Tag Archives: Canada

Did Avril Lavigne Die in 2003?: An Internet Conspiracy, Explained

“Hi fellow Avril Rangers”: This is the innocuous beginning to what is, perhaps, the best written statement on Canadian pop-punk Nickelback divorcee Avril Lavigne that the internet has ever produced.

Vice’s Noisey blog offered a nice little crash course on the theory that Avril Lavigne had previously died and been replaced by a doppelgänger, but the internet trail—as always—goes much, much deeper. On ATRL.net in 2012, user Vulps eases us in to what is (apparently) common knowledge:

Continue reading Did Avril Lavigne Die in 2003?: An Internet Conspiracy, Explained

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Why Canada Should Care About Organized Crime In Mexico

The image bears a striking resemblance to a scene from Denis Villeneuve’s thriller Sicario. Two vans with tinted-glass windows cruise through the busy streets of a Mexican city, followed closely by a federal police pickup. Two armed officers in full combat gear stand in the cargo area, watching over the convoy.

The passengers inside the vans, however, are not undercover CIA operatives, but a group of Canadian students from the University of Toronto (UofT), on their way to a meeting at the Federal Police’ Tactical Operations Center in Iztapalapa, Mexico City’s most populous borough.

Continue reading Why Canada Should Care About Organized Crime In Mexico

Suspect charged in Quebec mosque attack

A French Canadian known for far-right views has been charged with six counts of murder over the shooting rampage at a Quebec mosque. Suspect Alexandre Bissonnette, who was also charged with five counts of attempted murder, made a brief court appearance and did not enter a plea.

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Quebec Women Charged in Massive Coke Smuggling Bust Documented Whole Trip on Instagram

The two Quebec women facing life in prison in Australia after police found more than $30 million worth of cocaine in their suitcases looked like they were having the time of their lives on the way there.

Melina Roberge and Isabelle Lagace, both in their 20s, spent the last two months on the MS Sea Princess, a massive luxury cruise that takes 2,000 passengers on numerous stops from Southampton in the UK to Sydney, Australia. Tickets for the cruise cost $20,000 each.

Continue reading Quebec Women Charged in Massive Coke Smuggling Bust Documented Whole Trip on Instagram

The 11 Friendliest Cities In The World, According To Travelers

11. Salzburg, Austria

11. Salzburg, Austria

Score: 82.5 (tie)

It’s not difficult to see why Salzburg made the list. The beautiful city boasts “mountain vistas, mind-blowing architecture, and so much history,” and the people are “warm and friendly,” our readers gush.

It’s also very family friendly: “It’s like a living theme park, the perfect destination for young kids on their first trip to Europe,” one reader added. Plus, it’s home to the gorgeous Hotel Goldener Hirschone of Europe’s best hotels with the most helpful staff around.

11. Budapest, Hungary

11. Budapest, Hungary

Score: 82.5 (tie)

Budapest is “majestic, regal, and breathtaking,” with its “rich history and elegant buildings,” according to our readers. But it’s the “lovely, friendly people,” “courteous drivers,” and “youthfulness” that make the city special.

Our readers suggest heading to the Fisherman’s Bastion to get “a real feeling of local life.” In the summer, don’t miss the chance to mingle with the locals at one of Budapest’s now-famous “sparties,” which are held at the landmark Széchenyi Baths.

9. Seville, Spain

9. Seville, Spain

Score: 82.8 (tie)

“Quaint and amazing”—plus “charming, beautiful, and welcoming”—is how our readers describe the historic capital of Andalusia.

“The locals are warm, kind, and full of life,” one reader adds, while another raves that the city “dances to the rhythm of flamenco like no other Spanish city!” See for yourself—and while you’re there, have a meal at the classic and elegant Egaña Oriza, an editor favorite.

9. Savannah, Georgia, USA

9. Savannah, Georgia, USA

Score: 82.8 (tie)

Charm abounds in Georgia’s oldest city, as evidenced by the number of readers who raved about the “animated guides in seersucker suits” and “Spanish moss dripping from the trees.”

Visitors both new and returning also enthused that the “rich tapestry of our country’s history” here made them feel like they’d “stepped back in time.” For delicious Southern fare, “don’t miss The Pirate’s House Sunday Brunch.”

7. Siem Reap, Cambodia

7. Siem Reap, Cambodia

Score: 83.6

Though Siem Reap is full of “awe-inspiring beauty” and “incredible food and sights,” our readers say that its “people were the best.” One reader added: “It is the resiliency and kindness of the Cambodian people that I will remember.”

While you’re there, stay at the Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor (pictured), five miles from Angkor Wat, orAmansara Resort, famous for its wonderful staff, beautiful chalets, and location—just minutes from Angkor Archaeological Park.

5. Sydney, Australia

5. Sydney, Australia

Score: 83.8 (tie)

Not only is Sydney “the most beautiful large city in the world” with a “breathtaking” harbor and beaches, it’s also home to the “friendliest people,” our readers say.

“They’re always so helpful, and they love Americans!” another adds. As if you needed another reason to visit, Sydney is also home to the best food in the world. Don’t visit without stopping by at the spectacular Quay for Chef Peter Gilmore’s nature-inspired cuisine.

5. Dublin, Ireland

5. Dublin, Ireland

Score: 83.8 (tie)

According to our readers, Dublin is a “vibrant city” that’s a “bibliophile’s dream.”

Apart from being “green, lush, and very walkable,” it’s also “the kind of place you stop in for a drink in a local pub, only to end up chatting with the locals for the next five hours.” Even First Lady Michelle Obama is a fan.

4. Charleston, South Carolina, USA

4. Charleston, South Carolina, USA

Several visitors praised this “quaint and special little gem” for embodying Southern hospitality at every turn—so much so that they “would consider living there full time.”

The historic town earned accolades for its blend of “undervalued local culture,” history, and natural beauty, as well as the “incredible food” and Charleston City Market, with its boutiques and art galleries.

3. Victoria, BC, Canada

3. Victoria, BC, Canada

Score: 85.7

There’s just so much to do in Victoria, you need at least a week to see it. “Bike on the Galloping Goose, people-watch at Moka House Coffee, sip wine at Beacon Hill Park, go whale watching, and on and on,” one of our readers advises.

“The inner harbor is worth a day wandering around,” another adds. While you’re there, look for the stunning Fairmont Empress Hotel, which is well worth “a walk through, even if you don’t go for high tea.”

1. Melbourne, Australia (TIE)

1. Melbourne, Australia (TIE)

Score: 86.0 (tie)

It’s no surprise that our readers adore Melbourne: It’s “one of the classiest cities in the world” and boasts an “abundance of parks and fabulous public art.”

Plus, Melbournians are a “friendly bunch,” famous for their “wonderful sense of humor.” And don’t even start with Melbourne’s amazing nightlife, food, and hotels—we told you long ago it was Australia’s capital of cool.

1. Auckland, New Zealand (TIE)

1. Auckland, New Zealand (TIE)

Score: 86.0 (tie)

We must admit, we saw this one coming—and so did you. “The people are friendly, and their humor and view on life is something to aspire to attain,” said one reader. “Such a gorgeous city on the water” with “clear air,” “fresh food,” and “amazing culture,” others raved.

A trip to the Auckland Museum for its Maori collections and “terrific” cultural performances is highly recommended. If you’ve never been to New Zealand, this “clean, youthful, adventurous, beautiful” city is the “ideal starting place” for seeing the country.

The best places to live – A data-driven ranking of the most liveable cities

NOT New York nor Paris nor Tokyo. Urbanites in Britain’s former dominions should count themselves lucky, according to data from the Economist Intelligence Unit, our corporate cousin.

Its annual “liveability index” puts eight of the taen most comfortable places in Australia, Canada or New Zealand. The index crunches 30 factors related to things like safety, healthcare, educational resources, infrastructure and environment in 140 cities.

Over the past five years urban life has deteriorated somewhat: liveability has declined in 51 places and improved in 31 places.

During that time, the index average has dropped 0.7 percentage points (skewed by cities in conflict areas where survival, rather than living well, is the priority). Interestingly, the top cities have not changed much over time.

The EIU notes that they “tend to be mid-sized cities in wealthier countries with a relatively low population density.” Hence those of us in London, San Francisco and Shanghai must endure the rat-race, and dream of dwelling amid Viennese coffee houses or Vancouver’s sailing and skiing.

The world’s most extraordinary hotels in pictures


Mihir Garh, Rajasthan 
“The fort sits in splendid isolation amid the Thar Desert near Jodhpur. It looks like an enormous sandcastle, a mirage, and is not just a unique place to stay; it’s a shrine to the artistic and architectural traditions of Rajasthan in general and Jodhpur in particular.”


Planet Baobab, Botswana
“Botswana’s Makgadigadi Pan comprises the world’s largest network of salt pans – a thirsty, mirage-inducing landscape of flat, shimmering expanses under hard blue skies. Halfway along the sole tarred road through this arid moonscape, a statue of an anteater towers at the dusty verge. It is a surreal sight, and an appropriate signpost for the distinctive Planet Baobab.”


Prendiparte B&B, Bologna, Italy
“A medieval high-rise turned romantic hideaway, the Torre Prendiparte is unlike anywhere else you’ll ever stay. The living area is on the first two floors and comprises a snug, classically-furnished living room, mezzanine bedroom, and kitchen. Above this is the former jail where you can still see graffiti left by prisoners on the 2m-thick walls.”


Qasr al Sarab, UAE
“Rising from the shifting sands, Qasr Al Sarab appears like a mirage on the edge of the vast Empty Quarter desert. Outside high crenellated walls echo fortresses of old. Inside rooms continue the dream of Arabian Nights with sumptuous fabrics, carved Islamic designs, woven rugs, wooden doors and metalwork lanterns.”


Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge, Tasmania, Australia
“A stay at Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge plunges you into the heart of Tasmania’s wilderness, with luxury that feels as organic as your surrounds. The cabins are nestled privately in the bushland, with wallabies bounding past the windows and wombats shuffling amid the trees.”


Free Spirit Spheres, British Columbia, Canada
“Suspended in the trees on sturdy guide ropes, Vancouver Island’s Free Spirit Spheres look like giant eyeballs peering deep into the British Columbia woodlands. Step inside and the handmade orbs – accessed via spiral rope staircases or slender steel bridges – are lined like comfy boat cabins with built-in beds and cabinets.”


Taskonak Hotel, Goreme, Cappadocia, Turkey
“Göreme has dozens of beautiful cave-hotels but Taşkonak manages to dish up the cave-suites and stupendous views Cappadocia is famous for without breaking your budget.”


Thonga Beach Lodge, iSimangaliso Wetland Park, South Africa
“One of few such lodges within the extraordinary 328,000 hectare iSimangaliso Wetland Park, a Unesco world heritage site.”


Saugerties Lighthouse, New York state, USA
“Saugerties Lighthouse is a historic 1869 landmark that makes a wonderful base for exploring the scenic Hudson valley. It is 100 miles north of New York City, and the red brick building has played a pivotal role in safely guiding steamboats, barges and other vessels safely along the Hudson river over the years. More recently (in the mid 1990s), the lighthouse was transformed into a two-room B&B, providing safe haven of a different sort.”


The Gibbon Experience Treehouse, Bokeo Reserve, Laos
“The tree houses erected by conservation group Animo are a thing of architectural wonder, straddling the giant trunks of strangler fig trees. But more extraordinary still is that to reach these vertiginous eyries you’ll have to trek through the fecund realm of the tiger, then catch a series of exhilarating zip lines strung across the forest canopy, before flying into your night’s accommodation.”

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