Announcing the 2018 Explore Canada Awards of Excellence Media Winners


September 12, 2018 – The annual Explore Canada Awards of Excellence recognize contributions to storytelling that inspire travellers to explore Canada. Every year, Destination Canada invites international and Canadian entrants – from journalists and influencers to photographers and videographers – to submit their inspired travel tales.

In 2018, 11 media awards will be granted to recognize outstanding work published in each of Destination Canada’s international markets and Canada. A twelfth award will also be presented to a member of the Canadian tourism industry in recognition of excellence in media relations and storytelling. The industry award winner will be announced at this year’s GoMedia Canada in Calgary, Alberta.

After reviewing over 250 high-quality entries, three finalists were selected in each category, and with the help of expert judges in our markets, Destination Canada is pleased to announce the media winners:

Craig Tansley, Traveller, Fairfax Media
Red Mountain Resort: Canada’s last great ski town

Craig’s story takes the reader on a journey to see the ‘real’ Canada. Judge Erin O’Dwyer, an award-winning Australian journalist herself now working in editorial strategy for the ABC, says, “As a travel writer, it’s often difficult to capture the voices of real people – especially if you are only on location for a few days – but Craig successfully accomplishes this.” Craig introduces us to local Red Mountain characters and paints evocative word-pictures of the landscape. He brings the destination to life in a way that is memorable and compels readers to visit Canada.

Jenn Smith Nelson, The Toronto Star
Sea wolf a highlight of B.C. travel experience that combines nature and Indigenous culture

WestJet’s Emerging Media and Media Relations team selected this enticing story as it depicts a unique, authentic and accessible experience that will resonate with Canadians and visitors. “We believe it will inspire readers to explore coastal British Columbia and seek out experiences like Jenn had with Sea Wolf Adventures.” Jenn’s writing and photography highlight a unique travel experience that our vast country is known for, rich in wilderness and Indigenous history. It pays the ultimate homage to travel – expect the unexpected because it can be amazing.

Yuxin Liu, IQIYI
XFun吃货俱乐部 (XFunFoodie)

With a focus on Atlantic Canada, Yuxin Liu’s videos provide a deep impression of Canada. The videos showcase life in Canada, including local residents, landscapes and especially cuisine – the presenters compare several lobster dishes from different provinces after all. A detailed narrative allows the audience to easily travel along with linked information posted on WeChat for future travel planning. Judge Dr. Wolfgang Georg Arlt, founder and director of the China Outbound Tourism Research Institute, feels the storytelling strongly speaks to the Chinese audience with presenters engaging viewers to join in.

Christophe Migeon, Le Figaro magazine  
“Abitibi-Témiscamingue, l’été indien” (Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Indian Summer)

Judge Philippe Guersan has specialized in tourism and lifestyle reporting in France for more than 25 years, and from the very first lines of Christophe’s story says he was transported to another world. “The writing is high quality and makes you want to read on. You want to know more.” Christophe emotionally engages readers and makes them feel as though they are sharing in his travel experiences. “This gave me the desire to follow suit and discover this land unknown to me and meet its fascinating people,” says Guersan. The story also features many striking photographs that enhance the reader’s experience.

Oliver Gerhard, Edelweiss Magazin
Call of the Wild

With strong storytelling, superb nature shots and the search for his own roots, Oliver Gerhard takes us on a journey to the Canadian province of British Columbia. Oliver masterfully succeeds in documenting the life of the First Nations Peoples in the region around Vancouver. Judge Tamina Kallert, German travel journalist, TV presenter and author, feels the story can be characterized by outstanding images, a generous staging and a text that touches the reader’s soul. “Oliver Gerhard awakens emotions with his work.” And the desire to travel to Canada, to meet its people and to experience and respect its great nature.

Sonia Nazareth, Hindustan Times
Titanic City

Writing about Halifax, Nova Scotia and its tragic past, Sonia has effectively used a connection to cinema. Judge Sanjay Ranade, Head of the Department of Communication and Journalism at University of Mumbai explains, “Cinema is a passion in India and making this association between a film and a place is one of the more attractive ways to draw Indians to a destination.” The storytelling is easy and engaging. It gives the feeling that Sonia is anticipating the reader’s thoughts and that provides an intimate connection with the place.

Shigeyuki Inage, Kota Kawamura, Yasushi Koyama, Nobuko Yonezawa, Ayako Kon and Junko Koyama, NHK 
有村架純 カナダ大自然の旅 (Exploring Nature in Canada)

This program shows a Japanese actress, Arimura, travelling for ten days across Canada to enjoy a much-needed break from her busy shooting schedule. While introducing Canada’s vast scale, nature, attractions, open-minded people and abundance of local foods, the program shows Arimura’s honest and sincere impressions. The viewer feels Canada’s allure as if there exploring it with Arimura. “The video is not only stunningly beautiful, but intriguing,” says Judge Tatsuo Gunji, an independent journalist in Japan. “I feel this program has succeeded in making viewers want to visit Canada.

Francisco Ortega, Discovery Channel
“Enfriemos el Ártico” (Keep the Arctic Cool)

Judge Gabriela Hernández Merino, Web Communications and Media Officer for the Embassy of Canada in Mexico, selected Francisco’s story on Churchill, Manitoba for its unconventional, but engaging snapshot of Canada as a unique travel destination. The tundra buggy driver’s first-person narration gives a personal, behind-the-scenes look that goes beyond the usual travel narrative. It is very effective in conveying the sense of wonder and adventure that makes Canada so attractive to Mexican travellers. “Bonus points for the footage of adorable polar bears and the call-to-action on climate change,” says Hernández Merino.

South Korea
Beomrae Kim, Eungbok Lee and Eunsook Kim, tvN 
“도깨비” (Goblin) 

Set in Quebec City, the drama “Goblin” created a huge sensation in South Korea recording the highest viewership in the market’s TV history. It has also been receiving positive feedback from many other countries. With the success of this drama series, Quebec – which used to be a relatively unknown region to Koreans – became the #1 destination that Korean travellers want to visit in Canada. “It emotionally touches Koreans’ hearts and inspires them to dream about travelling to the destination,” says Judge MooSeung Yang, Chairman or the Korea Association of Travel Agents.

United Kingdom
Mike MacEacheran, Lonely Planet
Never mind the hypothermia: easy winter adventures in the Yukon

Judge Charlie Hampton, Founding Director and Chief Client Officer at Pembroke and Rye, selected Mike’s feature for Lonely Planet as the winner in the UK. “Mike’s engaging and compelling feature for Lonely Planet brings the Yukon in winter to life in a dramatic and yet practical way,” states Hampton.  “It uses a mixture of text and imagery that not only highlight the region’s appeal as a destination, but also demonstrate a range of experiences that will help travellers get the most out of a winter visit to the Yukon.”

United States
Heather Greenwood Davis, Smarter Travel
Canada Forever: The Ultimate Canada Holiday for Every Month

“I loved that this was a seasonal overview that spanned across the country and the entire year,” states Judge Michael Halminen, Creative Lead at Google Canada. With a fun, scrolling interface packed with bold imagery, this story makes for an informative plus visually appealing read. Heather provides quick overviews of each location, backed with deeper information. “Overall, I felt like this was the most story driven and informative experience,” says Halminen.

Destination Canada’s coveted Explore Canada Awards of Excellence celebrate stellar content creation from the travel media and tourism industry. The awards are announced annually in the lead up to GoMedia Canada, Destination Canada’s premier travel media event.

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