Thursday, June 19, 2014

Best of five great day trips by rail

Day trips by train allow you to experience the romance of the Canadian rails, soak up some great scenery and maybe even get back in time for dinner. 

For train enthusiasts, the flagship rail journey in Canada is The Canadian – a trip from Vancouver to Jasper, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Toronto offering a classic train journey with sleeping cabins, dining cars, and glass dome viewing carriages. The journey traverses 4,345 km in four days, showcasing everything from lush boreal forest to the lakes in Northern Ontario, from the western Prairies to the magnificent Rocky Mountains. On board The Canadian, discover the beauty of Canada’s landscape and cities at a pace that allows you to be in-tune with nature around you.

But not every traveller has time for a transcontinental odyssey. So, here are five great day journeys by rail that you must experience in Canada.

Sea to Sky Climb, British Columbia
Running from Vancouver to Whistler, this luxury trip aboard the Rocky Mountaineer takes passengers along island-studded Howe Sound before climbing into the snow-capped Coast Mountains. Opt for seats in the domed car for panoramic views of waterfalls, canyons and turquoise rivers – a true glimpse of the wilds of Western Canada. 
Runs: mid May to late September. Duration: 3.5 hours, one-way. 

Yukon Adventure
Built in 1898 during the Klondike Gold Rush, the narrow-gauge White Pass and Yukon Route is an engineering marvel through the mountains of Canada’s far north. The 109 km rail adventure takes passengers from sea level in Skagway, Alaska, high up to the 879 metre White Pass Summit, then down to a restored 1903 station and on into Carcross, Yukon. Expect glaciers, waterfalls, cliff-hugging turns and unforgettable mountain scenery.  
Runs: late May to late August.  Duration: six hours, one-way.

Agawa Canyon Tour Train, Northern Ontario
This 183 km excursion transports passengers north of historic Sault Ste. Marie, originally settled by French missionaries and fur traders, and into the forests of the Canadian Shield – a dramatic landscape of lakes, rivers and granite rock formations. The highlight is the dizzying 153 metre plunge to the floor of Agawa Canyon, where travellers disembark to explore waterfalls and scenic overlooks. This trip is particularly popular in autumn to see the fall colours. 
Runs: late June to mid October. Duration: 10 hours, round-trip. 

Polar Bear Express, Northern Ontario 
This passenger train serves as a vital artery between the communities of Cochrane, Moose Factory and Moosonee in remote northern Ontario. For travellers, the 299 km route offers stark scenery, a fascinating glimpse into local First Nations culture and an experience well off the beaten path. Keep in mind that creature comforts aboard are limited and actual polar bear sightings are rare. 
Runs: year-round. Duration: 5.5 hours, one-way.  

Le Train du Massif de Charlevoix, Québec
Traversing cliffs, fjords and bays along the St. Lawrence River, this 140 km journey takes passengers from Québec City to the 200-year-old resort town of La Malbaie in the historic Charlevoix region. Multi-course gourmet meals highlight local fare as colonial river settlements, towering waterfalls and teeming wildlife reserves slide by outside. 
Runs: January to mid October. Duration: 12 hours.  

That’s five great day journey experiences, but there are many more across Canada.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Abu Dhabi Summer Season

Any time is a good time to have a great time in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi Summer Season – three mega months of entertainment running from June 5th-August 31st- features blockbuster international theatre, top notch international ballet shows, film & theatre premieres, music concerts, comedy nights, contemporary circus spectaculars, live kids shows, a FIFA World Cup extravaganza and a host of locally-produced activities in hotels, malls and attractions.

Bringing together concerts and performances by artists from across the Middle East, Russia and the USA, there’s much more to Abu Dhabi this summer season with activities spread across the emirate and the best summer deals around.

Abu Dhabi Summer Season gets off to a fairy tale start from June 6-16 at ADNEC, with the prestigious Royal Moscow Ballet and two lead soloists from the world-renowned Bolshoi Ballet performing Cinderella set to the magnificent score of the celebrated 20th century Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev, organised by The Alchemy Project-Entertainment.

In June, football fever grips the UAE capital. FLASH Entertainment and Dome Connect, in collaboration with du Forum on Abu Dhabi’s entertainment district of Yas Island, will host a football frenzy. This will be the emirate’s largest FIFA World Cup viewing venue for every match of the tournament (June 12 – July 13), complete with a fully-themed fan zone, heritage zone and indoor bazaar for a summer of family togetherness and sporting celebration.Every FIFA World Cup match will be shown on a giant 6 x 4 metre LED screen, with additional mega screens around the venue. Throughout the World Cup du Forum doors will open at 7pm, with the first match scheduled to start at 8pm UAE time.

Over at ADNEC from August 8, audiences will thrill to the groundbreakingShadowland show by internationally acclaimed dance troupe Pilobolus Dance Theatre. The first show of its kind to combine shadow theatre with dance, which has since inspired similar products around the world, Shadowland is a mix of shadow theatre, dance, circus and concert, incorporating multiple moving screens of different sizes and shapes in a performance that merges projected images and front-of-screen choreography, organised by The Alchemy Project-Entertainment.

Created in collaboration with lead writer for the popular animated series SpongeBob SquarePants Steven Banks, the story is a surreal experience of a young girl’s sensational world as she comes of age; a universal and intimately portrayed tale that is both intensely dramatic and funny. Shadowland is set to a rhythmic original score by popular American musician, producer and film composer David Poe, which ranges from ballads to hard-driving rock numbers.

Bringing the curtain down on Abu Dhabi Summer Season in true grand finale style and running from August 21st at ADNEC is the multi-award-winning contemporary circus theatrical La Verità – which features a gigantic, original backdrop created in New York in 1944 by the Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dali. La Verità (The Truth) was written and is directed by the acclaimed Daniele FinziPasca – the creative genius behind Cirque du Soleil’s Corteo and the closing ceremony of the Sochi Olympics - and is a theatrical homage to Dali’s life and work. Originally created for the ballet Tristan and Isolde at The Metropolitan Opera in New York City, the hand painted backdrop stuns in an aesthetically beautiful production, organised by The Alchemy Project-Entertainment.

Meanwhile, Yas Island’s hotels and attractions are planning the coolest summer ever with hot 2 for 1 deals which will run until September 30. This includes offers at restaurants, spas and the key leisure attractions of Yas Marina Circuit, the Yas Links golf course, YasWaterworld and Ferrari World Abu Dhabi.

In addition, special activities from a ‘Go Wet This Summer’ event at Al Ain Sportplex Club, to Summer Zoo Nights at Al Ain Zoo, kids’ summer camps, shooting, squash and volleyball competitions will be held at a variety of venues throughout the emirate.

Details and booking information for all Abu Dhabi Summer Season activities are available on Hashtag #ADsummer.