Sunday, July 31, 2011

Looking Down

Looking Down by susanvg
Looking Down, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.

On a beautiful day in Edinburgh, we walked up to the castle. The views from there are magnificent. You can see to the Firth of Forth and beyond.

I liked looking down from the higher parts of the castle to see the buildings we had passed on our way up. There is something special about walking through historic places, to imagine the people who walked here before from royalty to all the people who served them.

Friday, July 29, 2011

At the airport

At the airport by susanvg
At the airport, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.

Travelling on. With the expectation of early check-ins at airports, there is time to wander. This plane was parked next to the one we would be taking, but I thought the flowing lines on the tail fit in more with the sky.

We flew overnight to London and then on to Edinburgh. I was impressed by how smoothly everything went at Heathrow. Airline travel is not a particularly pleasant experience. The quality of food served has deteriorated and it was never stellar; breakfast of a large, overly sweet muffin and coffee that barely touched any coffee grounds was not very appetizing. A night sitting up while trying to sleep while a group of Spanish students chatted animatedly in full voice did not help the experience. But here we are, safely delivered to Edinburgh with many adventures ahead.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Purple Pansy

Purple Pansy by susanvg
Purple Pansy, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
This perfectly purple pansy is blooming in a planter along a busy street in Montreal. I love the fact that the city plants flowers - bringing beauty. Our green time is shorter than our white time - so we relish the time the flowers are here, gracing us with their presence.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Searching for the Past

Searching for the Past by susanvg
Searching for the Past, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
There were some photographs in the local newspaper of Casselman from many years ago. We went walking trying to find the modern equivalent. We think this must be the old general store. It is pictured below ( a bad photograph of the newspaper photograph) in 1905.

Photo from newspaper

While additions have been made to the building, the front window shapes (hard to see in this photograph), the  height of the building from the ground and the posts give the building away. The use of the building has certainly changed. I don't think you will see men lining up for the beauty parlour, but maybe at the tattoo parlour. Times change

Sunday, July 24, 2011


IMG_9043 by susanvg
IMG_9043, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.

Another walk on the mountain. While my bother and i strolled, we were passed by joggers and cyclists who seem to ignore the heat and humidity. This large burl caught my eye. Mount Royal is a real gift to Montrealers. Right in the middle of the city it provides forested areas to walk through. By 10:00 am on Saturday, people were staking out their territory in the grassy areas, finding picnic tables in the shade. Bothers go to bake in the sun on the grassy slope. There is really something for everyone.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Summer Skiing

Summer Skiing by susanvg
Summer Skiing, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Like much of North America, Montreal is under a blanket of heat and humidity. Temperatures are in the 30s (celcius). A walk on the mountain was somewhat refreshing, at 9:30 in the morning, staying in the shade as much as possible. I don't know how the runners and cyclists manage. This man had his "summer skis" strapped on and he was making good time along the path.

A nice breeze has kept the worst of the smog away.

View from the Chalet

Looking out from the doors to the chalet you can see to the river and beyond. No matter the season, I love the view.


Vestiges by susanvg
Vestiges, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
History gets written on walls. Buildings that are no longer there leave vestiges. What is now an open space, in fact - a parking lot, was once the inside of this house. Was the archway once a doorway? If only the bricks and stones could tell the stories from the past.

Here is another example.

More Vestiges

Times change - new buildings replace the old as needs change. It's nice to at least have these vestiges that remind us of the past.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Centaur Theatre

Centaur Theatre by susanvg
Centaur Theatre, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
I love when old buildings take on new lives. This was once (as you can see from the lettering) the Montreal Stock Exchange, when the financial centre of the city was centred on St-Jacques (then sometimes known as St. James. As the downtown core moved to Ste-Catherine, the head offices of companies also moved. A new building was built for the stock exchange. In the late sixties the first of a series of renovations took place, transforming the building into Centaur Theatre which now has two performance spaces.

I went to see "Schwartz's: the Musical" - a fun-filled romp about a local restaurant, Schwartz's (aka Montreal Hebrew Delicatessen). It was filled with colourful characters, many based on real people as well as providing a slice of Montreal life. Great fun!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Along McGill College...

Along McGill College... by susanvg
Along McGill College..., a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Each summer for the past several years there is a photo exhibit that runs along McGill College in Montreal. At one time it was a few blocks long. Now it is limited to just this block. This year's photos are from the collection of the McCord Museum. Each features a detail of a large photograph (which can also be seen). With photos on glass, the image could be greatly enlarged to reveal details that might not have been observed when looking at the photo as a whole. Interesting concept and well worth exploring.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Burgher of Calais

Burgher of Calais by susanvg
Burgher of Calais, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
I walked past the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts this morning. This sculpture, one of the Burghers of Calais by Rodin has been standing in front of the museum for a number of years. Odd that I should see it today as last night I saw the film, Midnight in Paris. I enjoyed the film, but I particularly enjoyed revisiting Paris - and the Rodin Museum garden. I have been there twice, each time revelling in the powerful work of Rodin.

I remember reading a historical novel about him: Naked Came I by David Weiss. It still sits on my bookshelf. Maybe it is time for a re-read.

Break Dancers

Break Dancers by susanvg
Break Dancers, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
It was the best I could do in low lighting. A group of teenagers were spending their time break dancing at "centre ice" in what used to be the Montreal Forum - home of Les Canadiens. Each took a turn trying their stunts to the encouragement of their friends. I was impressed with the concentration, the athleticism and the sheer joy they seemed to be having. The sculpture of Maurice "The Rocket" Richard seems to be encouraging their antics.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

From Mount Royal

From Mount Royal by susanvg
From Mount Royal, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
I never tire of the views from Mount Royal. This is looking south-east (I think - Montreal directions are odd), A nice walk on a summer day.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Carolina Chocolate Drops

Carolina Chocolate Drops by susanvg
Carolina Chocolate Drops, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Need a smile, a little toe-tapping? Go to a concert of the Carolina Chocolate Drops who bill themselves as an African-American string band. My grinning muscles were overworked as their energetic, driving music was just the thing on a summer night. Banjos, guitars, mandolin, some great fiddling, a jug and mouth music (beatboxing) - hard to resist!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Chinese Eggplant

Chinese Eggplant by susanvg
Chinese Eggplant, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.

It is always great to out to a restaurant - no cooking, no serving, no dishes to wash. It is especially nice when the food is delicious. This dish of eggplant with crunchy snow peas certainly fit the bill.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

To Market, To Market

Fresh Berries by susanvg
Fresh Berries, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Nothing like a summer trip to the market with fresh produce enticing one to buy. Berries beckon. Tomatoes, in a variety of hues and sizes, seduce with their field ripened aromas.

Soft Cheeses

A visit to the cheese shop brings more temptations with cheeses from around the world. My spouse is a particular fan of goat cheese and the choices are many from hard cheddars to soft, unctuous varieties.


The flower stalls are still standing - full of big potted flowers - interesting varieties. They sit soaking in the summer rays, much happier in the heat than I am!

Demands Admiration


Vielle by susanvg
Vielle, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Sunday morning concerts are always by an invited group - this time Ensemble Eya. They specialize in medieval music with instrumental and vocal pieces. The ensemble consists of two performers who sing and play a variety of instruments from vielle to recorders to bagpipes to a string drum. These add interesting textures and moods.

Medieval and Renaissance Instruments

Monday, July 11, 2011

Choppy Waters

Choppy Waters by susanvg
Choppy Waters, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Photos July 9, 2011
Winds rose white caps on the lake. Drier fresh air brought delight.

Saturday evening brings the opportunity for participants to perform what they learned during the week, from Baroque dance to Orff classes.

Baroque Dance           Orff Group

The chambre ensemble I played with all work (a sonata by Fasch) performed.

Small Ensemble

We had a week of listening to each other as we played, of learning from our coach and of laughter. That is one advantage of being an amateur - we always play for the pleasure of it.

Stormy Concert

Renaissance Consort by susanvg
Renaissance Consort, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
More concerts - this consort of recorders (two more out of sight) played some wonderful music by Holborne. The recorders they are playing is a matched set by recorder maker Bob Marvin.

Behind the players a storm brewed with dramatic flashes of lightning. Just before the end the lights went off briefly, but the music went on. Later most of the staff (plus a few participants) joined to play some excerpts from the Fireworks Music by Handel. Some played instruments for which they are not usually known - but the overall effect was impressive, energetic and lively.

Getting Ready
Nature provided the fireworks with great jagged lightning slicing across the sky. Another brief power outage - but the musicians soldiered on.


Lakehouse by susanvg
Lakehouse, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Photos: July 8, 2011
Afternoons at CAMMAC can be leisurely for some. I took some time to walk around with my camera. Some lovely flowers grow on the site - some wild, others cultivated.


Some people take advantage of a tranquil spot to read.

Great Place to Read

Others spend time playing with others. These cello cases stood outside a room. Some lovely music whooshed out of the room - flute and two cellos.

Cellos are Out

Overlooking the Lake

Overlooking the Lake by susanvg
Overlooking the Lake, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Photos: July 7, 2011
Despite the busy schedule there are quieter spots to sit - though the sound of people playing or practicing often wafts through the air. Fortunately there is quiet hour from 2:00 - 3:00 when everything stops.

Evening concerts are first class with some of Canada's top early music specialists. And every day we get to take classes with these incredible people

First Class Musicians            Music Makes it Hard to Sit Still

Some CDs you might want to get to hear some of these wonderful musicians:

Ensemble Caprice: Salsa Baroque, Telemann and the  Baroque Gypsies and any others!
Les Boréades: Their most recent is La Geniale - but all are delightful
Geneviève Soly: if you like harpsichord music - she is a specialist in the music of Graupner
Laura Pudwell: she has recorded with the Toronto Consort as well as with other ensembles
Olivier Brault (the violinist pictured above) can be heard with Ensemble Caprice, Quatuor Franz Joseph, Les Boréades. He is an astonishingly versatile and virtuosic violinist.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Misty Morning

Misty Morning by susanvg
Misty Morning, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Photo: July 6, 2011

A bit of rain created rising mist but it later gave way to sunshine. Classes kept me busy all morning. Afternoons are spent relaxing or playing music with others - today with two cellists.
I grabbed a few quick photos after the evening instrumental practice.

After the Setting Sun

After a busy day - the evening concerts bring new delights. It is wonderful to see the more established professionals joined by younger musicians. The harpsichord player, I have known since she was a CAMMAC child. Now she is taking her place as a professional musician.

Concert 2

It is wonderful to see (and hear) them share their talents. We are truly spoiled  - hearing wonderful concerts, being taught by these fabulous musicians and developing personal relationships with them.

Early Morning

Early Morning by susanvg
Early Morning, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Days are full, but when they start with views like this, peace pervades the hectic schedule. Classes take place in studios in the main lodge or in small studios in the woods.

Practice Studio

At one time CAMMAC was a real escape from regular life. There was no radio, no newspapers, only one pay phone. The "real world" stopped and CAMMAC life began. Now there is wifi available (thought not a very robust connection). One place it seemed stronger was in in the stairwell. People could be found sitting on the stairs, connecting to the world outside.

Feeding the Addiction

Tuesday evening concert features participants who want to share their talents. We were treated to some cool saxophone playing and some "table music" as well as other delights.

A Little Jazz          Table Music

The evening ended with an original composition by Matthias Maute, one of the teachers - an hommage to the late Pierrette Ferth who was a regular CAMMAC participant. We often were at CAMMAC at the same time. Beautiful music played by the professional staff - a very moving  tribute, made more so as I sat next to her husband who commissioned the work. While he beamed at hearing the music for the first time, I shed a few tears in memory.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Quiet Spot

A Quiet Spot by susanvg
A Quiet Spot, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Photo: July 4, 2011 (one of the small rooms overlooking the lake - a great place to play duets!)

Ah, CAMMAC. That place where the world of work dissolves as soon as I turn down the gravel road that leads to the music centre. The lake, the singing birds, the call of the loon, just being in nature, all conspire to bring a sense of peace.

People play music wherever they want: in practice huts, in studios, or on the balcony facing the lake as this accordion player did. I’m here for Early Music Week with daily schedule of classes and time to play with others just for the pleasure of making music together.

8:30 Small ensembles – two recorders, baroque flute and cello playing music by Fasch.
10:00 Vocal Technique – just breathing, making sounds and finding one’s voice through vocal exercises
11:15 – Snack
11:45 “Big Band” – Renaissance Music
1:00 Lunch followed by a much needed quiet hour
3:00 time to play music with friends or swim in the lake, go for a walk...
At 5:00 I played duets with the baroque flute player
Supper at 6:00
7:15 – instrumental ensemble
Some of the participants went to the dance – country dancing accompanied by live music – some of the teachers of the week.
I opted for a shower and earlier to bed. It’s a long day!

Music on the Balcony

Music on the Balcony by susanvg
Music on the Balcony, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.

Photos: July 3, 2011
Sunday at CAMMAC is busy - unpacking, organizing the room, seeing old friends and meeting new ones. But there is always time for music. This accordion player enjoyed sitting on the balcony over looking the lake.

Looking out at the Lake

Music in nature - what can be better?

Sunday, July 3, 2011


Astilbe by susanvg
Astilbe, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
My garden is blooming. delicate astilbe thrive in shady spots.

Times Change

Times Change by susanvg
Times Change, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
I like to see the remnants of the past, evidence of our history. This building, now government offices once served as the offices of the Trunk Railway, theifore-runner to CN, which runs across Canada. You can see the sign, in relief in the stonework. So often our past is eradicated with demolition and new buildings, with new signs as buildings take on new purposes. This sign stands as a testimony to our past, while the French only government sign (not visible in this photograph)vouches for the needed changes that happened in Quebec.

Friday, July 1, 2011


Windows by susanvg
Windows, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
The ISTE conference gave me a window into what is happening across North America. It was wonderful to meet with so many of my virtual friends, and especially with my Flickr friends. I had the opportunity to take a photo jaunt with a few of them: @colemama @NedraI and @kaytech. You can see us reflected back - each ready with our cameras.

Reflecting on Flickr Friendships

Here are some of the photos from that walk. Elfreth's Alley is in the historic area. Some houses are well kept, others need a little TLC.

In Elfreth's Alley

Montreal has many old buildings that now have external fire escapes. There was a lot of that in Philadelphia, too.



We passed old buildings and newer ones, often in the same block.


I can never resist interesting windows or beautiful ironwork.

Fancy Ironwork

Many more photos were taken - too many to upload. It is interesting to see what each of us noticed, how each of us looked and chose to photograph. Flickr friends are now face-to-face friends.