Embracing Winter: The Rideau Canal Skateway

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photo from the Rideau Canal Skateway website; click photo to access the site.

While some of you are posting photos of spring bulbs blooming and the rest of us are whining about the endless winter of 2014-15, the folks at the Rideau Canal Skateway are reveling in the setting of a new record, made possible by the relentless cold.

The Rideau Canal runs through the center of Ottawa, Ontario, and for a month or two every winter it becomes a playground for skaters. Access to the ice is always dependent on weather and the length of the season varies.

But this year, the ice at the “largest ice rink in the world” has been open for 55 consecutive days! By February 24, three-quarters of a million people had visited the ice; the canal stretches 7.8 kilometers (4.8 miles) through the heart of the city and the ice is swept and flooded regularly to maintain a good surface for skating.

These folks know how to embrace winter!

It seems that everyone carries skates

It seems that everyone carries skates

No need to stop if you're hungry! Kiosks offer food and drink.

No need to stop if you’re hungry! Kiosks offer food and drink right on the ice.

Some sections are packed with people!

Some sections are packed with people! That makes it more difficult to fall!

That's Parliament in the background.

That’s Parliament in the background.

This is how to do winter right!

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To Market, To Market . . . Jean-Talon in Montreal

IMG_9005Where summers are short, we must celebrate them intensely!

Montreal knows this, and her people glory in markets and street life, exploding with fresh flavors and colors. I’ve taken you along, in an earlier post, to Atwater Market. Today, we visit Marche Jean-Talon, with a stop in Vieux Montreal.

Whatever season currently prevails where you live, immerse yourself for a few moments in summer!

 

To Market, To Market . . . Atwater in Montreal

250px-AtwaterMarketIs there anything better than a farmer’s market on a perfect autumn day?

Maybe the only improvement would be to visit one in a setting a little different than the ones you normally frequent, with some exotic choices mixed in with the usual favorites.

We spent yesterday at Atwater Market in Montreal. The market is set in and around an Art Deco building and opened in 1933. It has interior space with stalls that feature meats and cheeses and baked goods; during the summer, outdoor stalls overflow with beautiful produce and flowers.

Shopping in a country other than your own always brings discoveries and surprises. We bought ground cherries, which we’d never heard of but are obviously related to Chinese lantern plants; these are meant to be eaten instead of displayed. We got chocolate-covered brandied cherries and chocolate gianduja bars. A cheddar made with Guinness beer, heirloom tomatoes, salt and pepper cashews, fresh croissants . . .

I have two regrets. We didn’t have a car so we couldn’t really dive in. And we didn’t buy the maple and bacon-flavored potato chips. Time to start planning the next visit!