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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