Team Canada Shares their Top Travel Hacks, Dream Destinations and What’s on their Paris To–do List

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We put Team Canada athletes to the ultimate travel test: the enRoute Questionnaire.

Cindy Ouellet tilts her wheelchair while balancing a basketball
Cindy Ouellet

Discipline

Wheelchair basketball

Age

35

Hometown

Quebec City, QC

Motto

Carpe diem. I even have a tattoo of it.

A Para Nordic skier by winter and wheelchair–basketball player by summer, in Paris, Cindy Ouellet makes her sixth appearance as a Paralympic athlete. Unsurprisingly, her favourite travel destinations are just as multiseasonal: “Anytime I’m somewhere with a view of water and mountains, I’m happy – whether in British Columbia or Italy.”

July 2, 2024

Window or Aisle

Team Canada's preferred spots to sit on a plane

Phil Kim If it’s a longer flight, I’ll take a window seat and not drink any water because I don’t want to disturb the people next to me.

Luguentz Dort Window. I like to sleep.

Aurélie Rivard I’m actually more of an aisle–seat person. I want to be able to get up whenever I want.

Zak Madell I always go for the window seat. I love being able to lean against the window for some sleep during long flights.

Cindy Ouellet Window. It’s better for sleeping!

Marissa Papaconstantinou I’m 50/50 on this. If it’s an overnight flight and I need to sleep, I prefer the window. Every other flight, especially during the day, I need the aisle seat.

Aurélie Rivard in swimsuit, googles and cap
Aurélie Rivard

Discipline

Para swimming

Age

28

Hometown

Saint–Jean–sur–Richelieu, QC

Motto

Why not you, why not now? You can apply it to so many different situations.

With 10 Paralympic medals and counting, champion Para swimmer Aurélie Rivard leaves little up to chance. But her top travel memory involves doing just that: Going to the train station in Nice and boarding whichever train was leaving next. The unplanned destination? Monaco. “It was such a good day,” she says.

Dream Seatmate

Marissa Papaconstantinou Maybe my dog, Myles. Or maybe the Jamaican sprinter Shelly–Ann Fraser–Pryce, just to pick her brain.

Adriana Leon Serena Williams. I feel like we’d have a lot in common.

Summer McIntosh Probably Drake. I’d be too starstruck to ask him anything. Just sitting beside him would be cool enough for me.

Cindy Ouellet Someone travelling with a dog companion. I love animals!

Phil Kim Nobody. But if I had to sit beside someone, I’ve never really travelled with my parents. It would be fun to travel with them. Hopefully to Paris!

Adriana Leon kicking a soccer ball into the air
Adriana Leon

Discipline

Soccer

Age

31

Hometown

Mississauga, ON

Motto

Work hard, then work harder.

Between practices for Team Canada and the English Aston Villa Women Football Club, winger Adriana Leon travels more for sport than vacation. Even on holiday, she’s a team player: “My best friend and national teammate, Shelina Zadorsky, and I went to Anguilla to chill before the really hard training starts,” she says. “We’ve been playing together since we were 11.”

Travel Hack

Joshua Liendo Bring a roller suitcase so you don’t have to carry anything on your back. If you get stuck in long lines and your suitcase is strong enough, you can sit on it.

Adriana Leon I like to brush my teeth after a long flight. It makes me feel a little more awake and ready to go.

Summer McIntosh I use packing cubes and I vacuum–seal some clothes so I can fit more in my suitcase. I’m a very heavy packer and I like to bring a lot of stuff with me.

Joshua Liendo geared up in his swimming outfit
Joshua Liendo

Discipline

Swimming

Age

21

Hometown

Toronto, ON

Motto

If you do anything, do it to the best of your ability.

Before a swim meet, Joshua Liendo pumps up the jams. “I listen to anything that hypes me up: old rap, DMX, that kind of thing.” The freestyle vibes translate from playlist to pool, where Canada’s first Black swimmer to win gold at a major international event has been breaking his own records. In flight, he switches it up: “I put on classical music and chill.”

Dream Vacation Destination

Large rocks sit in the crystal blue waters beside the beach in Bali
  • Bali — I’ve never been to Bali. It’s somewhere I could really relax and disconnect, but I’d also like to go with a big group of my friends. — Phil Kim

Umbrella covered loungers by the ocean in Saint-Tropez
  • Saint–Tropez — I might hang around in the south of France, like Saint–Tropez. I’ll just lounge by the beach, do some swimming, have nice lunches and dinners with my friends. — Adriana Leon

A serene dock covered by trees beside the waters of Muskoka
  • Muskoka — Honestly, I always just want to go up to my cottage in Muskoka. I’d rather that than most vacations. But I definitely would like to go to Bora Bora. — Summer McIntosh

Brightly coloured houses and palm trees line the streets of Barbados
  • Barbados — A dream destination would be somewhere like Bora Bora or Thailand, but I already have booked a trip to Barbados in October. — Marissa Papaconstantinou

An intricately designed arch is the focal point of a long building in Portugal
  • Portugal — I would probably stay in Europe. South of France, Monaco, Portugal, Greece... there are so many beautiful countries I want to explore. — Luguentz Dort

Iconic blue domed houses dot the seaside hills in Greece
  • Greece — Greece. My sister and I made a pact that we would go there together when I was around 12 years old, so it’s definitely a dreamy place for us. — Aurélie Rivard

Zak Madell with a rugby ball
Zak Madell

Discipline

Wheelchair rugby

Age

30

Hometown

Okotoks, AB

Motto

My first national team coach used to say, “Hey, kid, just go have fun.” It resonates with me.

Four–time Paralympian Zak Madell counts a silver medal and conquering death twice among his accomplishments. After a septic staph infection forced doctors to amputate his legs and fingers when he was 10, the Alberta Dreams Foundation sent him on his first big trip to the Turks and Caicos Islands. Next up? “Barcelona. I’m on a 90 plus–day Duolingo Spanish streak.”

Currently Reading

The cover of The Apollo Murders by Chris Hadfield
Photo: Lucy Kim

Zak Madell I’ll usually bring along a thriller novel for the airplane ride. I’m working on The Apollo Murders by Chris Hadfield right now.

Cindy Ouellet I read about three books per week. I’m currently reading La Pathologiste by Élisabeth Tremblay and The Phoenix Crown by Kate Quinn and Janie Chang.

Pierce LePage The Fisherman by John Langan. It’s a cosmic horror novel.

Pierce LePage in position to throw a javelin
Pierce LePage

Discipline

Decathlon

Age

28

Hometown

Whitby, ON

Motto

I don’t know if you’ve heard this one: Hakuna Matata.

A master of many sports (10 to be exact), Pierce LePage heads to Paris as the reigning decathlon world champion, and as the first Canadian to win the title at the World Athletics Championships. So, what’s one more sport? If travel had Olympic events, he would be a pro at: “Sleeping on the plane. I can sleep anywhere.”

What’s on Your Paris To–do List?

Aurélie Rivard Paris is probably my favourite city to just exist in. I would like to sit on a terrace where the chairs face onto the street, order an espresso and croissant, and stay there for a while.

Adriana Leon Hopefully meeting some other Olympians. In Tokyo, I loved going into the dining hall and having all the other athletes around me. We all traded our country pins, which was such a nice community experience.

Joshua Liendo I’ve heard the fashion is good, so I’ll probably do some shopping. In terms of the Games, I’d like to catch some basketball and tennis – those are the big ones.