Montreal's senior monthly since 1986

Feb '10


400th birthday fest fills August with music

The International Festival of Military Bands comes to Quebec City from August 14 to 24 (photo: David Cannon)

Quebec City’s 400th birthday brings partygoers a full slate of free performances this month. Over $151 million has gone into public infrastructure, notably a new park along the riverside and a new performance site called Espace 400, to be the epicentre of many anniversary activities. For 2008 the city expects a 5% increase over the five million tourists who visit in a typical year.

Events and exhibitions are clustered around the city’s Old Port, now a Unesco World Heritage Site, and the Plains of Abraham, just outside its gates. Céline Dion’s free show there Friday, August 22 is expected to draw a crowd matching or exceeding the estimated 200,000 that flooded the Plains for Paul McCartney July 20.

Odds favour a record turnout for the Charlemagne-born diva, whose homeland credentials remain impeccable — she once refused a Félix Award for best anglophone artist — and whose setlist is expected to trend heavily francophone for the occasion. Fresh off her 5-year Vegas spectacle, Dion and her Taking Chances tour will detour to the capital midway through a 6-night stint here at the Bell Centre. For the birthday show she’ll be joined by Claude Dubois, Zachary Richard, Éric Lapointe, Garou, Nanette Workman, Marc Dupré, Dan Bigras, Mes Aïeux, La Famille Dion and Jean-Pierre Ferland. Those with limited mobility will want to arrive very early in the day and stake out a place behind the Musée national des beaux-arts, and not in front of the  main stage site, where chairs won’t be allowed and where hundreds sprinted for choice spots when the gates opened to the McCartney show.

Stages in and around Quebec City’s Old Port will feature a dizzying lineup of acts from folk to hip hop, klezmer, rock, cabaret and marching bands. Bassin Louise’s Grand Place will host Quebec folk singer Belzébuth, hip-hop artist Wapikoni Mobile, and klezmer group Socalled Sunday, August 17, and the city’s own Dynamite Cabaret August 18 and 25. Other performers will include France’s Mell, Belgium’s Mix-Music, and Ontario rockers Great Lake Swimmers. For brass fans, The International Festival Of Military Bands runs August 14 to 24 at Place George V, with 1200 musicians from 13 countries. (More event details below.)

Family events will take place at Bassin Louise’s Ephemeral Gardens Stage and Petit Place in the Old Port.  For harmony fans, highlights will include Groupe vocal Privilège Sunday, August 17, Harmonie du Collège Letendre Thursday, August 21, Chœur basque Argileak Friday, August 22, and La Clé des Saisons Sunday, August 24. The venue presents Argentinian tango from Association Tango-Quebec Saturday, August 23, Latin and Caribbean rhythms from Salsa Attitude Sunday, August 24, and oriental dance from Baladi Quebec Saturday, August 30. Cultural fare of note includes West African percussionists Oké Djembé Thursday, August 28, and bagpiping troupe Cornemuse Quebec Friday, August 29.

Autumn will hold further spectacles wrapping up with a closing extravaganza Sunday, October 19 at the Colisée, featuring a Cirque du Soleil performance created for the event. Free tickets will be distributed by lottery, and the show will be projected on a giant outdoor screen.

Travel and accommodation packages by air, bus, and train are widely available and a worthy option during the summer’s peak demand time. Tourist info and referrals are available at Festival organizers recommend getting around the city by public transit, which is more than just a good idea — when the streets are swarming during the big events, it may be the only chance you get to sit down.

Tourist info: 866-585-2008 or

Complete listings:

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A less touristy road through southwest Turkey

Our Turkish joyride was over. The 14 unsuspecting travelers in our tour group were driving into the dusty cloud of the southeast.

We had started in Istanbul, then made our way down through the southwest coast with its beautiful beaches and British vacation towns, then on through the Fairy Chimneys of Cappadocia, and now, into the dust. The eight-hour bus ride took us through an endless desert with occasional communist-style buildings. Dull would be an understatement.

We were deposited in a town called Kahta. It seemed desolate, scruffy, and did I mention – dusty? Unimpressed, I asked Mustafa, our tour guide, “Why are we here?”

“To climb Mount Nemrut,” he replied. Obviously I hadn’t done my homework. We went as a group for dinner to the only restaurant open past 10 pm. The few local Turkish men hanging out in the restaurant looked at us as if we were from Mars.

The next morning we gathered into the bus that took us 40 km up to Mount Nemrut. We were told to bring raincoats and warm clothing because the peak can get quite chilly. It was a beautiful 27˚C outside, and we were in the middle of the desert. I couldn’t imagine chilly weather anywhere in the vicinity so I skimped a bit on the warm clothing. I looked out the window of our bus as we drove by dusty little houses with goats and chickens running freely and realized I was a long long way from California.

Toppled heads on Mount Nemrut

We were dropped off about a mile or so from the peak. I was starting to feel the chill. There was a narrow rocky path that led up to the top of the mountain. As we started our little trek up it started to drizzle. At 26 I was the youngest in our group. I was also the slowest, with the fear of slipping down those rocks as the drizzle slowly turned into rain, then hail. My sneakers were soaking through, my jeans were getting drenched, and the three layers I wore underneath my raincoat were somehow getting soaked as well. I stopped for a moment to take in the beautiful vastness of the desert mountains as the hail bounced off my head. I chugged along.

“Don’t fall Molly! Don’t fall!” was all I could think. The 2,150-meter mountain has a tomb on the summit dating to the 1st century BCE. In 62 BCE King Antiochus I built his tomb accompanied by 8-9 foot tall statues. One of the statues is meant to be the king, and the others are Greek, Armenian and Persian gods, which the king thought of as his relatives. The statues were once seated, but earthquakes have toppled the heads. The 2-meter-high heads lay scattered around the site. They have become a symbol of Turkey and are eastern Turkey’s main attraction. I was the last to leave the summit. I stood atop by myself to soak in the greatness of this site with huge heads looking out into mountains below. Shivering, and standing my ground against the winds, I made my way down the slippery path. I should have brought warmer clothes.

A view of Urfa

We dried off and hopped back into the bus. A few hours later we arrived in Urfa. Located close to the Syrian border, it is known as the birthplace of Abraham (according to Muslim tradition). After another bland meal of lentil soup and pita bread, we ventured through the traffic-filled noisy, dusty, crowded, Middle Eastern streets. People stared at us as we walked. “I don’t like this place,” I said to Mustafa as we were trying to make our way through the crowds. “They are just curious,” he replied. “Tourists are rare around here.”

I stared at the people who were staring at our group and me. The looks in their eyes were not like those of the men in Istanbul – hungry for a date with a western girl. The looks were of wonder and curiosity at the rare spectacle of tourists in their town. We made our way through the old bazaar, a chaotic yet organized smorgasbord of merchants selling everything from produce and teas to silks, pots and carpets. This was no tourist trap like the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. This was where the locals hustled and bustled. The women scurried by, draped in their black chadors, and the men in the traditional Turkish baggy pants (MC Hammer style). Mustafa warned us girls not to stay out past sunset since women walking around at that time are considered prostitutes.

Pool of the Sacred Fish

A young boy of about 10 took an interest in our tour group and had convinced Mustafa to show and explain to us the story of the Pool of the Sacred Fish. Abraham destroyed the pagan gods, and it angered the Assyrian King Nimrod. As punishment, King Nimrod ordered Abraham to be thrown into a blazing fire with hot coals. As Abraham was in midair God turned the fire into water and the coals into fish. The pool is now filled with sacred carp fish that thrash frantically around when given food by tourists.

We walked along the courtyard near the pool to the Hazreti Ibrahim Halilullah (the prophet Abraham’s birthplace). We took off our shoes, covered our heads and walked through a small tunnel to the cave. The Muslim women praying in the cave resembled the Jewish women praying at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. Passionate.

We were being followed and stared at continuously. They were almost like the paparazzi in Los Angeles, though without the cameras. I started to enjoy all this attention. A couple of men approached me and two other women in our group just for a picture. A young girl of about 16 walked right up to me, smiled and reached out her hand to greet me. She gave me an enthusiastic “Hello!” and her eyes were wide with excitement. I looked over to Mustafa with confusion. “She just wants to practice her English with you,” he said. A couple of teenaged boys approached me while I was emailing my mother in an Internet café just to tell me I was beautiful.

This is why I travel. It’s not to lounge on the beautiful beaches, or party in foreign clubs (well, maybe to some small extent it is), but mostly it’s to take the road less traveled, to push my limits, to challenge my views and emotions, to enter one way and leave another. Practicing English with the young wide-eyed girl in Urfa was the highlight of my Turkish experience.

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Air travel - even less convenience and no corner left uncut

I heard a rumour that a bill may be tabled before the House of Commons proposing that airlines be “nicer” to passengers. Perhaps this may encourage my country’s airline to stop serving those awful five-dollar sandwiches straight from the freezer that could demolish anyone’s teeth, for starters.

I recently completed a transatlantic flight and do not recommend it to anyone, let alone a senior person. It is a living nightmare. You and your luggage cart – if you can find one – must squeeze through massive crowds, dodging inconsiderately strewn backpacks, parcels, baby strollers, teddy bears and balloons. You may fall flat on your face trying to avoid trash on the slippery floors, or keep from colli­ding with someone stubbornly hanging on to a mop. It’s hard to get into any washroom anywhere – you could easily have an embarrassing accident waiting, hopping up and down and praying with lineups all around – the result of poor airport design and management.

Passengers are helpless these days, and it isn’t going to improve any time soon. Flights are going to be much more expensive, many are being cut, and we are warned to book our holiday travel earlier and earlier.

My country’s airline tells us to book our tickets online, pick our seats, label our baggage, then check ourselves in at the airport. The “à la carte” pricing strategyallows picking a better seat for a fee of $10. However, in the roomier emergency-aisle row, it costs $15. In that spot, your help will be required in case of an emergency.

To get advice at the airport, they’re now planning to provide a professional helper for $35. A charge of $25 applies for one checked bag. The bottom line is that there are three types of classes from now on: business class, economy class with help and/or better seats, and third-class citizens in basic economy having to fend for themselves and show up prepared for no food, no film, and no space. Are you ready for air rage? Better smile or security may spend extra time on you, and they aren’t all that friendly at the best of times.

I heard on TV that some airlines arereducing their arrival fuel “cushion” – the extra 60 to 100 minutes worth added for safety’s sake – to cut costs, over the objections of pilots and dispatchers. Gives one a real sense of security! What if a plane has to turn back or emergency land? Just let it dive? I trust pilots won’t give in to something so dangerous – they want to live too.

Frank Sinatra’s “Come fly with me, we’ll fly, we’ll fly away” is no longer romantic – not nearly as cozy as it was once upon a time, but nostalgia will get me nowhere… Nobody really wants to fly these days, but we have little other choice unless we learn to walk on water or grow wings.

As a postscript, just a warning: landing at PET airport I observed that many taxis refuse passengers with luggage. It took me over half an hour to find one, whose driver then resented me all the way home!


Your body language may be bawdy to some

Linguist Edward Sapir defined non-verbal communication as the “elaborate and secret code that is written nowhere, known by none, and understood by all.” He could have added to the end of the sentence the clause “members of a particular culture.” For if you don’t understand the rudimentary gestures of a society, you’ll find it difficult to communicate effectively notwithstanding some fluency in the particular language.

I was reminded of how varied gestures can be while enjoying a café écremé at a Parisian café two years ago. Some English-speaking patrons were trying to get the attention of a waiter and were gesticulating wildly with their hands and fingers. This led to their waiter swearing under his breath because in French society such palpable pointing is considered rude, and one seeking the attention of a waiter would be better advised to tip the head back slightly and just say s’il vous plait.

Mind you, the French do gesticulate a lot with their hands and one can sometimes even discern details of a conversation from a distance without hearing a word. There are many other useful gesticulations that may be helpful to know while in France. For example, if you want someone to speak in a softer voice, raise your index finger in the air. In order to emphasize the importance of what you are about to say or to indicate that you are going to reprimand someone, wave your finger back and forth. On the other hand, if you want  someone to “shut up,” the ferme-la gesture gets the point across by holding your hand out in the shape of a C and then squeezing the fingers and thumb together.

Beware though that a gesture you are familiar with might mean something entirely different in France. The O.K. sign (thumb and forefinger forming a circle) is usually a Gallic way of expressing that something is worthless.

More serious still, while for us a sign made with the second and fifth fingers is a challenge towards the veracity of someone’s position, i.e. the “B.S.” sign, for University of Texas football fans, it is known as the “hook ’em horns” sign and is flashed as a signal of support for their team, the Longhorns. But in Italy, this sign can signify that a man is being cuckolded and hence it would not be prudent for two Texas alumni to flash their alma mater’s symbol in an Italian bar, notwithstanding that both gestures have their origin in livestock – the longhorn for Texans, and the goat for Italians.

When shopping in Rhodes this summer, I saw an American tourist extend his palm outward in an effort to stop the come-on of an aggressive street vendor. The vendor visibly recoiled, as in Greece this gesture is known as the moutza, and dates back to ancient Greece when fecal matter was thrown at war prisoners.

Even when traveling in a fellow English-speaking country, we must adapt our gestures. The “V for victory” sign, immortalized by Winston Churchill and adopted by peaceniks, is only valid in the palm-outward position. When the palm is in the inward position, one is literally giving someone “the finger.” Brits are, generally speaking, not aware that this dichotomy does not transcend the British Isles. Desmond Morris, in Manwatching, relates that “Englishmen when travelling abroad have often been nonplussed at the total failure of this sign (palm inward) when directed, say, towards an Italian driver.” Chances are that the Italian motorist will just wave and smile, leaving the Brit in an apoplectic state.

When travelling abroad it is wise to know when your body language could become bawdy language.

Howard Richler's latest book is Can I Have a Word With You?
He can be reached at


Yesterday's food is today's new experience

The coffee is fresh. The toast is hot. The butter spreads across the toast in thin rivulets and puddles. Coarsely textured and creamy richness come together in that first delicious bite.

We fix the coffee to our liking, creating perfection in the first cup – a second cup is never the same – with cream and sugar or strongly flavoured, bitter and black. But what if the coffee is from yesterday’s pot, the toast cold (as they often prefer it in Britain)? Do we throw it out? I once had a wonderful summer dinner at a friend’s that featured lamb chops – far too many – from the grill. When the latter, still filled with food, was hauled back to the kitchen, I asked what he would do with it – thinking of how good a cold chop would taste for lunch the next day, or perhaps cutting the meat from the bones and using it as the base for a stew or curry, or slicing it thin and serving it au jus as the lamb equivalent of a hot beef sandwich, or crisping the slices to rid them of any extra fat and then tossing them with lettuce leaves and an oil and vinegar dressing or… But he said nothing. “Nothing. I’ll throw them out. I don’t eat used food.”

Well, he was doing well for himself and could afford never to eat “used” food. But I knew what he was missing. Flavour changes as food gets “left over” – sugars caramelize further when reheated, textures mutate. Cooking is about making the best with what you have, not making what you have with the best. Think of an apple. The crunch and juiciness and perky sourness of that first Macintosh, or sliced and cooked to golden in a little butter with a sprinkling of sugar and served with pancakes and French toast, or cored and then filled with a mess of raisins, rum, brown sugar, cinnamon, a dab of butter, a pinch of salt, and baked. Yesterday’s apple is not yesterday’s food. It is tomorrow’s compote and the following day’s applesauce.

Even coffee, even toast. Sometimes we need to appreciate how good these are on their own terms. That first cup tastes great but why throw what’s left over down the drain? Just because it’s yesterday’s food?

I put it in the fridge for iced coffee and add whatever’s brewing to the cold pot. Last night’s decaf goes down very well with the day before’s caf. Add ice, a dash of milk and just maybe a spoonful of sugar if aiming for a liquid dessert. Want more? Add a shot from that bottle of hazelnut liquor that was a house-warming gift eons ago and has been sitting on the bottom shelf. Yesterday’s food, indeed! And you’ve saved about $10 off the corner barista.

Yesterday’s toast? Surprise! It tastes good cold. Try it – particularly if it comes from a really good loaf – by itself. Savour the nuttiness and texture. Dry toast, tasted simply and eaten slowly, makes a great snack. Or, cut it into cubes, leaving the crusts on, and fry it in a little oil (or the morning’s bacon drippings) into which you’ve slowly browned a finely chopped clove of garlic. Lightly brown all sides of the cubes, toss them with a little salt and then let them cool on a paper towel. Bag them in the freezer for tomorrow’s salad croutons.

Barry Lazar is the Flavour Guy. You can reach him at


Take advantage of our short summer

It’s not a coincidence that requests for my social work services decrease in the summer months and increase dramatically come fall. As we all know, life in Montreal includes remarkable seasonal changes.

We naturally spend more time outdoors when the weather is warm. Leaving home requires less preparation, and walking outside doesn’t mean struggling with snow, ice and the fear of falling. Walking not only provides a source of exercise but is therapeutic since it is known to decrease agitation. The caregiver is well advised to take advantage of our short summers while they last, but it’s best to avoid large crowds and noisy events. I would think twice, for instance, about attending a fireworks exhibition. Consider activities that your loved one enjoyed in the past — picnics, park outings, drives to the countryside, small outdoor musical concerts, short cruises and even visits to a driving range for those who played golf.

Attention to particular behaviours of the individual should be addressed. For example, sit where the possibility of an early departure would be the least disruptive. Don’t forget sunscreen, a sunhat and water. Avoid especially hot temperatures that could cause discomfort and dehydration.

Don’t be surprised if your loved one insists on wearing a sweater even in high temperatures. Some AD individuals dislike air conditioning and overdress to stay warm. It can be difficult for the caregiver who feels the need for air conditioning yet must keep it off to please their loved one.

Sundowning is a behavior of many affected by AD. It occurs in the late afternoon or early evening hours as the sun sets and darkness appears. Agitation and anxiety increase, making these few hours especially trying. Some professionals have compared Sundowning to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), when depression occurs due to fewer daylight hours. Keeping the home bright during this time can help.

The words of the song by Gershwin are summertime and the living is easy… I don’t promise easy, but I do think life, for both the caregiver and the AD individual, is easier with summer weather.

Please address comments and questions to


Coming through in a big way

Tommy Kulczyk, Sun Youth Assistant to the Executive VP and Director of Emergency Services, with Lyne Lavoie, the J. Armand Bombardier Foundation's Director of Administration and Grants

In July’s column we related how the Sun Youth Food Bank was having tough times because of greater demand and increasing food and gas prices. We are pleased to announce that our cry for help was well heard among the public, companies and community groups.

In response to our appeal, many organizations arranged food drives throughout Montreal. Individuals assisted us with shopping spree purchases brought to Sun Youth, and important cash donations were also made by the public, including many Senior Times readers.

So many people helped out that it would be impossible to name them all. Notable gifts include $20,000 for food purchases from the J. Armand Bombardier Foundation , and thirty Montreal Scotiabank branches and Concordia University have been collecting non-perishable goods since our appeal was made. Senior citizens have also done their part. The Côte St-Luc Senior Men’s Club responded with an ongoing drive for non-perishable items. Major supporters have included Heinz Canada, St-Viateur Bagel and countless others.

Radio and TV coverage also helped, and special thanks go to Corus Québec for broadcasting a public service announcement on its 6 local radio stations.

So far donations have filled over 70 bins, or over 24,000 non-perishable food items! Though impressive, we encourage the public to continue helping as the toughest weeks are still ahead of us. From all of us, thanks for your immense generosity.

The Running Room/Walking Room is once again organizing a 3 & 5 mile race on Mount Royal with all profits going to Sun Youth, to be held Saturday, August 9 at 9 am. There’s still time to register – fees are $30. For info call Race Director Caroline Kronlov at 514-730-7804.


Generations kids go to camp

Experience and testimonials have proven that when children are fed healthy meals and snacks, they are more productive in class and achieve better academic results.

During the school year of 2007-2008, Generations Foundation fed approxima­tely 6500 children daily in 72 schools and centers. Our food programs give children a chance to interact and enjoy a healthy meal or snack at school. Many parents face hard choices, with rent expenses amounting to half or more of their income. Emergencies and soaring food and fuel costs also reduce the ability of many inner-city parents to feed their children properly.

Single parents continuing their educa­tion in college and university, and their children, benefit from a healthy snack and light lunch program that eases their economic condition. In high school, single moms cook on a budget and learn valuable information about nutrition. We also supply healthy food to women’s centers for study groups in parenting, wellness and nutrition. Children are introduced to healthy foods at a tender age. The results are astonishing and the feedback received from those involved makes it clear that Generations Founda­tion enriches the lives of many needy young people. 

Our food programs help kids become more self-sufficient and support leadership programs, whose students and volunteers run breakfast programs, preparing, serving, and cleaning up. At hearing-impaired centers for adults and kids, we support cooking and social programs. Special needs kids in high schools prepare breakfast or light lunches in life-skills programs. After-school snack programs provide nutrition while advanced students and teachers help younger kids with homework. 

Since 2000, we have sponsored several thousand children to summer camp in the country, providing them with a safe, healthy environment to bridge the gap between school years. This summer brings a large demand for sponsorship – 300-400 inner-city kids will attend camp sessions at Amy Molson Camp, Trail’s End Camp and Camp B’nai Brith. For two weeks or more, these children enjoy a camp experience they might not ordinarily have, while being well fed, bringing respite to parents during difficult times. Summer sleep-away camp is highly undervalued. It differs from day camp in that children develop a sense of themselves, away from their normal environment. They form new friendships and enjoy challenges such as swimming, boating, and hiking.

Many thanks to the generous donors, volunteers, police, government officials and media who participated in our March 2008 La Stanza Camp for Kids Breakfast. We invite you to continue together with us to build a better future for these kids and our community.

– Adrian and Natalie Bercovici, Generations Foundation


Cataract surgery light years ahead

Two leading ophthalmologists, McGill professors Dr. Darren Albert and Dr. Marino Discepola, spoke about cataracts at St. Mary’s Hospital recently.

Cataracts, a clouding of the eye lens behind the iris, prevent light from properly focusing on the retina.

The professors have each performed over 8000 cataract surgeries. Their recounting of the history of their operations, as well as the recent leaps in technology, was fascinating.

For thousands of years, primitive procedures involved sticking long, thin needles into the eyeball, clumsy suturing, infection and lengthy recuperation.

Today, with local anesthetic, antibiotic eye drops and computerized micro-technology, procedures have become routine and safe.

A big breakthrough came in 1948 when Sir Harold Ridley in London observed that plastic fragments from plane windows, lodged in the eyes of Royal Air Force pilots, were not rejected by the body. This led him to develop a hard plastic lens to replace the natural one. In 1967, Charles Kelman in New York developed an ultrasound technique to dissolve cataracts, thus eliminating large scalpel incisions. Then in 1983, affordable soft lenses became available to replace damaged lenses with only a micro-incision.

Alcon, the presentation’s sponsor and the world’s largest manufacturer of optical lenses, presented a new soft lens refined to not only provide clear vision, but to be individually tailored to eliminate most nearsightedness and farsightedness. The need for prescription glasses may eventually be eliminated altogether.

The Quebec medical system pays for the surgery and the insertion of hard lenses, but unlike other provinces, not the soft lenses, which cost about $300 each.


SPCA tries to put the past behind it

After the sacking of SPCA Montreal executive director Pierre Barnotti, the organization put up a fresh face and called their services “new and improved.”

Alanna Devine, acting executive director, explained that the Montreal chapter, after making recent headlines over funding irregularities, has changed its ways. “We’ve become transparent. Any questions people have, we want to answer. We want people to know exactly where the money is going so that there are no secrets.”

On July 3, SPCA Montreal met with the public asking for help with their updated services and donations to patch up their facilities, firstly by repairing the aging ventilation system. New volunteering programs include a multi-task group to successfully place animals.

Although SPCA is a non-euthanasia association, animals are still put down everyday. Devine says the euthanasia rate for dogs is down to one to two percent, but the rate for cats is still quite high. “We’re looking for more people to adopt in order to change this.”

The chapter works with 30 other animal rescue groups, including CAACQ, Animatch, Rosie Animal Adoption, Tiny Paws and Toronto Animal Services, all of whom have a wider variety of resources, in order to increase adoption and save more animals. For more information visit or call 514-735-2711.


Meet a friend August 2008

Young at heart, physically fit, nonsmoking widower seeks long term relationship involving travel, dining out, bridge and movies. Active, 5’9” and financially sound with a nice car and a quirky sense of humour (or so his kids tell him!) searching for a nonsmoker, 65+, amusing and physically fit with ability to laugh at his jokes (though this is optional!) – remember, nothing ventured, nothing gained, so please respond now.

To contact Peter at Meet a Friend, send your letter and a recent photo to: Peter @ Meet a Friend, c/o The Senior Times, 4077 Decarie Blvd, Montreal, QC, H4A 3J8.

Would you like to Meet a Friend? Send your bio of 25–30 words and a $20 cheque to the above address or call Rachel at 514-484-5033, or email your bio to and call to have us bill your credit card. We reserve the right to edit for clarity and brevity. All contact info is kept private and all responses are forwarded from our office.

Vermont events August 2008

Friday, August 15 to Monday, August 18, the Stowe Summer Music Festival presents free classical indoor concerts in the Symphony Auditorium at Stowe High School. Info: 802-253-9554 or

Sunday, August 17 to Monday, August 18, the 11th annual Vermont State Zucchini Festival presents a fun-filled family event to carve, catapult, dress, eat, fly and race zucchinis at Veteran’s Memorial Park on Route 103 in Ludlow. Info: 802-228-5830

Saturday, August 16 from 4 pm – 5 pm, the Opera Theatre of Weston presents “Scenes from Hansel & Gretel” at the Old Stone Church in Chester. $15. Info: 802-824-3821 or

Saturday, August 16 at 7 pm, Michael Kennedy entertains park visitors with traditional music and storytelling. Irish, English, Scottish, and American music will be performed on the English concertina, guitar and musical “singing” saw. Groton Nature Center, Groton. Info:

Monday, August 18, see more than 30 exhibits of artists and craftsmen with continuous painting demonstrations at the Andover Town Hall fields. Info: 802-875-4348

Monday, August 25 to Wednesday, September 3, Vermont’s largest agricultural and entertainment fair offers 10 days of family fun in Essex Junction. Info: 802-878-5545 or

Sunday, August 24 to Monday, August 25, buy or sell used musical gear at the Bethany Church in Montpelier. Proceeds to provide music scholarships. Info: 802-229-0295 or

Tuesday, August 19, see tractors dating from the 1930s to the 1950s and learn more from the folks who restored them, with traditional farm activities, games, ice cream making, and more. Until Tuesday, September 23, see the 21st annual juried exhibition of colourful and exquisitely designed quilts made in Windsor County. Billings Farm & Museum, Woodstock. Info: 802-457-2355 or

Tuesday, August 26 to Saturday, September 6, an exclusive art ensemble of original works will be on display and on sale in beautiful historical Grafton at the Hunter Gallery of Fine Art & The Old Tavern. Info: 802-843-1440 or


Community events August 2008

Until Sunday, November 16, Madagascar at the Biodome features geckos, frogs, fish and lemurs. August 16 and 17 from 11 am – 1 pm and 2 pm – 4 pm, touch, sniff, taste and listen to nature, partially or totally blindfolded, and enjoy a feast as you explore the Courtyard of the Senses at the Biodome with a MIRA guide dog. Until Monday, October 13, an outdoor exhibition of 100 panels designed by Yann Arthus-Bertrand is on display in the Reception Garden, comprised of reflections on sustainable development and biodiversity. Until Friday, October 31, portraits of the Botanical Garden taken “after midnight” by photographer Linda Rutenberg are on exhibit. Info: 514-872-1400 or

Sunday, August 10 from 2 pm – 4 pm, tour the Rush Creek Village, beginning at the parking lot of Colonial Hills Elementary School, 5800 Greenwich. Tickets $15, $7 for Landmarks members. Saturday, August 16 from 10 am – 12 pm, take a guided walk around Woodland Park and East Broad Street, gateway to the city’s artistic past. Tour begins at 1610 Hawthorne Park. Tickets $15, $7 for Landmarks members. Info: 614-221-4508

Saturdays from 9 am – 2 pm, Marché Sainte-Anne offers fresh produce from local farms and local artisans selling original creations on the canal boardwalk in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue in front of the town hall at 109 Sainte-Anne. Info: 514-457-7244

Saturday, August 16 at 8 pm, Montreal Single Person’s Association invites 35-plus singles to their August Mix & Mingle Dance at Sainte-Catherine Laboure Church, 448 Trudeau at Clement, LaSalle. $12. Info: 514-366-8600

Saturday, August 16 and Saturday, August 30 from 12 pm – 4 pm, Cause 4 Paws Feline Rescue holds Adoption Days at 11387 Gouin W. Cats and kittens are sterilized, vaccinated, treated for parasites and in excellent health. Info: 514-684-4810 or

Thursday, August 17, enjoy a day hiking in Parc National du Mont-Tremblant Pembina Sector with the Montreal Zoological Society. $55. Info: 514-845-8317 or

Until Sunday, October 12 from 10 am – 5 pm daily, the Missisquoi Museum in Stanbridge East presents an exhibition on volunteer fire companies between the 1800s and 1900s. Highlights include United Empire Loyalist objects, community life in the 19th century, personal and household items from Missisquoi families and 1940s dry goods from Hodge’s General Store. Just off Route 202 along the Route des Vins between Dunham and Bedford in the village of Stanbridge East in the Eastern Townships. Info: 450-248-3153 or

Mondays from 6 pm – 8:15 pm, Dr. Katie Gough teaches The Irish and African Diasporas in the Atlantic World, and Mondays and Wednesdays from 2:45 pm – 4 pm,Women, Nationalism, Civil Rights: Case Studies from Northern Ireland and the Southern U.S. Info: 514-848-8711 or

Monday to Friday from 10:30 am – 12:30 pm, Copie Villa Maria offers free morning Internet services for seniors 55+. 4236 Decarie. Info: 514-486-5053

Thursdays at 2 pm at Centre Greene, persons living with stage 1 or 2 Parkinson’s can learn to dance. Come with an able-bodied partner. Instructors are Susan Chiasson, ballroom dance teacher and Ellen Rubin, retired physiotherapist. 1090 Greene. Info: 514-484-2016