It’s been a couple of weeks now that I’ve been back in my homeland, and I’ve been kept extraordinarily busy. My mother has taken it upon herself to become our personal tour guide and bring us to all the sights to see on the South Shore of Montreal, and so I’ve been accumulating a steady portfolio of pretty pictures to show off on here.
But one of our first adventures when we got back, after we’d spent the full Thursday and Friday sleeping and recovering from jetlag, was to tour my very own local town: Chambly, celebrating its 350th founding anniversary.
Chambly is known as being a historical old village in the history of Canada due to its strategic location of a fort along the Richelieu River. This fort was inhabited by the French, English, and Americans, all at different times, and destroyed by fire and the ravage of time until it was later restored just a few decades ago for tourism.
Since then, it has grown into a sprawling suburban city boasting microbreweries, kayaking, sailing, cycling, graveyards dating back to the 1600’s, and historic canal locks turned by hand – the last of their kind in the nation.
To party it up for its 350th birthday, the city threw a multicultural festival of local music, artists, and historic reenactments.
Wandering through the crowds were people dressed in the garb of the olden days, playing music or just chatting with the curious crowds.
Whole areas were set up with tents where the reenactment participants had laid out what traditional early-settler-days’ lives looked like.
Others demonstrated the every day activities of the settlers, like keeping the fires stoked.
Then there were the more elaborate demonstrations, such as a two-man sawing operation to show how a tree would be hewn and sectioned to workable pieces.
Perhaps one of the most elaborate set ups was a blacksmith, complete with brick stove and anvil to temper his pieces in front of the impressed crowd. He had a whole collection of door knockers, bells, and hinges he’d crated completely by hand as well which was fascinating to see.
Every so often we heard bangs going off in the distance, so we decided to check it out. We were just in time to see the rifle show, though we heard there had been canons fired earlier too that we’d missed.
On the calmer side of things, they also had beautiful Native American beadwork and tanned hides, the goods brought back by the voyageurs and coureurs de bois (French Canadian traders).
Navigating this far, we suddenly leapt ahead a few centuries to 2015 where over 60 stalls of local artists displaying their work were propped up in a breathtaking array of styles, colours, and mediums.
One of the requirements of participating in the artist show was for the artists to be painting or creating some art on the spot, and it was wonderful to watch some of them work.
Best of all though, I proudly strutted over to stall 54, that of my very own mother’s art.
Look at all her stuff!
And more beautiful art!
In other exciting news, she was was even able to introduce me to one of my long-time readers of this blog!
After wandering the area for many hours, downing icy fruit smoothies, and photographing my sister passed out in the grass –
– we helped my mom pack up her stuff and went to go grab dinner. Ricky had still not had poutine at this point, so I suggested going to Valentine’s – the best substitution for Belle Province, the top French Canadian diner. It was absolutely heavenly.
In all it was a great weekend, even though we fought jetlag the whole time. I saw more art in those hours spent wandering the grounds of Fort Chambly than I did during the whole of my time in Korea combined – and it felt ecstatic. I already feel the creative juices refreshing my parched imagination.
Anyway that’s all for now! This is obviously quite a quick post since I’m still having trouble finding time to write regularly, but if you have any questions about the event or any of the historical reenactments, shoot them my way and I’ll do my best to answer!
Until next time.