Sunday, August 22, 2010

Classic Boats and the Old Port on a Rainy Day

Have spent much of this lazy, rainy Sunday in the apartment: cleaning, eating, napping, reading, and blogging.  But we did venture out for our daily walk into the gray drizzle of a Summer Sunday.  We walked down to the Lachine Locks where the Port was hosting a 3 day Classic Boat Festival which boasted a whole floating stable of classic boats from small wooden power boats to a tug or two.  There was music, food, a whole host of information booths on everything from the history of the Port of Montreal to cleverly decorated Boat Bags.  Here are a few pics from the day:  Enjoy!

Historic Restored Ocean-Going Tug Permanently Moored in Old Port

Is it a Car or Is it a Boat?  It's a Woody! A '59 Woody

Out for a Cruise at the Classic Boat Festival

Rain on Woody

New Floating Boat Docks at Lachine Docks: Perfect for Classic Boat Show

Woody 59

Rudder in the Rain

Classic Boat Show Activity at Lachine Locks

Saturday, August 21, 2010

I Made a Friend Today at Marche Montreal (and got myself a Chickapug)

I've been on Twitter over a year now (@abaesel2)and have found interesting, clever, informative, and engaging people in the Twitterverse. Its always a real treat to meet one of my twitter friends IRL (In Real Life) especially when they turn out to be as charming and interesting as their tweets. And such was the case today, when I met Kelly Brown AKA @misskitteh9. Kelly, as she describes herself on twitter, is a digital artist, photographer, and Photoshop fanatic. I had seen some of her work on her Esty site: and loved it. Today I got to see her AND her work IRL at the Marche Montreal.  Kelly has a wide variety of subjects from Paris and Montreal to alpacas and marmots, from gardens and butterflies to horses and handsome dogs.  And then there is Chickapug (or is that Pugadee?) Well, whatever you call the cute fella, I got my very own "Chickapug" (magnet) today. Wanna see?

Copyright by Kelly D Brown

The Marche Montreal is in its formative stages having just started its Saturday gatherings on August 12th. Located in a parking lot on St Dominique near Prince Arthur Street, the goal of the market is to provide a venue for artists, craftspersons, food vendors, musicians, jewelry makers and fashion designers, as well as secondhand goods sellers. Although still small, there were interesting things for sale today and a talented jazz guitarist was playing as we left. The market is just one block over from St. Laurent and easy to get to by car, on foot, or public transportation.  Here is a website with more info:

Oh and here we are....@missketteh9 and @abaesel2 at the Marche Montreal.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Great Street Explore: Rue Bernard, Montreal

Jerry and I have a new Montreal Project: The Great Explore. We're going to take a street which we like (or looks interesting to us) and walk it from one end to the other and back.  Stopping for explores, food, photos, whatever strikes our fancy.  And if the street proved rewarding, I'll blog about it. So our first candidate is Rue Bernard in Mile End and Outremont.

We walked it on a breezy, sunny weekday in mid-August. We started at Rue St Laurent and the Mile End neighborhood and walked to Avenue Wiseman in Outremont (and back).  It was a very pleasant walk. Much of the street is lined with trees or flower pots or colorful murals.  Most restaurants have sidewalk seating in the good weather months and interior space that opens onto the sidewalks.  The area is a mix of boutiques, restaurants, apartments, theatre, and neighborhood services: bakeries, depanneurs, dry cleaners, and local take outs. 

We used to visit Rue Bernard every time we were in Montreal when the lovely and delicious Bouchees des
Gourmandes was located in a little spot where a tea company now resides. Nooffense to the tea company, which I'm sure is quite nice, but I mutter and grumble everytime I walk past.  I miss Bouchees and the wonderful woman who owned it).

So this time we wandered the streets looking for what other treats might be in store.  And we found several.

Drawn & Quarterly: 211 Rue Bernard West.  This is an enchanting and offbeat bookstore which serves at the flagship store for Drawn & Quarterly, a leading North American Art and Literary comics and book publisher.  Their store leans heavily to graphic novles (both new and vintage) but it also has a very whimisical and delightful selection of children's books and a small but fine offering of fiction and non-fiction books.  I always find something I've never heard of that I end up loving and passing on.  For more infomration check out their website at:

Lester's Delicatessan: 1057 Rue Bernard West.  We've eaten at Lester's a number of times and always enjoy their (famous for over 50 years) smoked meat and ICED COLD Stewart's root beer (comes in diet too). They have much more on their menu, but we never get past the smoked meats.  Summer time brings out the shaded sidewalk eating area but as it was full we ate indoors this time under the approving gaze of a signed PR photo of William Shatner hanging on the wall (near the Petticoat Junction and Get Smart Lunchboxes). As you should surmise, the decor is eclectic to say the very least. Service is always prompt and prices are reasonable.

Bilboquet (Le Glacier Bilboquet): 1311 Rue Bernard West.  This is really great ice cream...really great...and I LOVE ice cream.  We'd heard of Bilboquet for over 6 years (and had a scoop or two when offered at a restaurant) but this was our first visit to the actual Bilboquet itself.  Not disappointed. The had a  large selection of ice creams many with fresh seasonal ingredients.  I had the raspberry and vanilla ice cream which was wonderful.  Waffle cones were fresh and crisp.  There is seating inside where they also serve sandwiches...but really who can resist eating ice cream over a sandwich (although I'm sure they are fine).  There is also seating at small tables and benches outside (under a shade in the summer)

Outremont Theature: 1240 Rue Bernard West. The Outremont was built in 1929 in fine Art Deco style. Originally it was a movie theatre, but over time it became a renowned venue for theatre and music. Famous Quebecquois singers and musicians, rock groups in the 70s and 80s graced its stage. Due to declining business the theatre closed in the late 80s. It was purchased by the City of Montreal in 1993 and underwent a 7 year renovation reopening in 2002. The Outremont now provides the City with a fine venue for film screenings, music, comedy, and theatre. For more

Le Moulerie: At 1249 Rue Bernard, Le Moulerie is a very convenient place to eat before or after a show at the Outremont. They have a long and shaded sidewalk terrasse as well as a pleasant interior. As the name suggests they are known for their mussels and that’s the only thing we’ve had to eat there. And, they were very good. They have a full menu of other seafood (and non-seafood) offerings. La Senzala. At 177 Rue Bernard in Mile End, this colorful restaurant offers Brazilian/Bahia cuisine. We haven’t eaten there yet, but it gets decent reviews on various internet foodie sites so we’ve added it to the “to eat there” list. Bistro Le Republique 1051 Rue Bernard. A bustling bistro on a corner with great sidewalk terrasse. On our list to try.

O 'Macaron et Chocolat 1005 Rue Bernard. A small stylish storefront offering French style macarons, very pretty (and I’m sure tasty) chocolat, coffees etc. My heart was set on Bilboquet ice cream this visit. So a taste test had to wait.

Boulangerie Cheskie Heimeshe Bakery 359 Rue Bernard. You can smell Cheskie’s for several blocks away. Known for their “old fashioned” rugelach, cheese Danish, cookies, cream puffs, and the Babka, this is a warm and delicious smelling bakery serving both the surrounding Jewish Community and Montreal at large.

Boutiques.  There are a number of boutiques on Rue Bernard that I find charming and a littel out of the ordinary.  They include Kokoon at 1061; Style Labo at 122; Au Printemps at 1110; and Papillote at 1126

Riddell's.  For 50 years George Riddell made fishing lures and sold them out of his shop at 55 Rue Bernard (where he also lived). A “character” many would say he was a man proud of his craft and more than a little fond of fishing. He passed away just this last June and I’m sad to say I didn’t discover his shop before he died. I would have loved to have wondered around in it. The shop hasn’t been cleaned out yet. Many hope someone will find a place for his 50 year collection of lures. Check out this YouTube video filmed in 2008 to get a glimpse of the man and his store (filmed by Tim Van Horn)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Montreal: Summer on the Lachine Canal

For many people, summer in the Montreal means walking, biking, or boating along the Lachine Canal. The Canal stretches 14.5 km from the Old Port of Montreal to Lake Saint-Louis on the St Lawrence River. There are a total of 5 locks to navigate for boaters and paved biking/walking/jogging trails with small pocket parks and access to local attractions such as the Marche Atwater.

Construction of the canal was begun in 1821 and finished in 1825 creating the port of entry for a series of canals that opened up the interior of the North America to the Atlantic Ocean. Interestingly, the famed Erie Canal was also opened in 1825 with the same purpose. In addition to providing important commercial shipping passage, the canal also provided power (hydraulic) to a growing manufacturing community along the Lachine.

With the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959 (built to handle the newer, larger freighters headed for the Great Lakes: hence the term “Lakers”) the Lachine Canal fell into disrepair and was largely unused for any navigational purpose for almost 4 decades. In 1997 a revitalization program started. Bike/Walking paths have been constructed along its entire length. In 2002, the canal reopened for pleasure craft. Today additional improvements at the locks (boat docks, cafes, landscaping, and historic markers) are added each year.

Summertime sees heavy use by boaters wishing to make the slow and scenic voyage through the 5 locks and 14.5 km of canal (an average of 3 hours without stops). These photos were taken on August 15th at Locks 1 and 2 at the entrance to the Canal in the Old Port of Montreal. The photos show many happy boaters, brand new almost-ready-to-open floating docks, the newly restored historic ocean-going tug The Daniel McAllister and summer blue sky.

The area around Locks 1 and 2 are easily accessible (year round) from Old Montreal by foot or bike and boasts several cafes, benches for resting, and closeup views of lock operations. We often bike a few miles further up the canal to Marche Atwater for produce and pastries. But sometimes we just sit and watch the boats go by. It is a place well worth the visit.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A Wonderful Old Man Who Knew Margaret Mead

This delightful Ubud store owner talked with me about being a young boy when Margaret Mead lived and conducted her studies in Bali. His older brother acted as a secretary for her. He said that he "liked her".