Linwood Barclay on Toronto: Guardian travel interview

Linwood Barclay

Linwood Barclay (

I spoke to the Candadian crime writer and former Toronto Star columnist on the views, food, art and design of Toronto that he loves …

Yonge Street is Toronto’s spine – and the longest street in the world too [recognised by the Guinness Book of Records in 1988], going on for hundreds of miles into northern Ontario. It starts at Lake Ontario and from there you can stroll up to the Eaton Centre, a massive, rather spectacular, mall. Follow Yonge up to Bloor Street and once you get to the intersection you’ll be in a shopping district of mainly high-end stores. But Bloor Street also has a little pocket neighbourhood, called Yorkville, that’s great to explore.

On a clear day you can see Niagara Falls from the top of the CN Tower. It’s still one of the tallest buildings in Canada, and if you’re brave enough you could try its EdgeWalk, where you can walk on and around the roof of the tower’s main pod – 356 metres up.

The best green space in the downtown area is High Park – all 161 hectares of it. It’s perfect for picnics and relaxing, there’s a small zoo and also Shakespeare in the Park outdoor performances here during the summer.

There is a spectacular view of the city from the Toronto Islands.They are just a 10-minute ferry ride from downtown (C$7 return). Once you’re there, you don’t hear the city traffic anymore. There are a lot of old cottages on the islands that people actually live in – they have leased them from the city. You can rent a bicycle and ride along little laneways. You’re only a mile or so from the city but it feels like they are 200 miles north, in the countryside. Continue reading

Hannah Kent on north Iceland: Guardian travel interview

Hannah Kent in Iceland

Hannah Kent in Iceland

The author on the dramatic Icelandic landscape that inspired her novel, Burial Rites, and which continues to fire her imagination

The first word that comes to mind when I think about Iceland is beauty. It has a strange but hospitable beauty, the kind that haunts you. Landscape and the natural world are always pre-eminent in my memories of it.

North Iceland is the type of place where you don’t necessarily have a conventional tourist experience – that’s more for the south of Iceland, with its “Golden Circle” of attractions, which you should still do, of course. With the north, it’s a case of finding your own way. Give yourself time and don’t rely on coach trips. Hire a car – you’ll need one to make the most of the place.

Prepare yourself for all weathers, because the weather will definitely shape your days in north Iceland – in ways you could never have imagined. It’s also important not to get too attached to any plans that you may have made. Things can, and do, change quickly.

If you want an alternative to a hotel, try a farm-stay holiday. Many of them offer horse-riding and other outdoor activities and they include self-catering cottages and lodging in traditional working farms. Icelandic Farm Holidays is a good place to start your search. Continue reading

Kirsty Wark’s favourite places in Scotland : Guardian travel interview

The broadcaster and author on her favourite views in Scotland, the drinking dens to discover and the restaurants leading the country’s flourishing food scene. Interview by Robert Hull

If I were to describe Scotland to someone who didn’t know it, I’d say it’s a place of vast lochs, gentle hills and mountains – and that it’s beautifully green. I’d add that it’s also very easy to navigate because at its narrowest, between Edinburgh and Glasgow, it is less than 50 miles wide.

Though there are places in Canada,even vistas in upstate New York, that I’ve felt are very Scottish, I’d have to say nowhere can quite compare to Scotland.

The first thing you should do – or taste, actually – when visiting is to find a whisky that you like and have a dram. There are plenty of wonderful whisky shops, particularly in Edinburgh, which can help you with your decision.

My favourite city view has to be from one end of Edinburgh’s George Street to the other. It doesn’t matter which end. I also love the view of the Glenfinnan viaduct in the Highlands. It is a wonderful piece of engineering and, of course, Scotland has bred some great engineers. Viaducts and bridges are wonderful landmarks that string the country together. Continue reading

John Grant on Reykjavik: for Guardian Travel

John GrantThe American singer-songwriter, 45, on his adopted home’s best restaurants, coffee and hostel – and why you should think twice before taking a northern lights tour

I first went to Reykjavik for the Airwaves music festival ( in 2011. I went back a couple of months later to record my second album, Pale Green Ghosts. After that I decided I just didn’t want to leave.

Reykjavik has a mixture of southern and northern mentality. There’s a laid-back, relaxed attitude, but also the feeling things are going to get done.

There is a lot going on in the city but you can find your own space. I love the fact that there are small shops to explore and cosy cafes to relax in.

The first thing I would do is head to Mokka ( for a coffee. It’s the place that is on the cover of Pale Green Ghosts. As soon as you open the door you can smell them making waffles. Mokka opened in 1958 and is the oldest coffee shop in Reykjavik – and it hasn’t changed. A lot of locals, and artists, hang out there. It’s a great place to start and get a feel for the city. Continue reading

Archive Live in Athens DVD: interview with filmmaker James Tonkin

Hangman Studios’ James Tonkin likes a challenge – such as using eight Canon EOS DSLR cameras to film a two-hour live concert DVD for the band Archive. Here, he tells Robert Hull about last-minute venue changes, the stress of multi-tasking, and how Canon’s DSLRs captured the epic, cinematic sweep of a band in full flow.

“It’s been a labour of love really.” James Tonkin is sitting in his west London studio and explaining a project he admits he: “lived with for the majority of last year.” The project is ‘Live in Athens’, a DVD of the rock band Archive. Not only is the film an example of how live footage can be crafted to deliver a rewarding concert experience, it’s also a testament to the ability of Canon’s EOS DSLRs to deliver technological excellence and creative invention. Continue reading

iStockphoto, Kelly Thompson interview

iStockphoto, the royalty-free online photo and video resource, has revolutionised stock photography for customers and photographers. The company’s Chief Operating Officer, Kelly Thompson, spoke to CPN to explain the ethos, attitude and planning behind iStockphoto’s success. Robert Hull reports.

For Thompson there is virtually no overlap between Getty and iStock, though he’s quick to thank Getty’s Chief Executive Officer, Jonathan Klein, for providing useful advice. “One of the great things he told us when he bought us was to ‘slow down and focus on quality’. Once you have more than five million images on a site that’s more than anyone can see in a lifetime, so we could step back and focus on how good the images are,” reveals Thompson. Continue reading

Making of … Charlotte Church’s Back to Scratch video: shot on Canon EOS 5D and 7D

Legendary music video director Kevin Godley was commissioned to help to launch Charlotte Church’s creative rebirth with an innovative video for the single ‘Back to Scratch’. Godley, DoP George Tiffin and producer Ben Sullivan tell Robert Hull a tale of white rooms, eight Canon EOS DSLR cameras and a finished video they feel hit the mark.

When a recording artist as high profile as Charlotte Church takes creative control of their career it’s usually an indication that they mean business. And with the Welsh singer forming her own label, Dooby Records, to launch the ‘Back to Scratch’ album, it also underlined her financial commitment to the project.

Read the full article online at Canon Professional Network


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