming national identity as the Edinburgh Parliament slowly wrests control from London, gaining new parcels of sovereignty bit by bit. The pride is evident: Blue flags are flying, Gallic lessons are filling up and designers are rebranding men in kilts as - oh yes - sexy.

Location: Edinburgh; Scotland;

Subject: ecotourism; environment; list; travel

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Will the gannets in the oil-drenched Gulf return?

The sight of 120,000 northern gannets, nesting noisily on a rocky island in Quebec's Gaspe region, is spectacular - but this year, it's a wildlife watching experience tinged with tragedy.

Location: Canada; Gulf of St. Lawrence; Quebec;

Subject: bird watching; environment; gannets; oil spills; tourism; travel; wildlife

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Walking to the North Pole? Hurry up

Arctic explorer Richard Weber has travelled across the surface of the Earth to the North Pole seven times.But his latest trip, completed in April with his older son, Tessum, 21, and two other adventurers, may have been the last - not just for Weber, but for all who want to visit the top of the Earth. As polar ice melts away, the chance to travel by foot to the North Pole will be relegated to stories from the past.

Location: Arctic; Canada;

Subject: ecotourism; environment; travel

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Go ahead, tree huggers, hit the links

Once ranked alongside the razing of rain forests as an environmentally hostile activity, golf has embraced the green movement with the zeal of the converted.All across Canada, courses are dramatically cutting back on the use of water and pesticides, welcoming home birds and animals once regarded as pests, restocking ponds with indigenous fish and coming up with ingenious initiatives to transform the image of a sport long under attack by environmentalists.

Location: Canada;

Subject: ecotourism; environment; golf; travel

Saturday, April 17, 2010

How green is your hotel?

You're booking a trip, and you want to stay somewhere with eco-cred.You look for the green leaves or some other symbol that indicates the hotel you're eyeing is doing its part. But you see different symbols from one

Subject: environment; hotels; travel industry

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Luxuriously green

Clayoquot Wilderness ResortTofino, B.C.; wildretreat.comCamping was never so clean. The resort within Clayoquot's world-renowned protected rainforest hosts corporate types and families all summer for fishing, hiking, horseback riding and water sports. Guests bunk in prospector tents furnished with heirloom pieces and expensive linens.

Location: Canada;

Subject: eco-tourism; environment; hotels; list; travel

Saturday, April 17, 2010


ECO-FRIENDLY SWISS RAIL ON SALETHE BUY Rail Europe is offering the Switzerland Family Rail sale.THE SAVINGS Adults receive a 50-per-cent discount on the Swiss Pass (eight day) and the Swiss Flexi Pass (three day). Children under 16 travel for free when accompanied by an adult. With the sale, prices on the eight-day Swiss Pass start at $303 for first class and $203 for second class. Prices for the three-day Swiss Flexi Pass start at $202 for first class and $135 for second class.

Subject: ecology; eco-tourism; environment; travel; volunteers

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Walking the borderline in the wild west

DAY ONERalph Gravelle's pickup grinds to a halt on the Phillips Creek logging road. We have travelled only a few kilometres, but already deep snow and ice make it impossible to continue.

Location: British Columbia; Flathead Valley;

Subject: ecology; eco-tourism; environment; series; travel; wildlife

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Nature films such as Disney's Ocean, opening April 22, and BBC's popular Blue Planet are stunning to watch, but what they can't show is how empty the seas actually are. Overfishing for the past century has led to catastrophic declines in most of our favourite fish. Fishing fleets are now delving deeper, and bottom trawlers worldwide are leaving ocean-floor ecosystems in ruins.

Location: World;

Subject: conservation; ecology; environment; fish; fund-raising; hotels; oceans

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Stretching toward a subdued autumn sun, an army of saguaro cacti wave at me with their massive prickly arms. Their eerily human-shaped shadows blot patches of the rocky trail as hues of orange, crimson, purple and blue paint a psychedelic sunset across the western half of Saguaro National Park, the most diverse desert ecosystem in the world.

Location: Arizona; Saguaro National Park; Tucson;

Subject: ecology; environment; parks; tourism; travel

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Surfers, take note: Shark sightings - and attacks - may become more common further north as climate change leads to warmer waters and shifting migration patterns for the sea's top predators.

Subject: ecology; environment; safety; sharks; surfing; travel

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Higher, faster, greener

Despite all the talk of alternatives to business travel, sometimes you just have to fly. Take Olympic athletes, for example: You can't Skype yourself across a finish line. They travel all the time, from training to World Cup events to the Olympics and back- and it turns out many of them are going green while going for gold.

Subject: business travel; environment; ethics; list

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Bean-counting v. carbon counting

A survey of Canadian corporate travel managers released last week found that the business community may not be quite as behind the green revolution as some of their PR campaigns would imply. For those who worry about air travel's significant contribution to pollution and climate change, this is not great news.

Subject: business travel; carbon credits; emissions; environment; management; statistics; surveys

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Where the only footprints are in the sand

The sun was rapidly disappearing when the cab, a pickup with four rows of benches in the back, deposited us at the Maho Bay Camps main office, a haphazard cluster of wooden buildings at the end of a narrow track leading through mountains on St. John, the smallest of the three U.S. Virgin Islands.

Location: St. John; U.S. Virgin Islands;

Subject: ecotourism; environment; family life; travel

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Like to ski? Want future generations to know the thrill? According to climate-change scientists - and the insurance industry - they may not get the chance. Many of our favourite slopes could be bare in 25 years: Up to 40 per cent of alpine resorts could vanish, with lower-altitude spots such as Whistler suffering the most, predicts a report from London's Benfield UCL Hazard Research Centre, commissioned by Halifax Insurance.

Subject: alternative energy; environment; skiing; tourism industry

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The future of flying

It looks like a fragile matchstick model glued together in somebody's basement, except that it is large enough to fill an airline hangar. And it flies. Barely.On its first test flight here last month, the Solar Impulse HB-SIA rose less than a metre off the ground and travelled just over the length of three football fields. Scoff if you must, but that ''flea-hop,'' as its designers call it, might represent the launch of a whole new world of aviation: the truly eco-friendly airplane.

Subject: air travel; aircraft; alternative energy; environment; solar energy

Saturday, January 9, 2010


Not since 9/11 has flying been so fraught with frustration. The Christmas Day terrorist incident on Northwest Airlines has made alternatives more appealing than ever - not because we fear terrorists, but because we dread long lineups at security and frustrating carry-on and luggage restrictions. Though driving or sailing to South America or Europe isn't much of an option, there are plenty of ways to travel a few hundred kilometres without stressing yourself or the atmosphere.

Subject: environment; list; tourism; trains; travel

Saturday, December 5, 2009


The weather is cooling, and so is Hotel du Vieux-Quebec, a 45-room hotel in the heart of the old city, which has announced it is now the first carbon-neutral hotel in la belle province.

Location: Quebec City;

Subject: energy conservation; environment; hotels; tourism; travel

Saturday, December 5, 2009


Kenya Situated on the owner-hosted land of the Masai community with a striking backdrop of Mount Kilimanjaro, Campi ya Kanzi is a five-star Kenyan safari experience boasting engagement with Masai culture. Partners with the African Wildlife Foundation and Maasailand Preservation Trust, the tourism project founded the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust to further environmental protection goals.

Subject: ecology; environment; list; tourism; travel

Saturday, December 5, 2009


ITALY BY RAIL AT DISCOUNT RATESThe buy Rail Europe is offering special fares on the Eurail Italy Pass.The savings 20 per cent off usual rates. A pass for three days of travel in a two-month period now sells for $244 in first class and $200 in second class; passes for 10 days of travel in two months cost $451 and $365

Subject: ecology; environment; tourism; travel

Saturday, December 5, 2009

A sanctuary for wildlife and for the soul

From Dakar to the Saloum Delta is just 150 kilometres as the crow flies. Not being crows, it took us most of a day to get there, and the modes of transportation were all over the map: Station-wagon taxis called sept places that delicately pitched and rolled around some of the deepest highway potholes I had ever seen (we drove as much on the sandy soil beside the road as on the road itself), a five-minute scamper on a motor scooter with my backpack fore of the driver and me aft, a 30-minute pirogue ride to an island in the delta and, finally, a two-kilometre walk alongside a donkey hauling our bags on a cart.

Location: Senegal;

Subject: ecology; environment; tourism; travel

Saturday, October 31, 2009


Costa Rica threw down a green gauntlet this week, announcing its plan to become the world's first carbon-neutral destination.At a sustainable tourism conference, the country's ecotourism organization (CANAECO) and the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Telecommunications signed an agreement that puts in place a system to cover the offsetting of tourists' flights.

Location: Costa Rica;

Subject: ecotourism; environment; travel

Saturday, October 10, 2009


All aboard! But be sure to empty your bladders first.In an effort to cut down on carbon emissions, a Japanese airline is asking its passengers to skip to the loo before boarding their flight, the Daily Mail reports.

Subject: airlines; emissions; environment; tourism; travel

Saturday, October 3, 2009


Flying is one of the most climate-damaging things we can choose to do - but there is a way to lessen the impact of your flight: fly by day, never at night. Better yet, take it a step further: Make like a goose and avoid winter flying. Indulge your far-flung travel fantasies in the summer.

Subject: air travel; environment

Saturday, September 26, 2009

green streets

Even in Stockholm's ritzy Le Rouge restaurant, where dinner for two can set you back more than $300, asking for a bottle of water will lead to a rebuff. ''Our own water is clean and just as good,'' a waiter says mindfully, ''and it's free.'' What runs from the taps in Sweden's capital is indeed fresh and tasty - and a point of pride for locals, who rarely if ever buy bottled water. Keeping it clean enough to drink from, swim and fish in, however, requires significant effort.

Location: Stockholm; Sweden;

Subject: environment; tourism; travel

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Where the grizzly bears (still) roam

Our guide cuts the motor and steers the flat-bottomed aluminum boat into a narrow channel of the estuary.We float slowly past the gnarled roots of a fallen cedar, its rain-soaked trunk a burnished bronze sculpture, bare branches curving skyward like the ribs of a skeletal whale.

Location: British Columbia; Smith Inlet;

Subject: environment; grizzly bears; hotels; tourism; travel; wildlife

Saturday, August 15, 2009

clear water blue ice green ships

I admit it. I cheered delightedly along with other passengers lining the decks of Holland America's cruise ship Veendam as, with a thunderous ear-jarring crack, a skyscraper-sized chunk of brilliantly blue ice snapped off the Johns Hopkins Glacier's towering face.

Location: Alaska;

Subject: cruises; environment; tourism; travel

Saturday, May 16, 2009


Ascientists' group has put together a guide to help you determine which modes of transportation have the smallest carbon footprint - and the group, the Union of Concerned Scientists, says some of the greenest choices can also save money.

Subject: environment; global warming; emissions; air travel; research; statistics

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Welcome to GREEN CITY

Immense, crowded and polluted, London may not be David Suzuki's dream vacation destination. But for Cate Trotter, the English capital is a wonderland of environmentally friendly attractions. The twentysomething tour guide runs a small company called Insider London, and one of its most popular excursions is its Cutting Edge Green Tour, a three-hour walking tour of the city's sustainable buildings and businesses - from London's first five-star green hotel to writer Jeanette Winterson's organic food shop.

Location: London; Great Britain;

Subject: travel; ecotourism; environment; cities

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Green and greener

At the Siwash Lake Ranch, a luxury dude ranch outside Kamloops, B.C., the environment talk is one of the first orders of business for arriving guests.''As soon as they get there, they get the routine from us,'' says Allyson Rogers, the ranch's co-owner, who walks guests through basics such as dealing with trash, recycling and composting. And with the guests onboard (the ranch can host two or three families at a time), Siwash Lake puts out one bag of garbage - every month.

Location: Canada;

Subject: hospitality industry; hotels; tourism; travel; environment

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Call it Costa Rica South: Ecotourism takes off in the rain forests of Suriname

Our journey begins deep inside the Central Suriname Nature Reserve, the world's largest tract of pristine rain forest. It is 5:30 in the morning, still dark, and the air is thick with an earthy mist. Squeaking bats circle above us and an eerie thumping emanates from the wall of trees. We are, it's fair to say, a bit nervous.

Location: Suriname;

Subject: travel; ecotourism; tourism industry; environment

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A long march across Mexico

I wanted to see Mexico. I was past 50 and I had never been south of the Rio Grande - and I longed to go to the country that had produced Frida Kahlo and Emiliano Zapata, Chichen Itza and mole sauce.

Location: Mexico;

Subject: environment; travel; tourism

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The ultimate field trip

Digging in the dirt, a hot sun overhead, Charlie Bigger felt elated.It's true, the 37-year-old had spent most of his week in central Mexico slowly chiselling through rock, then painstakingly brushing out fossils. But he and his team had uncovered an ancient rhinoceros skull and the complete remains of a camel. And then they stumbled on what looked like gnarled tree roots.

Subject: travel; ecotourism; environment; science; list

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Avoiding a guilt trip

Remember when the jet set was synonymous with glamour? When it seemed almost everyone aspired to travel by air to some distant land? Not so these days. Not only is most air travel decidedly unglamorous, today airlines and frequent fliers regularly stand accused by the environmental movement of making unnecessary contributions to global warming.

Subject: travel; airlines; emissions; environment

Saturday, April 26, 2008


Travel websites Orbitz and Expedia are trying to make it easier for consumers to go green. Orbitz now lists Energy Star-rated hotels at, and the site also makes it easy to rent hybrid cars, book volunteer vacations or purchase carbon offsets for your travel. Meanwhile, Expedia launched a new online store on Tuesday to celebrate Earth Day. The U.S. site at - a similar Canadian version is promised soon - allows you to browse eco-friendly options and offers tips on responsible travel.

Subject: technology; internet; travel; environment

Saturday, April 26, 2008


Starwood Hotels and Resorts is launching a green hotel brand called Element, with the first property opening in July in Lexington, Mass., and 20 more to open in the next year. Starwood has applied for LEED certification for the hotels, which would recognize them as high-performance green buildings.

Subject: travel; hotels; environment

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