by Albert Rodriguez -
SGN A&E Writer
Bust out the champagne because it's time to celebrate 10 years of marriage - Gay marriage - in Canada! The land of maple syrup, poutine and Gold Medal hockey players legalized same-sex marriage in 2005, becoming the fourth country to do so nationally. Beating everyone down the aisle, though, were the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia, which green-lighted marriage equality two years prior, in 2003. This means that Gay couples in the neighbouring city of Vancouver, and throughout British Columbia, have been saying 'I do' for over 12 years now. And to mark this incredible milestone, Tourism Vancouver invites everyone, hitched or engaged couples, or just friends, to enter an anniversary-themed sweepstakes that includes round-trip airfare for two to Vancouver from any major airport served by Air Canada in North America (courtesy of Air Canada), round-trip airport transfers (courtesy of Star Limousine), 4-night stay at the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre Hotel, $75 dining voucher to Cactus Club Cafe, two VIP passes to FlyOver Canada, return ground transfers to Grouse Mountain (courtesy of Star Limousine), including round-trip Skyride passes and dinner at The Observatory Fine Dining Restaurant, and passes to the Junction Night Club to see the Absolute'ly Drag-u-lous show starring local celebrity Carlotta Gurl, who will present the winner with an all-local, all-Canadian gift basket, an anniversary cake celebrating 10 years of legal same-sex marriage in Canada, and a special anniversary serenade. You can enter the sweepstakes online at www.tourismvancouver.com/win. If you're headed to Vancouver in the near future, or for Pride in August or the Madonna concert in October, you'll find travel tips and information to help plan your trip at www.tourismvancouver.com as well.
Among the 150 passengers who lost their lives in the tragic crash of Germanwings 4U 9525 was Greig Friday, a 29 year-old Australian who was an active member of his local LGBT community. Friday, traveling with his mother Carol on March 24 when the flight was steered into the foothills of the French Alps, was a founding member of the Gay and Lesbian Engineers at Monash (GLEAM) Club and served as Queer Officer of the Monash Student Association (MSA), a college campus organization, in 2009. MSA President Sinead Colee noted in an interview with The Herald Sun, a Melbourne-based news publication, that Friday fought for equal rights at the university and to a broader community. 'His contributions to the movement will not be forgotten,' she stated. The association mourned his passing with a sentimental post and tribute on their official Facebook page, www.facebook.com/msa.clayton. Friday, who is survived by his father Dave and sister Alex, and a partner who has asked not to be named, would have turned 30 years old on April 23.
Construction began this week on The Museum of Flight's Aviation Pavilion, a structure that will house more than 20 commercial and military aircraft when completed. The Pavilion is expected to be completed in the spring of 2016. The just-restored Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet and recently added 787 Dreamliner, along with Air Force One, Concorde and B-17, B-29 and B-47 bombers will all be moved to the new building, giving museum visitors all-seasons access to view these retired airplanes. Currently, each of these planes is parked outdoors and occasionally cannot be viewed due to closures because of weather conditions. The Aviation Pavilion is costing an estimated $31 million, entirely funded by private donations, and will cover an area larger than two football fields with a roof sloping from a height of 90 feet down to 55 feet. If you have family or friends coming to Seattle soon, an excursion to The Museum of Flight is definitely recommended. For hours and admission, go to www.museumofflight.org.
If you don't have airline elite member status and have never been upgraded for a flight, but still want the VIP treatment, you can now enjoy some of the perks for just $35. The Club at SEA, with two locations at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, provides outbound passengers an exclusive lounge experience without exclusivity. In other words, it's open to everyone, regardless of airline, cabin class, or destination. Each of the lounges, at Concourse A and South Satellite, offers travelers more than 4,000 square-feet of space to work, relax, socialize, read, or simply indulge themselves prior to boarding. Amenities include high-speed WiFi access, complimentary beverages and snacks, work stations, business centers (printers, etc.), and incredible views of the Cascade and Olympic Mountains, Mt. Rainier, and Sea-Tac's airfield; it's also a great place for plane-spotting. The Club at SEA at the South Satellite is perfect for anyone booked on international flights, or on Delta, while the Concourse A lounge suits anyone traveling domestically or within North America on other airlines. Day passes for $35 can be purchased in advance at www.theclubairportlounges.com, or in-person on day of travel. I've experienced the South Satellite lounge on many occasions, as the former Northwest/Delta lounge and later when it operated independently as Club International, and it's a terrific, quiet space to get work done and chill out before heading to the gate.
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