I love Saskatchewan in the summer time. I want to spend as much time as I can enjoying the lakes, travelling the highways and experiencing the sights, sounds and tastes of local festivals and events.
I havenít covered this province yet and donít want to give up any opportunities, but I will jump at the chance to explore other parts of Canada.
Last week I travelled to Montreal for the first time. My sister had attended university there but I never had the chance to visit her and have regretted it ever since.
I knew it would be a busy summer, but with the Storytellers of Canada-Conteurs du Canada annual conference being held in the city I knew I didnít want to miss it. I like the gatherings for many reasons especially the chance to gather with people who share one of my passions and to explore new places.
I didnít have time to do any research to prepare myself for my trip and printed out my airline codes trusting the rest would fall into place. I was fortunate to run into a couple of other storytellers attending the conference at the airport in Saskatoon. They had printed directions to the conference site and didnít lose me as we hopped a bus, made three subway transfers and took another short bus ride while dragging heavy bags through the heat.
I was impressed with the public transit system and wished we had such a logical and efficient system here.
The conference planners had no idea the city would be suffering a heat and humidity wave and the facility had many rooms including the residences without air conditioning. Everyone spent the week sweaty, but happy, and I had the opportunity to learn a little more about a city a lot bigger and older than I had imagined.
We stayed at a beautiful old high school and college with many notable alumni including Pierre Elliot Trudeau. The roaring urinals in the womenís washroom made it loud and clear this was a boysí school.
The city, with its many old and grand churches, great stone buildings and well-kept blooms reminded me more of Rome than any other place Iíve been.
As part of the conference Montreal storytellers took small groups on tours of different neighbourhoods, even taking guests into their apartments and alleys and ending at their favourite unique restaurants. I saw the evidence of many strong cultural groups and would like to return someday.
With airlines and other modes of transportation making the world easier to get to, it sometimes seems the world is shrinking. But as I explore new places and want to see even more sites, the list of places I want to return to and experience for the first time just grows and grows.