Contest Winner Heads West!

A phone call sends one lucky CAA Member and her husband on the trip of a lifetime 


by Mary Wimmer, Communications Coordinator

It was definitely CAA Member Val Fuller’s lucky day a few months ago when she got a phone call about a contest that she had entered some weeks before. Out of almost 4,500 ballots that were received for CAA North & East Ontario’s Go West campaign, New Liskeard, ON resident Val held the winning ticket – which meant that she and her husband were both headed west on a two-day Rocky Mountaineer excursion, worth a total value of $5000!

“I thought, is this call a hoax, is she joking?” says Val. But the phone call from a CAA NEO marketing representative wasn’t a joke and soon Val and her husband Del were packing their bags for their prize trip aboard the seven-time winner of the World’s Leading Travel Experience by Train award (from the World Travel Awards), Rocky Mountaineer.  “The service was unparalleled to anything we have experienced,” says Val. “They looked after every small detail from the time we arrived at the station to our final goodbye. The food was superb and they catered to our every wish and individual requirements…a five-star dining experience!”

She counts seeing Banff National Park and Lake Louise in Alberta, and Vancouver and Victoria in British Colombia, among their favourite moments of the trip.

“Neither Del nor I had ever travelled west before,” says Val. “There were so many different types of scenic vistas, from snow-capped mountains to almost arid areas near Kamloops, to beautiful turquoise glacial streams, wildlife never seen before except in books, palm trees in Vancouver, historic Victoria and the rocky Pacific Ocean by Tofino.”

As a part of their grand-prize trip, the Fullers also received return flights for two aboard WestJet, which Val says had “efficient and very friendly service,” coupled with the convenience of being able to depart from Ottawa. They also received $500 in Best Western coupons, which they used to stay in the brand’s hotels in Calgary, Vancouver and Victoria.  “We were already loyal to this chain to begin with, and (this trip) just reinforced it,” she says, adding that the front desk staffers were very courteous and helpful to travellers.  

Of Hertz, which offered a four-day mid-size car rental to the Fullers, Val says it was the ease of picking up and dropping off the car that really got her attention.  “Fast, efficient and lots of friendly tips and advice,” she says.  Other highlights of their trip included seeing Stanley Park, Granville Market, the English Bay Boardwalk, the Capilano Suspension Bridge, and the laughing men statues, all in Vancouver; as well as wandering down historic streets, visiting Murchies Tea Room and Barb’s Fish & Chips, and seeing the floating homes in Victoria.  

Though it was their first time out west, it definitely wasn’t Val or Del’s first time booking with CAA through their nearest CAA Travel Store in North Bay, ON.  “From the advice offered, to the ease of planning, to bookings being done for you, CAA takes all the ‘painful’ parts out of planning a trip and presents you with a package ready to be enjoyed,” she says. “We definitely recommend CAA to family and friends!”