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Canadian vacationers figure out how to have fun, save gas

Gas price angst isn't deterring Canadians planning summer trips.

A cross-country survey finds most people will still travel, but are finding ways to keep costs manageable with predictions the price could rise to $1.40 a liter ($5.30 a U.S. gallon) for regular.

Winnipeg playwright Bob Armstrong will take fewer day trips and combine destinations on a weekend getaway.

Instead of driving to Calgary to visit his parents, he will share the costs with the parents by meeting in the middle at Prince Albert National Park in Saskatchewan.

The Hotel Association of Canada says travel intentions have softened, with 70 percent planning a road trip this year compared to 78 percent last year, mainly because of "financial concerns" and "higher gas/energy prices."

Kevin Desjardins of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada said many people will opt for "shorter vacations and stay closer to home."

Some provinces have launched vacation-at-home campaigns — including a Travel Alberta program and one called Celebrate Manitoba — to offset an expected drop in arrivals of outsiders.

Sheraton, Marriott and Choice Hotels are offering gasoline-related deals and rebates, while Fairmont Hotels and Resorts has some stay-close-to-home specials.

After two years, cook extradited to Canada

Canadian Brenda Martin, jailed in Mexico for two years without a trial, has been returned to Canada and expects almost immediate parole.

The Canadian government helped secure her release from a prison in Guadalajara.

She was sentenced last month to five years in prison for her alleged role in an Internet fraud scheme run by her ex-boss, originally from Edmonton, Alberta.

Martin, 51, said she was working as a cook and knew nothing of the multimillion-dollar investment fraud.

She was flown home on a government jet and moved to the Grand Valley Institution for Women in Kitchener, Ontario.

News in brief

• Mark Carney, new governor of the Bank of Canada, said commercial banks can expect no bailouts if they wind up near bankruptcy because of poor business decisions. But the central bank would come to the rescue of a chartered bank with a temporary liquidity problem if it had sufficient capital to be considered viable, he added.

• Angry autoworkers want the Canadian government to do something to protect their jobs after General Motors said it will cut 970 jobs at its truck plant in Oshawa, Ontario, in September. Chris Buckley of the Canadian Auto Workers said lopsided trade practices are allowing too many foreign-built cars into the country.

• Construction is expected to start next year on a $1.6-billion, seven-mile stretch of six-lane road linking Highway 401 with a new international bridge to be built over the Detroit River in Windsor, Ontario. En route, the five-year project will create 240 acres of parkland and 12 miles of recreational trails.

Facts and figures

Canada's dollar slipped to 98.07 cents U.S. on Friday, while the dollar was worth $1.0197 Canadian, before bank exchanges fees.

The Bank of Canada interest rate is steady at 3 percent, while the prime lending rate is 4.75 percent.

Canadian stock markets are mixed, with the Toronto Exchange index higher at 14,269 points and the TSX Venture Exchange lower at 2,472 points.

Lotto 6-49: (Wednesday) 3, 6, 19, 23, 39, 43; bonus 14. (April 26) 1, 2, 18, 38, 42, 45; bonus 30. Super 7: (April 25) 5, 15, 23, 28, 31, 33, 42; bonus 6.

Regional briefs

• The Ontario government plans to ban smoking in cars in which children are present. Drivers would face a $250 fine. A University of Waterloo study found that smoking a cigarette inside a car generates toxic levels exceeding that of a "smoky pub."

• Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Friday visited areas of New Brunswick hit by widespread flooding. In Fredericton, the provincial capital, more than 50 streets remain closed and the St. John River is still overflowing its banks. Water levels continue to rise in Maugerville, Sheffield, Jemseg and St. John.

• Manitoba residents will have enhanced driver licenses and identification cards available as an option by next year. Those should allow them to cross the U.S. border without a passport and will mean residents will only need to renew their licenses every five years.

• A Calgary family's 911 call for help was misdirected to their former home in the Toronto area, more than 2,000 miles away. Paramedics were sent to the Ontario house instead of the right one in Alberta after the voice-over-Internet phone company only had their previous address. By the time a second call was made, baby Elijah Luck died of a seizure, two hours after receiving a flu shot.

Jim Fox can be reached at

canadareport@hotmail.com.

Canadian vacationers figure out how to have fun, save gas 05/03/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 28, 2010 1:37pm]

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