blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit

blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit
By Alison Hobbs, blending a mixture of thoughts and experiences for friends, relations and kindred spirits.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Changes in Old Chelsea

Old Chelsea (Quebec), not more than 10 minutes drive from my house, doesn't actually change much. It's a laid-back, old-fashioned community on the edge of the Gatineau Park with a Catholic parish church, St-Stephen's that has stood under its maple trees since 1879. Its original congregation consisted of Irish settlers, lumberjacks of the nearby woods and their families. I hadn't ever been inside the church but took a look this morning when I saw a lady opening the doors to see to some flower arrangements. The exterior of the building is stone; inside it is all wood with carved angels to decorate it, stained glass windows and Italian Renaissance style paintings on the ceiling and upper walls. The largest painting is an assumption of the Virgin Mary that looks vaguely familiar, maybe copied from something more famous. Flanking the nave are stations of the cross paintings that were apparently donated by local families during the 19th century.

Sculpture Garden at La Fab Centre des Arts, Old Chelsea

Artistic creation at La Fab
The next door presbytery, also well over 100 years old, is now an Art Centre called La Fab: a gallery and workshop for a group of local artists, each of whom has a little studio inside. I hadn't been inside before; it is a relatively recent addition to the village. This morning I spent a while looking round the house and its sculpture garden, after my breakfast of a latte and egg scone (i.e. a plain scone with a baked egg inside it) on the verandah of Biscotti & Cie, Scott Road. I had driven there on a whim on this sunny day and didn't regret it. However, next time I might try the new place with the cats, the Siberian Cat Café, because that looks attractive too and, provided you're not allergic to them, you can make friends with the cats while imbibing.

Glimpse into a studio at the Art Centre

Artistic creation outside Delilah's
Delilah's, a clothing boutique, hasn't been there long either, but it's already closing down. I was told that they're going to have their grand sell-off during the first week of August. After that we'd have to visit their outlet in the Glebe.

Old house in Chelsea
They are resurfacing the roads and creating bike lanes through Old Chelsea and have erected stop signs at the intersection of Scott Road and Old Chelsea Road, a good idea. I walked down the back road from the pub to Delilah's, a pleasantly shady little stroll on this hot day. What pretty flowers they grow in this village!

The river by the Gatineau Park Information Centre, where I parked, has a brand new footbridge and a newly built beaver dam besides, that you can see from the bridge. The Information Centre will be a good place to go with our grandsons as it has a little museum inside featuring the local flora and fauna. They organise "hands-on experiments, games and activities for the whole family" when you can pretend to be frogs or other amphibians and so learn about them: summer Saturdays at 1pm, at Blanchet Beach, Meech Lake.

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