Travel, a unity concept that actually works

Canadian unity. Too often a political football, kicked back and forth often whenever someone feels the need for media attention. But for us grassroots folks, however, it’s a deeper, more sensitive issue. A very personal issue. An emotional issue. Canadians are not overt flag-waving patriots, compared to our cousins to the south. We are quieter, but just as sincere.Julie McCann of Kitchener, Ont., recently wrote to CARP President Lillian Morgenthau about Canadian unity. “Travel may not be the most original unity concept – but it works,” she advised. “I know from experience that people you meet when you go outside your own familiar boundaries are so different from what you expect.”

Julie would like to see more Canadians travelling back and forth between Quebec and Ontario. Taking time to really see the countryside and getting to know the people in the respective provinces.

“This summer, I intend to take a couple of weeks, probably in August, going from Montreal to Tadoussac via the Eastern Townships where I grew up, also visiting Trois Rivieres and Quebec City,” Julie added. “I am francophone (nee Goyette), my ancestors came from France in the 1630s on both sis of my family. I have lived in Philadelphia and Sydney, Australia, before coming to Kitchener 20 years ago. I also have visited Bangkok and Hong Kong plus every state in the USA, except Alaska. Travel really does broaden the mind.”

Julie is right. Travel is a great eye-opener. It gives you a chance to see how other people live, work and play. It offers an insight into why and what they are. To travel in Canada, be it for a day-trip or a coast-to-coast expedition, you finish with a greater appreciation of this big country of ours.

It doesn’t really matter if your family has been here for generations, as mine, or whether a “first-timer” such as my wife who was born in England. We both enjoy visiting the cities and rural backroads. There’s nothing more pleasant than having a beer in one of the outdoor bistros in Quebec City, taking in a lobster festival on P.E.I. or joining in the apres-ski camaraderie at Whistler, B.C. This summer, we’re taking off for several weeks to re-visit P.E.I. and drive the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton. Stopping wherever we like, talking to the locals and enjoying the wonderful P.E.I. and Nova Scotia food. Maybe next year we’ll head west to take in Calgary and the Stampede, Edmonton and Vancouver – probably by train , a great way to see the West and not as tiresome as driving, getting off at the big cities and renting a car to poke around.

With the weak Canadian dollar, it makes economic sense to take time to appreciate what Canada has to offer.

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Signature Vacations has jumped into the “See Canada” market with both feet, with several novel and financially attractive options. They can arrange motorhome rentals in Vancouver, Whitehorse, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax – a great way to take your time, smell the flowers and see the sights at a leisurely pace.

Signature also has 10-day motorcoach tours through the Rockies, and can arrange advance bookings for British Columbia’s wonderful ferries. Signature and Royal Airlines now fly to 19 major Canadian cities with low-cost charter rates plus discount rates at hotels across Canada, including “The Classics” such as the Empress in Victoria, the Royal York in Toronto, the Algonquin in St. Andrews’s By The Sea and the Marriott in Mont Tremblant. Signature can even arrange advance golf tee-off times in P.E.I., Mont Tremblant, St. Andrew’s By the Sea and Whistler.