Posts Tagged ‘Canada’

This is Anne.

And this is the House of Green Gables.

The former is a fictional character; the latter is an actual house on Prince Edward Island. We visit it next year on our Canada’s Historic Cities and Waterways and Canada’s Maritime Provinces: A Fall Foliage Cruise. And today, Anne of Green Gables, the wonderful young-adult novel by L.M. Montgomery, is 100 years old. Slate.com has a fantastic retrospective of the book, beginning with Mark Twain’s tremendous comment that Anne is “”the dearest and most lovable child in fiction since the immortal Alice.”

Reporter Meaghan O’Rourke gives us a lovely, succinct account of Anne’s perennial charm. “She enables adults to reconnect with the childish soul within,” O’Rourke writes. She thinks Anne’s hero status stems from “her habit of radical alertness”:

Nearly always, imagination comes first for Anne: before social expectations, before conventional romantic customs, and even before her gender’s storied instinct to please and reassure. Because she is starved for human love, her primary attachment is to the natural world. As she approaches Green Gables for the first time with Matthew, she excitedly renames the landscape around her, dubbing a neighbor’s pond “The Lake of Shining Waters” and transforming a prosaic “avenue” into “The White Way of Delight.” In doing so, she reclaims the great, definitive Adamic prerogative: to name the world.

Nature, as Montgomery portrays it, enables children to experience autonomy and mystery as they can nowhere else. Each nook of shadows in a sun-striated field holds the promise of esoteric knowledge: “Below the garden a green field lush with clover sloped down to the hollow where the brook ran and where scores of white birches grew, upspringing airily out of an undergrowth suggestive of delightful possibilities in ferns and mosses and woodsy things.” In Anne’s eyes, the woods and fields of Avonlea become a half-world of fantasy, fairy tales, and chivalric poetry, where ghosts roam the woods between her house and her friend Diana’s or where a flat can become Elaine’s tragic barge en route to Camelot. Indeed, Anne’s relationship to nature is almost pagan, steeped in the sensual. Anne, for her milieu, is one weird sister.

A weird sister, perhaps, but certainly that’s why her home on PEI remains one of the top tourist attractions in all of Canada. Read the full article here, and come with us to Canada to recapture the romantic imaginations of our childhoods.


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It’s going to be 97 degrees in New York City today, and if you’re feeling anything like the TDIBlog right now, you’re desperately thinking of ways to stay cool. The picture above should do the trick. Oh, Canada! Forgive us our American triumphalism of yesteryear. Your forests and Francophonic felicities will satiate our summer sweatiness.

Quebec City, the beating heart of French culture in North America, turns 400 years old next month, and the city’s turning out a year’s worth of festivities in honor of the anniversary. TDI will be there for it, next summer right about this time, as we cruise Canada’s Historic Cities and Waterways. The Guardian reports,

To experience the sudden impact of Quebec City, don’t arrive by air or land. Sail up the estuary of the St Lawrence as it narrows between cliffs and rugged hills.

(We do that, you know.)

“Is there any city in the world that stands so nobly as Quebec?” Rupert Brooke asked upon arriving in 1913. “The citadel crowns a headland, 300ft high, that juts boldly out into the St. Lawrence. Up to it, up the side of the hill, clambers the city, houses and steeples … It has the individuality and the pride of a city where great things have happened.”

The Guardian, charmingly, backtracks on its Left-leaning slant to tell us all the ways the Anglophone world has infiltrated and integrated its history with this Québécois UNESCO World Heritage Site, noting that

“Remember,” one of the residents told me, “this is the heart of French civilization in America.” Yet there’s a paradox. The city prides itself on its Gallic flair and European feel. Yet its modern buildings are standard North American – and much of the historic architecture drew its inspiration from Britain.

The Conservatoire d’Art Dramatique, for instance, trains young Quebec actors in a neoclassical edifice on a hilly side street. But it was built in 1824 as Trinity Chapel of Ease. On a nearby street you’ll find a research centre of Hôtel-Dieu Hospital in a building that began life as St Patrick’s Church. The Anglican cathedral, one of the few in North America to practise the art of change-ringing, was completed in 1804 and modelled on London’s St. Martin in the Fields.

Read the full article here and make sure to visit, on its 400th anniversary, as we cruise the St. Lawrence Seaway from the Atlantic to Lake Ontario next June. It’s the perfect way to imagine yourself amid cool breezes this furiously hot summer day.

Roosevelt and Churchill met twice at the Château Frontenac in the early 1940s. In tribute to those meetings, busts of the two leaders adorn a park beside the National Assembly. A bust of Mackenzie King, the Canadian prime minister who hosted the events, is nowhere to be found.

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