Monday, December 31, 2012

Snow Clearance

Snow Clearance

Photos: December 29, 2012 while waiting for the bus

Snow Clearing is a long process in a big city. After a big storm the crews work around the clock. While most clearance is done with snow blowers and large trucks, even payloaders are used to fill the trucks with snow.


This sizable storm will take many days before all the streets and sidewalks are clear. Even snow crews have to take time off (the labour laws do not allow them to work more than a 70 hour week) so all snow clearance is taking a 36 hour break until the 2nd of January. With streets clogged with snow, public transportation is the best way to get around. No parking to worry about and more room for the big snow trucks to pass.

Saturday, December 29, 2012


Afternoon Shadows
Photo: December 28, 2012

 First day out snowshoeing this winter. The storm left a thick blanket over the forest floor. Not many people were up in Summit Park as we tramped among the trees. There is a stillness in the air after a storm. The snow muffles sounds.

In the Woods

The crisp breeze turned cheeks a rosy colour. My fingers felt the frosty air as I stopped to photograph. It was impossible not to stop and enjoy the sparkle of the sun on the snow crystals and admire the sculptures the snow created.

Snow totem

This looked to me like an icy totem pole with the profiles of faces. While man-made totem poles last for centuries, this one will be gone as it is reshaped by sun and wind. Winter is so much more enjoyable with a good layer of snow!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Definitely Winter

Snowing Sideways

Photo: December 27, 2012 

A record snowfall for one day - 45 cm of snow fell on Montreal. For much of the day it seemed to be going sideways with strong gusts whipping it, blowing it into high drifts.

The View

Today these same trees enjoy the bright blue winter skies. The river gleams in the distance. There are piles of snow everywhere. I am very glad to have moved - no more shovelling, scraping, and salting.


There is nothing quite so beautiful as the day after a snow storm. The fresh fallen snow sparkles  and the city looks pristine.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Another Walk

Self Expression

It's fun to walk in areas of the city where I have not walked before. Even though I have driven through this part of Montreal, it is not the same as viewing on foot. While I am not a huge fan of graffiti, I did like the images here.
Montreal Style Triplex

We walked into a park with houses facing it on each side. This three story (though more elegant than some) is typical of houses in parts of Montreal. The second and third floor dwellings are reached by an outdoor staircase, which can be treacherous on icy mornings. The wrought iron balconies at the left are more typical than the stone and concrete of the building in the centre.
Foot Bridge

This neighbourhood is near the Lachine Canal, once an important waterway, through which boats could bypass the Lachine Rapids. Industries sprang up along the canal. Since the advent of the St. Lawrence Seaway, it lost its usefulness. Now a bicycle path runs along it (not open this time of year). The waterway is used by pleasure boats, not working boats. Where once factories stood, now housing is replacing them. This footbridge crosses over the canal.

You can learn more about the history of the canal here.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Out Walking


Photos: December 24, 2012

Walking on a crisp and sunny winter day is energizing. The snow crunches underfoot and sunbeams dance on the fresh fallen flakes. Walking gives time to admire details.

Snowy Window

This "snowy" window launched memories of childhood cutting as we tried to make these lacy flakes. And then I thought of my own children doing the same. Many snowy winters have passed since then.

Westmount Conservatory

I'm new to this area. I love the variety of architecture. I pass the old Westmount Conservatory (closed for the holidays). I'll have to venture in to enjoy the summery displays. I'm not a snowbird. I enjoy winter except for the ice. It invigorates. Many more winter walks to come.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

House Music

Corelli Christmas Concerto

Music is an essential part of my life. My passion is music from before about 1800, known as early music. I play it, I go to concerts and I support local groups and musicians as much as I can. I worry about the future of this music as government funding dries up and pop culture becomes more and more prevalent. Big rock shows bring in tourists, small music festivals with limited funds cannot attract the same kind of audience. So funders become more reluctant to support these efforts.


I had the pleasure of hearing the Corelli Christmas concerto in a private home of a local musician, Susie Napper, who has done so much to showcase early music in Montreal. It is done as a passion, certainly not because it brings her money. I fear our society only values things that represent money - professional sports, popular singers, blockbuster movies.

Bach was born in 1685 - we still play his music. Will anyone remember the sports teams, Celine Dion or the films of today in 350 years?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Market

A Dusting of Snow

While my move is still requiring work - more to unpack, pictures to hang... my life is beginning to get back to a more normal pace. Shopping for food during the worst of the move, was a quick foray to a supermarket. Now, with a little more time to breathe, I headed to the market.

December at the market and the parking area is full of trees for sale. The light dusting of snow reminds us that soon winter will really set in. The market changes from season to season. Some of the outdoor stalls get temporary winter walls, while others disappear as November arrives. Part of the parking area changes from spring  and summer flower stalls to pumpkins and then to these trees and other seasonal decorations.

Taking Time

Now I do my shopping indoors. Unlike in a supermarket, here I linger - savouring a café au lait, enjoying eying all the delicacies displayed to entice. Somehow I always go home with a little more than I had planned. Shopping at the market is a personal experience. Each store requires a little conversation, not just a quick pass through the cashiers. I stop at my favourites, talking to the butcher that supplies organic meat, chatting with the woman in the bakery, discussing the merits of various cheeses in the cheese shop and more. I come home with a smile on my face, laden with bags of delights.