Some Photos

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Here are some shots of PEI at the moment.

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No this is not Holland, it’s tulip fields in PEI. The Dutch community produces them including this one very special tulip for the 150th Anniversary of Canada in 2017.

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Canada’s 150th Tulip

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Tea cup rock at Darnley PEI. Red Sandstone

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West Cape, PEI

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Fresh Seafood PEI, clams, mussels, lobster and oysters

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Covehead Beach PEI, minutes from our home.

A boy and his dog

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Well not exactly my dog, since this is a friends dog, one of two bichon frisé, taken on their terrace at their home near Miscouche in PEI, we visited them for our Victoria day Bar-B-Q. Our two stayed in Charlottetown at home for the afternoon.

I made the burger with PEI Beef from a recipe I learned from our butcher some 30 years ago, always a hit, moist and so good, I also stuff them with a good quality Blue Cheese.

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They have a vineyard on the property, growing a variety of grapes from Concord,  Riesling, Foch, Pinot Gris, etc. We also drove to their beach which is 3 KM from the house straight down. The view on the Strait of Northumberland is great, in the far distance we could barely see the bridge to the mainland stretching 12Km over the water. Beautiful bright Sunny day with a cool wind.

 

Spring activities

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The other night we went out for dinner instead of staying at home as originally planned. The day had been very busy and though we had planned a simple dinner, we were not up to making dinner. So we went to the end of our street which is a former wharf/pier where there is a great restaurant, seafood and lobster of course. The dining room and terrace is build right over the Hillsborough river.

The Lobster on the Wharf was a first for us despite the fact that we live just 300 feet away. We got a table on the terrace with a wonderful view of the river, we have had some very warm weather and it was about 23C that evening. IMG_2558.jpg

The view from our table. Across the river is the town of Stratford.

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Behind us in the park the setting sun over Charlottetown.

Also this month the 16 bells of St-Dunstan Basilica pictured above, are being re-installed. They were taken down in 1978 due to structural issues in the one tower of the basilica. A couple of years ago, some citizens of our town got together to fund raised and come up with an engineering plan to built a steel structure inside the North Steeple and re-install the bells so they could once again ring. This year they will once more on Canada Day 1 July to mark the 150th Anniversary of Canada.

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steel structure to be installed sitting on the steps of the Basilica.

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The containers with the bells inside waiting to be hoisted up.

Across the street is the Great George Hotel, a wonderful little hotel which is composed of a whole block of heritage buildings all built around 1835 and turned into a privately owned hotel. Really a nice place and of course being May the tulips are out.

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Talking of Spring, many people are now planning their gardens and Van Kampen is offering the first baskets of flowers. The prices are a little too high for my taste, I am going to wait until mid-June to get what I want, there will also be more choice then.

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A small offering of what they have now on sale.

Also with Spring, it is time to clean my Oriental carpets, all of whom I bought in Damascus years ago. It is or was the greatest carpet market in the region. Iran is another great place for carpets but with sanctions it is difficult to bring them out of the country. Damascus was a great market because the great caravans and then the railway brought people to Damascus and the Hejaz railroad would bring the faithful to Mecca. Most people would finance their trip by selling family carpets in Damascus. Great choice and prices. I am so glad I had the opportunity to live 8 years in the Middle-East and enjoy the food, people and culture and the great ancient markets.

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They need to be aired and beaten and take some Sun it’s good for the fibers. All are hand made, 100% wool and natural dies, real gems.

 

 

Summer food

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This being the first long weekend of Summer in Canada, here is a recipe that goes well with your official Bar-B-Q inauguration.

Curried Red Potato Salad

Ingredients:

15-20 mini red potatoes, skin on, washed well, cut into quarters
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
4 eggs, boiled, peeled and cut into small pieces or slices
2 green onions, thinly sliced

Dressing
1/3 cup mayo
1/4 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
1 tsp of currie
Dash of hot sauce or Tabasco
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
2-3 sprigs fresh tarragon for garnish (optional)

 

Instructions: 

Wash potatoes and cut into quarters. Place in a large sauce pan of salted water, set over high heat and bring to a boil. Partially cover and simmer until potatoes are just tender, 8-10 minutes. Drain well and set aside.
Prepare boiled eggs and place on top of cooled potatoes.
For the dressing, whisk mayo, sour cream or yogurt, Curry and Cream sauce and hot pepper sauce or Tabasco in a bowl. Stir in the green onion, salt and pepper. Fold the dressing, potatoes and eggs together. Cover and place in refrigerator for 2 hours or overnight.
Garnish with fresh tarragon.

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Montréal 17 mai 1642

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Today at 9am the bells of the churches in Montreal rang for the 375th Birthday of the City founded on this day in 1642. The city is spending $1 Billion dollars on the Birthday, an incredible sum of money, but hey, it is a great city, my family have lived in Montreal for 300 years. In my life time I saw the city host one of the most well attended Universal World Fair in 1967, build a modern subway system running on tires and not rail, the Olympic Games of 1976.  A city of 4 million people, the Paris of the New World, great restaurants, wonderful museums, great architecture, seat of UN Organizations and other international bodies.

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Place D’Armes with the statue of its founder and the Basilica Notre-Dame, 1673.

The history of Montreal spans some 8,000 years. At the time of European contact, the area was inhabited on the South shore of the St-Lawrence valley by Iroquoians, a distinct group of Iroquoian-speaking natives. Jacques Cartier became the first European to reach the area now known as Montreal in 1535 when he entered the village of Hochelaga on the Island of Montreal. In May 1642 Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve and Jeanne Mance founded what was at the time with a handful of others a religious mission named Ville-Marie. They had a tough time of it, isolated from the Capital Quebec City and under constant threat by the Iroquois. The small settlement was almost wiped out several times by attacking natives, until the Sun King Louis XIV sent regiments of troops which resulted in 1662 in the great Peace of Montreal. In 1644  Jeanne Mance founded the first hospital l’Hôtel Dieu in North America, North of Mexico City. A hospital which is still in operation today.

Montreal ones of the great city of the world. Happy Birthday to my home town.

 

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View from the Marina in the Old Port of the City

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View of downtown from the Mont Royal

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The flag and coat of Arms of the City of Montreal designed by Mayor Jacques Viger in 1833. The flag represents the 4 ethnic groups living in the City at the time, French, English, Scots and Irish.

 

5 Signs Of A Good Fresh Fish Market

Very good tips on what to look for in a Fish Market.

Buying Seafood

Tourists ask me all the time about where I get my fish and I tell them I usually stick to two local places that I trust. But once in a while, if I’m on the road I may take a look at a fish market just out of curiosity. Sometimes, if not too far from home I end up bringing home dinner, if I like what I see. Here are 5 tips to finding a good fresh fish market. This is strictly about fresh fish, since today good frozen seafood is readily available. Buying fresh local seafood from fish markets and co-ops is usually a good way to help local fishing communities as well as sourcing the absolute freshest seafood available.

Location

It’s all about location isn’t it? I don’t know about you, but I feel a lot better sourcing Fresh Fish and shellfish from a place close to those…

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Profitons de nos vingt ans!

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For Spring here is the late great Pilar Lorengar 1928-1996 singing the gavotte of the Opera Manon by Jules Massenet. With the wonderful orchestra  DELL´ACCADEMIA DI SANTA CECILIA, which we heard so often in Rome under the baton of conductor Giuseppe PATANÈ.

Adorable! Divine! Divine!
Est-ce vrai? grand merci!
Je consens, vu que je suis bonne,
A laisser admirer ma charmante personne!
Je marche sur tous les chemins,
Aussi bien qu’une souveraine,
On s’incline, on baise ma main,
Car par la beauté je suis reine!
Je suis reine!

Mes chevaux courent à grands pas.
Devant ma vie aventureuse,
Les grands s’avancent chapeau bas…
Je suis belle, je suis heureuse!
Je suis belle!

Autour de moi tout doit fleurir!
Je vais à tout ce qui m’attire!
Et, si Manon devait jamais mourir,
Ce serait, mes amis, dans un éclat de rire!
Ah! Ah! Ah! Ah!
Bravo! Bravo! Manon! Bravo!
Ah! Ah! Ah!
Obéissons quand leur voix appelle
Aux tendres amours,
Toujours, toujours, toujours,
Tant que vous êtes belle,
usez sans les compter vos jours, tous vos jours!

Profitons bien de la jeunesse,
Des jours qu’amène le printemps;
Aimons, rions, chantons sans cesse,
Nous n’avons encore que vingt ans!
Profitons bien de la jeunesse!
Profitons bien de la jeunesse,
Aimons, rions, chantons sans cesse,
Nous n’avons encore que vingt ans!
Profitons bien de la jeunesse!
Rions! Ah! ah!
Ah! ah!
Le coeur, hélas! le plus fidèle,
Oublie en un jour l’amour,
L’amour… L’amour,
Et la jeunesse ouvrant son aile a disparu sans retour.
Sans retour.

Profitons bien de la jeunesse,
Bien court est le printemps!
Aimons, chantons, rions sans cesse,
Nous n’aurons pas toujours vingt ans!
Profitons bien de la jeunesse!
Profitons bien de la jeunesse!
Aimons, chantons, rions sans cesse,
Profitons bien de nos vingt ans! Ah! Ah!
Profitons bien de la jeunesse!
Aimons, chantons, rions sans cesse,
Profitons bien de nos vingt ans! Ah! Ah!

 

Also today we bought a painting by Wendell Dennis entitled Still Waters. It is the harbour at Red Head PEI near Morrell, a lobster port.

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Renovations

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I have blogged about the massive rebuilding project in Berlin of the former Imperial City Palace now renamed the Humboldt Forum the work is almost complete and it is a marvel baroque architecture. The architect is Italian, Franco Stella, the cost is 750 million Euros. http://cam01.berlinerschloss-webcam.de it is the largest building project in Berlin.

Here in Charlottetown, PEI on a smaller scale the Legislative building of 1847 by architect Isaac Smith is undergoing a reconstruction and renovation phase over 5 years at a now estimated cost of $47 million CDN dollars. Parks Canada is responsible for the project.

The project has been under discussion and went through a long tendering phase of about 3 years, makes you wonder what took so long. The Legislature had to move out some years ago because the building had become dangerously unstable and many feared it would collapse on itself. Province House formerly known as Colonial House prior to 1864 has been the seat of the Legislative Assembly of PEI all those years and is the place where some of the main conferences of the Fathers of Confederation took place in 1864. So it is a National Historic Building of great importance, built in the Greek Revival style popular in the Georgian Period.

As I walked to Grafton Street today I went around Province House where workers are preparing the building for phase one which will stabilize the structure before more major work is undertaken. I noticed how badly cracked some of the stones are on the exterior walls, the wooden window frames are rotten and the stone steps are worn away with age. Given the age of the building, 170 yrs, with little to no maintenance it is a miracle that some great catastrophe has not struck.  Many of the original facing sandstone will need a full replacement.

The interior has retained its original rooms and it is quite elegant. It will be interesting to watch the progression of the work in the months and years to come. The idea is to return the building to its original splendor.

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if you look at the outside walls you can see the damage on the stone.

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Stone is cracked, chipped and discoloured

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Here the workers are removing  the ceiling of the balcony on the North side to reveal the old original wood skeleton of the building supporting the roof, the original wood is rotten and the roof in danger of caving in.

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The North facade of Province House, soon the windows will be removed and a steel skeleton will envelop the building to give it extra support and prevent any mishaps.

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Province House with the Provincial Flag, only a few trees have been cut down for being to close to the walls of the building, all others are protected.