Morning Brief: Canada's Must-See Natural Wonders, BMO's Air Miles Bailout & More
9 things you need to know for Wednesday, March 15.
Happy Hump Day — Andrew from Narcity here. ☕
Off The Top: A new Montreal summer music festival unveiled a blockbuster lineup featuring headliners like Harry Styles, SZA and Doja Cat. The one big complication? A spokesperson for the supposed festival site tells Narcity that there's no record of "Aurora Festival" actually existing. It's, uh, pretty much a scam.
In unrelated news, early-bird tickets for the inaugural Potter Talks series — where I'll be moderating a who's-who discussion between Elwy Yost, Marshall McLuhan, Foster Hewitt, Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy — are now on sale.
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In Case You Missed It
What Is Happening With Air Miles?
The Bank of Montreal building in Toronto. Right: A computer on the Air Miles website.
Bsenic | Dreamstime, @airmiles_canada | Instagram
Air Miles rewards as we knew them are dead. Long live Air Miles! However, even though the loyalty program's parent company, the Texas-based Loyalty Ventures Inc., recently filed for bankruptcy, the firm announced that the Bank of Montreal is in the process of acquiring the brand. Hooray! Tristan Wheeler breaks down what we know about BMO's big shakeup in the loyalty rewards program space.
- The Important Stuff: If the deal goes through, all those points you've banked while shopping at partner chains like Metro, Shell and IGA will be OK.
- In Their Words: "BMO's agreement to purchase the Air Miles business has no impact on AIR MILES collectors' Reward Miles balances or on collectors' ability to collect and redeem AIR MILES Reward Miles," said Air Miles President Shawn Stewart.
- What's Next? The deal isn't 100% complete yet. Courts and regulators need to sign off on BMO's big acquisition.
- READ THE FULL STORY HERE
What Are The Must-See Natural Wonders Of Canada?
A person paddles a canoe on Lake Louise in Alberta. Right: A person at Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta.
Atia Naim | Unsplash, @michele.d.let | Instagram
There's a heckuva lot of Canada out there. More than most of us could possibly see in a lifetime, really. Mountains, valleys, ice floes, rivers, bays — perhaps even an archipelago or a peninsula. But before you jump in the car and begin driving aimlessly across the world's second-largest country by land mass, you'll want to have a smart plan of attack.
If nothing else, Katherine Caspersz thinks there are seven natural wonders that every Canadian should experience first-hand at some point in their life. From the thunderous crush of Niagara Falls to the eerie celestial glow of the Northern Lights, bookmark these incredible destinations for your next road trip.
What Are The Top Travel Scams To Avoid?
Someone wears a giant shark costume in the street as people pass.
Speaking of travel, no matter where you're vacationing, you always want to stay vigilant. Professional scam artists can smell an out-of-towner a mile away — and when blood's in the water, even a pleasant walking tour can become a feeding frenzy. International travel scams are so common that Transport Canada released its own list of the seven worst cons that everyone travelling abroad should know before heading to the airport. Here's MTL Blog's Sofia Misenheimer with the lowdown.
- Like What? Sometimes a hustle is obvious. Please, sir; would you mind carrying this large, cocaine-like brick across the border for me? But did you know that it's also possible to be turned into an unwitting drug mule without ever being aware that illicit materials have been planted on you? It's key to always keep an eye on your belongings
- My Take: On a serious note, please reach out if you would like to shepherd a mysterious package across the border for me.
- READ THE FULL STORY HERE
What Else You Need To Know Today
💰 WEST COAST WEALTH
One of the keys to keeping afloat financially in Vancouver is always being on the hunt for new ways to save. A buck saved is a buck earned, after all. Seemingly obvious life hacks like actually using the library to borrow books, avoiding the overpriced "thrift" stores downtown, and keeping up with the local grocery sales are all keys to survival in Van City, according to Ontario transplant Sierra Riley.
💿 SPIN ME ROUND
Even in the age of downloads and streaming, the music store's demise has been greatly exaggerated. Riding a wave of nostalgia, the latest data indicates that vinyl records have overtaken CDs in total sales for the first time since 1987; vinyl accounted for 70% of the revenue for physical music sales in 2022, with 41 million records sold to 33 million CDs. MTL Blog's Sofia Misenheimer breaks down the record's incredible comeback.
🍕 LATE NIGHT MTL
Montrealers, when you've danced so long your legs start to cramp, it's time to think about heading home for the night — but not before a pitstop at one of the city's awesome late-night food joints. MTL Blog's Mike Chaar asked readers where to find their go-to spots to eat after a night at the bar and among the many responses, one renowned souvlaki spot was by far the most popular answer.
🏠 SURREAL ESTATE
Sometimes you just have to marvel at America's glut of affordable yet luxurious homes. For instance, in Rio Grande City — a town several hours south of San Antonio, right on the U.S.–Mexico border — you'll find a brand-new 2,200-square-foot, 4-bedroom mini-mansion with a two-car garage, a covered patio and stunning interiors... all for just $355K. Join Brittany Cristiano for a virtual tour.
French soccer star Paul Pogba turns 30 years old today. San Jose Sharks netminder James Reimer is 35. Former Red Sox great Kevin Youkilis, dubbed "The Greek God of Walks" despite the fact that he's actually Jewish, turns 44. Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am, ex-Leafs grinder Darcy Tucker, and former Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria all turn 48. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin and Blink-192 bassist Mark Hoppus are both 51. Poison's Bret Michaels hits the big 6-0. Twisted Sister's Dee Snider is 68.
Canadian film legend David Cronenberg and funk pioneer Sly Stone both celebrate 80 trips around the sun (though presumably not together). The Iron Sheik has had one more trip, turning 81. Judd Hirsch is 88. Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg would've turned 90 today. The late Punch Imlach, the last coach to guide the Leafs to the Stanley Cup, was born on this day in 1918.
Thanks for reading Narcity's Canada Morning Brief — and apologies to the Leafs faithful for reminding them of better days. Remember, it's the hope that kills you.
Have a question or comment about today's edition? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org or hit me up on Twitter if you'd prefer at @andrewjoepotter.
Have a great day and I will see you back here tomorrow!
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