Canadian cactus growing in Arizona

Travellers who’d like to visit the southern U.S. this winter but are scared off by the sorry state of the Canadian dollar should consider that 50-plus favorite: Arizona. The sunny state obviously appreciates the patronage of Canadians, and is demonstrating this with “Canadian Cactus Days”.

Travellers can order a free coupon book that provides snowbirds with significant discounts on everything from restaurants to attractions. Call the state’s Toronto office at 416-861-1240.

Arizona definitely has attractions along with discounts. One that is surprisingly often overlooked by Canadians seeking the sun is the good old Grand Canyon, two billion years in the making and host to five million visitors a year.

Those who view the Grand Canyon for the first time may be surprised to find that it is a lot more than a big hole that served as a backdrop for a lot of bad Western movies. Viewed from one of the South Rim vantage points, the canyon provides a light show of multiple colours among the rock formations as the sun moves through the sky. The show changes with the seasons.

Scenic air tours are also available for the adventurous, and there is the ubiquitous IMAX theatreor those who are a little faint-hearted. Most people still use their car to tour the canyon and vicinity, but there is now also a train ride available on the on the turn-of-the-century Grand Canyon Railway steam locomotive. The train service includes a staged train robbery, courtesy of a (hired) gang of bandits.