Having A Jolly Good Time With VisitBritain
with Martha Chapman

VisitBritain CEO Sandie Dawe, amused by Queen on Moose painting!

Paul Gauger of VisitBritain NYC with Judith Cassidy of Tourism Ireland

Men-about-town Mark Linton of RBC Insurance and Brian Robertson of Vision 2000

Canadians love Britain for all its olde world history – and there aren’t too many places in Toronto that evoke that traditional English charm more than the Windsor Arms Hotel.  All beamed ceilings and leaded windows, it’s a quiet boutique hotel in tony Yorkville.

Perhaps a tad noisier than usual recently, thanks to the annual VisitBritain holiday bash. Over 100 industry types and anglophiles filled the hotel’s chic Prime Restaurant to chat about the industry, the festive season, and (of course) Britain.

The guest of honour was Sandie Dawe, VisitBritain’s CEO, on her first visit to Canada in her new role. “I’m delighted to be here at this seasonal tradition!†she enthused. “But I must say the bitter cold reminds me just how mild our winters are,†she added to appreciative laughter. “Canadians are great fans of Britain, they venture further out into the country and stay longer than many other visitors, and are now among our top 10 visitors by country.†The UK is hoping that Canuck visits in 2010 will top the million mark – which will definitely be a good excuse to break out the Watneys Red Barrel.

And speaking of exploring Britain beyond London, Sandie admits she has a soft spot for the Isle of Wight, off the south coast of England. “Going there is like turning back the clock.â€Â  VisitBritain’s Katherine Woschiz feels an undiscovered gem is Wales (“People know Ireland and Scotland are different from England, but don’t know how different Wales is too.â€). Her colleague Meredith Pearson is fond of her home town of Liverpool while Lynda Falcone loves the city of York:  “It’s all about the history, everywhere you see has a story behind it.â€

Speaking of stories, Sandie was quite taken with the famous Canadian painting “Queen on Moose†hanging in the restaurant. “I think the Queen would be quite amused!â€

And lucky us to be part of another successful British bash.  Cheers and happy Christmas to all at VisitBritain!

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