Hit the foodie trail in Niagara

Share Adjust Comment Print

Q: I would like to enjoy a culinary weekend nearby and was hoping you could point me in the right direction.

— W. Kruger, Toronto

A: Foodie sensations are percolating just beyond Toronto’s borders in the the Niagara Region. Known for its wineries, the region has added fabulous culinary experiences to the mix. Lynn Ogryzlo, a well known chef and author, has teamed up with local agricultural groups to create a Niagara Culinary Trail. It’s comprised of five regions: Niagara Edibles focuses on Niagara-on-the-Lake; Gourmet Diversity looks at St. Catharines and Jordan; Field to Fork heads into Vineland, Beamsville and Grimsby; Harvest the Hills checks out Welland and Fonthill; while the Epicurean Trek is all about Niagara Falls, Port Colborne, Crystal Beach and Ridgeway. For details, visit NiagaraCulinaryTrail.com.

Q: We’ve done Graceland in Memphis but haven’t explored any other Elvis Presley attractions. I’m planning a road trip down to Mississippi to see his birthplace and was hoping you might know what’s new.

— M. Mangal, Scarborough

A: "The King" touched millions worldwide and his legacy lives on in places connected to him, including his birthplace in Tupelo, Miss.

Dick Guyton, the executive director of the Elvis Presley Birthplace (elvispresleybirthplace.com), is a wealth of information on all things Elvis.

Guyton says a new addition to the main building will open in August to accommodate more visitors. Screenings of Elvis movies and documentaries, and live performances by local groups are also planned.

"We’re only 90 miles from Memphis so if you go to Graceland it’s only natural to come here. We have the first half of his life here in Tupelo and the second act is in Memphis," he said.

"The fans enjoy it. If you’re a real Elvis fan being in the same building you know he was in, makes it important. That he started singing gospel music right here is important to a fan," Guyton said.

Another place frequented by Elvis was the Clarion Hotel in Memphis, which was recently renovated.

"Thirty-four years ago when it was built, Elvis hung out here. We still have his booth in the original Dad’s Place Restaurant," said Jay Michael who, along with his business partners, bought the once-derelict propert 2010. "Elvis loved coming here because of the music. Today we have great live music and some of the best fried chicken in Memphis."

Q: What is the world’s busiest airport?

— P. Nguyen, Mississauga

A: Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson International Airport is the world’s busiest, handling more than 90 million passengers per year. And insiders predict it will just get busier now that a new international terminal has opened. The new terminal at the world’s busiest airport will be able to accommodate the world’s largest passenger aircraft — the Airbus A380. Korean Air will fly its Airbus A380 daily between Atlanta and Seoul starting in January 2013. Taxiways and a runway are being widened to accommodate the A380.

Q: I’ve been told to take mosquito repellant to the Scottish Highlands because of a pesky bug. Do I need to?

— T. Wong, Scarborough

A: If you don’t like bug bites, yes. Small flying beasties called midges can give you an itchy bite similar to a mosquito bite. There are nearly 40 species of midges around Scotland but only five types are thought to bite. Pack some DEET and, when in Scotland, look for a product named Smidge.

Here are some tips to avoid bites: Wear light coloured clothing as midges are attracted to darker colours. Cover up with long sleeves and long pants. Windy days will have fewer midges, which are more active on still, dull days.

The midge-forecasting website — 2010.midgeforecast.co.uk — will post updates through "midge season," approximately May 20 to early September.

Q: Are there any ancient sites on the U.S. Virgin Islands?

— H. Gaspar, Etobicoke

A: Yes. Archaeologists have had a field day uncovering artifacts. The discoveries date back to the Taino Indians and early European settlers.

In addition, there are several experiential tours. The Friends of Virgin Islands National Park (friendsvinp.org) conducts archaeological digs at various locations including Cinnamon Bay, where tourists can watch a dig and view artifacts. And a slave reburial (of remains found earlier) is scheduled later this year.

At the historic Annaberg Sugar Mill and Plantation Ruins, volunteer guides from the local preservation organization field questions and take visitors on an eye-opening tour. This historic plantation is one of the largest on St. John.

Q: We booked air tickets but didn’t buy the flight cancellation insurance. It turns out our flight was disrupted. What should we do?

— C. Syed, Toronto

A: The Canadian Transportation Agency, the federal agency that handles airline complaints relating to a variety of issues, asks passengers to first contact the air carrier in writing.

On the topic of flight disruptions, the CTA website states: “Airlines do not guarantee their flight schedules and are unlikely to provide compensation for flight delays. Also carriers do not usually accept liability for missed connections when a person is travelling on tickets of two or more unrelated carriers.”

The CTA has an online complaint form at forms.cta-otc.gc.ca. The six-part form covers topics such as passenger information, complaint information, specific issues, flight details, and remedy sought.

The agency accepts complaints by mail, fax and online. Mail formal complaints to the Canadian Transportation Agency c/o The Secretary; Ottawa, Ont., K1A 0N9. Fax to 819-997-6727 or see cta.gc.ca. Processing takes several months. For more on the complaints process, call toll-free 1-888-222-2592.