Sunday, May 31, 2009

New "Hop On-Hop Off" Tourist Bus In Buenos Aires

By Roy Heale
When a city is as large as Buenos Aires it can be intimidating when you first arrive. There are several different neighborhoods to explore and finding your way around can be challenging especially on your initial visit. The new service of Buenos Aires Bus was introduced on May 2nd 2009, with regular schedules and fixed stops incorporating the system of Hop On Hop Off. This is very common in major European cities and now it has arrived in South America.
This is a wonderful way to discover all that Buenos Aires has to offer and orient yourself with the layout of this vast city. Buses run every half hour and make twelve different stops around the city. From La Boca to San Telmo, Recoleta and Palermo this is about a three hour journey from start to finish with out getting off the bus for sightseeing.
Tickets are available for purchase on the bus or at official Tourism kiosks around the city. Visitors can purchase a one or a two day pass and the adult cost is approximately $8 and $12 respectively.
Guided tours using a headset audio system are offered in ten different languages and the staff on the buses are multi-lingual. With an open top the view from the second deck is ideal for sightseeing.
Without a doubt this is a great addition to the many offerings that tourists can enjoy when they visit the magical Paris of South America.
For more information Visit:

Friday, May 29, 2009


By Roy Heale
It's official---the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics will include the first PRIDE House for gay athletes and their companions. The Pan Pacific Whistler Village Centre will be the host venue during the 2010 Olympics and celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres will be asked to join in.
The producers of GayWhistler, the annual WinterPRIDE festival, secured Pan Pacific Whistler Village Centre as a partner. In a news release the Pan Pacific's general manager Jim Douglas described the decision as an easy one to embrace.
After much hard work and negotiations the accomplishment is significant for the producers of Gay Whistler."We are so excited to be able to work with Pan Pacific Hotels and Resorts, a hotel chain that embraces similar values we hold dear; the value to be authentic, the value to embrace diversity and the value to be inclusive. Together, we will create a safe space for our gay and lesbian community and their allies to go to during the Olympics," Dean Nelson, CEO of GayWhistler, said in a news release.
The goal is to create a safe space for Olympic and Paralympic athletes, coaches, family, fans and allies to hang out during the Games. The venue will feature a lounge where guests can watch events and relax.
"It is our desire to have a couple of key OUT celebrities, such as Ellen DeGeneres or Neil Patrick Harris, to come out and be part of the magic of PRIDE House," Nelson said in the news release.
Congratulations to all who worked hard to make this a FIRST at any Olympic games recognising the contribution of GLBT athletes to these events.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Stratford Shakespeare Festival

By Roy Heale
Following the IGLTA Convention in Toronto I was fortunate to spend a day in Stratford, Ontario with my Toronto friends. During the convention I had met one of the owners of the Hughson Hall Bed & Breakfast and it was great to be able to visit their historic mansion. Plus I was able to see some of Shakespeare's Canadian “home”. Wandering around the streets of this small Ontario town it was easy to imagine how it would be alive with visitors in just a few short weeks as the summer Shakespeare Festival begins.
This small town is full of historical buildings, great restaurants and pubs, plus unique shopping opportunities. But of course the heart and soul of Stratford is the theatre community. With four venues including the Festival Theatre, Avon Theatre, Tom Patterson Theatre, and the Studio Theatre it was easy to imagine how busy this town would be during the coming summer months.
With thirteen different productions scheduled for the season it will definitely be a festive summer again for theatre lovers. And it is not just Shakespeare's classics as you can also enjoy some Oscar Wilde humour, or the perennial favorite West Side Story along with Macbeth or Julius Caesar.
Although it was early Spring I could just imagine staying at the 130 year old magnificent, gay-owned Hughson Hall and enjoying some of Canada's finest theatre performances. Unfortunately, this year it will only be in my imagination!
For More Information Visit:,,

Sunday, May 10, 2009


By Roy Heale

In spite of the the current global economic uncertainties, the 26th Annual IGLTA Convention was another great experience for almost 400 delegates from twenty-one different countries. From May 7th to May 10th the downtown Hilton Toronto was ablaze with rainbow colors and bustling with activity as the delegates enjoyed four days of networking, re-uniting with old friends and making new ones.
Opening night commenced with a special reception for Canadian delegates and the Convention First Timers' reception. These welcoming events were followed by the Grand Opening Reception at the Bay for all delegates, sponsors and convention organizers plus volunteers. Needless to say the welcome by a truly amazing “Ken Doll” set the tone for a night of festivities.
The next few days were packed with Toronto city tours,informative seminars and presentations, the media marketplace, and the big consumer Travel Show at the historic Maple Leaf Gardens located in Toronto's Gay Village. After the Friday night Travel Show almost everyone walked into the Gay Village for a full night of socializing and partying in this welcoming atmosphere.
These amazingly busy and productive four days concluded with the Gala Dinner at the Hilton Hotel. Great entertainment, a uniquely Canadian dinner menu, and a Belgian chocolate dessert plus dance made the perfect farewell environment. The festivities continued well into the night and everyone headed home full of fond memories of Toronto and another hugely successful IGLTA Convention. The Belgian dessert was just a sampling and teaser for what lies ahead for delegates at next year's convention in Antwerp.
Congratulations and thanks go to all the IGLTA Staff, the Toronto and Canadian Tourism offices, the sponsors, and all the volunteers who worked so hard to make sure every delegate had a wonderful time.
See you all in Belgium in 2010!

Friday, May 1, 2009


By Roy Heale

It's sexy. It's sultry. It's exciting, and it's distinctively Latin American. It has even been described as the vertical expression of horizontal desires. In a word it's Tango!
Although I spend a great deal of my time in Buenos Aires and I have seen Tango dancers on the streets at the Recoleta Craft Market, at the San Telmo Antique Market, on outdoor stages in La Boca, and I have even attended the Wednesday night Gay Tango Nights, I just recently went to my first professional Tango show at El Querandi.
Not all Tango is equal and this becomes a personal judgment the more performances one is able to watch. At El Querandi they have been staging Tango shows since 1920 and obviously this is an art form where practice makes perfect.
The show is preceeded by an excellent three course a la carte dinner which is efficiently served, accompanied by wine or soft drinks, and completed in a timely fashion just before curtain call.
Let the music begin!
As an absolutely first class quartet welcomes the audience with a Tango medley, the lights are dimmed and anticipation electrifies the room. What follows can only be defined as a masterpiece of musical accompaniment for great singers and Tango dancers. The show itself traces the history of Tango in Argentina with four historical quadros: El Arrabal, El Cabaret, La Milonga, and Modernismo.
I only wished my understanding of Spanish were a little more advanced to truly appreciate the lyrics, but fortunately the language of Tango is universal.
Also, it is not necessary to speak Spanish to appreciate excellent musicians, dancers and singers as they each display their unique and perfect talents to the fullest throughout the show, not only with their ensemble performances, but also through their solos and individual highlights.
It's hard to describe the audience's captivation during the continuous, uninterrupted show. But the appreciation is abundantly clear during the applause and the buzz when the lights go back up.
All I can say is that Tango is an art form unto itself and one of the most enjoyable experiences of any visit to Buenos Aires.

Come see for yourself!