Sunday, December 27, 2015

Le réfuge faunique Marguerite-D'Youville


Across the river in Châteauguay is a wonderful park: Le réfuge faunique Marguerite-D'Youville. It sits on an island surrounded on two sides by the Châteauguay River where is flows into the St. Laurence River (the part of the island facing the St. Lawrence -faces the section which is Lac St-Louis). The island was once owned by the Grey Nuns. Some years ago I stayed at the convent (now a hotel) when the Montreal Recorder Society rented rooms for the weekend for a workshop. I've written about this park before
here and here

Nuthatch 3

The nuthatches are amazingly tame - swooping down to feed from one's hand. They are wary of the chickadees and stay away until they see the coast is clear.


The chickadees take turns, perching on nearby branches watching for a moment to dash in. Sometimes they fill their mouths with more than one seed and then fly off to eat.


You can hear their wings as fly in and then off.

The park has different ecosystems: the forest, the swamp, fields - each with different aspects to enjoy.


We walked past the swamp just as the sun had set. The stillness was palpable - broken only occasionally by a splash in the water. Fish? An otter? The list of animals that live in the park is extensive.

Stopping for a Nibble

As we left the park, a buck strolled out of the woods foraging for food. A delightful place to walk!!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Unusual Weather

In the Park

I went walking yesterday with my coat flung wide open, no hat, no gloves in balmy temperatures. While it felt nice, it did not feel right.

Crazy Weather for December

For my American friends: 15°C is about 59°F - shattering the previous record of 8.3°C for this date. Christmas? It felt more like a spring holiday. It is not just today's temperatures that feel different. Although we have had green Christmases before, there has always been snow before, even if it all melted again. We have not had more that a few flurries which never lasted more than a few hours.

Fat Squirrel

The squirrels have been taking advantage of the weather to keep eating and put on a little more weight. One article I read suggested that we may have a plethora of squirrels in the spring due to fewer deaths over the winter with their extra stores of fat. This then will result in a bumper crop of babies.

Snow is coming but the forecast is for a mild winter.

Wishing all my friends a happy holiday. Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it! Wishing all a happy, healthy time full of family, friends, fun, laughter and love.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Quebec City

Assemblé National

We decided a change of scene would be delightful and so - a short trip to Quebec City. This was the view from our hotel window. Usually we stay in smaller hotels or B and Bs but this time we decided to stay in the historic Chateau Frontenac. The lit up building is the Assemblée nationale - the parliament of the Province of Québec.

Chateau Frontenac

The hotel, seen here, sits imposingly over the city. The Quebec Conference in 1943 with Churchill, Roosevelt and Mackenzie King were held here and at the Citadel which is nearby. Quebec City is utterly charming with houses in the old part of the city dating back to the 1700s

Vieux Québec

Each time I go I am entranced by the architecture and by the hardships the European settlers must have faced when they first established a settlement here. This winter has been so mild that there is no snow yet, very unusual for this time of year.

Climbing UP

One thing I admire is the rules for signs in the Vieux Québec. Even international companies must have discrete signs so that the architecture and ambiance of the city is respected.

Colourful Equipment

Quebec is a port city on the St. Lawrence River. Anyone know what all this colourful equipment is used for?

A few days of walking the hills, enjoying the architecture, fine dining and a bit of pampering is a great way to chase away the darkness of the short December days.

I have written about Quebec City before
and here

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Public Art

Taichi Single Whip

Tai Chi Single Whip is a sculpture that sits at one end of Square Victoria. While I have walked through the square many times, my starting point is usually at the metro exit and I continue south, so this was my first encounter with this sculpture. It is by Ju Ming, a Taiwanese artist. Public art is so important to me. I like to stop and linger, admire. It is a refreshing change from the advertising, the logos, the garish store signs that dominate much of downtown.

The Illuminated Crowd

I am sure I have featured this one before. The Illuminated Crowd by Raymond Mason is on McGill College. The sun really illuminated it and I could not resist taking another photograph. I walk a lot in the city and the many pieces of art I pass always add interest to my day. Like reading books, each time I pass I may see something new as the quality of the light and time of day changes the look of the piece and my reaction to it.

Sunday, November 1, 2015


Fallen Leaves

Leaves lie scattered on the ground.
Slow decay

Frosted Leaves

First frost touches ground
soon to be burned off by the warming sun.

Autumn View

Autumn vistas change from red to golds

On Mont Royal

As the colour drains out of the landscape

We walked enjoying the autumn chill.
November is coming.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Autumn in the City

Autumn Colours

Everywhere you look the leaves are changing. The air has a crisp feel while underfoot the fallen leaves crunch under my feet.


Autumn is making her presence known.

A Touch of Orange

While I try to briskly walk to my destination, I cannot help but stop and admire the splendour.

Autumn Tree

Moments in a day - in an ever-changing season. This is not the time to hurry past; change happens quickly.

By the Grand Seminaire

It is the changing seasons that catch my fancy - spring and fall  - times of growth and change. Each day brings new wonders, new spectacles to savour.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Fall Comes

Season Changing

Photos: October 1-3, 2015

That splendid seasonal display is playing out. We managed to get away for a few days to the Laurentians where the wonders of the season were lit by bright sunshine.

Golden Leaves

What a spectacle! Time to stop and stare, admire, drink in the beauty.

Slow Changes

We were walking along the P'tit Train du Nord, formerly a railway line, now a long park stretching and connecting across the Laurentians. Cyclists, walkers, dogs... a smile as you pass.

Bursting Milkweed

The milkweed has burst, sending out the seeds of next year's growth. It creates natural sculptures.

Boats in AutumnA Blaze of Colour

What a glorious time of year! Each day the changes are noticeable.

But it is fleeting. Each moment to be treasured; each day to be enjoyed.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

A Bit of Ottawa


 Photos: September 25, 2015

We spent a few days in Ottawa, mainly to see people, but we walked and saw some sights, too. I like the openness of Parliament Hill. Despite the tragic shooting last fall, it is still a place where people can walk and enjoy.

  Women are Persons

New to me was this monument by Barbara Patterson (it was unveiled in 2000, but I guess I have never walked past it before):  "Women are Persons"  It commemorates  five Alberta women, the Famous Five (Nellie McClung, Irene Parlby, Emily Murphy, Louise McKinney and Henrietta Muir Edwards who fought to have women recognized as persons.   You can learn more about it here.

Detail of Women are Persons

This is a one of the figures in the monument. I think I would be toasting the victory with more than a cup of tea!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Stratford Ontario


Photos: August 18-20, 2015

My daughter and I went to Stratford, a charming city in Southern Ontario, where the Stratford Festival has been offering amazing theatre since 1953. While the theatre was the main reason for our visit (we saw 6 plays in 3 days), a visit to Stratford is no complete without a stroll along the water. Water fowl abound. Swans, many of which are quite tame and will actually eat from your hand are the iconic bird.

The Chase

They are still somewhat territorial among each other, but more so when they are nesting.

Public Piano

There are also a number of public pianos - this one sported a swan motif.

Amid the Feathers

Ducks are everywhere along the banks - eating, sleeping, preening, bathing and quacking.


It is always fun to see them shaking off the water as they dunk and preen.

Water Lilies

On the approach to the Festival Theatre there is a beautiful garden, complete with some water flowers. I can never resist photographing them.

I highly recommend the theatre at Stratford. This season there are 13 productions - actors take on roles in more than one. There are 4 theatres and in addition, there are lectures, concerts, tours of the costume warehouse, backstage tours... and, of course, walking along the water.

Friday, August 7, 2015

A Day in Val David


I love pottery, so a visit to 1001 Pots is always a treat. I managed to resist most of the creations, though I did leave with one new mug.

Then off for a walk. There is a long park  (le parc linéaire: le petit train du nord)- it was once a railway line, connecting the villages of the Laurentians. Now walkers and cyclists use it in the mild months. In the winter is is used by cross-country skiers. I was finally out with my DSLR camera and stopped frequently to admire the flora.


Raspberries hung from the low bushes. I left them for someone else to pick. I have been enjoying my fill from the market. Such a great time of year for local produce!


I'm not sure what kind of flower this is, but it grew in abundance. Nearby were many milkweed - good to know the monarchs will have places to lay their eggs.

White Flower

Another unidentified flower grew low to the ground near the edge of the gravel road. Its delicacy spoke to me.

By the Water

I changed my gaze from looking close to looking wide. We have had enough rain this summer to keep everything lush and green.

Green on Green

Green on green. The sunlight danced on the leaves, calling attention to the beauty around me.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Festival Montréal Baroque

Ensemble Caprice

Looking back to the end of June... Festival Montréal Baroque.

A highlight of my year is always the Montreal Baroque Festival - a few days of frenzied concert-going with friends - friends from Toronto and friends of the many musicians who teach at CAMMAC. The directors, Susie Napper and Matthias Maute, always plan a wide array of interesting concerts.

From the Recipe Book

From France - Ensemble Fuoco e Cenere, who treated us to a musical and alimentary feast - a concert full of humour and charm. 

Food for All

And delectable morsels to sample after the concert.


Concerts held in unusual spaces - even early in the morning. This was a concert of medieval music, built around the themes found in Rabelais' novels.

Musical Colours

Or music accompanied by painting according to theories proposed at the time of Telemann.

Musical Discoveries from Como

Concerts that feature bright, young talent along with more seasoned musicians...


Watching the masters and marvelling at the up and coming.

In Motion

And then it was over -the magic dissolving for another year. This event always launches my summer.