This site will point you to places you have never been to before.
You'll also be introduced to films (rated out of 5 stars), festivals, artists of all kinds, getaways and restaurants. Some amusing bio anecdotes may pop up.
I won’t be cluttering my pages with announcements of concerts and info you can easily grab from the Internet.
So join me on the ride into the rugged and the remarkably luxurious.
We all need to discover open borders both in the world and in ourselves.
The excitement was palpable as people piled into the stunning Maison
M. Pouliot enthralled us with his performance of Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s
“Violin Concerto in D major, op.35.” His sensitivity was magical. His
virtuosity was most notable throughout the piece where 3 movements brought
moods of sentimental sweetness and sadness where high-note diminuendos showed
exceptional control that wowed us. These moments mixed tenderly with robust
melodic passages that seemed to foreshadow the exhilarating finish. It was pure
genius. His exuberance brought new meaning to the word “vivace” – part of the
Although the program opened with “Plages” – a piece by Serge Gallant –
this daring composition stood in a striking contrast to Korngold’s gentle music
meant for Holly movies. Gallant’s work vividly suggested a Hitchcock horror
film or a Magritte surreal painting with its minimalist images. The 12-minute composition was interesting and
dramatic; crescendos, ethereal moments and ominous moods steeped in
instrumental dissonance made “Plages” a poignant piece of alarming music.
The final wondrous work, Brahms’s “Symphony no. 1 in C minor, op. 68”
comprised four main movements – the last offering 4 contrasting parts that
built from and Adagio to and Allegro con
brio. This complex piece that opens with a percussive boom in repetition
journeys into a woven series of melodic developments that switch keys. One part
gracefully repeated a melody suggestive of Beethoven. Lyrical in line, and
profound, the culminating trumpet call at the end surely gave the work its
well-deserved standing ovation that capped the entire evening’s triumphant
photo credit: Nancy
Responsible for leading the orchestra into a passionate display of
musical brilliance was Vasily Petrenko. Is it any wonder, the title of the concert
was Brahms According to Vasily Petrenko!
What a glorious day to put on my cross-country skis and take
largest park, Cap-Saint-Jacques. The sun was beaming directly overhead, and since
the temperature was unseasonably high – at least 5 degrees above zero – I knew
that the cold would not be an issue today.
Cap Saint-Jacques offers an expansive landscape where the
great Lake of Two Mountains comes into view on
several of the park’s trails. There’s a 32-kilometre network of natural terrain that comprises four immaculately groomed cross-country trails (the turtle,
beaver, squirrel and the 10.9- kilometre-long rabbit trail); plus non-skiers can enjoy five kilometres for snowshoeing and seven for simple
walking; and you can bring your dog on those trails.
Setting out with patroller, Diego Savard, we took the Turtle
trail. It meandered through trees and offered gentle inclines to add variety to
the outing. Diego is an intrepid backpacker – having trekked in several South American
countries – his favourite being Ecuador - a country that somehow seemed to match the temperature of this day (if one cared to really stretch the imagination). It was just so warm out; in fact, I had to take off my hat and sweater while skiing with him. Streams were melting.
In the distance among the trees, about one kilometre from the start of the 2.4-trail, I spotted a cozy building. Diego led to this sugar shack. I peeked inside, but we needed no food to re-energize ourselves.
We then took
the juncture for the Beaver trail which gave a longer outing; its 6.8
kilometres brought us to the stunning 1916 Chateau Gohler where you can eat your
own packed lunch or enjoy their wonderful soup and more. Money spent there by hungry skiers goes to the Boy
Scouts of I’ile Bizard – a lovely region that spreads out to the west of
At one point, we came to one of the huge bays where summer
bathers converge to enjoy the park’s big beach. We noted more birds flitting
among the trees at the water’s shore. Diego even walked onto part of the lake
pointing to it s north as he revealed he had skied across it where he landed at
Oka, another place renowned for its trails and
Cap-Saint-Jacques is only 35 minutes outside downtown Montreal. Once there you
feel you are in an oasis of pure untouched nature, and you can glide right
through the trees as I did today.
nighttime skiing. The park supplies your headlight, and after you finish the
selected trail, you can sip hot chocolate and roast marshmallows, right behind
the welcome centre there. A unique way to share family fun or rev up the
romance in your life!
Cap-Saint-Jacques is peaceful; the staff is super friendly,
and the area so accessible; it’s the perfect yearlong antidote to city stress. I look forward to spending some summer days
here, swimming, strolling and stepping into a kayak.
information, go to: www.ville.montreal.qc.ca/grandsparcs.
DAY WITH MY DOGGY AT CAP-SAINT-JACQUES
It was the Canada day
weekend - a perfect July 3rd sunny day to take my dog Zak to one of
my favourite nearby nature getaways:
Cap-Saint-Jacques. It is one of three Quebec
parks that allows you to stroll with your dog on a 5- plus kilometre walk. Greeting
me at reception was Alexander, and though he was so nice to me, it was Zak who
stole his heart. Nothing like a little cute dog to make everyone smile. Meeting more dogs was fun for all.
It was a
day for us to bond in nature amidst beautiful birdsong and bucolic waters that
around the circular perimeters, I saw Rivièrie de la Prairie, Lake of Two
Mountains, Oka and Ile Bizard. Water
everywhere and unfortunately the recent catastrophe in this region showed
itself as I rounded curves of land bordering the water where I saw bushes in water.
along the path sheltered by forest, I bumped into Charles, a man in love with
his boxer-mastiff dog, Minion who towered over my little maltese-lasa apso mix
dog. Together, wee romped through forest and ventured along the water where
Minion delighted in cooling himself off.
headed to the Cap’s farm, and passed the horses, a chicken coup and the sheep
that lazed inside a big barn.
I entered into
the little store selling some organic produce plus maple syrup. Lots of the
land here is dedicated to growing organic vegetables.
Nature here is gentle with wild flowers
dressing up the greenhouse, paths and fields that we strolled among.
told me that three weeks ago aside from the fox he saw. Three coyotes
surrounded him. That in effect is why I insisted Charles come with me for the
rest of my walk. He had a long stick, but we saw no coyotes. I was lucky
to bump into Minion and Charles, for I was really quite alone as I started my
What was to be an hour sauntering into nature turned into three. It was
a day of surprises and enjoyment. Zak and I were most happy.
return to explore the beach here and maybe even screw up my courage to do some
need not drive to the Laurentians to immerse themselves in nature that is only
a 30-minute drive from downtown. Cap-Saint-Jacques is kind of addictive and its
terrain invites you to explore it on foot, skis, snowshoes and bike. What more
could you ask for? Come on folks, it’s summer and this place is the perfect
area to saunter into to enjoy oodles of varied vistas as the sun shines down.
information, go to: www.ville.montreal.qc.ca/grandsparcs.
Arion Baroque Orchestra palpably lightened up the heavy feel of winter by
featuring the uplifting music of Telemann, Lalande and Rameau. These 17th-century
composers were enchanted with French musical flavours that consisted of a swirling
melodic melange of imaginative fantasy, frills, and contrasts. Most of the
evening highlighted pieces that were strongly accented in a surprisingly
intricate melée of instrumental play, influenced by the notable charmingly
gallant spirit that characterized the court of Louis XIV.
The guest for the evening was the British/Brazilian world-acclaimed violinist, Rodolfo
Richter whose understated manner perfectly suited the demureness, colourful
surprises and melodic sweetness, particularly noted when he and the orchestra’s
artistic director, flutist Claire Guimond shared passages of joyous
instrumental dialogue on their respective instruments in the Telemann concerto.
Michel-Richard de Lalande’s “Grande Pièce royale, S 161” – one of three
of the court composer’s “Caprices” offered a variety of musical flavours that
greatly pleased the king. This six-movement suite in G minor included an austere
chaconne, an exciting fugato, along with a sweet air in the major key – even a
gavotte that featured a pair of oboes in wondrous harmony that miraculously yet
perfectly contrasted with periodic heartfelt passages from the bassoon. The flourishing
finale burst with exhilarating gusto that gorgeously reflected this movement’s
Georg Philipp Telemann’s “Concerto for flute, violin and cello in A
major, TWV 53:A2” first appeared in the production of the composer’s Musique de table. The work' s stunning variety
of instruments is matched by an enthralling mix of tempi, fun and fury within contrasting movements: Largo, Allegro, Gratioso and another Allegro. His gift of alternating French
and Italian styles stands out in these four exciting parts.
Jean-Philippe Rameau was last but certainly not least on the evening’s
delightful program. His creation of a
comedic musical ballet bouffon titled Platée was first performed at Versailles in 1745 during the wedding of the Dauphin with
Maria Teresa of Spain.
This balletic opera is not without surprises, for in the tale, Platée, the nymph
bride-to-be looks like a frog! The music is positively exhilarating. The
twists, turns and sudden bursts of contrasting sounds are mixed into lively
dances that take their bow by succumbing to a tumultuous instrumental storm.
The concert lasted just over an hour, yet our hearts were filled with
joy. The music tricked us into thinking that La belle ville was in fact Paris not
Montreal – even
as we braved the towering snow banks outside Bourgie Hall.
The Montreal Symphony Orchestra has garnered
a prestigious international reputation. Each concert creates a rich tapestry of
symphonic music preformed with exceptional virtuosity. With close to 100
concerts given a year, this acclaimed orchestra is an inspiration to classical
music aficionados and performers alike. The MSO enthralls audiences the world
over with its amazing maestros.
Kent Nagano, the MSO’s brilliant artistic
director, brings genius and passion to each performance; 92 permanent musicians and
chorus perform under his baton.
The orchestra has recently welcomed assistant director, Adam Johnson
to the ranks; his remarkable talent and exceptional experience musically merge
with immediate impact.
Shot in black and white with
a Hitchcock-type feel,this German-language movie with English subtitles, is a film
noire/thriller that revisits Nazitimes; it takes place at the end of the
Second World War. Simone, a spy working for the Allies is supposed to find and
execute Emil, a scrupulous Berlin
scientist who discovered before the Americans the way to build an atomic bomb.
He is trying to hide form the Nazis and finds his alcove on a train. But Simone
finds him on this very train as it makes its nighttime journey towards Switzerland.
German soldiers, led by König, a German scientist are in pursuit of Emil. They
need the secret code for this bomb. Will they find it and him? The chase gets
complicated when memories of love get intertwined.
Simone and Emil were once in
love, but each has his own integrity to abide by. Who would have thought that
this bomb could be hidden in a pocket watch, and if found will parallel worlds
have it explode in Berlin or Paris? It turns out the group of scientists
wish to hide their secrets about the lethal bomb for fear the Nazis would indeed
use it, if the 'formula" were discovered. The film commemorates those brilliant men who made physics their life,
but would ultimately end in their death.