On our way to pick them up at Montreal Airport , we stopped by the Rib Fest on Sparks Street. I’m not a huge fan of meat but I can definitely have a pulled pork sandwich once a year—and boy, this one was good! The street was packed and smoky but I loved the atmosphere. The city is alive after all!
Monthly Archives: June, 2011
I don’t feel as self-conscious about my English as I used to be, probably because I’m fluent now. Besides, I spend my days editing, reviewing, writing and translating documents in both official languages. Obviously, my English is good enough for that.
That said, there are mistakes I keep on making, no matter how many times I catch myself and correct them.
John Erick is a newcomer to Canada: he landed from Venezuela a couple of months ago. Despite facing the usual challenges most immigrants face, including finding a first job in Canada and living in English and in French, he is happy to be here. His blog title says it all: Mi Renacer En Canadá (Reborn in Canada).
Canada is pretty sterile during the winter. Most animals hibernated once the thick blanket of snow has fallen and all you get to see is a few rabbits. But once the flowers bloom, it feels like we are on Noah’s Ark.
You wouldn’t believe how much spam this blog is getting. Every time I log in and go to my WordPress dashboard, I do a double-take at the number: “Akismet has protected your site from 74,191 spam comments already.”
A couple of years ago, I attended the National Aboriginal Day celebrations on Victoria Island, by Parliament Hill. I was introduced to Aboriginal’s culture and had a great day among the performers. This year, I spent most of the time watching the pow wow competition where dozens of kids, men, women and elders took turn performing traditional dances. The costumes were simply amazing! The atmosphere was great too, people were relaxed and welcoming… a photographer’s dream.
Daniel, from Paraguay, isn’t afraid of new challenges: he chose to settle in Quebec, Canada’s francophone province, even though French is not his mother tongue. He is also very patient and waited for two years before he was finally granted permanent residence status.
Believe it or not, it actually gets very hot in Canada in the summer. It surprised me too when I first came here. I thought the temperature would be in the twenties degrees Celsius, at most!
Summers in Ottawa are typically hot, humid, hazy and stuffy.
We attract supermarkets.
When we first came to live in the neighbourhood, there was only a Loblaws. Then came Food Basic and Shoppers Drug Mart, right across the road from Loblaws. And when we came back from traveling this winter, we discovered that a huge Wal-Mart had popped up on the other side of the road. We now have three supermarkets within a 20-minute walk.
For a conservative government city, Ottawa has many little quirks. For instance, Four-Twenty aka National Pot Smoking Day is celebrated on Parliament Hill and there is a yearly Zombie Walk (where you can meet zombie hockey players and people with a bad headache). We also have interesting alternative places such as the Prince of Wales Bridge… and let’s not forget about “Maman”, the huge spider.
I’ve just added one on the list: apparently, Saturday was Naked Bike Ride Day. And by “naked”, I don’t mean without a helmet. I mean naked.
Emma and Jean-Paul were ideal candidates: there are both young and highly-educated French citizens with degrees and experience in needed fields. They were selected easily and nine month later, they were landing in Montreal.
In Ottawa, a sure sign of spring is the number of convertibles and fancy cars you spot on the road. It’s also hearing the police and fire sirens, and seeing the paramedics zigzagging in the traffic.
For some reason, there seem to be more car accidents during spring and summer—strange, considering the weather conditions are much better than in the winter.
Last year, I visited the Supreme Court and the Paramedics Headquarter. This year, I opted for a building I always walk by but never truly paid attention to: the Government Conference Centre, which was also Ottawa’s central railway station until the 1960s. It’s located right in front of the Château Laurier, nearby the Rideau Centre and now serves as the place of many political and cultural discussions and negotiations, including the repatriation of Canada’s Constitution, G20 Conference in 2001.
In 2005, when I had to leave Canada to validate my “landed immigrant” status, I discovered the U.S. border was only a 45-minute drive from Ottawa. Since then, going Alexandria Bay, one of the closest American towns, has become an annual tradition. I now have a Canadian passport and traveling to the U.S has never been easier. We are expert in border-crossing and have an answer to all the tricky immigration questions: “where are you from?” (Ottawa), “how do you know each other?” (long story but we are married), “are you carrying firearms?” (no, should we?) etc.
Born 200 kilometers Northwest of Mumbai, Neeraj was raised in India. When his parents decided to move to Canada in the mid-1990s, he was transplanted into a totally different culture. Maybe that’s what prompted his wanderlust several years later.
When you get into photography, you learn to see the world differently. The great part is that walking purposelessly around the city never gets boring. Sure, buildings mostly stay the same (unless you happen to live in Asia where huge skyscrapers pop out overnight) but people and street scenes are endlessly entertaining.
We called Bell. Technical support said there were issues in our area and that it would be solved without two to twenty-four hours. “Twenty-four hours like… like a day?” we shrieked. “What are we going to do? Talk to each other? Play board games? Clean the house? Make babies?”