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Local travel credit

The Ontario Staycation Tax Credit is now officially in effect. A temporary measure for this year, it’s a bid to encourage local travel and help the province’s tourism industry bounce back. When it’s time to file your personal income tax and benefit return for 2022, as an Ontario resident you can claim 20 per cent of eligible 2022 accommodation expenses — up to $1,000 as an individual, or $2,000 as a family, for a rebate of up to $200 or $400, respectively. Eligible expenses include leisure stays in Ontario at a hotel, resort, B&B, cottage or even a campground.

The spa waterfall at Vettä Nordic Spa, set to open this month in Horseshoe Valley.

Ontario’s newest spa

Vettä Nordic Spa in Horseshoe Valley is slated to soft-launch this month. A place to soak up Finnish-inspired sauna culture, just about an 80-minute drive north of Toronto, it will be open year-round and currently offers introductory rates: $89 for spa entry, or $249 for spa access plus a 60-minute massage. The facility’s features, including the forthcoming main restaurant, will roll out in phases during early 2022.

"The Wave" is a dramatic sandstone formation near the Utah-Arizona border.

Luck of the draw

Some of America’s outdoor destinations are so sought after, you can’t simply book a visit; you have to enter a lotto during specific times of the year and cross your fingers. For instance, if you want to explore “the Wave”— the dramatic sandstone formation in Coyote Buttes North (within the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, near the Utah-Arizona border) — anytime this coming May, you have until the end of January to join the current lottery. For a full list of sites with open or upcoming lotteries, visit recreation.gov.

An archival photo of Big Ben, which is expected to reopen this year following an extensive restoration.

Ringing in the new year

London’s Big Ben welcomed 2022 with its iconic chimes, and a reveal of its years-in-the-making facelift. First completed in 1859, the emblem of Britain has been shrouded in scaffolding since 2017, while an ambitious, £79.7-million conservation project worked to restore its former glory (and the original Prussian-blue and gold colour scheme). Once the restoration is all done, expected later this year, the world’s most famous clock tower will open to visitors again.

Sign up at thestar.com/newsletters to get our weekly Travel Headlines newsletter in your inbox. The federal government recommends Canadians avoid non-essential travel. This article is meant to inspire plans for future travel.



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