About Victoria Revay

Victoria Revay

Victoria Revay is a broadcaster, journalist and on-air personality. She has worked at BCTV on the Global Desk and regularly filled in for Pia Shandel's show on CFUN 1410 am as a radio producer.

She was channel editor, citizen-journalism hustler and video presenter for Nowpublic.com, has appeared as a new media expert and trend/lifestyles expert on shows such as City TV's Breakfast Television, CKNW 980, CBC radio and the Leo Laporte Show on G4Tech TV.


Latest Posts by Victoria Revay

Shucking Around with John Bil on Prince Edward Island

April 8, 2010 by  

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It’s 6:15 am and the alarm just went off. We’re in Charlottetown at the Great George Hotel, and I wish I could enjoy my lovely room with hour longer.

But I’m too excited to sleep.  That’s because we’re meeting oyster shucker John Bil, Prince Edward Island’s one-and-only.  He is a 3 time Canadian Oyster Shucking Champion, and a 2 time North American Shucking Champion.  John already texted me yesterday welcoming us, he seemed in a great mood!

And why wouldn’t he be?  He has been on the Today Show, and is constantly mentioned in the New York Times, Vanity Fair and Time Out New York and the New Yorker magazines–to name a few.  The man is a legend and he is spending the day with us!

We’ll be in the Cavendish and Darnley areas, and then we’re off to lunch at his new restaurant called Ship to Shore.  I can’t wait to see John put his muscles to use.

This afternoon, we’re driving on the Confederation Bridge to Shediac, New Brunswick to catch the tail end of the Shediac Lobster Festival.  We will literally have to work for our dinners tonight.  We’re learning how to catch and cook lobsters.

Until then, and as John would say, we’ll just keep on schucking!

Canada’s Top Cities: Because Everyone Loves a Good List

September 13, 2009 by  

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Every time I opened a newspaper or magazine this summer, the word staycation was engraved in bold lettering, somewhere in the travel-trend-and-business sections.   Slyly coined, it was and still resonates with many of us. We’re staying close to home for the annual vacation, at least until we’re in the clear in these recessionary times.

That’s why I was hardly surprised then when after the standard, “how did you get this job?” question, the most immediate question was “and what are some of your top city recommendations in Canada?”
This list is not meant to serve up anything other than a hint of flavour to our fleeting days of summer, very quickly coming to and end. And it’s in no particular order of preference.
Vancouver, British Columbia
Where else can you go running, sailing and hiking on the same day, drive to Whistler, come back and check out the horse races, hobnob with celebrities at the finest hotels, walk around in an Asian summer market, eat the freshest seafood, dance, and then go for an awesome twilight nosh–all in just under 16 hours?
Dawson City, Yukon
Radiant energy keeps the sun shining all summer long in this northern city. For runners, the Midnight Dome race is a draw. Music enthusiasts need to check out the annual music festival. The sour toe shot, gold miners and charming adventures wait for those who believe in magic.
St. John’s, Newfoundland
Canada’s oldest city is phenomenal. George Street, the Rooms, cod tongue appetizers, friendly people and the East Coast Trail will keep me coming back. Oh, and the views of the moody ocean, drama-inducing cliffs and bays, now that’s something to talk about.

Calgary, Alberta
Watch out for the handsome police that monitor the downtown streets dressed up in cowboy gear, dangerous! The city has grown up, big time. Posh hotels, shops and restaurants make way for the fast food and steak-and-potato joints of yesteryear.  It’s something for everyone.
Montreal, Quebec
Montreal is soul: It’s music, food, art, culture, fashion and intellect presented in a city form. What can I say?
Ottawa, Ontario
Ottawa feels like a Toronto, Montreal and a Vancouver, all bundled into a neat-and-manageable present. I loved the trendy clothing scene of Bytown, and the even more on-point, slow food movement restaurants tucked away, sneaking up on you in alleys and courtyards. Uber-cool.
Quebec City, Quebec
European elegance, preserved history and glorious food is Quebec. Forward thinking, the romance can be bundled up during the winter, but blossoms during the summer. Oh, how sweet it is…
Victoria, British Columbia
It’s not about the horse-drawn carriages and high tea with grandma anymore. Hipsters have transformed Low-Jo (Johnson Street) to be one of the most unique shopping districts in BC, and the restaurants are alive-and-well with organic-and-local foods.   Not what you’d expect to find in a city this size. It’s refined.
Toronto, Ontario
Toronto is fun. For someone who needs a ton of extracurricular activities, this city will be a hit. Check out the Drake Hotel, call Bruce the historian and go for a walk, and check out the Torontoist.com for the latest blogger gossip.
Got some recommendations?  Let us know what your favourite city is @bigplaceblog.  While Victoria is a contributor to We Blog the World, this post is copyrighted to the CTC’s Media Centre and should be referenced and linked back if re-blogged or used.

At the Peak of Perfection

August 8, 2009 by  

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The hardest part about visiting Whistler in the summer is trying to figure how to fit the myriad of activities into a day that only has 24-hours.  You see Whistler is not only a winter wonderland.  Yes, it is the site of the alpine, Nordic, and sliding events for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

Whistler Blackcomb also remains the top ski resort in North America for the 12th year in a row. But in the summer, it becomes an adventure seekers’ paradise.

Cooling off a bit from the previous week before, it seemed the locals welcomed the cloudy-and-windy morning we woke up to yesterday.  After a rise n’ shine, peddle-and-paddle tour with Whistler Eco Tours, we couldn’t wait to grab lunch in the square and take in some of the sunshine that was now peeking through the clouds.

Always a hub of activity, Whistler Village square is one of my favourite places to sit and people watch and it never gets old. The terraces of the restaurants are always filled with energy, as young couples, groups of girls and guys, and families gather to eat, drink and talk weekend gossip.

What’s the buzz about these days in a community that draws two million visitors a year?  According to Amber Turnau from Whistler and Blackcomb, it’s summer sightseeing, 360-degree-style courtesy of the PEAK 2 PEAK gondola and then a little mountain top wine tasting.  So up we went.

The Whistler Village Gondola was the first step to getting us to the base of the PEAK 2 PEAK. I never get tired of getting up-close-and-personal with the trees that we pass over.  On a clear day, the views of the village, Lost Lake, Green Lake and the Fairmont Chateau Whistler are stunning.

Although I was nervous at first, once I got into the PEAK cabin, the smooth ride settled my weak stomach.  The spacious interior of the cabin holds 28 people and we were joined by no more than ten, so there was enough space to walk around.

The glass windows were spotless, giving us a magnificent view of the trails, the surrounding mountains and the dense-and-lush mountains below.  It was truly breathtaking.

And we didn’t even have to hold our breath that long (11 minutes to be exact). Spanning from Whistler to Blackcomb Mountains, at the highest peak we were 436 metres above the valley floor.  The world record-breaking line is a 4.4 km journey across, while the longest unsupported span is about 3 km. This makes it the longest continuous lift system on the globe.

After a quick photo-op with the ”wooden cougar” on the Blackcomb side, we looped back to complete our Alpine Experience with a wine tasting at Steeps Restaurant in the Roundhouse Lounge.

Sitting on the patio in the gorgeous sunshine and overlooking Whistler Mountain gave me a real taste of everything that Whistler had to offer in the summer months.  If only it could give us more hours in a day, so we could enjoy it all.

To share your own personal photos from across Canada, we’d love to see them at Locals Know.

While I’m a contributor to We Blog the World, the below blog post  is the copyright of the Canadian Tourism Commission.  Please link back and credit all content used to Canada is a Big Place.  You can also check us out on Flickr and @biglaceblog.

Zippy Doo Dah, Zippy Doo Do

August 7, 2009 by  

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Our Westcoast Air float plane landed on Green Lake in Whistler yesterday, and it felt like we went over a bunch of speed bumps, minus the major headache. Luckily, those privy to our arrival–meaning the emerald green lake and the beautiful log cabins–distracted me enough that I couldn’t think about freaking out, just yet.

That episode would come during our strapping afternoon, high above somewhere between Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains.  That’s because I decided to take the plunge: I was going ziptrekking with Whistler’s own Ziptrek Ecotours.

It’s been described many things; heart-plunging, exhilarating, knee-shaking and dare devilish, and ziptrekking can be all those things.  But to me the most prevalent feeling I got was just being able to let go and act like a little kid again. For many of us, that is a scary thought.

Dressed in a complex series of wires and pulleys, I weighed six and a half pounds more than usual, as we made a practice run through the course just above Whistler Village.  Needless to say, I think I look pretty cute in a hard hat.

A little nervous as I gently let go and let gravity pull me down the line, I couldn’t help but shriek as I gained speed.  I could hardly wait to go into the rainforest and ride down a series of four lines, different lengths and speeds and get the real experience.

Standing on a tree house type of an observation platform made of Western red cedar, we were amongst ancient old growth Douglas Fir forests overlooking a 200-foot drop down to Fitzsimmons Creek.

Soon, my climbing harness would be attached to the steel cables that swung from the Whistler to the Blackcomb Mountain sides and I would be like a cute monkey, just swinging across the line.  No worries.  So with anticipation building, I volunteered to go first.

Looking below me, there were three steps separating the elusive “down there” from the very real “up here” where I was standing.  Why the irrational and fear-mongering thoughts need to start a conversation in my head at that very moment, I’m not sure, but I took care of them.

At this point, everything got quiet around me except for the noise of the rushing creek below.  As if in slow motion, I grabbed my yellow rope below the waist and started moving off the ledge.

Feeling a loss of control, I teetered a bit and then just went for it.  Gravity was leading me now, as I zipped down the line and I gained speed.  Feeling free as a bird, I let go of the rope and spread my arms out to my sides.

For that one second, I felt innocent again. I forgot about my worries, my experiences of heartache and disappointments, and things I needed to get done that afternoon.  I was just floating above the creek, in the forest with a giant smile on my face.

Now that’s a thrill, isn’t it?

To share your own personal photos from across Canada, we’d love to see them at Locals Know.

While I’m a contributor to We Blog the World, the below blog post  is the copyright of the Canadian Tourism Commission.  Please link back and credit all content used to Canada is a Big Place.  You can also check us out on Flickr and @biglaceblog.

An Ode to My Librettist Brian Storen at Spinnakers

August 7, 2009 by  

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My bar stool was in the middle of the hallway facing the open-kitchen and half-obstructing a walkway. I guess I was in the way of walking-traffic, but in all honesty I didn’t care.

I was getting ready to dive in for some gastro-tasting at Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub in Victoria and I was also in good company.  Carolyne, Holly from Tourism Victoria and Brian Storen, a celebrity sommelier who won the recognition of Canada’s Sommelier of the Year 2005 by enRoute Magazine were all there for the ride.

Like most things on this trip to Victoria, Spinnakers was not how I remembered the last time I was there, but then, this is not surprising.  Back then, I was still trying to figure it all out as a student. I was upstairs drinking beer, eating Nachos and playing pool with friends.

Now, I was shaking hands with Chef Alison Ryan and staring at a row of five uniquely curved glasses that would serve as a preambulation (Brian called it that) for the night. I liked it better this time around.

For a place that pioneered craft-beer brewing culture and is the oldest brewpub in Canada, the vibe of the restaurant is very upscale, but still approachable.

The constant bustle of the kitchen and the wait-staff coming-and-going does provide that brasserie feeling you’d get in a busy New York or European environment, but then you turn to face the windows and you’re surrounded by an endless Victoria Inner Harbour view.  That’s when the comfort sinks in. Or was it after sipping their Aquifer-sourced O de Vie, a mineral water bottled from underneath the restaurant?  Not sure just yet.

Briefing my storyline of the tasting, I have to use the tasting notes Brian emailed us yesterday, because it is a work of art–a haiku of tasting notes as he called it.  For me, the highlights included the freshly shucked petite Cortes Island Whaletown oyster that we washed down with Tugwell Creek’s Sparkling Methode Classic Wassail Mead.  The mead was a mellow palate cleanser for the creamy-and-fleshy oyster meat.

The pairing for the Panzanella Salad that included heirloom tomatoes and organic Kalamata olives (the salad was inspired by Ali’s trips to Italy) was the high hopped Spinnakers IPA and the Schulze’s Cobble Hill 2007 Millefiori (a thousand flowers) wine.  (Brian swears it’s laced with male pheromones to make the ladies go wild.)

What I went crazy for were the next two courses: The majestic seared tuna loin that enjoyed swimming on top of a bed of crispy baby bok choy, sweet cherry tomatoes and was dotted with Port Albernie Hertel bacon bites and the turfy pork tenderloin (together with its riveting plum compote) and bintje potato plate.
We fleshed out the body of the plate “with humility and grace and a Spinnakers ESB, named one of Canada best beers by McLeans Magazine” and also Brian’s dad’s favourite beer when he was alive.

Elevating our other olfactory senses was the Oliver’s Stoneboat Winery’s 2007 Pinotage, the grapes “grown to sun withered, low hanging, warm earth coated old canine scrotum density in a singular sweaty bovine enological gem for the country from Lanny Martiniuck’s family vineyard,” as per Brian.

Not a foregone conclusion, the ending to the night included Chocolatier Crystal Duck’s handmade truffles paired with beer. Served on a square plate, the methodically orchestrated clock-wise dessert tasting brought the evening to a full-circle.

Bite into the “slightly wicked ‘tequila shot’ tequila and sea salt infused dark chocolate truffle.” Swig on the ‘BlueBridge’ Ale. Slight plate turn.

Bite into the Chivas Regale laced dark chocolate truffle. Sip the Mount Tolmie Dark Ale. Slight plate turn.

Bite into the ‘just a little stout’ dark chocolate, stout and barley truffle.  Sip the Ogden Porter. Slight plate turn.

Bite into a small piece of the Salt Spring Island’s Blossoms Blue Cheese. Sip on the Venturi Schulze Vineyards Brandenburg # 3. Yes, Brian, it is a “kaleidoscopic epiphany.” Finalizing the tale with “pure Brian overkill,” we sipped on a rhubarb-and-strawberry sorbet dessert that was soaked in Spinnaker’s new homemade Victoria gin.

I think Brian summed up our evening best when he said, “struck by a sneaky release of vibrant florality pluming in the inoculated mouth as you breath into what you’ve swallowed..it is interesting…not unlike the experience of going on a blind date with low expectations and being shocked by the humble perfection of it all.”

I couldn’t have written it better. Buena Note on bended knees, Brian. To share your own personal photos from across Canada, we’d love to see them at Locals Know.

While I’m a contributor to We Blog the World, the below blog post  is the copyright of the Canadian Tourism Commission.  Please link back and credit all content used to Canada is a Big Place.  You can also check us out on Flickr and @biglaceblog.

BC Day Celebrations in the Capital City

August 5, 2009 by  

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Regardless of the country I’m in, my mood or what season it is, hearing the Flamenco guitar and Flamenco singers instantly transports me back to my days of exploring Granada, Spain.

I was 22 and travelling alone for a few months when I stumbled into a poorly lit cave.  It was empty except for a lone Flamenco guitarist and his partner who were getting ready to leave for the night.
After talking to them for a bit, I sat down and soon after they performed a song, just for me. It was so emotional I had tears in my eyes.

Today, I was time-warped back to Spain, only I happened to be Victoria, British Columbia at St. Ann’s Academy. It’s BC Day and the celebrations were in full-swing when we arrived (what is it with me these days, first it’s tears on Canada Day and now BC Day?!).

There were hundreds of people sitting on the grass, many of them were families enjoying a nice picnic, while others were alone, attentively listening to the entertainment. They were glued to the main podium where the Flamenco act was performing. In the Artisans’ Alley–a lane closed for local vendors selling their goods– we spotted a few curious items we almost tried, like a spiritual reading from a Tarot Intuitive Healer.

From the park, we followed the crowds around the Empress Hotel and then we weaved our way through the street vendors in the Inner Harbour.  They were selling everything from lemonade and ice cream cones to Aboriginal artworks and handmade clothing.  Even the buskers were impressive – they stayed in tune!

The city is more dynamic than I remembered: It blends the traditional old-world charm of those horse-drawn carriages, character homes and gardens with a modern, artistic and youthful energy.  Yes, there are vibrant rainbow coloured hanging-baskets lining the streets and everything is pretty, but there are also hipster-types everywhere, and the downtown is dotted with smaller fashion-forward boutiques that are hidden in narrow passages doubling as alleys.

Victoria is a city of contrasts, but then to me, it’s that contrast that makes living in BC so special. It takes the best of everything and everyone and mixes it harmoniously. Happy BC Day!

While I’m a contributor to We Blog the World, the below blog post  is the copyright of the Canadian Tourism Commission.  Please link back and credit all content used to Canada is a Big Place.  You can also check us out on Flickr and @biglaceblog.

Tea-Time at the Top of the Rockies? You Bet

July 30, 2009 by  

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Horseback riding up to the Lake Agnes Teahouse in Lake Louise is a highlight on this tour that’ll be hard to forget.  I’ve been to Lake Louise before, but never ventured up the trails.  Now, I’m counting down the days until I can back again and go even further, up to the Beehives.

All you have to do is look at the photos that Carolyne took and see for yourself what you could be (and really should be) experiencing at one point in your life.  If you’re a hiker, the three and a half kilometer climb to the top of Lake Agnes will be exciting. It’s at an elevation of 1,300 feet. We even saw a brave soul partly jogging some of it (he must have had his Frosted Flakes that morning).

I, on the other hand, was very excited to saddle up (courtesy of Brewster Stables) and enjoy the climb with a little help from my one-and-only, Nugget.   As a side note, I’ve been telling Carolyne for the last few weeks just how much I loved the word Nugget.  It’s funny how that worked out.

Back to my thoughts about the day.

Don’t forget your camera and an extra sweater.  On the way up, you’ll be able to capture so many memories: squirrels sitting on the side of the road–just hanging out– the subalpine forest changing in colour and density, Mirror Lake’s pale turquoise water and waterfalls.

This is all, of course, is in the good company of the mammoth-sized-and-jagged edged mountains that act with assertiveness over the entire land. Before the final few steps to the house, make sure to look left, so you can see the waterfalls and the trails that merge below.  You can also just take a deep breath and look at the view of the Chateau, which at this point looks no bigger than a small house.

Named after Lady Susan Agnes MacDonald (wife of Canada’s first Prime Minister, Sir John A. MacDonald), the teahouse could be something out of Grimm’s fairy tale.  The covered terrace of the teahouse wraps around, offering stellar direct views of the lake.  When it’s warm, the seats on the edge are drenched in sunshine.  (Note: The grey jays, chipmunks and ground squirrels are on stand-by to clean up your scraps.) The lake itself is regal, stretching to the edges of the mountain.  You can walk along and continue upwards to the Beehives.

Inside the teahouse, the low-ceilings, comfortable wooden benches and tables, and the sweet smells of freshly baked crumbles and cookies hit your senses. Table service-only and cash-only, the tea selection is massive (Carolyne and I had a tea-for-two).

On our way down, we managed to fit in a few tunes for the road before we hit the stables. Overlooking Lake Louise from the terrace of the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, everything was veiled in emerald and gold. It’s so wild to have such contrasting experiences within a few hours of each other.  Coming from a small lake and its small teahouse, at what seems like the top of the world, to a bigger lake and its bigger “house” was mesmerizing.

To share your own personal photos from Lake Louise, Banff or Calgary, we’d love to see them at Locals Know.

While I’m a contributor to We Blog the World, the below blog post  is the copyright of the Canadian Tourism Commission.  Please link back and credit all content used to Canada is a Big Place.  You can also check us out on Flickr and @biglaceblog.

The Best Sherpa in Churchill: Brian Ladoon

July 23, 2009 by  

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In small towns, everyone knows each other. In a northern town like Churchill with a population of 700, that’s definitely the case.  You know, when you ask someone about someone it ends up being a response similar to this: “Oh, I know Peggy from the end of the street, and Wally from the lodge.” And that’s enough.

We wanted a real account of someone who has survived, struggled and lived in Churchill, and we heard that there was an interesting mix of personalities to interview.  So we decided to get a word-of-mouth recommendation and pick someone based on that.

Our candidate? Brian Ladoon, a world-class dog handler, witch doctor, stonemason, cemetery worker and film crew Sherpa. Something in that order.  When we pulled up to Brian’s dusty F-150 truck, the scene felt like it was out of a Hollywood movie: We were doing a drug-bust and something intense was going to go down.

Peeking out from underneath his wide-framed black sunglasses, Brian’s face was blotchy and red; the years of hard work, and harder play creased into the folds around his eyes.  His long, grey locks appeared to be bleached and had a yellowish tinge, but then it could’ve just been the chlorine or the cold weather.  He wears a thin, handmade black rubber headband across his forehead and lights up a Player’s Smooth every other minute.

I’m pretty sure if I didn’t know who he was, I’d be a bit intimidated to meet him in a dark alley, but then you sit down to talk to him, and he is this absolute ray of sunshine. He is unhurried, unfiltered and deliberate, he loves life, he loves his dogs even more, and he has made a point of not following the rules. He got into the dog business because he’s a failed deckhand, and because painting portraits kept him inside too much. With his high school degree completed, he taught himself everything he knows today.

The man is genius. “We set up a foundation for the dogs,” he says proudly.  “There is website and one of their portraits even made it onto a Royal Canadian Mint silver coin.” He took us to Mile 5 where the bigger dogs are chained up. Wolf-like cries and endless barking filled the air as soon as we arrived.  The dogs couldn’t wait to jump on him, rub up against him, nibble on his fingers and one of them practically shoved him over in his excitement.

To me, this was the turning point.  I really saw through Brian.  I didn’t see a wacky, out-of-this-world guy anymore who talked about extraterrestrial invasions or the fact that he only eats 27 foods.  I saw a little boy, whose face lit-up with joy when his dogs greeted him. Crouching down, he kissed them on their faces and cooed at them. He melted at the sight of his precious dogs.

It seems to me that few people could understand Brian.  In fact, the way Brian described some of his dogs (he has 160 of them) he almost seems to be describing himself in them.  “They’re friendly, good dogs, but there is always that one pup that won’t come when you call him. He’s the social deviant. And those usually turn out to be the best dogs in the end.”

Check out Brian Ladoon’s site for more information about he dogs and how you can donate to his foundation.

While I’m a contributor to We Blog the World, the below blog post  is the copyright of the Canadian Tourism Commission.  Please link back and credit all content used to Canada is a Big Place.  You can also check us out on Flickr and @biglaceblog.

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