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Saturday 30 January 2016

Carnaval de Quebec

Bonhomme Carnaval.

Location: Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
Address:  Plaines D'Abraham
Date: Feb 2010
Website: www.carnaval.qc.ca

  For many years Quebec City has hosted a carnival in the very heart of winter.  It starts at the end of January and runs throughout most of February.  The carnival includes parades, fireworks, games, music and more.  In the mid 1950s the carnival was revitalized and a snowman wearing a red hat and sash became its official mascot.  His name is Bonhomme Carnaval.  We encountered Bonhommes all over Quebec City.  We were even greeted by one when we arrived at the airport.

Bonhomme's Ice Palace.

  The main site of Carnaval de Quebec is located on the Plains of Abraham.  Before we reached the plains, we passed Place Loto-Quebec and Bonhomme's Ice Palace.  Each year a special palace is constructed out of blocks of ice.  Due to the temperature at this time of year being constantly below zero there is no fear of this palace melting during the carnival.

Baby It's Cold Outside.Place Loto Quebec.

   In order to gain access to all of the Carnaval events you need to wear a small pin or effigy on your jacket.  The theme in 2010 was "The Carnival Makes You Dance!" so the effigys featured Bonhomme dancing in front of a disco ball. 

Bonhomme Effigy.Bonhomme Effigie.

  As we entered the main Carnaval site we walked past the International Snow Sculpture Event.  All of the competitors deserve an award just for enduring the extreme cold weather for hours while working on their snowy creations.

Happy Carnaval.

  A few of our favourites were a gymnastics sculpture, a man escaping from a bear and a screaming ice face.

Snow Gymnastics.
 Bearly Escaped.

  The sculpture above represents how most people look when that first blast of cold Quebec City winter air hits their face.  It was almost cold enough that your face might just stay that way.  We did seek out a temporary reprieve from the cold by going into a few tents, like the Mr. Christie / Kraft tent that was giving out samples.

Zip Line Entrance.
 Great Ice Slide.

  Then it was back outside where we took part in some zip lining and tobogganing until the sun started to go down.  We enjoyed our time at Carnaval de Quebec but now we were ready to head back towards our hotel. We needed to find a fireplace to thaw us out and a nice hot meal to fill us up.   

Hanging Around At Carnaval.

Map of Our World
Carnaval de Quebec

Post # 93

Monday 25 January 2016

Rue Saint Louis

Rue Saint Louis.

Location: Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
Address:  34 Rue Saint Louis
Date: Feb 2010
Website: www.auxancienscanadiens.qc.ca

  Quebec City in the winter is cold.  We arrived at the end of January and we were thinking it must have been somewhere in the -40 C range.  We could be wrong, but it is normal for Quebec City to have low temperatures at this time of year.  Temperatures lower than -20 C are not unusual.  Add some wind chill to that and there you go.  To give you an idea of how cold it was as soon as you went outside your eyelashes would freeze together from the moisture from your eyes.  If you had a bit of a runny nose as soon as you took that first breath your nostrils would freeze solid and you would have to resort to mouth breathing.  This was best done through several layers of a carefully wrapped scarf.  We were ready for the weather and had on thermal long underwear, thick clothing, thick socks and minimal exposed skin.  We braced ourselves as we stepped out of the doors of Chateau Frontenac and headed into the frozen city.

Restaurant Pour Les Canadiens Congeles.

  We were headed to Quebec's Winter Carnival and our route took us down one of the oldest streets in Quebec City.  Rue Saint Louis has been around since the 1600s.  It stands to reason that one of the oldest streets would have the oldest house in Quebec City.  Maison Jacquet was built in about 1676 and is still standing to this day.  The restaurant Aux Anciens Canadiens moved into this building almost 300 years later in 1966.  

Headed West Towards Porte Saint Louis.

  As you head further west you leave the rows of shops and restaurants behind and head towards what looks like a castle.  This is the Porte Saint Louis and is one of the city gates.  It is part of a wall that surrounds the city and attaches to the military fort La Citadelle de Quebec.  We headed under the pedestrian archway and continued our journey beyond the city walls.

Porte Saint Louis Gate.

  If it was possible, it seemed even colder at this point. We had almost reached our destination.  A bust of Gandhi braved the elements just outside of Bonhomme's Castle.

Gandhi In The Snow.
François-Xavier Garneau

  A short distance from Gandhi was a monument to François-Xavier Garneau.  He was a French Canadian poet and civil servant who wrote the history book, Histoire du Canada.  Just a little further past Francois and we had reached the Plains of Abraham where Carnaval was set up.  A horse drawn carriage went by close to the Quebec Parliament building.

Horse Drawn Carriage Ride.
 Rue Saint Louis Snow.

  After enjoying ourselves at Carnaval it was time to make the return trip to our hotel.  On the way back it was darker and some snow began to fall.  We stopped and enjoyed a much needed hot meal at the restaurant Aux Anciens Canadiens we had passed earlier.  We enjoyed both the decor and our dinner.  Some french onion soup at the beginning of the meal was the perfect thing to start the defrosting process.  When we stepped outside again, the street lights seemed to glow a little brighter and the snow twinkled in the light.  Despite the bitter cold we walked along Rue Saint Louis towards Chateau Frontenac feeling warm inside.

Aux Anciens Canadiens In The Snow.
Chateau Frontenac In The Snow.

Map of Our World
Gandhi Bust (Quebec City) , Francois Xavier Garneau Statue
Aux Anciens Canadiens Restaurant
Chateau Frontenac

Post # 92

Wednesday 20 January 2016

Jane St. Clair

Was Dazzled By Her Smile While I Shopped There.

Location: Toronto Ontario, Canada
Address: Jane Street & St. Clair Avenue West
Date: Jan 2016
Website: www.barenakedladies.com

The girl works at the store sweet Jane St. Clair.

  The girl in the Barenaked Ladies song Jane was named after an intersection in Toronto.  The song was co-written by Barenaked Lady Steven Page and British musician Stephen Duffy.  Stephen Duffy is best know for his mid 80s hit Kiss Me which he recorded as Stephen 'Tin Tin' Duffy.  Supposedly, Stephen spotted Jane Street and St. Clair Avenue on a map and remarked that it must be a beautiful intersection.

Jane Divided But I Can't Decide What Side I'm On.

  As we were driving around Toronto we realized that our path was going to take us to this very spot.  We turned onto Jane Street and headed north.  We headed into the tunnel that goes under the railway tracks and then the intersection opened up in front of us.  We snapped a few photos through the window of the car and turned right onto St. Clair Avenue West.   There was nothing particularly special about this area.  There was an interesting home on the north-east corner that looked a bit like a castle.  We imagine this is where Jane would live if she really existed.

I Wrote A Letter, She Should Have Got It Yesterday.

  In reality Jane Street was named after Jane Barr. Her husband was a real estate developer in the area and named the street after his wife.  He also named some other streets after his children.  Nearby Annette Street is possibly one of these.  St. Clair Avenue gets its name from a misspelling of Augustine St. Clare.  He is a character from the novel Uncle Tom's Cabin.

Was Dazzled By Her Smile While I Shoplift There.

  Barenaked Ladies fans may want to visit this intersection just for fun and see the location that inspired one of their best known songs.  If we can make one suggestion about visiting, it is the same as the album title that the song Jane is from... Maybe You Should Drive.

Map of Our World
Jane St. Clair

Post # 91

Friday 15 January 2016

Integrated Investigative Bureau

 Listening at Dundas Square.

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Address: 200 King Street West
Date: Aug 2014

  The Listener was a Canadian TV show about a paramedic named Toby (Craig Olejnik) who has telepathic powers and uses them to help solve crimes.  During its five season run it filmed at numerous locations around Toronto.  We figured out where the main locations from the show exist in real life.  During the introduction, you see Toby with people passing around him.  Toby is always bombarded by the voices and visions he picks up from those nearby.  This shot was filmed at Yonge-Dundas Square. We attempted to give our picture the blurry, cyan look it has on the show.  We will have to return one evening to get closer to the actual effect.
  The Sick Kids Hospital at the corner of University Ave. and Gerrard Street was used for exterior shots of the fictional St. Luke's Hospital from the show.  The show used the older ambulance bay which is at the western end of Gerrard Street.  You can see various shots of this location throughout the first two seasons.  At the very end of the pilot episode you can see Toby walking away from the ambulance bay and then turning and heading north on University Avenue at the intersection below.

Sick Kids Ambulance Bay.
Toby heads towards Queen's Park.

   In season 2, Toby is introduced to the IIB.  IIB stands for Integrated Investigative Bureau and is a special police division.  Sgt. McCluskey (Lauren Lee Smith) starts to realize Toby has a special gift for reading what people are thinking.  Toby starts to help the IIB fight crime while still working as a paramedic.  We always found it amusing when they would arrive at a crime scene and pull out their badges and state "We are with the IIB" as if everyone would know what that means. "You you be what?"  As time goes on Toby gets more involved with the IIB and eventually starts working with them full time leaving his paramedic career behind.

IIB at Toronto Street.

  The IIB offices are shown as two different locations.  When we first see the IIB in season 2 it is shown as this building at 36 Toronto Street which houses a Canada Post Office. Its distinctive front is the one facing Adelaide Street East.

Sun Life Twins.

  At other times the building is shown as one of these twin buildings at University Ave. and King Street West.  These buildings are the head offices of Sun Life Financial and are located at 150 King Street West and 200 King Street West.  The building on the west side of University is the one Toby is seen entering on the show.  The archways over the door make the entrance look like a big number 4 (this can be seen in the last photo of this post).

Looking up at the IIB.
 IIB Walkin' Here.

  In later episodes The Listener incorporated more aerial shots of Toronto when it started a scene.  Our guess is they started using the Sun Life buildings as they work better for this type of shot.  The Toronto Street building looks great from street level but is not very impressive from above.  The Sun Life buildings also have interesting neighbours on King Street.  The office on the eastern side of University has a bronze sculpture called Sun Life after the building's tenant. The western side has a wavy building housing Canadian Blood Services, St Andrew's Church and Roy Thompson Hall all in a row.

Sun Life sculpture.
 IIB's Neighbours.

We have incorporated all of these locations into the Map of our World. While Toby might be able to read our minds and see where we have been, you will have to search the map locations below.

Map of Our World
Yonge-Dundas Square , St. Luke's Hospital , Integrated Investigative Bureau (King Street West) , Integrated Investigative Bureau (Toronto St.)
Sun Life

Post # 90

Sunday 10 January 2016

Lake Opeongo (Algonquin Park)

Algonqun Outfitters Dock.

Location: Algonquin Park, Ontario, Canada
Address: Lake Opeongo Road
Date: Oct 2005
Website: www.algonquinpark.on.ca

  On the road to Opeongo Lake is where we had one of our greatest moose encounters.  This road leads up from Highway 60 to an Algonquin Outfitters location where canoeists can launch and head even further north to the lake.  The first lake we encountered as we drove up the road is Costello Lake.

Hey Abbott!
 Costello Lake.

  A little further along the road passes through a marshy area.  Occasionally you can see beaver dams built in this area.  This is also where we encountered a rather large snapping turtle attempting to cross the road.  We stopped and he lumbered across to continue on his journey.  In Algonquin you need to always be on the lookout as you never know what is around the corner.

  As the road winds over a small bridge there is a rather large rock sitting in the water which makes for a great photo opportunity.

Great Photo Spot.

    At the end of the road are two parking lots where you can leave your vehicle when you go canoeing.  As it was the off-season nothing was open so we were just using the parking lot to turn around.  As we drove into the first lot we spotted something.  It was more than something, it was a moose and her baby headed into the bushes.   

Moose on the loose.

  We drove out and up to the second lot, we stopped the car and we waited.

Mom with shy baby behind her.

  Luck was with us and a moment later the mother moose climbed up the hill and stopped to give us a look.  Behind her was her young offspring waiting for the all clear.  The mother walked over and started eating leaves from a tree.  She had determined we were not a threat.  She continued across the parking lot and a moment later the baby came out of the bushes and went over to her.  New calves are usually born in May or June and will stay with their mother until she gives birth again the next spring.  We have determined that this calf is most likely about 5 months old.

    It was all over in just a few moments.  We were able to catch one last glimpse of the two moose as they headed into the bushes at the side of the parking lot.
Moose Caboose.

  When we visit Algonquin we always take a drive up to this parking lot in hopes of repeating our experience.  Algonquin Park has one of the highest concentrations of moose in all of Ontario.  We have had other moose encounters elsewhere in the park, but never in this same spot.  We do get to enjoy the beautiful scenery whenever we visit as you can see below. 

Algonquin Parking Lot Fall Colours.
View From Lake Opeongo Road.

    As we head back south towards Highway 60, we also keep a keen lookout for any activity.  We know that a brief moment can be the difference between having a memorable wildlife encounter and not seeing anything at all.

Lake Opeongo Road.

Map of Our World
Algonquin Park (Lake Opeongo)

Post # 89