Ottawa Winterlude 2013 – Ice Sculptures

Ottawa Winterlude 2013 – Ice Sculptures

_RON7962-WinterludeA retroactive post – We started off our downtown visit with a stop at the Rideau Center and then we were off to the NAC to purchase tickets for an upcoming performance and then it was off to Confederation Park to take a look at how the ice sculptures were progressing. Weather couldn’t have been much better for the sculptors and their blocks of ice. Unlike some previous years, there was no severe cold weather in the forecast and above-zero temperatures weren’t forecast either, so with a bit of luck the work of this year’s sculptors will hang around for a few extra days.

_RON7941-Rideau-Center
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Montebello, Quebec – A Glimpse at the Village

Montebello, Quebec – A Glimpse at the Village

We stayed overnight at the Chateau Montebello, had some breakfast there and then walked along the wooded path over to the village of Montebello, Quebec. The path that we took, passed through the Manoir Papineau National Historic Site so I was able to take a few more photos to add to the blog entry relating specifically to the Manoir Papineau. Once we arrived at the village, we stopped for a few moments in the tourist centre which is housed in the old train station. Then we headed off on our self-guided walking tour down the main street of the village. The street used to be heavy with traffic but the recent completion of the the #50 route from Montreal to Gatineau/Ottawa, had diverted most of the truck traffic, in particular, away from the village. Still plenty to see but without as much danger of being run over by a truck.

The Quebec government has erected small placards/signs in front of many of the buildings and businesses. The placards are unilingual French and, although I can read them just fine, I don’t have the time at the moment to translate the information for this blog entry, I have included a thumbnail image of the placard beside each image. (Sorry, didn’t photograph all of them). Clicking on the placard will open a larger version of the placard in another window for those who are comfortable reading the information in French.

 

With a central location on Montebello’s main street, the Catholic Church, Our Lady of Good Hope, is an impressive structure.  The attached presbytery is currently up for sale as is another adjacent building but Saturdays the building is used for a very successful magic show. Not sure what this might all mean for the the future of the building itself but at present it is certainly a prominent feature of the architectural landscape of the village of Montebello.

 

One of the fascinating features that we found on our self-guided walking tour of Montebello was a stainless steel sun dial.  This sundial is much different than the traditional sun dial and in addition to a different shape, it is also able to display both standard time and daylight savings time.

Click to enlarge 

Click to enlarge

 

As we walked along the main route and read the information about the history of the various buildings and the people who had lived in them, I couldn’t help but think that it was a shame that the signage wasn’t multilingual so that the information would be more readily available to the very important international tourist population that is drawn to Montebello by the Fairmont Chateau Montebello and internationally known events such as the Canadian Ski Marathon. There was a lot of local history captured in those little placards along the street. Fun to walk, read and get a glimpse of what Montebello’s past might have been like.

 

 

 

Each winter, cross-country skis are fashionable on the wooded trails throughout Eastern Ontario and Quebec, and the village of Montebello is the center of a great deal of attention as the planning and organizing of the longest annual ski marathon/tour in North America gets underway and everyone starts to pray for the right amount of snow to fall at the right time of the year.

For those who want to ski the entire 160 km distance from LaChute to Gatineau, the Canadian Ski Marathon is a two day event with a stop-ever night in Montebello. For others, it might just be a more leisurely  ski of one or a two of the 5 sections.  Whatever the case, those who participate, get to ski through Laurentian country on trails that may only be groomed once a year specifically for the Canadian Ski Marathon. Visit their website directly for more information on the 2013 edition of this great event: Canadian Ski Marathon.

 

   

 

 

The Village of Montebello has a wide array of dining options ranging from quick take-out or pub food to more relaxed dining in elegance so we were happy to drive back into town after dark for an enjoyable meal at Le Napoléon.

In addition to hiking in the hills and boating on the Ottawa River, the area around Montebello is still an important area for fishing, trapping and hunting, and for a small store, Jo’s Cabane is chock full of interesting things for the hunter or fisherman to consider adding to their collection of gear.

 

According to the clock in front of one of the pubs, it was just about 4PM if you were heading north and only shortly after lunch time if you were heading south.  In any case, we had a tee-off time at the Chateau Montebello Golf Course to think about so it was time to walk back to the Chateau Montebello.

For those who follow my blogs and might be a bit worried that I didn’t photograph a Montebello fire hydrant, here is what you have been waiting for :-).

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Downhill ski equipment from Amazon.com
X-Country Ski equipment from Amazon.com

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Le Fairmont Chateau Montebello, Montebello, Quebec

Le Fairmont Chateau Montebello, Montebello, Quebec

The Fairmont Chateau Montebello is located approximately 1/2 way between Montreal and Ottawa on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River.  It is now part of the Fairmont chain of hotels and resorts.  The facility is a well maintained original log building with four wings extending out from a central meeting area with a large fireplace.  Each wing consists of approximately 50 rooms.  On this occasion, we had one of the river facing rooms, in the same alcove that George W. Bush used during his stay in 2007 for the NAFTA Summit.  His Seigniory Room accommodation (Rm 219) had a nicer view of the marina :-). I don’t think that they will be putting up a sign announcing that I stayed there though!

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The Cecropia Moth (Hyalophora cecropia)

The Cecropia Moth (Hyalophora cecropia)

May 26th, 2012 – I had dropped some members of my family off on one of the side streets so that they could start looking at what was being offered for sale at the Annual Glebe Garage Sale and then I had headed over tot he Lansdowne Park parking lot to park my vehicle.  Never expected to find a Cecropia Moth in the middle of the parking lot.  The Cecropia Moth is North America’s largest moth with a wingspan of 5 inches or so.

 

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Noctilucent Clouds Over Ottawa

Noctilucent Clouds Over Ottawa

Its not often you get a phone call at 4am saying “Look Up”, but today I did and it was for quite a sight! Apparently some ultra high level clouds (+75km up) were hovering above Ottawa and visible, a rarity for sure. This type of cloud is illuminated by sunlight from below the horizon so only visible just after sunset or just before sunrise.
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Canada Day – July 1st, 2011, The Downtown Sea of Red

After visiting at the Supreme Court Building for a few minutes, I once again turned my attention to how I might get in position for hopefully a few of the activities on Parliament Hill. One choice was to join the stream of people heading up the slope and past the West Block. I looked at the crowd going that way & decided on the other option!!!



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Royalty has landed

Royalty lands in Ottawa, Canada – June 30, 2011


The shot above was taken just before the couple were getting into the car to head over to Rideau Hall.
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The Canadian version of the Will and Kate show, as some have called it, began today when Prince William and Kate Middleton arrived at Ottawa International Airport at about 2PM. I was at home in Kanata watching Canada’s unfortunate defeat in women’s soccer, when I decided to collect up my camera and a couple of lenses and head for downtown Ottawa to enjoy the moment along with the many others who would be lining the streets. I would have left earlier but Canadian player, Christine Sinclair, playing with a broken nose, had just been knocked to the ground by a hard struck soccer ball hitting her in the face over in Germany and I’m more of a soccer fan than a royalty fan.

The area around the Cenotaph was cordoned off to allow for access by the official cars. By the time that I arrived, the crowd was about five deep lining the streets along the latter part of the route. (The following shot of me in a crowd was taken by Jana Kriz and gives a good idea of slight advantage that I had due to my height 🙂 – thanks Jana). Continue reading

Postal Strikes, Lockouts and Government Involvement

June 23, 2011: The official title: An Act to provide for the resumption and continuation of postal services/ Loi prévoyant la reprise et le maintien des services postaux (C-6)

The background is simple, sort of. Some postal workers began rotating walkouts/strike action a while ago. Management at the post office decided to respond by invoking a lock out. Eventually the government decided that the situation was hurting Canada’s economy or might be hurting Canada’s economy.
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Hockey’s Over! Bring on the Heat of Summer

Winter sports: The hockey season ended last night!!!!!! Boston Bruin fans are happy. Vancouver Canuck fans are not. We attended the first game that Chris Kelly played as a Boston Bruin. He is probably pretty happy today! Bruins vs Senators Feb/2011

Ottawa’s temperature is supposed to reach +30C or higher today with relatively high humidity.

Things to do now that hockey is over:
– Time to start complaining about the heat
– Time to get on the bathing suit and head for the beach, or
– perhaps it is just about time to reflect back on one of Canada’s other ice sports that we covered in a previous blog, the polar bear swim/jump! A great way to cool off!

Watch out for POISON IVY.

Ferris Wheels and Carnivals – Night Lights in Motion

Graeme and I went out tonight to photograph a fireworks display and ended up photographing ferris wheels and carnival rides as well. We will be posting more images from the outing as soon as time permits.


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