Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Repetition and Continuity #2

Here is another photo that has a similar vertical pattern as yesterday's. I remember when I first saw it, how the lined-up trunks really pulled me in and made my eyes travel down the row. It makes me do some work, so in that sense I don't get the same sense of peace from it as I do from the reeds.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Repetition and Continuity

There’s something so peaceful about this image, so zen. It doesn’t look like an autumn shot but it was indeed taken in the month of September, in a swampy area down by the river. I like all its verticals and the soft colours. The repetition of the reeds make a lovely pattern that is somehow comforting, perhaps because there is nothing much out of order here except for a few reeds that have bent over... and that imperfection is zen-like too. The reeds are growing up as reeds do and there is nothing that breaks the viewer’s sense of continuity.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


This photo is a reminder of the meaning of perseverance, of determination. Of all the places this little seedling could have chosen to grow, it selected a rocky course for itself. Not an easy path. And in this season, its changing colours make it stand out, like it's asking to be noticed. Don't worry, little one, I noticed.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Pretty in Pink

What a pretty pink bottle and label. Serene and lovely in its design. I wanted to use the bottle as a vase but there was nothing much in the garden. Just a small clump of feverfew growing out of a crack between paving stones under the bench and these pink flowers in a pot on our deck. The garden is more or less done for this year.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Archway to Beauty

This lovely archway, in its beautiful setting, can be found at the Mackenzie King Estate in Gatineau Park. The property was bequeathed to Canadians by Canada’s 10th prime minister. William Lyon Mackenzie King’s love of architecture and landscaping, as well as his romanticism, can be seen in the ruins he positioned to highlight various views as well as the picturesque walking trails he carved out of the property’s woodland. One trail leads to a waterfall named the Bridal Veil. The estate is a lovely place to go for a stroll.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Autumn Has Arrived!

Yesterday was the first day of fall. So I thought this photo with its gorgeous autumnal colours would be quite appropriate. Take note, however, that it is a photo of flowers not leaves. I am not quite ready to say good-bye to summer. Even as I type this, though, there are yellow leaves from the trees outside my window letting go and swirling to the ground.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Italian Chocolate

Look what my sister sent me from her holiday in Italy! My favourite Italian chocolate. I have placed it on a large dinner plate so you can see just what a huge bar it is. Thick too! This chocolate has a lovely smooth texture as it melts in your mouth and the taste is simply devine. It's not surprising that this chocolate, made in the province of Pisa, has won all sorts of awards.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Architectural Details

Before we leave this latest tour of Montreal, I wanted to include some more of the lovely architecture. The entranceway pictured here is the same one that was featured in my entry for September 2, 2009. Back then I showcased the ornate brass shells and seahorses that appear at the top of the doorway. Today I bring you all the carved stone work at the sides of the doorway and around the window above the doorway. You can also see some marble and more brass work around the window, as well as a beautiful brass lantern hanging down. The lantern and the circular motif on the windowpanes give it a Moroccan feel. And yet the stone columns beside the door contain the English rose, Scottish thistle, Irish shamrock and French fleur-de-lis, a nod to the nations that helped build the city.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Pillar of Strength

Here we are back on Sherbrooke Street. This stone pillar is quite lovely and may be hand carved as these buildings are fairly old. The whole entranceway is elegant in my opinion. Understated and solid ... it exudes a sense of time having past. I would feel quite secure living in a building like this. It has stood the test of time. If buildings have character, and I think they do, then you get the sense that this one is steadfast.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Blue Door

Before too long I am going to have enough blue doors to create a series. I came across this particular blue door while strolling down Lorne Avenue in what is known as McGill's student ghetto.

This blue door has the gingerbread details and old stone walls to up the charm factor. And is it just me, or do you also see a robot face in the door's lower portion?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Art in a Cup

What better way to start the morning than with a café latté, a cappuccino or hot chocolate, complete with its very own mini work of art?

Just look at these drinks that my family and I were served when we stopped by Café Myriade this past weekend. I had heard about this new art form, but hadn’t actually seen it in real-life until my trip to this small café on Mackay Street in Montreal.

The café is cozy and totally unpretentious despite the fact that its owners recently placed first and third at this year’s Eastern Regional Canadian Barista Championship. No doubt their tutelage is the reason why no matter who’s working the coffee machine you’ll be the delighted recipient of your very own mini artwork in a cup. I was so excited I just had to take photos while my patient family waited to taste them, which they proceeded to do as soon as I was done. I on the other hand, could barely bring myself to add sugar and stir. Beauty is so transient...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Nocochi Café Patisserie

Is this not one of the loveliest shop windows? So feminine and pretty. Nocochi Café Patisserie can be found on Mackay Street at Sherbrooke. I had read good things about this place before visiting Montreal. One reviewer said it resembles a stylish boutique more than an eatery. And that is true.

Although it offers light breakfast and lunch items, the main feature is definitely the desserts. The display counters inside are filled with tray upon tray of teeny tiny selections in various shapes and colours, mostly of Iranian origin. There are little squares of fruit jellies and turkish delight, marzipan and nut-encrusted pastries. The selection is dazzling and because everything is in miniature, the temptation is to try one of each.

On this visit though, my mission was to buy some turkish delight to bring home. They had temporarily run out of the traditional rose-flavoured variety so I chose the lemon. I’m already looking forward to going back. Next time I’ll stay for tea and sample some of their other treats.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

City Garden Chic

Lest you think that September means the end of gardens in Montreal, I bring you this example of a tiny wee city garden outside a shop on Mountain Street, just below Sherbrooke.

With its beautiful choice of flowers, still in bloom, and the chic urns and fountain it is a real standout. The black iron fence has this lovely vine trailing white blossoms. Whoever chose these plants has a real eye, and when a garden looks this good so late in the season, they have my deepest admiration and respect.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Suitcase Storage

Here's a fun idea that I saw in a store on St. Catherine in Montreal that puts a whole new meaning into using suitcases as storage. The shop had a real retro vibe with a 70's-era fuzzy gold couch and chair at the back and they carried this theme through to this display. Vintage leather suitcases were piled on each other to create unique shelving for jeans. No planks or hardware were used to assemble it, just the suitcases cleverly stacked. I wonder how many university dorm rooms will be found in the city using this unique type of storage once the students hit this store in the coming weeks?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Première Moisson

Just down from the Musée des beaux-arts, a couple of blocks west, there is a terrrific bakery called Première Moisson Boulangerie (meaning First Harvest) with enough pastries and varieties of breads (even more than are shown here) to make deciding difficult. My advice is to choose something to eat on the spot, visit the museum then go back and try something else! As the name suggests, there is also a deli section so there's no shortage of choices to eat as you go or to enjoy with a cup of coffee at the tables and chairs they have outside.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Montreal's Curb Appeal

Today I am back in Montreal! I have been fortunate to visit this fair city a few times this year. It seems that no matter what street you choose to stroll up there is something photogenic just waiting for you. It looks to me like I am going to come home with enough photos to share with you over the next week, and then some. I came across this building with loads of curb appeal on Sherbrooke Street, not far from the Musée des beaux arts. And there are lots of other equally lovely scenes to show you. So please indulge me a little, as I share some of the sights and tastes of Montreal...

Friday, September 11, 2009

Eye Candy

Term: Eye Candy
Definition: a person or thing that is visually appealing but intellectually undemanding.

Looks like these jars qualify.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Iron Ring

This iron ring lies discreetly in a rock, low to the ground, beside the path that runs along the Ottawa River, just below Parliament Hill. It has obviously been there a long time. I wonder what its use was? Perhaps to tie up a boat , maybe a horse, or some other purpose altogether?

I wonder how many other objects can still be found from years gone by whose original purpose is now unknown by passers-by. Whatever it was used for, both the rock and the ring are slowly being overtaken by vegetation in a most charming way. Perhaps in a few years the ring will be completely hidden from view. And then who will come across it and wonder about its origin?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Tomato Bliss

Is there anything as wonderful as home-grown tomatoes that have ripened on the vine? When I visited K. in August, he gave me a selection of the ripest most luscious tomatoes to take home. And they were the most delicious tomatoes I have tasted this entire summer. It hadn't been an auspicious start with all the rain we had in July and then the cool temperatures that followed in August. The tomatoes that K. gave me were among the first of his crop this year. I tried to ration them out over several days, eating them all on their own as sliced rounds with a tiny sprinkling of salt. As a thank you I painted this watercolour and sent it off to him. They look almost as yummy as his were.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

September Light

Here it is September and sure enough the signs of the change in seasons is already here. I heard the first honking of Canada geese last week and looked up to see them flying south in formation. It was a bit of a shock! Seems much too early. And then there is that quality of light, a golden tint, that everything gets bathed in on September afternoons. This photo does not capture the golden quality but it does show those long shadows that are cast.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Pencil Shavings

I was watching my son sharpen his pencil to a fine point so that he could fit all the names on a map he was completing for his geography class and noticed the lovely shavings the sharpener was making. So when he later coloured it in, I saved all the shaving curls in the many colours he used. So pretty!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Tea Time at Fulford

Tea time at Fulford House brought us out to a verandah at the back of the house overlooking the St. Lawrence River, just outside the tea room (once the laundry room.) We sat down to pots of tea and a plate of one of their specialties, a soft lemon-flavoured cookie covered in pink icing and lemon zest, called Pink Ladies.

After fortifying ourselves, we thought a tour of the gardens might be in order. The fountain is without a doubt the focal point and centrepiece of the garden but there are also a variety of urns and statues. The original grounds were designed my Frederick Olmstead of the Olmstead landscaping firm that also designed Central Park in New York and Mount Royal in Montreal.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Fulford Place, Brockville

Fulford Place in Brockville was the home of George Taylor Fulford, the man who made his fortune with iron tablets called Pink Pills for Pale People, among other patent medicines. We toured this lavish Edwardian mansion today and learned about this family who had fortune but also great tragedy.

George Fulford was born and raised in Brockville. At age 22 he took over his brother's drugstore. He did not make his own medicines, but bought patents. His genius was in marketing them.

The house was built between 1899 and 1901 and once Senator Fulford moved in with his wife and two daughters they enjoyed their new home, hosting parties and entertaining. As if life was not wonderful enough, the Fulford's received an unexpected gift, a longed-for son was born in 1902. But tragedy was about to strike. In 1905, Senator Fulford was killed in a car accident in the United States. A short time later his daughter was married then quickly widowed. The same daughter married again a few years later but died in childbirth along with her baby.

The Fulford family continued to live in the house until 1987, when George Fulford II, the son of Senator Fulford, donated the house to the Ontario Heritage Trust.

Today you can tour the house and marvel at its lavishness: silk carpets and tapestries, fine Mahogany ceilings and panelled walls as well as a collection of art. The Beaux Art style house had its share of famous visitors, including some of Canada's prime ministers and the Prince of Wales (Edward VIII).

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Trip to the Sea

This beautiful seahorse and sea shell ornamentation is the closest I came to the sea this summer. These lavish (brass?) details embellish the building that houses The Gazette, on Ste. Catherine Street in Montreal. Formerly known as the Dominion Square Building, it was built around 1928 in the Beaux Arts style.

The Gazette, on the other hand, is much older. In fact it is one of the oldest newspapers in North America. Founded in 1778 as a French-language newspaper, it became bilingual shortly thereafter only to change to an English-language newspaper in 1822.
These are all interesting historical facts, but don't have anything to do with me not going to the sea. I rather crave the sounds and smells that are so distinctive. I could go and put on one of those environmental sound tapes of crashing ocean waves, and maybe dissolve a whole bunch of sea salt into some water to sniff. But it wouldn't be the same, sigh! Better to hope for a trip to the ocean sometime in the not-too-distant future. Better still to plan for a trip to the ocean!