Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

A bucket list for Canadians

Book suggests places to go, things to do across our great nation

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On a hot summer day, Robin Esrock likes nothing better than bobbing down British Columbia's Penticton River Channel on a tube, sipping contraband wine from the cooler.

"It's just such an amazing, civilized, floaty experience," said the author of The Great Canadian Bucket List.

"That's why I put it in the book under quirky, underrated activities. It's so great and so easy to do. I mean, you can rent the tube from Coyote Cruises or you can bring your own tube. And at the end of the channel, they give you a ride back to where you started in an old converted school bus."

The only similar experience Esrock has had in the world -- and he's visited 109 countries -- is a tube ride down the Mekong River in Laos, where they stopped at waterfront shack restaurants for beer rather than pulling Okanagan wine from the cooler.

Being a South African who now lives in Vancouver, travel writer extraordinaire Esrock has spent many a summer in the Okanagan, houseboating, sipping wine, cycling and hiking.

That's why he's included all those outings in his new book, which has the subtitle One-of-a-Kind Travel Experiences (Dundurn Press). All 400 pages of the book describe 115 bucket-list trips and activities Esrock has done across this great and gargantuan country of ours.

Other bucket-list activities range from the simple and accessible, such as biting into Montreal's best smoked-meat sandwich, to the more esoteric harvesting an iceberg to make a Newfoundland cocktail.

In between, there's tracking the Spirit Bear in British Columbia's Great Bear Rainforest, zip-lining over a giant waterfall in New Brunswick, digging for dinosaur bones in Alberta's Badlands and tundra-hiking under the midnight sun in Nunavut.

In true Esrock fashion, even the cross-Canada book-promotion tour has been turned into an adventure road trip.

Esrock, his Brazilian wife, their six-month-old daughter and his parents are driving the route, making 17 stops over a month in a new Ford Explorer (Ford is helping sponsor the book tour).

The tour launched in Vancouver Oct. 15 and the first stop on Oct. 16 was Kelowna, where Esrock gave his bucket-list talk and signed books at The Streaming Café.

The tour, which stops at bookstores, libraries, hotels and cafés, wraps up with events Nov. 9 in Toronto and Nov. 10 in Ottawa before he returns West for a final presentation in Victoria on Nov. 19.

Esrock's 45-minute presentation explores why it's essential to have a bucket list -- things you'd like to do before you die or kick the bucket -- to spur individuals to explore the world, fulfil their dreams and build better relationships.

"This isn't a guidebook, it's an inspirational book" he said. "I want to turn this into a national conversation."

It could very well do so with its multi-platform approach. Besides the book and the tour to promote it, the companion website CanadianBucketList.com unlocks extensive bonus material such as videos, photo galleries, gear guides and activities, tour, hotel and restaurant recommendations.

The social-media channels are also going full tilt on the book project. There are promotions on Facebook (Great Canadian Bucket List) and Twitter.

-- Postmedia Network Inc. 2013

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 26, 2013 E3

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