Future Prospects for the Canadian Economy Suggest More Asian Focus

ShanghaiGuest post by Forex Traders

The Great Recession, as it has been so named, has been extremely difficult for most countries with well-developed economies. Various recovery programs have failed to stimulate the domestic growth and hiring necessary to replace and exceed those jobs lost during the recent downturn. Australia seems to be the only outlier that was able to skirt the global recession, due primarily to its proximity to Asian markets and its export trade of raw materials to China’s fast-growing industrial complex.

Canada, however, has already outdistanced its other G7 brethren in newly gendered economic performance, including generating enough jobs to replace the 460,000 that were previously lost. To the South, the United States continues to stumble along, mired in political gridlock with tepid recovery results, still wondering when the nine million job lost figure will ever be diminished. Canada’s recovery is ongoing, and economic activity is well past pre-recession levels.

Canada’s recovery began in earnest in 2010, jumping ahead with 6.2% GDP growth for the first quarter, more than three times the average of 1.9% for the other G7 countries combined. However, by the end of the year, the annualized growth figure had leveled off at 3%, roughly the same as the U.S. The reason cited for the decline in domestic growth during the balance of 2010 was weak export trade.

The U.S. does account for 80% of Canadian exports, and, without a full recovery south of the border, export demand suffered. The USD CAD currency pair tells the story. The Canadian Dollar has blown past parity with the greenback in 2011 and continues to appreciate, a positive trend that currency trading enthusiasts have kept a close eye on.

It takes time to develop more export avenues on the global stage, but the prospects for the future will come from the west, not south as in the past. The IMF, as well as many other leading economic research groups, is projecting the growth trends in Asia, especially in China and India, to continue for the next two decades. Years of corporate off shoring have relocated the manufacturing center of the planet to China. India and others have followed suit, resulting in the largest redistribution of wealth that the world has ever experienced.

Prospering middle classes in Asia are also desirous of the Western lifestyle, complete with better homes, cars, clothing, and food. Although their national economies are currently driven by exports, both China and India will evolve to a more consumer-driven environment over time. CEO’s for nearly every major multinational company have often noted in recent quarterly reports that their future prospects will come from servicing demand for their many products and services in these burgeoning markets.

Canada has already benefited from China’s unquenchable need for energy imports, but other opportunities will abound as well. Forecasting growth and demand from Asia may be difficult, but well-established trends will create future export demand. Consequently, Canada can already forecast GDP growth in 2011 in the two to three percent range.

Wildlife Preservation at Elk Island National Park

Guest post by Maria Rainier

If you think the only place to see plains animals in their natural habitat is at the zoo, you might want to put Alberta, Canada’s Elk Island at the top of your list of places to visit. You’ll never even think of going to another zoo once you’ve experienced this park’s natural wildlife firsthand. After the African Serengeti, Elk Island has the highest population density of grazing animals in the world, and uncommon species like bison are among the wildlife you’ll be able to watch when you visit.

Elk Island’s Role in Elk and Bison Survival

Elk Park was established in 1906 and was renamed Elk Island Park two years later, reflecting its original purpose: to protect one of the last remaining herds of elk in Canada. It was started by five local men who signed a $5,000 bond in order to open the park and pledge their devotion to protecting the herd. In 1907, Elk Island unwittingly began its role in bison preservation when 48 of these animals escaped en route to Buffalo National Park via train. Eluding capture, the bison found that Elk Island was the perfect environment in which to flourish and soon grew substantially in numbers. Over the next century, thousands of healthy bison were sent to other plains areas with struggling populations to help save the species from endangerment and potential extinction. The year 2007 designated a century of successful bison conservation, making Elk Island National Park the leading organization in the preservation of this species.

Other Conservation Roles

In 1987, the park began a trumpeter swan reintroduction program to help these birds recover from
low population numbers and disappearing habitats. As the largest waterfowl in North America, the
trumpeter swan is an important species to conserve – and Elk Island has helped not only to save this bird from endangerment, but also to help it thrive by reestablishing it in a pristine habitat. In addition to elk, bison, and trumpeter swans, the park conserves populations of moose, deer, coyotes, beavers, and over two hundred avian species. No matter which type of animal lover you might be, you’ll find a species to watch at Elk Island National Park.

Enjoying the Park

There are two main species of bison at the park: wood and plains. It’s easy to tell them apart based on a variety of characteristics, but the easiest is probably to spot the pointed “beard” and horns on the wood bison. This species also has a longer tail and a hump that is squarer in shape, whereas plains bison have short tails and rounded humps.

Because the park is located in bison country, park rangers advise you to be careful when using your own vehicle on the scenic drives. Close encounters with bison can be breathtaking, but it’s important to be cautious in order to avoid agitating the animals. It’s recommended that you remain in the vehicle and silently wait for the bison to pass – honking your horn could result in danger. If you’re walking or hiking the trails, make noise to let the bison know you’re close by and avoid approaching any of these animals head-on. This will keep you and the incredible species of Elk Island National Park safe and free to enjoy the natural environment.

Maria RanierMaria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education where she’s been researching the lowest paying degrees as well as the highest paying jobs. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

Three Amazing Canadian Ski Resorts You May Not Know About

Guest post by Eric Rea

Looking for some great Canadian ski resorts? Here are three gems that you may not know about.

Living in Alberta, there is access to some of the best snow in the world. Aside from Whistler, Alberta hosts all of the big name Ski Resorts that you see on the cover of Ski Canada Magazine. Lake Louise and Sunshine Village should ring a few bells.

While these resorts have beautiful amenities and fantastic terrain, they are some of the busiest and most expensive places to ski in the country. Most go skiing to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life and to enjoy an almost magical experience with just you, nature, and your skis or snowboard. Whether you are riding the newest skate banana, or a vintage pair of atomics, skiing can feel like an out of body experience. When you arrive at one of the mega resorts, you will soon realize that you are going to have a tough time doing either. On the other hand, there are a few lesser-known resorts that can provide an amazing getaway with the complete terrain and amenities most are looking for.

  1. Fernie Alpine Resort – Fernie is nestled right in the historic town that it was named after. The town has other attractions to visit as well. After a day on the slopes, you can head over to the Fernie Brewing Company to unwind. Instead of hitting the slopes one day, take a scenic heritage tour.
  2. Fortress Mountain Resort – Located only one hour west of Calgary, Fortress is a great place to take the whole family, and a lot less than most of the nearby resorts. Fortress has terrain for every level of skier. Although there are not as many amenities as Fernie, this is still a great place for single day trips, and can be very suitable for skiers on a budget.
  3. Big White Ski Resort – Big White has gained quite a bit of attention over the last few years, and it is no wonder why. The terrain is some of the best in the Rockies, and the snow is pure bliss. It is on the pricey side, but the village provides excellent dining and accommodations. One great thing about Big White is that you can be there for a week and never have to get in your car to drive somewhere. That is one of the most relaxing benefits to a ski trip at Big White. If you have the money, and the time for an extended stay ski trip, Big White is the place to go.

Canada was blessed with amazing mountains, and as a result, has some of the best skiing in the world. Next time you are planning a ski trip, make sure to think of these three fantastic ski destinations.

Eric Rea is a university student who loves snowboarding. He runs skatebanana.net, a reverse camber snowboard review site.

Top 5 Sources For Financial News In Canada

Philippine Stock Market Board by Katrina Tuliao, on Flickr Guest post by Andrew Salmon

Keeping up with the ever changing landscape of the economy both in Canada and around the world has become a by the minute exercise which traditional print newspapers can no longer handle. Timing is everything and people are turning to alternate suppliers for their financial information. The Internet has changed the way we do business and it’s no surprise that most of our attention is now turned there as we keep our fingers on the pulse of the nation.

Here are the top five sources for financial news in Canada.

5. Canada.com

This website is a great place to start when checking the financial world is a must but time is short. Sort of a catch-all for Canadian news feeds, this site provides compact headings for the news of the day. With smaller headings, there is less scrolling and you can pinpoint the story you’re looking for easily and click directly to it without wasting precious seconds. The site also provides videos of the day’s news, a stock quote feature for the latest prices, and a free newsletter.

4. Canadian Business

The name says it all and the site is a priceless resource for business and daily financial market news in Canada. Everything you need to know about stocks, bonds, commodities and other financial information is at your fingertips and there is expert analysis to help you digest all the data. This is one site you definitely want to bookmark.

3. Financial Post

One of the mainstays of Canadian business reporting, this essential resource can meet all of your financial needs. If you’re stopping by for a quick look to see how the loonie is doing or you’re looking for up to the minute stock figures you’ll find it here. In depth articles follow, covering the Canadian business scene and the world markets and trends to keep you one step ahead of the competition. It’s a global economy and Financial Post hasn’t forgotten that.

2. CBC News – Money

If you’re looking for the latest news on the Harmonized Sales Tax, currency rates, Canadian employment numbers, or market information than CBC Money is your website. They currently have a section dedicated to the 2010 federal budget. The only downside of this website is the comments section which seems to attract a mixed bag. The site does feature great CBC news videos if you’d rather have your business updates, interviews, panels, and breaking news in video. A valuable site when you don’t have a lot of time.

1. Globe And Mail

Whether in print or online, the Globe and Mail is the backbone of the Canadian financial scene. The website always features the most up to date news. Hot off the presses articles, stock quotes and market blogs are constantly updated. Plus the site has a traditional feel for ease of use regardless of your computer savvy. It’s as close as you can get to a print newspaper while still offering all the immediacy the Internet can provide.

This article was written by Andrew Salmon from LifeCover – a website with information about life insurance in Canada.

Banff: An Underrated Vacation Destination

Guest post by Nacie Carson

When you think of the great vacation destinations in North America, what locales come to mind? Las Vegas? New York? The Grand Canyon? Montreal? While all of these destinations are worthy in their own right, they often overshadow one of the great gems of the Northern Hemisphere: The Banff region of Alberta, Canada. Located in the breathtakingly beautiful Canadian Rockies, the Banff region is home to some incredible vacation activities and destinations, not the least of which is Banff National Park, which spans almost three thousand miles of the most stunning natural scenery you can imagine. There are so many things to do in Banff, it makes you wonder why it is not one of the number one destinations on the continent!

Banff is such a special tourist destination because it offers such an interesting variety of diverse activities and unique attractions. The area was originally built up around the natural hot springs in the area; in the nineteenth century, the a stretch of the Canadian Pacific Railway was built to specifically serve the area, bringing visitors from around the world to the mineral-rich waters that abound in the region. The clear mountain air and pristine natural setting, combined with the therapeutic hot springs, soon became a favorite recuperation destination for patients in the Northern Hemisphere, and by the dawn of the twentieth century, Banff was a unique combination of bustling tourism and remote natural beauty.

While other, more sensationalist tourist destinations have sprung up around the continent since Banff’s boom years, the region maintains many of the same draws that it had a hundred years ago: the spring water is still world class, the mountain vistas are still incomparable, and the air is just as pure as ever.

In 1985, Banff National Park was been considered a World Heritage Site. However, in addition to all these over-looked wonders, Banff now boasts some incredible additional attractions, including the Banff Gondola. The Banff Gondola ascends nearly 2,300 feet to the summit of Sulphur Mountain, and offers incredible views of the six mountain ranges that surround Banff. Riding the gondola is one of the best ways to take in the real grandeur and splendor of the region’s mountains, and the summit is loaded with activities, learning opportunities, and fun to entertain a whole family or just a curious traveler for hours. There is truly no other gondola ride that is as heart-stopping or truly awe-inspiring as this one! Sure, the Banff region doesn’t have replicas of the Eifel Tower. There is no beach where starlets play and no massive skyscrapers that charge you an arm and a leg to enjoy. But what Banff has sadly very few other places in the world have: natural, unsullied beauty. Banff is a much-overlooked vacation destination not just for the variety of things to do but also for its most fundamental element: a deep connection with the natural world. In the Banff region, you can see in abundance things that are quickly disappearing from the rest of the world: glaciers, clean air, certain species of plants and animals. Cities, those concrete jungles, are the future of humankind; we are building them everywhere, and really, what makes one so special you have to see it? But the Banff region helps everyone who travels there remember our human past, one that was connected and integrated within the natural world, not on a quest to force it into submission and scarcity.

If you have an opportunity to travel this year, why not check out the Banff region? It holds more uniqueness, more specialness, and more opportunities to recharge your batteries than those other travel destinations you’ve been thinking about!