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Canadian travellers set sail to sites of doomed Franklin expedition

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A boat-load of Canadian travellers now know what Sir John Franklin faced when trying to sail through Canada’s High Arctic.

Despite mild August weather, heavy sea ice stopped their modern cruise vessel from reaching its various destinations. But unlike the doomed Franklin Expedition they didn’t have to walk away from their trapped ship. They simply called in Canadian Coast Guard icebreakers to carve out a path back to open water.

Ocean Endeavour amidst ice floes.
Ocean Endeavour amidst ice floes.

Franklin and his crew tried walking across the ice to safety in 1845, but all died of starvation and exposure along the way.

Adventure Canada, a Port Credit-based travel firm that specializes in adventure sea expeditions, had planned to visit several of Franklin’s campsites, including the locations of his two British Navy warships HMS. Erebus and HMS. Terror. They were found two years ago in relatively good shape sitting on the bottom of the Arctic Ocean.

Searchers had been trying to find Franklin, his crew and their ships since 1846 when they failed to return to England.

Although they didn’t get to penetrate the Arctic as far as Franklin’s wooden vessels, the 200 passengers aboard the ice re-enforced Ocean Endeavour did learn a great deal about the land that did him in.

Adventure Canada loads its boat with a variety of experts that conduct daily lectures on the fascinating lifestyles of birds, mammals, rocks, climate and people in this vast untrodden chunk of Canada.

The trip starts with a charter flight out of Toronto aboard First Air, the airline that specializes in the Canadian north, to Kangerlussaqua, a former U.S. Air Force base in Greenland. There they board the Ocean Endeavour waiting at the end of one of the world’s longest fjords.

Franklin too wanted to visit Ilussat, 300 kilometres further up Greenland’s west coast, because he wanted to see the birthplace of most of the icebergs that plague shipping and fascinate tourists along Canada’s Atlantic coast.

The Jacobshaven Glacier is one of the principal fingers of ice coming off the 18-million-year-old Greenland Ice Cap and dumps massive icebergs the size of a city block into Davis Strait.

Nearly three years later those icebergs rub up against the rocky shores of Newfoundland. Adventure Canada’s sailing scientists advise booking a trip soon to see this phenomena, as they predict the show will end in our lifetimes.

The glacier is 10,000 feet thick, five miles across and sliding into the ocean at 130 feet per day. But in 25 years its front edge will be back on land and pouring melt water into the ocean rather than 35 billion tons of ice each year, say environmental scientists.

Like Franklin we dodged around hundreds of icebergs in Disko Bay to head across Davis Strait to Canada. He went direct into Lancaster Sound to tackle the Northwest Passage. We sailed into Qikitarjuaq – the locals call it Qik – a port on Baffin Island with 580 inhabitants to visit Auyuittuq, one of Canada’s newest National Parks.

It’s bigger than Prince Edward Island, is crawling with polar bears, laced by glaciers and spiraling red-rock hoodoos carved by the constant wind. No hiking groups are permitted ashore unless accompanied by bear guides bearing shotguns and high-powered rifles.

But you’re safe strolling around the village where you’ll be hard pressed to find a face that isn’t smiling, particularly among the children.

James Bond – in the form of Roger Moore – visited Auyuittuq National Park, where bad guys were shooting at him as he skied along a glacier. He escaped by skiing off the edge of Mount Asgard – the longest vertical drop in the world at 1,230 metres and plunged forever before opening a parachute, which was of course the Union Jack.

There are no docks in the Canadian Arctic and all trips ashore are via 10-passenger Zodiacs to land on a beach. We visited several villages and national parks, but thick ice kept us off Beechey Island, a national historic site in the Barrow Strait. That’s where Franklin and his crew spent one winter with their vessels frozen in the thick ice. Three of Franklin’s men are still there.

They died on the island and were buried in the permafrost, which preserved their bodies. Autopsies on the frozen sailors determined they likely died of lung disease brought on by lead poisoning. The killers are still scattered about the island – tin cans that had carried three years worth of food were soldered with lead.

The Adventure Canada expedition was to end in Kugluktuk in the western Arctic, but heavy sea ice had clogged up several narrow channels that needed to be navigated.

Canadian Coast Guard icebreakers Louis St. Laurent and the Henry Larsen escorted Ocean Endeavour to some destinations, but couldn’t open up its entire rote.

Their priority is to assist freighters participating in the annual Sealift where ships have six weeks to supply dozens of Arctic villages with their vital needs for a long, cold winter.

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Travel & Escape

Why your hotel mattress feels like heaven (and how to bring that feeling home)

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(NC) Choosing the right mattress is a long-term investment in your health and well-being. To make a good choice for your home, take a cue from luxury hotel-room beds, which are designed to support the sound sleep of tens of thousands of guests, 365 nights a year.

“When we’re shopping for a mattress, we do lab testing, identify the best materials, bring in multiple mattress samples and have our associates test them,” explains David Rizzo, who works for Marriott International. “We ask for ratings on comfort level, firmness, body support and movement disruption. It takes 12 to 18 months just to research and select materials.”

Here, he shares his tips to pick the perfect mattress for your best sleep:

Understand your needs. People have different food and exercise preferences, as well as different sleep cycles. So, it’s no surprise that everyone has unique mattress preferences. Not sure whether a firm or a soft mattress is better? Rizzo says the best gauge is to ask yourself, “Do I wake up with aches and pains?” If the answer is no, you’re golden.

Foam versus spring. All mattresses have a core that is made up foam or innersprings or a combination of the two. Today’s foam-core mattresses contain memory foam — a material engineered by NASA to keep astronauts comfortable in their seats. It’s special because it retains or “remembers” its shape, yielding to pressure from the sleeper’s body, then bouncing back once the pressure is removed.

An innerspring mattress has an encased array of springs with individual coils that are connected by a single helical wire. This wire creates continuous movement across the coil that minimizes disruption if the mattress is disturbed, such as by a restless sleeper. According to Rizzo, the innerspring is “bouncier.”

Temperature preference. Consider how warm or cool you like to sleep, and factor in the construction of the mattress to find one with a temperature that suits you. The air space engineered into an innerspring mattress promotes ventilation, which some people find keeps them pleasantly cool. To accomplish the same purpose with a foam mattress (or the foam layer of an innerspring) it may be infused with metal, usually silver or copper, to help dissipate heat and humidity.

Need to test out the right mattress for your needs? Find the right fit during your next trip by booking your stay at marriott.com.

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Travel & Escape

How to make the most of summer travel

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(NC) One of the best parts of our short Canadian summers is the opportunity to enjoy them a little bit extra on long weekends. If you need ideas, check out these creative things to do whether you decide to stay in town or go away.

Do a dinner crawl. Pub crawls are fun for couples, friends and also families with older kids. For an exciting twist that stretches your dollars and lets you taste food from several spots before you get too full, try a dinner crawl. Eat apps at one restaurant, mains at another and dessert at another.

Go on a mini getaway. You don’t need to go very far to enjoy a vacation – exploring a Canadian city over a summer weekend is great way to treat yourself to a holiday. Whether it’s checking out the museums in Toronto or the parks in Vancouver, there’s something for everyone. For upgraded benefits, special experiences and the best rates guaranteed, join Marriott Bonvoy and book direct on Marriott.com.

Host a potluck. Perfect whether you’re staying at home or going to your cottage, gather friends and family together for some food and fun. A potluck is an easy and affordable way to host a big get-together and lets everyone try something new and swap recipes. Make the festivities extra special with a fireworks potluck, too – ask everyone to bring some fireworks or sparklers and put on a light show. Just be sure to follow local regulations for consumer fireworks.

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Travel & Escape

Lottoland: Here’s why Canadians love it!

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Lotteries have been in existence for many centuries now and it’s an open secret that most people enjoy playing a good lottery.

Asides from gauging your own luck, the thrill of playing, the anticipation of the results and the big wins every now and then is something most people look forward to. Since 1982, the lottery has been in Canada, but now there is a way to play both the Lotto and other international lotteries from Canada, all from the comfort of your home.

With Lottoland, all you need to do is register and get access to numerous international lotteries right from their website. The easy-to-use interface has all the information you need, and great amount of care has been taken to ensure that the online experience is similar—and even better—than if players were to visit each location personally.

The Powerball and Mega Millions lotteries are hitting record highs with their prize money, in what the organizers claim to be the largest jackpot in the history of the world. However, the U.S. has gambling laws that are state controlled and buying your ticket through an online broker can be considered gambling.

“No one except the lottery or their licensed retailers can sell a lottery ticket. No one. Not even us. No one. No, not even that website. Or that one,” Powerball’s website says.

Therefore, to stand a chance to win the $1.5 billion-dollar lottery jackpot it means you have to purchase your lottery tickets directly from a licensed retailer such as Lottoland.

Since 2013, Lottoland has been operating in Canada, rapidly growing in popularity amongst Canadians. Due to its easy of use and instant access to lotteries that were previously considered inaccessible—as Canadians had to travel all the way to the U.S. to purchase tickets in the past—Lottoland has attracted lots of visitors.

Currently, there about 8-million players on Lottoland, a figure that points to the reliability of the website.

One of the core values of Lottoland is transparency and that’s why a quick search on the website would show you a list of all of their winners. Recently, a Lottoland customer was awarded a world-record fee of $137 million CND.

Also, due to the incredibly slim chances of winning the grand prize not everyone would take home mega-dollar winnings, but there are substantial winnings every day.

Securing your information online is usually one important factor when registering on any platform and as the site explains, “Lottoland works very hard to verify your information.”

The site has a multi-verification process that will ensure that you confirm your identity and age before giving you a pay-out. However, in the rare case that a player has immediate luck and wins a lottery before completing the verification process, Lottoland will hold on to the winnings until they complete your verification.

While this might seem like a tedious process, it is very important as these safety features would ensure that your information wasn’t stolen and ultimately your winning routed to another account.

Lottoland is licensed with the National Supervisory Bodies For Lotteries in several countries such as the United Kingdom, Italy, Sweden, Ireland and Australia—where it is called a wagering license. Typically, most gaming companies don’t establish insurance companies as it entails that their activities have to be transparent and the must be highly reputable in the industry.

Nonetheless, Lottoland has no issues meeting up to these standards as they have established themselves as the only gaming sector company who has its own insurance company—an added advantage for new and existing users.

Lotteries aren’t the only games Canadians enjoy playing and Lottoland recognizes this by providing players with other types of gaming. As an industry leader, video designers of online games often make them their first choice when it comes to publishing their works.

Online games such as slots, blackjack, video poker, baccarat, keno, scratchoffs, roulette and many others are always on offer at the Lottoland Casino. There’s also the option of playing with a live dealer and a total of over 100 games.

Lottoland has received numerous rave reviews from its growing list of satisfied customer and their responsive customer service agents are always available to answer any questions users may have, along with solving challenges they may have encountered.

More and more Canadians are trooping to Lottoland in droves due to the unique experience of going to a casino without having to leave the comfort of their homes.

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