Travel media rallies together to celebrate excellence within the industry

Toronto, ON, June 10 2021 - On June 3, the travel media industry came together to celebrate at the Travel Media Association of Canada (TMAC) Awards virtual ceremony. Although this was an unprecedented tough year for the industry, with lockdowns and travel restrictions across the country, the industry captured and shared captivating stories and breathtaking photos.

More than 400 written and photo submissions, a record number, were received from members for consideration among the 12 categories. Members also participated in nominating their fellow members for two new awards, Volunteer of the Year Award and Industry Member of the Year Award.

Submissions opened in January, closed in February and were carefully reviewed by expert judges Magalie Boutin, Benoit Legault and Dick Snyder for written submissions and Mishell Raedeke, Dave Brosha and Bruce Kemp for visual submissions. The shortlist was announced in May with the grand reveal happening on June 3, at the TMAC 2020 Awards Ceremony and closing out the #TMACTravel Conference.

Although our ability to travel was inhibited in 2020, we were able to travel internationally through the collective works of TMAC Members. Amongst the winning submissions, there are stories about smashing stereotypes around BIPOC travellers, the surprising mesmerizing dung beetle and rediscovering destinations in our own backyard. Through photos, we are introduced to the wild sport of Skijordue, moments of awe with arctic animals and taken to spiritual moments in India’s sacred city of Varanasi.

We want to congratulate this year’s award winners and celebrate their amazing work. You can read and check out the winning photos across all categories below and check out the judges’ comments and learn more about the TMAC Awards here.


Best Cultural & Historical Feature
A cultural and historical feature may focus on an art form or event, a local custom, or any travel experience that shares historical perspective or sheds light on a specific culture, whether you've written about a First Nations powwow, a funeral ceremony in Bali or a story about the Klondike gold rush.  

First Place: Jennifer Bain - The incarcerated artists who carve to support their families
Second Place: Heather Greenwood Davis - Here's how travelers of color are smashing stereotypes
Third Place: Jessica Lockhart - Sleeping overnight in the Dunedin Museum of Natural Mystery
Honourable Mention: Liz Campbell - Daughter of Burma Discovers Her Past Amid the Buddhist Charms of Modern Myanmar
Honourable Mention: Nancy Wigston - Buenos Aires: Drama, Diversity and Dancing

Best Family & Partner Feature
Whether your story is about facets of the travel experience that feature family-based activities – from multigenerational travels to kid-friendly resorts and attractions to shared memories no matter how you define “family” – this category is for you. As long as the focus is opportunities for sharing with the significant others in your life, we want to see your submissions.

First Place: Lisa Kadane - Traveling on the Spectrum
Second Place: Heather Greenwood Davis - Pride of Place
Third Place: Helen Earley - Combining Luxury with Local Flavour in Mazatlan
Honourable Mention: Jennifer Bain - Whatever floats your Le Boat
Honourable Mention: Joanne Elves - How One Family's Ski Habit Turned into a Growth Chart

Best Food/Drink Feature
This is about culinary travel whether it be about a road trip on the Texas BBQ Trail, munching your way along Collingwood’s Apple Pie route, sipping through the breweries of Ireland or attending a food festival in Hawaii. Your food and drink feature article could be about a city’s walking and eating tour, dining at Europe’s Michelin starred restaurants, a visit to a stunning new distillery or a wine soaked week in Napa. If you’re the Anthony Bourdain of the written word in travel, this category is for you.

First Place: Darcy Rhyno - Down red lanes and over green fields: The hidden hooch makers of PEI, Gin Making is an Art
Second Place: Cinda Chavich - The Great Irish Bake Off
Third Place: Linda Barnard - John Bishop: Godfather of Pacific Cuisine
Honourable Mention: Darcy Rhyno - Gin Making is an Art
Honourable Mention: Carolyn Heller - How a Canadian Brewer Is Helping Open Rwanda’s First Craft Brewery

Best Outdoors, Wildlife or Environmental & Responsible Tourism Feature  
This category focuses mainly on the outdoors – particularly wildlife, eco-tourism and the environment. Stories topics can range from conservation, ‘voluntourism’ (think: rescuing puffins) or travel from a green point-of-view and/or travel’s impact on the environment. Paddling, hiking, biking or birdwatching along an amazing trail, also belong in this category.

First Place: Jessica Lockhart - History of Polynesian explorers celebrated in Tairāwhiti
Second Place: Jennifer Bain - How to hike to the iconic Hollywood sign
Third Place: Sandra MacGregor - The Outsize Allure of South Africa’s Flightless Dung Beetle
Honourable Mention: Carolyn Heller - Why You Should Drink Beer Made From ‘Recycled’ Water
Honourable Mention: Diane Selkirk - The Island With a Key to Our Future

Best Adventure, Sport or Recreation Feature
A soft or hard adventure, sport or recreation feature that brings the reader along as the writer heads into the great outdoors or putts along a world-class golf course, or perhaps puts a new spin on a popular pastime. From sporting events to canoe trips, sky-diving to dog sledding, this category should draw stories that come to life, and maybe even get one’s adrenaline pumping.

First Place: Liz Beatty - Saddle Up for Stellar Views and Gaucho Culture in Patagonia
Second Place: Jayme Moye - Chinese Puzzle
Third Place: Gerry Feehan - These Boots Were Made For Wadin'
Honourable Mention: Zack Metcalfe - On The Peak, On The Edge
Honourable Mention: James Ross - A Ski in the Maine Woods

Best Spirit of Canada
This category is devoted to those articles that bring Canada, its landscape, its culture and its people alive on the page. These inspirational stories will scream “This is Canada!” 

First Place: Liz Fleming - Bison, Bones and Buttes: Rediscovering Saskatchewan
Second Place: Arlene Karpan - Waterton Resumes its Place as a Prime Destination
Third Place: Liz Campbell - Bizarre, Beautiful and Beyond the Pale, Dawson is the Most Colorful City You’ll Probably Never Visit
Honourable Mention: Matthew Bailey - The World's Largest Pond Hockey Tournament
Honourable Mention: Darcy Rhyno - Rich with Nova Scotia history, Sherbrooke Village turns 50

Best Online Travel Column & Blog
This category is for those who write a travel column or travel blog on a regular basis. Minimum frequency must be once a month and minimum word count 300 words per posting. Writings need not be a series, but must be regularly occurring under the author’s name on-line and must be travel focused. If this category fits your work, three examples of the column or blog from the same year must be submitted.

First Place: Laura Paquet -
Second Place: Kevin Wagar - Wandering Wagars - Adventure Family Travel
Third Place: Paul Knowles - Opinion
Honourable Mention: Tamara Elliott - Globe Guide
Honourable Mention: Matthew Bailey - Must Do Canada

Best Illustrated Feature
This category features the best of both worlds with articles that include writing and photography by the same person/journalist. Entries can be from articles published in print newspapers or magazines, digital magazines or other online publications, such as a travel blog or journalism/publication website.

First Place: Carol Patterson - Skiing Behind a Galloping Horse in Retro Neon - Is this the most Outrageous Race in Winter Sports?
Second Place: Arlene Karpan - Take a Springtime Wildlife Photo Safari
Third Place: Maureen Littlejohn - Having a Blast in Louisbourg
Honourable Mention: Liz Beatty - A wild ride through northern Patagonia
Honourable Mention: Diane Selkirk - Searching For the North

Best Landscape or Evocation of Place
Whether it’s an interior shot of an intimate bistro, a roaring fireplace in a mountain lodge, a pristine landscape or a bustling cityscape, the perfect image always creates a sense of location – it is an evocation of place. Whatever your criteria for this category, we invite you to submit your best photo that evokes a sense of place – wherever or whatever that place may be.

First Place: Sue Slaght - Wadi Rum at dusk
Second Place: Rhonda Krause - Antarctica Ice
Third Place: Hans Tammemagi - Totems in Thunderbird Park
Honourable Mention: Kevin Wagar - Amun Temple through the doors of a Mosque 
Honourable Mention: Taryn Eyton - View from the Eva Lake Cabin

Best People Photo
People photographs depict an aspect of culture, life or society, as perceived through the image of an individual or group. The person or people shown should clearly relate to a travel destination. The background should help “place” the subject, but not overpower the human aspect of an image.

First Place: Gerry Feehan - A family on the streets of India's sacred city of Varanasi
Second Place: Greg Olsen - Releasing a Rehabilitated Red-Tailed Hawk
Third Place: Sandra Phinney - Treasure Beach Jamaica story. Girl at beach
Honourable Mention: Liz Campbell - Daughter of Burma
Honourable Mention: Gerry Feehan - Hindu pilgrims meditating in the sacred city of Varanasi, India

Best Nature Photo
This category invites images that both celebrate nature and help translate your story of travel through the beauty or action you've encountered along the way. From a macro close-up of frost on a tree or a glorious light-filled rainforest to a well-time capture of wildlife in action or the chance moment when you locked eyes with a mutually curious living species. Show us your connection to nature and images that have played a pivotal role in telling your story.

First Place: Carol Patterson - Longtime dreaming and road-tripping in Southeast Alberta
Second Place: Rhonda Krause - Awaiting a New Arrival
Third Place: Rhonda Krause - King Chicks
Honourable Mention: Zack Metcalfe - Puffin
Honourable Mention: Robin Karpan - Harp Seal

People's Choice Award
Do you think that photo you snapped catches the essence of travel, will wow the masses and is an image that fills you with pride and satisfaction? Do you think the rest of us will agree? Then give it your best shot – literally – and submit it in this category. TMAC members will get a chance to agree or disagree in our newest photography category: the People’s Choice Award.

Winner: Carol Patterson - Skijordue: Cowboy Culture, Winter, & Fondue Mash-up

Volunteer of the Year Award
This award is presented to an outstanding TMAC member, in good standing, who has demonstrated an instrumental role as a volunteer, including dedication, leadership and commitment to service and support of the association.

The award will be presented annually and the volunteer can be nominated by members of TMAC, with the final selection being made by the National Board, upon review of all the nominees.

Winner: Jerry Grymek, Vice President, Client Services, LMA Communications Inc., and TMAC Board Member

Industry Member of the Year Award
Based on TMAC’s Mission Statement, this recognition goes to an industry member showing through their work with the media members that there is a trusted resource who cultivates positive relationships, who is highly respected in the travel industry and is a true professional and productive expert in the field of travel.  This person must also demonstrate that they have contributed to the organization.

The award will be presented annually and the volunteer can be nominated by members of TMAC, with the final selection being made by the National Board, upon review of all the nominees.

Winner: Guy Thériault, Senior Marketing Specialist, Travel Media, Parks Canada and TMAC Board Member


For media inquiries:

Bria Weaver

Member Relations Officer


About Travel Media Association of Canada (TMAC)

TMAC is a Canadian not-for-profit association serving industry and media travel professionals and directed by a volunteer board of directors. They cultivate relationships that result in relevant connections, comprehensive opportunities and successful outcomes. As an organization, they strive for inclusivity, openness and forward-thinking in the ever-changing travel industry environment. Founded in 1994, TMAC represents Canada’s most professional and productive experts in the field of travel. The association currently has almost 400 members — Canadian writers, photographers, videographers, bloggers and social media mavens, as well as highly respected representatives of the travel industry from around the world. The membership is well represented across Canada and supports four regional chapters: British Columbia, Alberta & NWT, Ontario and Atlantic.