Tailored to Suit

I don’t know how many times I’ve read and re-read each course description for Tour Operator Management. There are some courses I feel are not necessary only because I have the experience from doing previous tours. After re-reading them once again, I asked myself, why not tailor your own unofficial certificate? What do I need to know? I need to know the where tourism is and where it’s going, I need to know the business aspect of things, most importantly making a business and marketing plan.  I NEED to know First Aid. As I mentioned in my last post, I wanted to know more about Cape Breton thus, take the full Heritage Study Certificate at Cape Breton University.

So here is what I’ve come up with:

Tour Research – research preparations for  tours ranging from 1 hour to many days. When I saw another Newfoundland tour and they had their costs cheaper than mine, I thought perhaps it may be good to learn some tricks of the trade.

Trends and Issues in Tourism – recognizing travel habits, the economics and demographics of an area, learning about the components and future of tourism. CBU also has classes with regards to tourism but centralized to Cape Breton itself.

Developing a Business Plan – Know the points of a good business plan, how to develop your mission statement, how to market your business, creating cash flow statements and foreseeing projections.

Starting a Small Business – Familiarizing yourself with legal forms (like waivers, driving 10 people at once; and – oh! Non-refundable deposits!), marketing and purchasing. Don’t know what I’d have to purchase though. Extra wet bags to protect camera’s maybe. I’m not getting into ordering a gazillion types of batteries for different cameras.

Entrepreneurship – Knowing what entrepreneurial business is and developing a model bases off of current examples. Putting together a business plan (sounds redundant I know. But I can’t go so far as to tailor make a class.), developing a funding strategy early, and learn how to pitch your idea to investors. The pitching thing may come in handy when I go to other local business and ask them to support my business as well. For example; a whale tour – I bring 10 photographers, they give a discount. Business will be reoccurring.

Marketing Strategy – Creating a brand by studying from example, how to get the most out of your brand, fusing marketing and business strategies, developing a marketing plan that works. LOL When I think about marketing, I think about Billboard Alley stretching from the Seal Island Bridge to Bras D’ Or. Any business who is anyone has a billboard along that highway. Perhaps you’ve seen them.

Emergency First Aid – No explanation necessary for this one. Frankly, I’m ashamed I don’t have it already.

My question is, is this acceptable? It’s not a trend certainly,  to mix and match classes . Has it been done before? What does it look like on a resume?

Math Refresher or Math Represser?


Up until a few days ago, I had a two year plan. This was to take the Tour Operator Management Certificate at George Brown. Before I entered the certificate, I realized, I must take a refresher math class in order to take Hospitality Math.  I admit I signed up for Math 1080 with negativity and doubt, having no faith in my mathematical abilities. I went to the first two classes the first week. I broke into tears on Sunday night when only a quarter of my homework was completed. Please know  I didn’t slack off in anyway.

Now here I am wondering what do next. It’s quite possible to take some classes from the certificate without singing up for it. In fact, I emailed to ask and wait for a response. Out of all the subjects in the public school curriculum, Math was my weak point and obvious still is. I hated to admit defeat so soon in withdrawing from my class, but I believe there are other avenues available to me. Thus, it’s up to me to find them.  There are YMCA programs for people who want to start their own business. EI even has programs that involve your own personal mentor. But here’s the catch, you have to be unemployed. Then there are piecemeal classes one could take part-time here and there to gain the experience you need. The Tour Operator Management course is not exactly what I want, but you can’t tailor a certificate, though that’s exactly what I want to do.

If my day tours are going to centralize in Cape Breton, there are things I’m going to need to know about the history, the economy, the environment, folklore, music and industry. Cape Breton University, formally University College of Cape Breton has a program called Heritage Studies. I’ve wanted to take this certificate for a very long time. Thankfully there isn’t a math class that’s required. The hitch would be biology to study indigenous plants and animals. This requires a prerequisite. I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Being a dunce at math is a disability for many of us. Yet somehow we get by using the basics every single day. The point is to keep on trucking and do the best you can do. As I’ve said in my last post, I’ve developed new organizational skills for my outing. The same is true for any math that will come my way.


Don’t think I’m going to be posting something every day. I had inspiration today, that’s all.


Just heard from George Brown.  Man, they’re good!

“Hi Sarah,

You are more than welcome to just take individual classes. Please see link below:http://coned.georgebrown.ca/owa_prod/cewskcrss.P_ProgStream?area_code=PA0043&stream_code=PS0492

If you decided you want to work towards a certificate you must complete all the classes that fall under that certificate. You must take the prerequisites required for classes.

I hope this helps.


It sure does! Thanks Felisha!

The begining

Being somewhat new to blogging, I really don’t know where to start. Perhaps introducing myself is a good way to start. Thereafter, I can think of blogging as journal entries, like those I write almost every night. Only these entries will be specific to photography, but even more so, my photography outings and trips.  

When I started to get into photography, I started with my grandfathers 35mm Canon. My Mom’s junior high school had a dark room, so I was able to develop my own photos. How I miss those days. Today I have everything a dark room needs, except for the room itself. Go figure. When I moved to Toronto, I got my first DSLR; a used, original Canon Rebel. Someone even commented that it was, “retro”. Now I shoot with a Canon 40D. Yup! I’m proudly a Canon girl, loyal to the name as well as to my grandfather.  

Over the years, I’ve collected film cameras, keeping my grandfathers, procuring a Bronica Zenza, a King Penguin, a Holga, a 4×5 Graflex, a 4X5 studio Toyo, and finally, though probably not my last a 35mm Pentax. I don’t know why I’m telling you all of this. I’m certainly not boasting about how many out dated cameras I have. More like, illustrating the fact that film photography is not completely dead, and yes, you can still by film and chemicals, etc. My favorite camera to use, besides my DSLR (my only DSLR) is the Bronica. I’m currently looking for a new back though. The other doesn’t close anymore. So I’ve put my Polaroid back on it, but have hardly taken advantage of it. 

I’m a member of the Beach Photo Club. I was two years in until I decided to take on the role of outings coordinator. In doing so, I’ve become much more organized and methodical in my habits with everything else. I’ve found my niche at last! What stemmed from the club outings was my own weekend trips and week long trips. In 2011, I lead a group of photographers from the BPC as well as from the Toronto Photography Meet up Group, to Cape Breton. Two years after that, to Mainland Nova Scotia, in 2015, I have the west coast of Newfoundland planned with the trip already full. Though I have nothing planned yet, I’d like to plan for Prince Edward Island in 2017. There is a theme here, perhaps you’ve guessed it. I’m a Cape Bretoner, thus these trips showcase the Maritimes, and Newfoundland in a experiential and photographic light.

Most of my future blogs will feature tid-bits on the up and coming Newfoundland trip as well as updates on starting a business based on photo tourism. I hope that I will not falter in updating this blog. I hope to have the occasional comment from you. Mostly I hope you will one day be a part of my tours.