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Monday, August 12, 2013

Canadian Lakeside - two ways

Are you sick of your journey to Montreal yet? Don't worry - one more post after this and we'll return you home...back to crafting and cooking. 

People seem to really appreciate the outdoors in the summer in Montreal. Perhaps it's because the winters are just so darn harsh. Everyone is happy to be outside and the parks are buzzing. 

Mount Royal park is the highest point of the city and was landscaped by the same person who did New York's Central Park. 

In the winter, the lake transforms into an ice skating rink and the sloping hills are perfect for tobogganers. There are also endless cross country skiing routes here. 



Traditional Beaver lake stick torture. 


The kids were thrilled to see a flock of baby ducklings. 


Throughout the park there are various sculptures to climb on:


and hills to roll down (they must have rolled 1,000 times)


before taking a snack break. 



Up at the top is a snack shop and small museum focused on the construction and ecosystem at Mount Royal. The kids got passion fruit sorbet and we watched on as a tent of volunteers spoke about local insects. Next thing I knew, the kids were holding things like millipedes:


Tarantulas:


more millipedes:


and the scariest looking scorpion I've ever seen: (yes, these animals were all ALIVE and I don't know how they didn't bite or sting anyone, but I tried not to question these things....and just trusted that Canadians are such nice people, their insects must be equally friendly)


I told Doodle not to remind the above scorpion that he recently consumed his American cousin on toast: 


Back at the park we visited more sculptures:



posed for photos with my mom:


and me:


Then we headed to the other end of the lake (the kids must have walked miles that day!) where there was a great playground with a climbing wall and water features and play structures galore. 

As if one lake visit wasn't enough, we were offered the chance to visit my aunt's brother's cabin in the Laurentians - about an hour and a half drive north of Montreal. My aunt and uncle used to have a house here and I have such fond memories of staying there - swimming and taking canoes out in the lake, catching frogs, fishing....I jumped at the chance to show my kids this magical place. 

On the way up we stopped at Subway to get the kids sandwiches. While English is spoken at most places in the city, in the country - forget it - and I found myself searching the depths of my brain to recall the french words for "turkey", "mustard" "oil and vinegar". How in the world does one say "whole wheat" in French? There was a lot of pointing going on. 


The lake looked the same!


The kids hesitated at first.....were there fish in the water?


Mr. P. made his way a bit further out....that's my sister in the kayak.


Eventually, he braved the waters and swam all the way out to the floating dock on his own!


Auntie and Mr. P. returning from their kayak adventure:


I'm now obsessed with lakeside vacations. Anyone know of any great, but small and manageable lake vacations where you can rent a house (bring our dog) etc.? I'm up for anything!!



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