OMCA Report
Feb. 6, 2015

This weekend: OMCA/MLH Hockey Festival
OMCA
Don't forget! The one-day OMCA/MLH Hockey Festival and tournament will be taking place in Toronto at Canlan Ice Sport Scarborough on Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015 (first game at 12:00 noon; championship game starts at 10:15 p.m.; three games guaranteed). To confirm your participation or for more information, contact John Temple at john@tnt-tours.com.

Be sure to join us this Saturday: have fun, re-connect with people in the industry, meet new people and raise money for both the Mary Lynn Higgins Youth Fund and the OMCA Development Fund. GAME ON!More

GroupConnect combines GroupTravelConnect.com/CharterBusConnect.com and updates quoting system
GroupConnect.com
In our efforts to provide better service to our members and users of our online services, GroupConnect has combined all functions of GroupTravelConnect.com and CharterBusConnect.com into GroupConnect.com.

We have simplified the quoting system to allow for better tracking, thus providing a far superior service to our customers. All correspondence with quotes will be conducted through the GroupConnect system using email. We’re asking all members to respond to quotes they receive by clicking on the "Please Click Here to Respond to Quote" button on the quote request. This provides notification to GroupConnect that the request has been responded to. If the quote has not been responded to, the member will receive a reminder in 24 hours, 36 hours and 72 hours. Please respond to the customer in a timely manner.

If you are not the contact person who handles the quotes from GroupConnect, please pass along this information to the correct person.

For more information or to participate in the new GroupConnect, please contact us at 866-644-1664 or info@groupconnect.com. More

GTA West highway: Forward thinking or retro mistake?
Toronto Star
It's a thought that crosses every driver's mind while sitting bumper to bumper in the middle of Highway 401 — considered the busiest highway on the continent — on any given day: when will things change? Why can't they just build another highway? Well, the good news, GTA commuters, is that the province might just do so. The bad news? It might not get you to your destination any faster.More

GO Transit ups fares
CBC News
GO Transit users have to pay more for their daily bus or train trip. Metrolinx approved the increases at a meeting in mid-December. Metrolinx, a provincial agency, oversees transit in Hamilton and across the GTA.More

Could Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games benefit from U.S. tourism with low Canadian dollar?
Yahoo!
While the low Canadian dollar has cast a shadow of uncertainty over the economic outlook of the nation, could it be a potential boon for the 2015 Pan Am Games in the Greater Toronto Area? According to the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation (OTMPC), annual expenditures from U.S. tourists in Ontario was $3.3 billion in 2012 and is increasing. The figure is expected to grow to $5 billion by 2017. More

Entrepreneurs pitch pop-up student party bus
Hamilton Spectator
Two transit entrepreneurs hope to launch a McMaster-Toronto shuttle service that would ferry students to and from the big city's Entertainment District. More

10 favourite winter road trip destinations in Southwestern Ontario
Wheels.ca
My grandma used to always tell me that winter was a great time of year if you were a penguin or a polar bear. She may have been right, but it's also a great time to enjoy the beauty of Ontario and take in the great outdoors (even if it's from the comfort of your car). More

Pan Am Games traffic plans include HOV lanes, free transit trips for spectators
Metro News
The provincial government is asking Torontonians to change their transportation habits during the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games, but the Minister in charge of transportation won't say how badly residents' commutes will be affected. More

Vehicle tolls to finance Detroit-Windsor bridge plaza
The Globe and Mail
Vehicle tolls will be used to pay for a $250 million U.S. Customs plaza on the new Detroit-Windsor bridge under a tentative deal worked out between Ottawa, Washington and the state of Michigan. Details are still being finalized, with a formal announcement expected to be made next month, according to a government source. More

To propel GO Transit, Metrolinx runs on culture of 'intrapreneurship'
The Globe and Mail
It's counterintuitive: public agencies are by nature risk averse yet are still expected to innovate. Bruce McCuaig understands the paradox. As president and chief executive officer of the Ontario's transit agency Metrolinx, he has a mandate to improve and better integrate all modes of public transit in the Greater Toronto Area.More

Gas prices are creeping back up across Canada
Global News
It had to end some time. Gasoline prices have been creeping up across Canada and analysts say more increases are likely. But it's still a bargain compared with last year. More

Northeastern Ontario tourism gets marketing boost
CBC News
A provincial group is trying to bring more tourists to northeastern Ontario this winter. The president and CEO of the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation said his group is actively selling the region through travel shows and international marketing efforts. More

Go Transit expands free Wi-Fi network
IT World Canada
The first Monday of February 2015, probably was not the best day for commuters to test it, but Go Transit nevertheless rolled out its free Wi-Fi service to 22 more stations — when various areas of the Ontario came under a winter storm warning and commuters were advised to stay indoors under travel was extremely necessary. More

Reducing the speed limit in Ontario is not a 'war on cars'
Metro News
The provincial government is considering reducing the standard 50 km/h speed limit to 40 km/h by amending the Highway Traffic Act. Coun. Jaye Robinson, chair of public works, told me her committee is already slated to reconsider speed limits in the first quarter of this year. She wants a case-by-case look at the issue, balancing safety with the need for traffic flow. More

Tour for Humanity bus exposes Guelph kids to hate and hope
Guelph Mercury
The story of humanity's inhumanity pulled into a Guelph elementary school parking lot recently. The state-of-the-art Tour for Humanity bus, a creation of the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies, gave students at Willow Road Public School a stark and startling glimpse into the historic and present day ravages of hatred and prejudice. More

Plan unveiled in Sarnia for regional transportation improvements
Sarnia Observer
Transportation expert Greg Gormick wants people to use public transportation to show politicians there is a demand for improvements, including three daily round-trip trains in Sarnia. Gormick unveiled an improvement plan for rail and bus service in southwestern Ontario during a presentation at Sarnia library. More

Sharing is caring in the travel industry
By Pat B. Josten
So, how's your new year so far? Fantastic, I hope. I have already found it to be exciting and filled with promise. One thing I've managed to hang onto from the holiday season is how important it is to share and care. I love how everyone warms up to being nicer, more sharing, more caring during the "holidaze." I've also noted how important that attitude is to our travel business. In my 20-plus years of being a luxury travel consultant, I know one thing for sure: sharing is immensely, hugely, undeniably important in the travel business.More