Regardless of whether or not you book a trip with us, the following are some questions that you should ask any travel company to ensure that you are in capable hands. Getting proper answers will also reduce your exposure to fraud (Internet or mail).
1. How long have you been in operation?
Call Of The Wild has been in continuous business since 1993. We are one of the oldest, full time adventure companies in Toronto, and have taken thousands of people, from all over the world, out for a memorable wilderness adventure. We have been operating in Algonquin Park for this entire time.
2. Do you carry Liability Insurance?
Call Of The Wild does carry liability insurance. In order to protect yourself from false claims of coverage, you are entitled to ask for the name of the Insurance Company so that you can ensure that they really do carry Liability Insurance. Furthermore, we also carry Commercial Vehicle Liability.
3. What training do your staff and guides have?
There are several independent agencies that offer certification in various aspects of guiding in Ontario. Any guide should have the following as a minimum:
- Emergency Wilderness First Aid
- Canoe Certification (Ontario Recreational Canoe & Kayak Association)
- Basic navigation skills
- Guiding experience – each new guide should do at least 2 trips as an assistant before leading their own groups.
4. Do you have previous Client Recommendations, and Professional Reviews?
This is an excellent way to gauge the reputation and professionalism of any company. Look for Recommendations from a variety of people, spanning a number of years.
At Call Of The Wild, we are quite proud of our recommendations. We have put a long list of previous customers and their thoughts about us on our Client Comments page. We have also been reviewed by several major newspapers, guide books, and TV shows. Most of these articles are on our Reviews page. The following are some of the professional media we have been prominently featured in:
- The Globe & Mail
- The Toronto Sun
- The Toronto Star
- Sunday Tasmanian (Australia)
- Daily Telegraph (Sydney, Australia)
- The Rough Guide (Canada and Toronto editions)
- Let’s Go USA/Canada
- Work On The Wildside (Japanese Eco-tourism guide)
- Getaway Travel (Australian TV travel show)
- The Mail on Sunday (England)
5. How is your safety record?
Call Of The Wild has an excellent safety record. We have had no more than a few sprained ankles and blisters, thanks to the vigilance and expertise of our guides.
6. What makes your company different from all the others?
There are several companies that offer canoe trips in Algonquin Park. Most of these will give you a very nice experience. What sets us apart from the others are:
- Canoes – we use light weight (45 pounds) NEW expedition kevlar canoes. Many companies, in order to save money on costly repairs, use much heavier (90 pounds) ABS white water canoes. These canoes are much slower to paddle and are extremely heavy (read painful!) to portage.
- Tents – we have new Eureka 4 man tents, that we only put 2 or 3 people in. So you have a large spacious tent that does not leak.
- Air Mattresses – we provide all clients with an inflatable sleeping pad. Other companies do not supply anything, or will give you a foam pad that is less expensive and less comfortable.
- Experience – we have been in business since 1993. There are many “fly-by-night” operations that are only around for 1 or 2 years and then disappear. As a consequence of our longevity we know what we are doing, and some very fine canoe routes that aren’t overly crowded and that have a very good chance of spotting wildlife.
- Insurance – it is sad to say but insurance is not legally required in Ontario. As a result there are companies that have NO insurance at all. If there is ever an accident of any kind their clients will be left with huge medical bills to pay.
- Vehicle Insurance – there are some companies that provide transportation services that only have their own “personal vehicle” insurance. This is an illegal activity. In order to provide transport you must legally have “Commercial Vehicle” liability. We pay extra for this insurance to make sure our clients are properly protected.
- Winter Accommodation – instead of sleeping in a cold, crowded canvas tent at night our clients stay at the remote, cozy Algonquin Eco-Lodge. Private rooms and an outdoor hot tub await you at the end of an exhilarating day of dog sledding!
7. Why is your price higher/different from some other companies?
Our prices may seem higher than some of the competition but this can be accounted for by the high quality of our new equipment, and the fact that we carry liability insurance. Please read #6 above for further details.
8. Why do you have a Trademark?
Unfortunately a few years ago we were involved in a lawsuit. A copy of the Court Documents can be found here:
9. Is there an HST (tax) rebate for foreign visitors?
Yes there is, foreigners are entitled to a 50% refund on the HST we must charge. But, the government keeps changing the website location of the form you need to fill out. Almost as if they don’t want you to get your money back! We provide here the current HST Rebate link, but if it stops working please let us know and we will update the link.
If all of the above questions can be answered to your satisfaction, then you are probably dealing with a reputable company. As with anything though, you are ultimately responsible for your own safety. So never completely rely on the judgments of others when it comes to your safety. Always satisfy yourself that you are dealing with experts who can look out for you. And remember to have fun!!