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Archive for 2017

Sillery, Sainte-Foy and Cap-Rouge

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Sillery, Sainte-Foy and Cap-Rouge have the reputation of being the more affluent neighborhoods of the capital. This area is home of the main campus of Université Laval, the oldest francophone higher education establishment in America, where the first LGTBQ organization in the capital, the Groupe gai de l’Université Laval, first appeared.

Whether arriving in Québec from the south shore using the highway or the Chemin du Roy, or coming in from the international airport, one inevitably crosses this district before accessing downtown Québec. There are also many hotels in the vicinity of the bridges, especially along Laurier Boulevard. This might be the more practical choices for those coming into the city by car, as the old narrow streets of Old Québec where obviously conceived for horse-drawn carriages and pedestrians, not cars. Shoppers will appreciate the proximity of the shopping malls also found on Laurier Boulevard.

Coming over the bridges from this district, you should visit the Promenade Samuel –De-Champlain park along the river, which was inaugurated in 2008 for the 400th anniversary of the city. Whether arriving by foot, bike or car, the promenade offers a spectacular view of the city and leads right into historic Old Québec. This is a great way to connect with a natural environment in the heart of the city.

Sillery is certainly the most affluent neighborhood of the capital. Its trendiest street, Maguire Avenue, is an area especially appreciated by our community, offering quaint boutiques, with good restaurants and nice terraces. It also features one of the most remarkable parks in the city, Spencer Wood, which became a showcase for horticulture in North America through the efforts of its owner, Henry Atkinson. For nearly 20 years, the governor-generals of United Canada lived on the property, which was purchased by the Québec government in 1870 and served as the residence of Québec lieutenant-governors until 1966. A major fire eventually destroyed the main residence. Visit the gorgeous park by the Saint Lawrence River, the beautiful gardens and relics of the site's long history.

Villa Bagatelle, with its distinctive irregular forms and ornamentations, was built in the picturesque English architectural style of the 19th century. The cultural centre hosts temporary art and history exhibitions. The Villa is also renowned for its garden where you can admire many native plants and a range of underbrush species.

Also noteworthy is the Aquarium du Québec, with its gardens and outdoor tanks, and a main building featuring many exhibition spaces. The venue includes nearly 10 000 specimens representing 300 species of mammals, indigenous and exotic fish, invertebrates, amphibians and reptiles. Watch marine mammals, such as polar bears, walruses and several seal species, frolic in the outdoor park. Many animals from the Pacific Ocean swim in our huge 350 000-litre tank. The area overlooks the Saint Lawrence River from atop a cliff, an excellent way of discovering these faraway regions.

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Trendy locals appreciate their impressive wine list and often drop by for a drink after work, or to dine on one of their many gourmet pizzas. Originality and flavour are on the menu here. Piz’za-za has an urban decor, with brick, wood and mirrors, centering on their impressive bar and open view of the kitchen. It’s on the second floor that we find the pièce de résistance, their large glass wine cellar that would make any oenophile drool. During the summer months, you’ll want to check out their lovely back patio.

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The restaurant staff is remarkably friendly and quick, creating a welcoming and inviting atmosphere. Employees receive regular courses on the wines offered in the restaurant to improve their service. The menu has many charms, for example, their tomato gratin with brie and raclette cheese made with Griffon beer. Bold, simple, and exquisite. The pizzas are delicious and made with fresh ingredients like fennel, fig, mango and smoked trout, and their salads and pastas are colourful and fresh. Every season, the chef makes up a new menu inspired by seasonal local ingredients.

The restaurant also offers wine tastings hosted by oenologist Richard Charbonneau. With varying themes, these workshops are a fantastic way to discover the diversity of wines while savouring a succulent meal.

Piz’za-za is definitely worth the detour. Thanks to its proximity to Canada`s capital, it is common for locals and tourists to cross the river for some good food, good wine, all at a reasonable price. To view their menu or find out about their wine tastings, visit their website at www.pizzaza.ca

Piz’za-za Restau Bar à vin 36, rue Laval Gatineau, Québec [email protected] www.pizzaza.ca

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Both a capital as well as a sought-after tourist destination, Québec is a city offering a wide variety of fine dining establishments. Among the dozens of restaurants in the very popular Old Québec neighborhood, one can find the finest tables and most prestigious chefs in the city. Much importance is given to local produce and the menus are widely inspired by French cuisine. This great culinary tradition is largely the result of the efforts of the late Serge Bruyère, who was a precursor of new cuisine in Québec, updating French traditions as early as the 1970s.

From fast-food to haute cuisine, there are upwards of 2500 restaurants in the greater Québec city area, representing a ratio of 350 restaurants for every inhabitant, which is 3 times more than in New York! There are endless choices for every visitor. Beyond the Old Québec neighborhood, other areas such as Grande Allée, Cartier and René-Lévesque Streets near the National Assembly are positively crawling with great restaurants, many of which offer lively terraces in the summertime.

Many gay-friendly cafés and bistros can be discovered (or rediscovered) on Saint-Jean Street in the heart of the Faubourg Saint-Jean-Baptiste. The Nouvo Saint-Roch has also more recently emerged as a sought-after destination. The Saint-Roch and Saint-Sauveur neighborhoods offer many restaurants featuring a diverse selection of food from around the world. The more affluent Sillery neighborhood also offers excellent restaurants, among them those housed by Université Laval as well as many hotels and shopping malls along Laurier Boulevard.

Although Québec proudly displays its French character and traditions, and probably as a result of having always been a capital focused on tourism for over a century, no regional specialties are really associated with the city. That being said, Québec’s gastronomic trademark is associated with the best that French cuisine can offer and local produce of exceptional culinary quality.

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In the summertime, beach enthusiasts will not want to miss visiting the Baie de Beauport. It has been a popular cruising area for years, offering enchanting scenery on the Saint-Lawrence coastline. Every summer, visitors can practice volleyball, soccer, canoeing, kayaking and sailing, or just relax on the beach and have a swim. Baie de Beauport is located only five minutes away from downtown Québec.

At the far edge of the old port and Nouvo Saint-Roch, Gare du Palais serves as Via Rail’s terminal and links Montréal to Québec City. Built in 1915 by the Canadian Pacific Railway, the two-story châteauesque station is similar in design to the Château Frontenac. This magnificent railway station has been designated as a heritage site.

18km from downtown Québec in the Ste-Foy-Sillery-Cap Rouge district, Jean-Lesage International Airport is the world’s gateway into the capital and the eastern and northern regions of the province. It is the second most important airport in the province after Pierre-Elliott Trudeau in Montréal. Close by, the Grand Time Hotel’s two charming establishments offer travellers some well-deserved rest.

Serge Bruyère

A native of Lyon in France, Serge Bruyère fell in love with the city of Québec from his very first visit in 1976. He immigrated to its province during the Montréal Olympic Games, working at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel before moving to Québec city. Prior to leaving his native country, he had undergone his training in the kitchens of l’Auberge du Tunnel in Auvergne with Paul Bocuse and the Troisgros brothers. He first worked at the Hilton before becoming executive chef at the Éperlan restaurant. One year later, he founded the Marie-Clarisse restaurant near the Breakneck Stairs (l’Escalier Casse-cou) with another partner. In 1980, he undertook a new adventure at the Maison Livernois on Saint-Jean Street, this time on his own: Serge Bruyère’s restaurant À La Table was created. He was among the very first chefs to work closely with local craftsmen in order to obtain high quality products for his menu. Serge Bruyère died prematurely in 1994 at the age of 33. His heritage is considered enormous: he introduced an updated version of haute cuisine, laying the foundations of a gastronomy concerned with great quality and based on a relationship of proximity with his suppliers. Throughout the 14 years of existence of À La Table, Bruyère devoted time and energy in training dozens of competent chefs like Daniel Vézina, Jean Soulard and Marie-Chantale Lepage, who to this day remain inspired by his culinary philosophy.

His passion for gastronomy as well as his devotion to the recognition of the trade were immense. He knew how to transmit his enthusiasm and the importance of working with precision, and also to respect clients and producers. Bruyère is one of only two Québec chefs to be included in the Larousse gastronomique lexicon, and was the first to introduce new cuisine to the city.

He was a humble, sympathetic and respected chef. His passion for quality produce and his unfailing technique and hard work, along with the sharing of his knowledge were of utmost importance to him. The Fondation Serge Bruyère, which is dedicated to the encouragement of Québec’s new culinary talent, serves to perpetuate his legacy.

rp_SnackMusic-525x286.jpegThis June 13th is the Montreal Fringe Festival premiere of Snack Music, a brand new show from the award-winning creators of the fringe smash-hits Kitt & Janeand Little Orange Man (Playwright’s Theatre Centre Prize, Centaur Theatre Award, Most Outstanding Overall Production.) Snack Music invites the audience to tell their best (or worst) true story, then sit back and watch the artists bring the story to life with improvised puppetry and live music. The snacks are free.

“There is something about puppets that can take the strangest story and make sense of it, take the darkest story and find the humour, take the simplest story and make it an epic tale,” says director Ginette Mohr. “Imagine telling a short story from your life to a dancer and watching them dance it, or giving your story to a composer and having them compose a mini symphony. It’s impossible to explain, you’ve just got to experience it.”

During the post-show Q & A, audience members remarked that Snack Music “feels like a house party, only funnier and with more friends.” If the idea of sharing your story terrifies you, you can also just sit back and watch. “Everyone is welcome,” says Snack Music puppeteer Ingrid Hansen, “We won’t make you open your mouth, except to maybe put snacks in it.”

All this is in an attempt to build a temporary community out of an audience of strangers. Snack Music has only six performances at the Montreal Fringe, and the company’s show Kitt & Jane sold out last year, so get your tickets in advance for this one or you might get left out of the game.

SNACK MUSIC produced by SNAFU

Playing at the 2015 St-Ambroise MONTREAL FRINGE FESTIVAL

Directed by Ginette Mohr

Performed by Andrew G. Young, Elliott Loran, and Ingrid Hansen

Dates:

  • Saturday June 13th @ 22:15
  • Sunday June 14th @ 14:15
  • Thursday June 18th @ 18:00
  • Friday June 19th @ 20:00
  • Saturday June 20th @ 23:45
  • Sunday June 21st @ 13:30

Venue: MAI (Montréal, Arts Interculturels) 3680 Rue Jeanne-Mance, Montreal

Tickets: $10 online at www.montrealfringe.ca

At the Fringe HQ Box Office 3905 St. Laurent 514.849.FEST and cash-only at the door.

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Janice is the one-woman powerhouse behind Gâteaux Janice, a made-to-order Montréal cake business that not only creates cakes that are total flights of decorative fantasy, but also bakes everything from scratch, assuring that they taste positively fantastic. Looking through her portfolio, I see the work of a total perfectionist. Elegant roses and lilies with petals so delicate that they look almost too real to eat and playful cakes that imitate flower pots, shoes, books and fish. Apparently no idea is too much of a challenge for Janice.

But this master of icing sugar isn’t a graduate of a fancy culinary school. The only formal schooling she’s had was a night class on basic cake decorating. Through practice and experimentation, Janice taught herself to make cakes that would stand their ground against any reality TV show baker. Nowadays her plate is full with clients who keep her on her toes, looking for more and more complex and off-the-wall creations for their weddings, birthdays and fundraisers. Since the summer season of celebrations is upon us, I asked Janice what’s hot for this year in the world of cake. She replies that berry shortcakes and red velvets are very en vogue right now and that she personally recommends something along the lines of a lemon curd with either blueberry or raspberry. But no matter what the trend, assures Janice, don’t be afraid to order the good old standards because chocolate continues to reign supreme as the most popular flavour of all.

[email protected] t. 514.295.1700 www.gateauxjanice.com

 

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“A few powerful experiences made me passionate about sex education as well as contributing to my desire to build a place to counter the sex negativity in our culture,” says Shelley Taylor, founder of Venus Envy .

This desire for positive sex education is an integral part of Taylor’s store, a welcoming treasure trove of sex toys, accessories, and books. Though Taylor opened the original Venus Envy in Halifax in 1998, she went on to expand in Ottawa in 2001. Recognizing the importance of community, in 2006 VE launched the Venus Envy Ottawa Bursary Fund, a program that “aims to support women and trans people in need who wish to further their education.” On June 15, Fall Down Gallery presents One Night Stand, a fundraiser for the bursary. Aside from monthly workshops, the store hosts a reading every second Wednesday of the month called Voices of Venus, with Toronto spoken word artist Keisha Monique Simpson performing in May.

While Taylor will soon go on a yearlong leave from her day-to-day at VE, she’ll still be organizing all of the store’s special events. This industrious maven will continue to share her knowledge and passion online with passtheherpes.wordpress.com , a blog that demystifies the silence and shame surrounding the subject of herpes. She’s an inspiring leader (and by all accounts a great boss), so basically, a superb role-model as a business woman and activist. Loves.

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Glenn Crawford was the instigator of the Build Our Bank and LGBT Village initiatives in the famously reserved capital since starting the volunteer-run project in 2007. While he has recently stepped down as president of The Village, making room for new ideas from successor Ian Capstick, Crawford has left an indelible mark on a town where there wasn’t a lot of consensus about creating a gay village.

Born out of town hall meetings about the reconstruction of Bank Street, the idea of designating the stretch between Wellington and Gladstone as The Village was about “trying to get a sense of belonging and place, where people feel they can be themselves, have access to services, fool around and shop,” Crawford says. “Gradually a lot of LGBTQ organizations have coalesced into this area… Forming The Village was a natural progression.” When he started fundraising and participating in public advisory committees five years ago, Crawford came up against both the veiled homophobia of a local business improvement association, as well as criticism from the LGBT community that the project was coming 10-20 years too late.

“People were asking Why do we want to create a ghetto? A lot of that criticism comes from people who are out [of the closet],” Glenn says with his typical incisiveness, “from people who have the relationship, two dogs and friend circle. I don’t need a Village either! It’s for people who are struggling in suburban or rural areas; it can be for everyone.” And as a child of the sleepy, inaccessible suburb of Kanata – “not an easy place to grow up gay” – Crawford speaks from experience. Like most LGBT people in any Village in any major city anywhere, the urban geographic bubble exists as much for townies as it does for people who have moved there to escape the stifling places they come from.

And lest you think that Crawford’s project was for commercial reasons alone, it may seem counterintuitive that he’s not a shop-keeper himself, but rather a website and graphic designer who lives just off Bank and works part time in a local gallery. “There’s a social aspect to it. Taking pride in who you are and finding a sense of value in there being a community,” which for him includes keeping the subsidized housing in the area, and watching out for condo development that could “force out the funkier elements.”

“It’s [about] putting roots down; people say it’s 20 years too late, but for me it’s just in time,” Glenn concludes. Echoing a theme that has emerged in everything from architecture to sociology, he adds that “The online world is not the same as having a real community. I worry about that, about younger generations, they’re not valuing the sense of community.”

So maybe when you walk by the “We Demand” mural that The Village commissioned on Gladstone and Bank Streets, you might get a sense of what that community looks like and is for, and clap your fairy hands for Glenn Crawford. Photo by Noreen Fagan

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A graduate of l’École de danse du Québec in 1989, Harold Rhéaume first worked with Danse Partout (Québec) before joining the ranks of the prestigious Dance Lab Group in Ottawa. Under the guidance of Peter Boneham, he began exploring the fundamentals of dance performance and choreographic creation. He settled in Montréal in 1993 and rapidly gained recognition. In 1997, La Presse newspaper said that "…when he dances, Harold Rhéaume radiates such intensity that he seems larger than life, …he is among those who dance to say things and move you." Like Robert Lepage, Rhéaume returned to Québec city, founding his company Le fils d’Adrien danse (his father’s name) in Saint-Roch, which was at the time transforming into a culturally vibrant neighborhood.

With his humanism as well as his interest in clarity of intent, Harold Rhéaume distinguishes himself from other formal and conceptual trends. His pieces are inventive and refined without ever being pretentious. Inspired by day to day life, Rhéaume works from instinct and spontaneity and has a wide spectrum of influences including musicals, theater, painting, modern architecture, jazz and contemporary music. He also distinguishes himself in having his dancers be part of the creative process. Their personalities and personal experiences, and even their limits, are of much importance in shaping the shows.

Openly homosexual, the choreographer responds with humor when a journalist asks him if all contemporary dancers are gay : "That is wholly exaggerated. I’d say 90%!"

In addition to the choreographic work with his own company, Harold Rhéaume has worked with Cirque du Soleil and contributed to theater, cinema and opera. He is a teacher of physical expression at the Conservatoire d’art dramatique de Québec, as well as choreographic creation at l’École de danse de Québec and l’École de danse contemporaine de Montréal.