Q: Will Canada receive any new UNESCO World Heritage designations in the near future? I'm unsure about how many we have now but would like to visit a couple. -- A. Thomson, Toronto
A: Currently Canada has16 UNESCO World Heritage sites, and an additional eight waiting to be evaluated. Among the designated sites are seven cultural sites -- including Ontario's Rideau Canal, the historic district of Old Quebec, the Old Town of Lunenburg, N.S., and the recently designated landscape of Grand Pre, N.S.
Canada also has nine natural sites. Among them: Nahanni National Park, Dinosaur Provincial Park, Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks, and the Joggins Fossil Cliffs along the Nova Scotia coast. For more information, see whc.unesco.org.
Q: Where can I book city helicopter tours?
-- E. Pine, Toronto
A: Helicopter tours are popular and offered in many different destinations.
Several companies in Las Vegas offer sky-high views of The Strip, the Grand Canyon and the Hoover Dam. In the Niagara Region choppers soar regularly over the mighty Falls.
Quebec City is latest destination to get in on the propeller action. GoHelico's city tour gives passengers a bird's eye view of the fortified city walls, Chateau Frontenac, Dufferin Terrace and Ile d'Orleans. Other tours fly over the Jacques-Cartier River and Canyon. In addition to having the newest fleet of helicopters in Canada, GoHelico also has Canada's largest commercial helicopter centre.
"We just finished building a big complex (on Aeropart Blvd. at Jean-Lesage International Airport) ... Inside this big building will be a showroom relating to the history of helicopters," said Manon Boissinot, GoHelico's business development director.
For details, contact 1-855-871-0800 or gohelico.com.
Q: I'm having difficulty finding information on restaurants in Lyon, France. Do you know of any? Also, can you direct me to a website that describes the local night life. -- F. Jordan, Mississauga
A: Home to 1,800 restaurants -- including 15 with Michelin stars plus many small casual eateries known as "bouchons" -- Lyon is an excellent place to explore gastronomy. The city is also home to celebrity chef Paul Bocuse, widely regarded as the father of France's Nouvelle Cuisine movement.
To help make sense of this extensive culinary landscape, look to established organizations with up to date reviews:
-- France's CityVox tracks restaurants, movies and hotels across the country. Currently 1,553 restaurants in 133 cities, including Lyon, are listed, along with comments and ratings generated by patrons. According to CityVox users, Lyon's Top 5 restaurants are Without the Bear Bistro, Le Gourmet de Seze, Table of Momes, au Petit Bouchon and Mendo.
-- For tried and true gastronomic ratings, there is the Michelin Guide with its famous star-ratings assigned by reviewers (see viamichelin.com and plug in Lyon). Michelin's top-rated restaurant is Bocuse's esteemed Le Sud, which has been called the famous chef's homage to southern France.
I agree. Situated on the banks of the Rhone, Le Sud is Mediterranean cuisine at its finest and freshest. When I dined there, I enjoyed a scintillating creamed aubergine (eggplant) in an aromatic pistou (basil and olive oil sauce) topped in pine nuts. Prices are reasonable, too. About $32 (24.90 euros) gets you dinner from a three-course fixed-price menu in an intimate setting.
On the nightlife scene, Lyon is busy year-round. The NileGuide travel website publishes a Lyon version with a Top 10 Nightlife list that includes bars, live music and everything in between. For instance, Auditorium Maurice Ravel pairs a live orchestra performance with a current film.
The Lyon Tourist Office also provides restaurant and nightlife listings. See en.lyon-france.com.
Q: What are some trendy work-out options in West Hollywood?
-- J. Hall, Toronto
A: California's reputation for trend-setting does not disappoint when it comes to exercising. With so many "beautiful people" in L. A. County, fitness is popular in "WeHo."
Kristen Trzcinski, director of film marketing and media with the West Hollywood visitors bureau suggests the following:
-- Soul Cycle on Sunset Blvd., which combines personalized coaching with high-energy music for an engaging workout.
-- Tough guys -- and girls -- might want to check out Elevation Fitness at 8920 Sunset Blvd., where you can sign up for "Felon Fitness" classes. Inspired by the book of the same name, and based on weights, calisthenics, and aerobic routines from inmates of California state prisons. Some say it's a back-to-basics workout but fun and delivers results.
-- Also on Sunset Blvd., Equinox offers group classes with an L. A. sensibility such as the Rockin' Model Workout, Latin Swag, and Video Dance Jam. Rockin' Model combines Vinyasa-flow yoga moves with Pilates and dance, while Latin Swag blends hip-hop and retro Latin steps, and Video Dance Jam uses hip contemporary video choreography.
-- Yoga lovers hang out at up dog yoga + cycling on Santa Monica Blvd., which Trzcinski says is one of the most popular yoga studios in West Hollywood. Classes offered are Yoga For Every Body, Full Blast Yoga, Wake Up Dog and more.
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