I felt a compelling need this summer to spend my federal economic stimulus check outside the USA. But on that budget the furthest we could go was Quebec. This locale not only allowed us to disburse US funds in another country but also gave us a first hand understanding of the dreadful value of the US dollar.
In Montreal we watched the city prepare to the upcoming Jazz Festival, which we could not afford to attend due to the aforementioned devaluation of the American dollar. But we did get to take in lots of art, French fries with cheese and gravy, notable religious/miracle sites and even a few ventes de Garage. The grand religious site of Montreal (besides it’s Notra Dame Cathedral) is the Oratorio St. Joseph. A massive basilica overlooking the city atop Mount Royal. The basilica came about by the work and efforts of Brother Andre whose heart is interned and on display on in the basilica. In addition there is a full size replica of Brother Andre’s office and chamber complete with full size replica of Brother Andre. The resplendent lower chapel has a towering display of canes and crutches discarded by healed pilgrims. The adjoining gift shop sells replicas of the good brother in sizes ranging from one inch to five feet.
Replica of Brother Andre in his office.
Heading farther north we spent a few days in Quebec City. This year the city is celebrating it’s 400 birthday and they are making sure everyone is aware of it. Among the celebratory events we took in was the Image Mill presentation, which is the largest architectural project presentation ever presented. The show was conceived and produced but Quebec multimedia artist Robert LePage. In it he projects animated imagery of Quebec’s history onto a massive riverfront grand elevator. The other celebratory event was the Jean Baptiste day street party. To which Cindy asked why are people getting drunk in the streets over John the Baptist? We never did find out but did see much wearing of the blue and white and copious amounts of Labatts being consumed.
Massive projection from Image Mill.(photo from the Quebec400 web site)
As for those ventes de garage, on our way to see the leaning stadium tower (the worlds largest leaning structure) we stopped at a few sales. I can now vouch that our French speaking northern neighbors do have yard sales but they also have much smaller yards. So most what we encountered was crammed on to stoops of sidewalks in front of homes. The fist sale I visited was just a few things on the sidewalk in front of a row home. Among the stuff was a hand painted room divider, a hot water bottle (perhaps a common Canadian item?), some bamboo blinds and a box of VHS tapes. In the box of tapes were several simply marked Seinfeld.
At another sale an old woman who spoke no English had a selection of clutter elaborately crammed onto her front stoop. Here was some costume jewelry, old coffee makers, a box of silverware, a satellite TV receiver, an assortment of glassware and several paintings of rural scenes.
The final sale we visited offered “Stock Retro” with an array of bold 50’s and 60’s modern furniture occupying most of the grassy area in front of an apartment building. In addition to the bright orange and blue furniture there was a wooden carving of playful dolphins and a mounted poster of Mel Gibson’s Hamlet.
We bought nothing.
Cindy examing the wonders of a Montreal vente de garage.
Retro Stock for sale in Montreal yard.