Thursday 4 September 2014

Amazing Race Canada 2 - Week 9: Montreal (YUL)

In Week 9, the teams visited the fabulous Canadian city of Montreal.

Here are a few highlights, from where the teams went, to other things we think are worth doing if you visit Montreal:

Did you know that Montreal has a 2nd airport? Montreal Mirabel  Airport (YMX) is used for cargo and general aviation only, but the show managed to visit it, not to fly, but for a precision driving competition!Air Transat Airbus A310 C-GVAT
Next was a visit to the Atwater Market. Doesn't the idea just make your mouth water? If you visit Montreal, here are 2 tours that include a visit to the Atwater Market:Montreal Food Truck Tour by Bike
Montreal Half-Day Bike Tour
If you were taken with the poses made by the teams for their sketches at the Parisian Laundry Art Gallery, then why not subscribe to their newsletter? Perhaps you'll find an exhibit you want to see when you visit.Parisian Laundry Art Gallery
Parisian Laundry newsletter
Parisian Laundry Montreal 02
Also on the arts front, was a visit to Espace VERRE, where glass bead making was demonstrated and practiced. If you visit on a weekend, why not take a class yourself?Espace VERRE
Weekend classes
Or maybe you fell for all those wonderful cheeses that sounded so tasty during the grilled cheese sandwich challenge! If you fancy wine, as well as cheese, check out this fabulous tour that includes both: Small-Group Quebec Wine Tour from Montreal with Optional Gourmet Lunch and Cheese Tasting
Montréal - La Petite-Italie: Marché Jean-Talon - Fromager Affineur
The pitstop for week 9 was at the Montreal Science Centre. You can see and explore the centre when you buy a Hop On Hop Off bus pass - the centre is an included stop!

If you're a real science buff, you might enjoy the ecosystem in Montreal's Biodome, which can be included as part of an admission ticket to the Montreal Tower Observatory (it's fun too):
Montreal Science Centre
Montreal City Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour

Montreal Tower Observatory Admission plus Optional Ticket to the Biodome
Centre des sciences de Montreal - 01
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Now, to the airports... we've already mentioned Montreal Mirabel  Airport (YMX), which you are unlikely to visit unless you have a friend with a private plane - so let's talk about YUL...

The Amazing Race Canada has visited Montreal Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL) previously. In case you missed it, here is our Season 1 post on Montreal Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL).

If you go, the easiest way to get to/from Montreal Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL) is by bus. Or book a private transfer from IHateTaxis and arrive stress free!

That's our post for Week 9 - merci, and we hope you have some good tips for visiting Montreal, and doing what the teams did. We're looking forward to Week 10. Go teams, go!

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All images are creative commons, please click each for source information

Monday 1 September 2014

Amazing Race Canada 2 - Week 8: Paris (CDG)

Want to go where the teams did, and do what the teams did in Paris?

Teams emerged from last week's pitstop in Normandy to begin this leg of the race from Bayeux, and the beautiful Bayeux Cathedral. With clues in hand, the teams took the train from Bayeux (Gare de Bayeux) to Paris (Gare Saint-Lazare).Private Tour: Bayeux Sightseeing and Caen Day Trip from Bayeux
Cathédrale de Bayeux - extérieur, chevet
Paris! The Arc de Triomphe! How thrilling for the teams, who once in Paris were met with the Detour, requiring them to choose between "Haute Couture" and "Plat du Jour".  Arc de Triomphe Walking Tour with Access to the Summit
Arc de Triomphe (7704412402)
In Haute Couture, teams made their way to the Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne. Once there, teams had to cut and sew  a Haute Couture dress. We're guessing these dresses will never hit he runway, or the stores, but it was fun to watch. Paris L'Open Hop-On-Hop-Off Tour
In Plat du Jour, the teams searched the streets of the historic Marais District to find specially marked chalkboard signs outside three cafés - quite a task, considering there are a couple of cafés on every corner! At each, they purchased a menu item, delivering all three to guests outside another café - pronouncing them correctly. Not spilling the coffee seemed to be the larger challenge. Paris Walking Tour: Discover the Marais District

Heart of Paris Bike Tour
Café la Comète, Le Marais, Paris 13 April 2006
Faced with the Speed Bump, Ryan and Rob had to learn how to play the accordion! When they could perform the "Au clair de la lune" in unison for an audience outside the Centre Georges Pompidou, they could proceed.Centre Pompidou

Paris Pass
Centre Georges Pompidou
The Roadblock took place at Pont de Grenelle (the bridge over Île aux Cygnes), where one team member had to replicate a local modern art painting using Mentos candies (courtesy of the sponsor). "Race" sponsor Mentos candies. Seine River Cruise and Paris Canals Tour
Vue sur Seine, de la Tour Eiffel, 2013
When they were done, teams raced to Week 8's pitstop on the Pont de l'Archevêché (this is the bridge that couples place padlocks symbolizing their love).Paris Layover Tour: City Highlights between Flights from Charles de Gaulle Airport
Love padlocks on the Pont de l'Archevêché April 2014
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Now, to the airports...

As we mentioned in last week's post, to Paris via Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG), but this is just one of several airports serving the City of Lights? Your trip itinerary may say "Paris", but your airport may be a long way from the city - especially if you are flying on one of Europe's low cost carriers. Needless to say, it's important to know which airport is "yours":
Paris is, unfortunately, prone to transportation strikes, so we suggest that it is a good idea to have both a Plan A and a Plan B for your airport transfers.

That's our post for Week 8 - hopefully you have some good tips for visiting Paris, and doing what the teams did. We're looking forward to Week . Go teams, go!

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Tuesday 26 August 2014

Amazing Race Canada 2 - Week 7: Normandy

Canadian war vet returns to Juno Beach
with The Amazing Race Canada

Story and picture courtesy of the Calgary Herald
Want to go where the teams did, and do what the teams did in Week 7? If so, you are headed to France!

The teams emerged from the pitstop in Winnipeg, and set out from Portage and Main... to head to France! The teams flew to Paris, then made their way northward to the Normandy region of France. With such a historic year in the region - 2014 marks the 70th anniversary of D-Day - the teams spent an entire episode here.D-Day 70th aniversary commemorations

At Coquainvilliers, at the Calvados Boulard distillery, one team member had to take a sample of calvados from a barrel and use a mathematical formula to distil the calvados to 40% ABV, and the satisfaction of the distiller. Visit the Calvados Boulard distillery
Bottle of Boulard calvados
Next, teams had to find Le Molay-Littry (or Hôtel de Ville), to receive their next clue. Those that thought Hôtel de Ville was a hotel were suitably stymied for awhile (read an amusing Hôtel de Ville as hotel story). Visit Le Molay-Littry
The liberation of Le Molay-Littry
In the leg's Detour, teams that chose Show It first travelled to Saon (Ferme Elevage de Nesque). Once there, they chose a horse, groomed it, then had to correctly braid the horse's mane. Visit Saon
Saon - Eglise Saint-Aubin
In the courtyard of Bayeux Tapestry Museum (Musée de la Tapisserie de Bayeux), teams that chose Tell It had to correctly sequence a series of images of the Norman invasion of England, as depicted in the tapestry. Visit the Bayeux Tapestry Museum on a Tour
Visit the museum on your own
Bayeux Tapestry WillelmDux
In Asnelles, teams participated in land sailing, completing a thrilling and mostly fun circuit on the beach shore 10 times. Land sailing is also referred to as sand yachting, or land yachting. Learn more...Go land sailing at Asnelles
At the Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery, teams took a moment of reflection to honour the 2049 Canadian soldiers buried at the site. Learn more...Visit the Canadian War Cemetery
At the Remembrance and Renewal statue at the Juno Beach Centre, teams gave their Lest We Forget card to the Canadian Army D-Day re-enactor stationed there. Visit the Juno Beach Centre
Juno Beach Centre
Week 7's Pit Stop was a somber but meaningful one, at Juno Beach, which played such an important role in Canada's World War II effort, on D-Day. Each team had memorable opportunity to meet Canadian War Vet, Jim Parks.Visit Juno Beach
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Now, to the airports...

The teams flew to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) - but did you know this is just one of several airports serving the City of Lights? We'll say more about this in next week's blog post.

We hope you have enjoyed our recap of information, and how to's helpful. We'll see you in Week 8. Go teams, go!

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Monday 18 August 2014

Amazing Race Canada 2 - Week 6: YWG

Winnipeg Railway Station, Union Station
Winnipeg Union Station - Via Rail Station
Want to go where the teams did, and do what the teams did in Week 6 in Winnipeg?

The pitstop for Week 5 was at Miles Canyon on the Yukon River. From here, the teams headed to Whitehorse Airport to fly to Winnipeg Airport for Week 6's challenges.Winnipeg James Richardson Airport- Arrivals
This week's initial clue told teams to find "Golden Boy"...

Golden Boy, the golden statue perched facing North on the dome of the Manitoba Legislative Building.
Virtual tour of the Manitoba Legislative Building

Historic Sites of Manitoba feature on the building
Golden Boy MB Legislature
One of the activities had the teams searching for ghost signs on some of Winnipeg's oldest buildings, in the funky Exchange District.

Hunting for these hand-painted advertisements is a popular pastime for many travelers!
Winnipeg's Exchange District
Notre Dame Avenue, Winnipeg
A visit to the Royal Canadian Mint's Winnipeg facility was one of the week's highlights!

Visit the Winnipeg Mint
Winnipeg Mint
The teams even saw the new Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

This latest of Canada's museums is set to open on September 20, 2014. 
Canadian Museum for Human Rights official website
Canadian Museum for Human Rights Winnipeg 3 (8032872264)
The teams visited many other iconic attractions and historic buildings in Winnipeg, including the MTS Centre, St. Ivan Suchavsky Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral, Whiskey Dix and the famous corner of Portage and Main. St. Ivan Suchavsky Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral perogy orders
Winnipeg's pitstop for Week 6 was welcome, as the teams were ready for a good rest!See Winnipeg from a hot air balloon!
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This is the first visit to Winnipeg International Airport (YWG) for The Amazing Race Canada.

Here are some things you may not know about Winnipeg International Airport (YWG):
  • The airport's beautiful new terminal opened in 2011
  • YWG was the first airport terminal in Canada to be LEED-certified for its environmentally friendly concept, design, construction and operation
  • The airport has won numerous awards
  • YWG was named one of the Coolest New Airport Terminals by Travel+Leisure Magazine (2012)
  • Winnipeg's bitter winters are made tolerable by direct flights to Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Mexico
  • The Winnipeg Bus Terminal is located next door, a brilliant transportation hub strategy
  • The airport is an integral part of CentrePort Canada, a new 20,000-acre (81 km2) inland port area that will bring together distribution centres, warehouses and manufacturing facilities in one area
  • Officially named Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport, the airport is named to honour Richardson, pioneer of Canadian commercial aviation from Winnipeg
If you go, the easiest way to get to/from Winnipeg International Airport (YWG) is a taxi, or the bus.

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Monday 11 August 2014

Amazing Race Canada 2 - Week 5: HKG, YXY

Yukon Visitor Information Center
The Yukon is ready to welcome you!

From Hong Kong, the teams flew back to Canada, via Vancouver, and up to Whitehorse. Miss the episode? You can watch it here.

Want to go where the teams did, and do what the teams did?

The teams emerged from Week 4's pitstop in Macau - which began in the heart of the casino action at Praça de Ferreira do Amaral - at the Kun Iam Statue.Things to do in MacauMacau skyline 2013
We didn't see all the details, but the teams hopped another Turbojet, then flew from Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) to Whitehorse Airport (YXY), in Canada's Yukon Territory.#ExploreYukon Through The Amazing Race Canada

Whitehorse Guided Bike Tour
Aerial view of Whitehorse and the Yukon River
Also off-screen, the teams spent the night at Sky High Wilderness Ranch, before setting out again the next morning. Sky High Wilderness Ranch

4-Night Yukon Summer Adventure Including Yurt Lodging
Fire in the Sky
A Whitehorse sunset
The first part of the week's competition began with Make Your Bed (which involved setting up a campsite) or Ride a Sled (gearing up a dog sled team then letting the dogs take them for a run). Definitely fun to watch.Whitehorse Copper Trail

3-Night Yukon Territory Tour from Whitehorse

Yukon Quest dogs (wikicommons)
At the Biathalon Yukon Course, one member of each team had to ride a snow bike on a 1 kilometre (0.62 mile) course in the woods, then lay flat at the shooting range, and calmly (!?!) shooting the targets (with another bike around the track for misses), until all 5 targets were hit.Grey Mountain
Biathalon Yukon
Biathalon Canada

Yukon 4x4 Off-Road Tour to Montana Mountain
Starting Glitch Costs Teela in 2010 Winter Olympics Biathlon
The concentration of a biathalon shooter - Olympic style
Out of the shooting range, the teams headed to Chadburn Lake, where they had to portage a canoe to the Yukon River at Miles Canyon... and paddle to the pit stop for week 5!Chadburn Lake
Yukon River
Miles Canyon

Yukon River Canoe Day Trip from Whitehorse
Miles Canyon Whitehorse (1)
Miles Canyon
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Now, to the airports... We don't have a lot to share, as this week's airports were all return visits:
We hope you are enjoying our posts. Feel free to post feedback, and we'll see you soon in Week 6. Go teams, go!

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Monday 4 August 2014

Amazing Race Canada 2 - Week 4: Macau

20091003 Macau 6540
Ruins of St. Paul's Cathedral, one of Macau China's most famous sights
It was another exciting week for the teams. If you missed the episode, check out 'Amazing Race Canada' Season 2, Episode 4 Recap: Macau Mishaps for an interesting take on some of the week's highlights.

Want to go where the teams did, and do what the teams did?

The pitstop for Week 3 was located in Hong Kong, so it was from there that the teams set off on Week 4's adventures. Layover City: Hong KongHong kong skyline 2
The teams travelled from Hong Kong to Macau, China by turbojet!

This is the main means of transportation between Macau and Hong Kong and it takes about 50 minutes.
Macau Excursion from Hong Kong with Turbojet Full-Day Tour

Macau Full-Day Group Tour from Hong Kong
MAcau Jetfoil
At A-Ma Temple (Ma Kok Mui), in the Historic Centre of Macau (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), teams performed an ancient ceremony: lighting firecrackers - meant to ward off ancient spirits. See A-Ma TempleA-Ma Temple2
Are you one of those who craves to do EXACTLY what the teams did?

Then you can, indeed, bungy jump at Macau Tower.
See Macau Tower

Bungy Jump at Macau Tower
Macau Tower, Macau (2051965685)
If you want the thrill of seeing Macau from upon high, but aren't ready to bungy jump, here's some other things you can do at Macau Tower:Sky Jump at Macau Tower
Macau Tower Skywalk
Macau Tower Climb
Macau Tower Climb Express
Macau Tower Sky Walk 2
If you want to find happiness in Macau, or just the almond biscuit shop the teams visited on Happiness Street (Rua da Felicidade), take the Hop On Hop Off bus.Macau City Sightseeing Tour

Beginning at the Ruins of St Paul's Cathedral, teams that chose "Stamp It" scoured the streets looking for 6 shrines, stamping their scroll with an ancient Chinese symbol at each.See the Ruins of St Paul's Cathedral
Jesuit Convent, Macao
The façade of St Paul's in 1854
In the charm of Senado Square (Senate Square), teams who chose "Stomp It" joined a Macanese folk dance troupe to learn a complicated routine. See the Historic Centre of Macau
Macau Senate Square at Night
Gambling in Macau is central to the economy, so it's not surprise that the teams had to learn how to deal a game of Fan-Tan at the Grand Lapa Hotel.

Fan Tan gambling houses first opened in Macau in 1867, and today the game is one of just 27 game types permitted to be played.
 See Casino Lisboa
The game of Fan-Tan is very old
Next up, teams raced to the
Grand Lisboa Hotel.

From there, they navigated Macau's underground passageways to reach the pit stop.
Macau and Hong Kong Attractions Pass

See Macau Attractions Pass

Macau 30-Day City Attractions Pass
Macao Grand Lisboa200712
The pitstop for Week 4 was located at Praça de Ferreira do Amaral, in the heart of the casino action in Macau. Private Tour: Macau Day Trip from Hong KongPraca de Ferreira do Amaral
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No airports visited this week, but you can fly to Macau, of course.

Here are some things you may not know about Macau International Airport (MFM):
  • MFM is the only airport serving Macau
  • The runway is built on a strip of reclaimed land
  • The terminal building is located on Tapai Island
  • As in Hong Kong, Macau has its own immigration policies and is a separate customs territory from mainland China
  • Transfer passengers headed to Mainland China or Hong Kong, and not staying in Macau, can take advantage of the "two customs, one checkpoint" service (in-transit passengers use a bus shuttle directly from the airport to the New Macau Ferry Terminal or the Taipa Ferry Terminal without passing immigration)
If you go, the easiest way to get to/from Macau Airport (MFM) is by bus or taxi.

As always, we welcome your feedback. We'll see you after Week 5. Go teams, go!

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