With Charmaine MacDonald, National Account Manager, Canada at Tauck

Charmaine MacDonald

Where were you born? St. Thomas, Ontario. I never lived there – my parents were in the Air Force and were posted to Aylmer so we moved every 2 to 4 years of my childhood, in 3 provinces and Germany.


How long have you worked in the travel industry?Since 1985 for Ontario Travel Centre, telling people where to go!! A perfect job for me.

What’s the best part of your job? Travelling not only across Canada, which is my territory, but also getting to see and visit so many amazing places around the world. 

What did you want to be when you were younger? I always wanted to be in the travel industry and I did want to be a teacher. I was blessed to be able to do both; years ago I taught Travel at the Toronto School of Business in Barrie. I would throw candies at my students if they nodded off!! Especially during Tariffs and Ticketing … ugh.

What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done? A couple of years ago I took my family on a Tauck trip to Peru and we did a boat excursion to swim with the sea lions. I am not a very good swimmer and I hate putting my face in the water, however, I was the first one to jump off the boat into the water, just as a big wave came. I saw portions of my life flash before me while I was under the water. It was exhilarating and I am glad I did it.

Any guilty pleasures? Sharing copious amounts of good wine and food with people that make me laugh!

What’s your favourite airline?  It varies, however, I am happy when I have a decent amount of leg room and the person beside me is an empty seat!

Favourite hotel chain? Varies. I definitely have a few favourite hotels, such as the Chateau Laurier in Ottawa (the best chocolate banana bread).

What’s on your music playlist? I don’t have a playlist, my kids laugh at me because I use driving, walking time to think, plan, look around etc. 

What do people not know about you? That I am shy!!! Kidding!! I used to be a Quality Control tester of potato chips for Hostess Potato Chips at a farm near Barrie and I wore the Hostess Munchie suit in numerous local parades! There are no known photographs!

When were you happiest? Pre-Covid!!!!!!!!! I will say I always try to count my blessings and look for the humour in every moment.

What would you tell your 20-year-old self? You get the job you always wanted and for an incredible company…and you get the guy of your dreams; so relax.

Who do you most admire in the industry (outside of your own company)? Jackie Coulson and Lynda Sinclair.

What’s at the top of your bucket list?  Australia, India, Antarctica, back to Africa, and any road I have not traveled on.

What keeps you awake at night? Our industry! So many incredible people are not working, or furloughed, or their livelihood is crumbling away.

How do you spend your frequent flyer points? Travelling with my family.

How do you stay fit when you travel? I don’t! I have heard rumours of gyms in hotels but I never seem to find them. I do love to walk.

If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be? More open communication and understanding so we can all work better together and move the industry forward for everyone. 

If you could sit next to anyone on a long-haul flight (and stay awake!) who would it be? My mom. She is the reason I do what I love, and I miss her very much.

Do you have a favourite charity? Jack.org. Check them out! Mental Health is very important.

Have you picked up any hobbies during the COVID-19 pandemic? Nope! I think I am the only person I know who didn’t. I do want to get more involved in charity/volunteering.

When and where was the last place you travelled? We have a trailer and we went camping at Presqu’ile Provincial Park on Lake Ontario the first week of October. Spectacular! Great food, great wine and great travel companions!

What will be the biggest challenge for the industry in the next 12 months?  Getting travel started. 

What do you hope to be doing in 10 years? Travelling with my husband. He had to stay home so many times over the years, because I couldn’t bring him with me. So as long as we are together, life is good!

Travellers waiting at the Canada - U.S. Border. Photo courtesy of the Houlton Pioneer Times.
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