Tuesday, August 20, 2019

CAP-SAINT-JACQUES




So much beauty at Cap-Saint-Jacques.
Here, you’ll forget the tick-tock of the clock.
Water, lush forest and enchanting birdsong
Follow you everywhere as you walk along
 Cap St Jacques, you’re my tranquil  paradise
Where nothing ever goes wrong.

                                                Written by Nancy



An all-season nature park brimming with so many appealing aspects

Did you know it’s the largest park in Montreal, yet it’s only 30 minutes by car from downtown Montreal? It encompasses 360 hectares. Such a gorgeous vast area provides awesome bounteous respite in a variety of ways.

                               Water everywhere peeking out from the paths.



I call it a getaway that welcomes everyone. This wonderful has lots of picnic tables and barbecues located on grassy areas along the river’s edge.. It really is peaceful and full of vista surprises as the winding paths bring you to superb views. I took the 2.2 kilometre flat easy "Rabbit" trail.





I set out on a pastoral plain that spread for miles ahead of me


Soon water came into view. Rivière de la Prairie borders, Ile Bizarre, Oka, and more places. You can actually see the mouth of Lake of Two Mountains is as you walk about 2 kilometres in.  Equally remarkable is the floating island of one tree with rapids meeting it. This is magical. 




 There are so many pleasing views.












Feeding the animals is fun for the kids
I got to the  farm. 


















Just a bit further along you come to another gem. 
Welcome to the general store. Dating back to 1860, it’s a god send. I spent so much time there just feasting on the great amount of organic veggies -- all grown in the sprawling acres surrounding the store. 

 







There were so many different types of tomatoes.


                                            Gorgeous tasting tomatoes




This wonderful place has a resocialization program that employs young adults who have had some bad luck, and are in need of reintegration into the job market. 




Just outside, you will spot an outdoor “library”. 











Take a book from the shelf and read. There are many for your kids too. Or just bring you favourite book from home and while munching on the fabulous home-made maple muffins inside the store, just think how addictive it is here.
The most refreshing aspect to Cap-Saint-Jacques is its staff. The moment you walk into its spacious visitors centre, you’ are made to feel like a Cap St Jacques pal. You’ll find the same authentic warmth at the general store too. The friendliness really defines this park and the people you’ll pass as you walk your own path.
There’s a huge beach for swimming and at dusk, yoga lovers ascend to do yoga as the sun goes down. This is a planned event, so you have to visit the website to get all the information.
Oh yes, did I mention there’s even a small boat launch where you can set off on the water in your own mode of aquatic transport. Bring your fishing rod.





     Winter, spring, summer and fall,
  Cap-Saint- Jacques has it all!


                                                            

Visit the website to find out about the park’s planned activities year-round.


                    https://parcs-nature.com/public/en/cap-saint-jacques

                                             Read about previous visits
https://sntravelandartswithoutborders.blogspot.com/2017/02/sunny-skiing-on-smooth-trails-in-cap.html#.XVyGQNQrLVQ
                                               

Monday, August 19, 2019

VILLAINS ****


Directed by Dan Berk and Robert Olsen


This is a cleverly crafted dark comedy horror with super editing in a plot that keeps us rooting for the two main not so mean characters, Mickey (Bill Skarsgard) and Jules (Maika Munroe). This is a goofy pair of lovers who rob.  No Bonnie and Clyde, these two are on the lamb, having just snatched lots of money from a convenience store -- disguised as a vulture and unicorn robber-duo. Off to Florida in the car, Mickey forgot to fill the car up, and so they get stuck. They end up  breaking into a house looking for car keys, but they soon discover something else: a little girl chained up in the basement.


The  house owners, George (Jeffrey Donovan) and Gloria (Kyra Sedgwick) are one pair of sickoes who make their intruders morph into awesome angels. The lines are deliciously witty and dunderhead hilarious.  There’s just the right amount of “blood letting”: in suspenseful scenes that are really unusual and thrilling.

Trying to free the girl (who is not as sweet as it would seem) backfires in horrid unpredictable ways. George and Gloria’s psychopathic actions make for memorable film history. Great acting with authentic low-key delivery from the cast creates ironic c intense impact.  Careful how you punish your children. It’s a quirky comedy all the way, with explosive moments that show everyone has his/her Achilles heal. Surprise after surprise catapults Villains into uniquely entertaining horror status.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Parc National du Mont-Orford


              Magical Auras, Recreational Thrills and Meditative Moments  

Neither overwhelming nor daunting, Mont-Orford radiates a rejuvenating energy. Yet it is peaceful and beautiful. Its visual impression is utterly appealing. It has a sensory sublime feel to it – almost spiritual as it connects gently to any wandering soul questing for respite in a variety of ways.  





I’ve been coming to the park since I was a kid and it always blew me away. I now have the opportunity to work here and the park still surprises me every day! It has a spirit, and every one who walks in it is a part of it. To me, it is a safe place where I can meditate, get in touch with nature,”  
                          Maxime Gingras, park attendant









                                                           A park that inspires poetry
                          

“From seeing baby turtles with their mom to feeling the strong wind on my face at the top of the mountain to seeing the sunrise on the lake with my kayak to hearing the owls and the loons mixing their songs into an unique melody".
                                                                                                                    Maxime Gingras







Mont-Orford beckons one and all into its warm welcoming embrace.
Its magical presence proves inspiring at first glance, as seen in Étang des Cerisier – just a step away from the Visitors Centre



                                   Lakes Alive!   

You can kayak, fish, paddle board and canoe on lacs Stukley (where I canoed) and Fraser. Join people in a Rabaska canoe where the park warden will reveal the mysteries of the pond. You might see a snapping turtle, spot carnivorous plants, loons even a river otter. These lakes have beaches and camping facilities. You can rent a hut, camp and stay overnight in a rustic shelter or cabin to enjoy some night-time star gazing. What a wonderful way to cocoon yourselves in nature!












The joy of kayaking


I wanted to be on Cerisier, a man-made tranquil body of water that holds mysteries of its own. This “pond” as Orford calls it, was originally created in 1950 to increase the sweet water salmon’s reproduction, but the project didn’t go through, Still, Cerisier is home to many species in the park. It's a favorite place for loons to makes their nest; boats aren't allowed on the pond and the little vegetated islands dotting Ceriser offer great spots for loons to make their                                                                                         predator-free nests.               

Maxime pointed out that the remnants of trees on this lovely pond vitally contribute to the sustenance of many animals, including frogs, insects, fish and turtles. Dragonflies and damsels lay thier eggs here as well.






Lovely waling paths with more ponds to view



Close to 60 kilometres make up the network of trails. I took the Boucles des Trois Étang 5.5 kilometre flat walking path.






 It is a lovely meandering walk that winds around, bringing into site at different times three ponds: l’Ours, Mileu and Martin – the latter with its science fiction – looking tree stumps.
























 Lots of trees to admire along the way, and to my surprise, a sudden group of darling small white pines poked up out of no where alongside part of the path. If you want views from high up, you may want to look into hiking. Mont-Orford Massif rises 853 metres in elevation.

 two photos: Sepaq




Dog-friendly, I came across many happy dogs and their owners.







                                   Here is one of the miracles I enjoyed in this park. What a coincidence!




I won’t give away all the surprises of this park. Summer fall, spring and winter, you can’t go wrong stepping into this majestic wonder, one of Quebec’s quintessential bastions of gorgeous nature where people can experience a gamut of activities. It takes just under two hours by car the park from Montreal.

For information, check out the website: montorford.com/en-ca/home















Thursday, August 8, 2019

STEAMPUNK CONNECTION (Directed by Anne Deniel) ***


 All over the world a fascinating community is reviving Victorian costume, items and more, making it a part of their lives.  The documentary follows a trio of devotees in five different countries.  Wonderful eccentrics champion the cause of using technology to create all kinds of dress and accessories that conjure up past times. Imagination is key to what motivates them.



 These people have formed a great community, and what better way to connect than to relive the past with a Victorian reference. I have to say that the people are so creative and superb in what they create. They want to live time travel in a most unique way, and they do it colourfully.

Monday, August 5, 2019

WHITE SNAKE (Directed by AmpWong and Ji Zhao)****




There are snake catchers who must abide by the evil General's lust to have them, and they bring him inner power. Demons are a foot and they like to destroy humans. Only thing is the two protagonists are like star-crossed loves: one is a demon and a snake; the other is human. Love beyond any obstacle, good versus evil and scary unknown lands, make this extraordinary Chinese animation film mesmerizing.  Not a dull moment in this epic masterpiece. The effects are enchanting, often  ferocious and always dazzling.