Eh, 5000 views ! Thanks everybody ! I'll try to whip up something more CJ-y for you-all (but RL kinda heavy right now).
Originally from the now sunken land of SimPegia. P. R. Crastina is a writer who travels a lot, sometimes to big cities.But she's a country girl at heart.
Eh, 5000 views ! Thanks everybody ! I'll try to whip up something more CJ-y for you-all (but RL kinda heavy right now).
Among all the cities and towns visited par P. R. in her travels, Poutine City is certainly so far the most un-fancy : a no-nonsense, daily-grind kind of city. Not actually a city in itself but the creeping eastern borough of a larger metropolis, Caraway. Poutine is not even its real name (it is Caraway East), but that’s what the inhabitants call it, because it developped quite quickly and a lot of people had to be housed fast, so the Mayor wanted sturdy : lots of prefabs and concrete buildings jammed together on a grid, the most people in the smaller space for your buck. Of course, with time, a few higher-end buildings sprouted up here and there, but most of Poutine City's architecture is downright utilitarian
3. The Grammercy Hospital (on the smallish side -- Poutine is home to 250 000 people) but there are several big clinics all around town.
4. seen from the back ; most of Poutine's sport fields are there too ; upper right, the small Grammercy College :
5. Commerce Place :
6. Still busy in the evening :
7. Industry :
8. A few family homes manage to hold on :
10. Fast Food Row :
12. There are of course all the amenities : schools, sport fields, a rather quaint but pretty little city hall, near the St-Benigne cathedral :
14. There are also places where the citizens can breathe and relax at the the end of a dutifully busy day, like the peaceful ST-Benign cemetery Park, or the Zoo (a small, urban affair, but the kiddies like it) :
16. Just beside the Zoo is the the Windy Park – “thrice windy”, P. R. was told : named after the Mayor’s daughter, no straight lines in sight and always sporting a refreshing breeze (yeah, I know ; the daughter’s name is Wendy, of course ; but the Poutinians like bad wordplay).
Now P. R. is going back home. Her travelling season is over for a while. She must work on her next book. And I must tidy up my plugins -- again -- or my nifty system will break down under the sheer weight of all the Stuff I DLed in the past months. I also must plot P. R 's next forays into the blue yonder, with all I've learned since I began this CJ. Thanks to all of you who followed this little CJ, liked it, commented on it, gave me pointers and cogent criticism. I will try to do right by you in ny next endeavours. I might post a few pictures of tests now and then, but mostly, I lurk here on other CJs (and surely comment once in a while !:-)
One of Thille's quaint trait is that there are not many bridges linking its north and south districts on the Ste-Croix River. But "to link or not to link" is a subject rather tepidly debated at the City Council, as the anti-linking party always end up successfully arguing that, since residential, commercial and industrial zones are judiciously disseminated all over, as well as essential services & utilities, it is not necessary : "Build it and they will come" is not a positive motto around here – not anymore, after the somewhat rocky beginnings of the city. And indeed, all polls, both on the Left and on the Righ Bank, give mostly the same results : the citizens are happy where they are – and the relatively sparse traffic on the two bridges (for a 400 k + population) proves it. The fact that several mayors have seen to it that both banks were nicely developed as parks, cycleways and promenades, also linking them underground in many places for pedestrians and bicycles, may have something to do with that quasi-unanimity...
1. The Upper Promenade and Cycleway :
2. Commercial Alley Parks, along the Cycleway :
3. Fun for the kiddies :
4. The other bank is nice too (windy day on the St-Croix, against the current ; the canalized banks act as a funnel, hence the perpendicular waves, ahem...)
5. Gepan Park :
6. Cycling along the left bank (you can rent bikes for free in Thille, of course, and P. R. used them abundantly) :
7. Rorlasch Park :
8. And its neighbour, the Heinley Park :
9. Heinley Park again, with its happy cyclists :
10. The Cycleway goes further along the river and follow it a while after this, right into the fields. But P. R. had enough and went back to her hotel and a hot bath for her sore muscles (pedaling against the wind, y' know...)
Today, P. R. goes to the Omega Library for a day of reading, lectures and workshops. After which she will relieve the stress with some heavy shopping and fine dining at the Blue Commercial Center.
1. The Library is situated in a comparatively quiet part of the city.
2. With its adjacent Menines Park and pretty little miniputt, everything is not high-brow-only about it.
4. [I'm putting more than one picture of that building in the hope that someone somewhere will recognize it and tell me what it is !!!:-)))]
EDIT : I found it ! it's DMScorpio The Heywood !! Yoohoo !!!:-)
5. The Menines Park :
6. Nearby, the old City Hall and the Mayor's house :
7. The miniputt :
8. And then, go to Blue !
9. Part of the Radisson chain, it's both a hotel and (on the ground floor and below, a commercial center. The fine panoramic restaurant is on the last floor.
10. The view on the river is splendid.
11. And the river banks parks are not far :
More about those next time...
There are two downtowns in Thille, one on each bank -- a good thing too, as there are few bridges linking North and South Thille (more about that later). But the real one is on the right bank of the Sainte-Croix river, i.e. North. That's where the big skyscrapers are, harbingers of Things to Come, although they have not replaced all the middle wealth commercials that came before :
2. Some small houses even resist obdurately :
3....but they won't last long.
4. Hey, P. R. found some of her books in the bookshop , near the airport shuttle (you can see a bit of its parking on the top...)
5. That part of downtown is decidedly subdued, albeit prosperous
7. But this is where it's at :
8. In all modern cities, malls small and big are often places of entertainment, where you go shopping – which can be entertaining in itself – but also to meet friends, have a nice cup of coffee and some fun. Thille has developed the concept or commercial entertainment to its utmost : its really big commercial centers are also cultural centers. The case in point is the Desjardine Commerce Center, known locally as "Blue" (on the left). Its architect, Paule-Marie Desjardine, was then the rather young daughter of one of Northey Lake RISFI's "hippies", but no one laughed at her when she proposed her plan for the new commercial center. It was instead officially hailed as a splendidly daring project (dissenting voices were drowned in the applauds). Not far from it is the Omega Municipal library (on the right) , affectionately dubbed "The Spaghetti", another Desjardine's design. It hosts workshops of all kinds, literary festivals (guess what P. R. went to Thille for ?) and the Art Department of the modular regional university.
9. And you can buy a lot of Stuff in-between more highbrow endeavours :
We'll visit Blue and Omega next time. P. R. is feeling sleepy...
Thille is mostly a modern city now but a few churches hint at its past : The Old Church (Sainte Ermentrude), which was once the main piece of a fortified town, long gone since, and Sainte-Apotolska, built later by the first immigrants in the region (Polish farmers). Sainte-Ermentrude and Sainte-Apostolska were the biggest, in fact the only, towns of the place. They have been absorbed, as all their much smaller sisters, by the growing city. Those churches' proud spires, once the highest buildings in the region, are now dwarfed by condos towers and such. So it goes.
3. Sainte-Apostolska :
5. On the right bank, near City Hall (upgraded several time as the city was booming, from its first, small, pink original building), there is also Ste-Christine, a grander church, Eighteenth Century baroque style ; the fire station alarms ring louder than its bells, now. Right on the other side of the road, the Tourism Office.
6. Everywhere the mushrooming city comes right up close to the fields :
7. But it is a big city now nevertheless, with a keen eye for entertainment. On the right bank, in front of the City Hall Complex, the aptly albeit unimaginatively named The Megaplex, provides popular films and fun for all ages – having killed most of the city's other small movie theaters in the process ; but The Moondance, in the suburbs, has managed to survive by offering quality programming and film festivals.
8. And the Imax is right there too :
11. The Moondance Century Theater , with its pretty MiniPutt :
12. Closer to Downtown, the Rivard Convention Center (named after the first mayor) doubles as the city'sTheater and Opera (the accoustics are to die for, the afficionados say).
13. This neighbourhood is in fact the cultural hub of the city,000 and also of some of its commercial entertainement, with the Rivard Center, its subterranean semi-open commercial Plaza (never snows or rains in Thille, apparently !) and the PKO Radio Building, which also sports a small auditorium (that's where P. R. gave a few readings and lectures.)
1.The most striking aspect of Thille now is that almost all citizens walk to work – the Thillois are in very good health ! That was not really intended – industries came flocking in as soon as the airport was built and the city’s father scrambled to house all the people that were flocking in in their wake, with little regards to city planning. (Goober & Sons Architects made a bundle during that period !) But it worked nicely out for everybody. There is very little car traffic and the buses are almost always half-full at best (but the city has the means to keep them running and does, mostly for outsiders !)
Agriculture in Thille is still going strong and well protected, even though it is slowly gnawed at here and there. The ancient river beds, for instance, are carefully zoned so the residential and commercial encroachments do not become irreparable.
2. Close to the heliport (and its commercial and residential development), some clean energy in remnant fields :
3. The passenger rail line also stops in the fields:
4.The cows can't play trainspotting but at least they can hear the trains arriving in the station...
5. And now, let's go to Northey Lake
6. The first area to develop way back then was, bizarrely, away north and east from the airport : Northey Lake. The lake is a bizarre thing in itself : a small salted water lake, an implausible remnant of the sea that used to cover the region when dinosaurs or something roamed the land. Some "hippies", as they were called at the time, came to build a Research Institute for Sustainable Fishing Industries (now known as RISFI). And they decided to build it on and in the water, a decision that made them the butt of many jokes from the locals – but gained them a grudging respect when they managed to pull it off. The RISFI fish farms now provide excellent, fresh seafood (way inland...) to all Thille's restaurants, as well as to the whole region, and are not laughed at anymore. Bon appétit !
The first time P. R. visited Thille, when she was a kid, it was on the smallish side, a quiet agricultural community of little hamlets, devoted to their fields and pastures. Then it became the dormitory of Strosswald, the nearby, bigger city east of it. But those stretches of flat land also became the target of the region developers : it was the ideal place to put a bigger, more modern airport. And so farmers were bought off or expropriated, amidst much anger, demonstrations and civil disorder. But the Juggernaut of Modernization knows nothing too big not to be rolled over and so the airport came to be. And Thille began to Develop.
1. (yes, it's blurry, sorry. But it gives an idea of the lay of the land...)
2. (not Blurry...) It grew...
3. and it grew...
5. ... and now it's Mushroom City :
5.And still Commute City , too. The Thille airport is a hub of communications (passengers and freight both) for the whole region, and not one but two bus shuttles link it to the city. A heliport and a big passenger terminal, at the end of a short highway, also help commuters.Thille's farmers have so far successfully kept any highways from coming farther in, as they don't want to loose any more farming land, but it's the subject of heated debates at the City Council
7. The freight station
8. Some commercials and residentials ; apparently people don't mind the noise.
9. Some more...
10. The Northey bus shuttle
11. The heliport with it's little bit of highway (in the upper left corner, the small hotel where P. R. was staying during her stint in Thille. Thankfully, the soundproofing was excellent.)
1.The youngest Zabnis, groomed to become mayor after her father, is Cora, the Elder Zabnis' grand-daughter, who's been the town's mascot since a very early age. But she's not one for nepotism. She studied successfully as an engineer and landscape designer. She's begun to work for the city in the Park & Recreation department and is making her way up from the trenches, so to speak -- at some point she worked on the dredging of a few swamps. One she replaced by a small but welcome rustic pool in the middle of town, Cora's Pond
2. The other she tried to keep as much as possible in a natural state and it is now Cora's Park (both names were put up to a city-wide vote and those are the names which won).
4. But there is are still plenty of places left where Cora Zabnis will be able to exercise her knack for taming waters, as the city grows :
6. Some she will left as is, I guess :
10. And some of Smalville's waters will stay proudly untamed :
Among the first settlers, very early on -- we're talking beginning of the Nineteenth century, here -- there were priests and clerics, as usual. A contemplative order, the Naricissinists (following the rule of Saint Narcissin, an ascetic) built their community in the woods. It lasted about thirty years, then a fire destroyed the Abbey and the pious brothers moved closer to town. But the place is still a touristic attraction and also a magnet for painters and photographs, especially in winter, when the rock formations become sheathed with ice, and shine with fantastic, prismatic colours. P. R. of course and alas, was there in the summer...
6. Another remnant of the religious past is St-Vincent -- another ill-fated church ; but that one fell because of a design flaw -- and I mean the roof literally fell -- just during its inauguration, killing more than forty faithfuls (they were buried there). Superstitions flew around it for a while and it was a forbidden place (where the city's youth love to dwell !) The good thing is, it protected it from urbanization although the building stood right in the middle of what was becoming a very busy part of Smallville. After some struggle with avid realtors, the whole place was turned into a park. As what is left of the building has been certified solid, the interior of the church, with its carefully tended lawn, is now the setting for summer concerts --classical music, of course. The accoustics are surprisingly good.
9. As the terrain was a bit on the marshy side (perhaps a cause of the catastrophe : insufficiently compacted soil ?), it was drained thoroughly -- the pipes are hidden underneath of course, but the architect who oversaw the works (guess who ? Yes, Viktor Teynman) had a romantic well built along the paths. It's now called the Lovers' Well -- the kind where you get your wedding photographs and throw some change in. Once a year, the well is dredged and the sometimes surprising amount of small change is used for the park's maintenance.
1.Agriculture is still a vibrant economic part of Smalville's economy. In an alluvial plain, the earth is fertile, and once the temperamental rivers and the swamps had been tamed, Smallville became the bread basket of the Eden region.
2.The Country Fair is a year long tourist attraction
3. Rolling fields
5. Smallville is very proud of its big and very efficient water treatment system.
6. However, some farms are being slowly caught up by the creeping urbanization :
7. The local beer, the Zabnis (surprise !), made from for local hops, is quite good -- and high in alcohol content. P. R. had some problems with that...
8. More farms...
9. There is also good cheese in the region -- the Local Food Movement is very much alive in Smallville. Also, the kids like to pet the lambs.
10. Cow pasture, with the remnant of a tamed swamp :
11. That's Peter Nagy's Farm, the main producer of artisanal cheese in the region.
Since the middle of the NIneteenth century, there have been several waves of settlement in the Eden Bay region, mostly Europeans. First the French, then the English, then Poles, Ukrainians, Italians... It has trickled down somewhat now, but people are still coming in from all corners of the world, lured by the opportunities and the quality of life in the region. Each wave of immigrants brought its own culture and, in Smallville, it shows in the name of the churches. Of which there are many -- at some point, Smallville vas nicknamed the City of the Bells, for each hour and half-hour was ringed in everywhere. Now only the Cathedral Sainte-Adèle has this privilege --fortunately, because sleep would be hard otherwise. P. R. didn't visit every small church and chapel, but only the main ones.
1. The baptist church, St.Temperance, and its park :
3.The Lutheran church, St.Ephrem, close to the old City Hall & police station, and to the mayor's house. Three generations of Zabnises have played in the nearby Serenity Park.
5. En route to another church, P. R. went through the more secluded Melancholia Park; by then, she was beginning to have the nagging feeling all the city's parks had been designed by the same landscape artist. And... those names !
6. In the middle of the town, close the the new City Hall, there is St.Antoine -- which was the main church before the Cathedral was built.
10. Closer to the outskirts of town, the small St.Saturnina, with coloured glass windows imported from Italy at great cost by the Italian community.
11. The austere St.Tomàs church
12. Most churches are neighbourhood churches, with few parishioners now. Some have even been decommissioned. This one, St-Ephrem, has been converted into a small art gallery and concert hall.
13. One of the smallest, St.Apostolska, near the Wessermeyer College.
14. St.Gilda, right in in what is now one of Smallville's busy commercial neighbourhood.
16. At the point, P. R. got confused. She had already seen that church ! And yes, St.Ardua, near the Towers :
Ardua and Gilda were twin sisters, the legend has it, and the Italian community, then in full swing, decided that there would be sister churches. Which is somewhat confusing for tourists.
17. St Ardua and the Towers are graced with one of the big city park, Fortitude Park. There, P.R. 's questions about the builder of the city's parks were answered : indeed, it was the same man, Viktor Wessermeyer, a German-Polish immigrant of the very early Twentieth century, who lived a long and productive life, albeit a sad and bereft one. A poet as well as an architect, and a romantic at heart with a rather somber inclination, he favoured a particular path design, interlocking circles or half-circles supposedly figuring infinity. O....K.... P. R. thought to herself after thanking the kind old gentleman who'd enlightened her at length. At least, there are parks.
19. She had been directed to the cemetery where Wessermeyer had been buried -- the old one, close to St-Adele : there are almost no cemeteries left in the city, they have all been pushed to the city limits. But that one was kept, enclosed in walls and transformed into another park, where admirers of Wessermeyer can come and meditate on his grave. Jim Morrison's it ain't, but still, faithfulls come each year on his anniversary ; Wessermeyer had been famous enough as a poet to deserve that, and have a college named after him. As per his wishes, a tall dark tree was planted near his tomb.
1.In Smallville, you generally live close to the place you work in -- and you often go to work on foot, as I said earlier. For some, the early morning jog can be quite picturesque :
2.The construction of the Heliport brought some trouble, concentrating a lot of commercials in the same place, but it was soon resolved by a carefully planed rezoning of the whole town, mixing residentials and commercials.
3. ...but true to their origins, the City Fathers didn't have the county fair rebuilt somewhere else...
5. (edit : had forgotten that one...:
6. Some big commercials are even built close to the city limits:
7. Here is one of the quiet neighbourhood, despite being where the Agricollege (left), and the Sainte-Claire Hospital, park and church are situated.
8. The industrial zones have been planned the same way , in order to get people to live close by :
9. They're mostly high tech, low-polluting industries (the Clean Air ordinance is severely implemented in Smallville).
11. The greener industries love to be as close as possible to the fields :
12. The Shriefer Industries' Headquarter (upper left), the first of the two agressively green city building, opposite the Gatureck Fire station :
13. And this is the other one, more recent, Floss Inc.:
Next : Agricola...
Smallville is not so small. In fact, it's the second most populated city in the region after Eden Bay which is the Real Thing with mucho skyscrapers et al. (its excuse being that it's where the big seaport is ; but you won't get to see it : P. R. 's pictures of it were destroyed in a fatal computer crash). It was already an urban area when her sisters towns were still villages, and has kept on being the main commercial center (after Eden Bay, of course). For a long time, it was also where people went for their health or their education. Its attraction has lessened now but it still is where you get the best services.
1.Police, (one of the two) hospitals, Kendrick football stadium...
2.And very early on, it got The Cathedral, St.-Adele -- in more religious times, it was an important symbol, and there was a heated regional debate on which town would get it. The rather overblown Town Hall was built later on, to the envious snickerings of the neighbouring towns.
3. Perhaps you noticed the bowling alley, in the previous picture. But Smallville's citizenry can practice other, more strenuous sports :
5. And then, there came The Airport, one of Zabnis Senior's grand projects, with the canalization of the Mathis river.
6. But it never went beyond the grass phase, because Eden Bay then built its own -- faster, and directly in concrete, no grass stage ! The City Council then overrode the Mayor, counter-proposing a heliport which would shuttle people to Eden Bay's airport. St-Jerome grass airport now is used by the local piloting school -- and gives air rides for your birthday, and parachuting (P. R. had fun.)
7. The heliport turned out to be a commercial boon for the city that had a big growth spurt at the time. Traffic became hectic, parkings popped up everywhere, pollution rose, the citizen grumbled... The Mayor took drastic measures ; "If you unbuild them, they will stop coming" he said, in a memorable council seance. He itched up parking fees, tripled the bus services (with “green” buses, too) and demolished almost all parkings in town (the last big one, underground, is at the heliport, in fact.). Astute rezoning also helped -- not concentrating commercials or industrials in one place. Smallville is now a walking city. More than two-third of the population walks to work and the bus services are slowly ramped down. And so, like her sister towns, Smallville is now a green city. Very green. Extremely green.
8. Either where the Mayor (Zabnis Junior now) lives... (it's his daughter's birthday -- Cora Zabnis-Letellier ; she's beeing groomed to take over after him. But more about her later.)
9. ... on the outskirts of town ...
10.... or in the middle of the town :
The Coyla, north-west of the city, was the first to be (relatively) tamed by bridges, and then the settlers began settling in earnest. It meant dealing with water -- a lot of water, beginning with the Mathis River and its many swamps (in the whole Eden Bay region, swamps were the bane of the first settlers.) The Mathis was especially prone to flooding, and very early on the first mayor, Zabnis Senior, decided it would be completely canalized.
To convince the citizen to fork out their hard-earned money for the long-lasting, costly project, he had a sample built --his detractors derided it as “Zabnis' Folly”, but were overridden by the people. The Mathis would be vanquished !
Zabnis' Folly :
The work proceeded at a reasonable pace during the elder Zabnis' life.
Nice promenades were built along the canalized waters :
Zabnis Senior was reelected five times, but he would not see the end of his pet project. His son, Zabnis Junior, took the mayor's mantle after him and thought he would finish the job. But times had changed, something had been blowing in the wind and as the flooding had been reduced almost to nothing -- the engineers had begun, of course, with the sectors most prone to flooding -- the younger, greener generations wanted the river to keep on flowing free. A serious political struggle begun about a part of the Mathis which was now in the middle of the city, but still was a birds' refuge. A compromise of sort was reached :
After that and the changing of the guard, the Taming of the Mathis was no more first and foremost on the City Council's agenda : younger councillors were busier with commerce and industry projects.
And the river stayed otherwise free :
For a long time the main industry in Smallville was logging, on Mount Harrelson. Once almost clearcut to death, it is now taken care of, replanted, and listed as "Renewable resource". Of course, the alluvial plain was also deforested in order to build the new Smallville (once bridges had been built on the Coyla). But three generations of tree-loving Mayors (the Zabnises, of which more later on) saw to that, and as you could see in the previous entry, the city is green enough.
Now on with the logging. (Mostly a picture dump from P. R.'s memory album, if you don't mind, guys and gals. Xmas is looming ever near...)
Here's the source of the small stream that helps bring the logs down to Lake Harrelson :
... where it all happens
Logs, logs everywhere...
Being made into planks...
And finally, the people without whom none of this could occur : loggers hard at work...
The third and last town where P. R. Crastina stayed, in that golden half-year of her first big residence as a writer, way back then, was Smallville..
(Another part of the amalgamated city of Eden Bay, under the aegis of Mayor Zabnis -- all three generations of them) Please forgive the small pictures : P. R. had only a small, non-digital camera at the time -- beginning writer, almost a student's budget... y' know...
It was another pretty, quiet and green town :
with only two honest-to-God skyscrapers to its name (and the oldest citizens grumbled a lot about those) :
They were all from old Polish farmer's stock, and their parents could still remember the humble, agricultural beginnings of the town. Almost nothing is left of it, only the Adamcyk Farm, north of the Coyla river, which no bridge had yet crossed, at the time.
But it would have to be bridged, and it was, once the forestry industry came to the region and logging began in earnest, as wood was (and still is) the main resource of that part of the region.
Next : Logging.
... and then, after having had her fill of culture in buzzing Zinfandel, P. R. went back to her writer's residence in Martin Falls, and it was once again peace and quiet and green, and lazy summer days along the river for the last two weeks of July. August she would spend in another “borough” of Eden Bay, Villeray.
Villeray, on the other hand, and in the North-Eastern corner of Eden Bay, looks like this (teaser...)
Around her third week in Martin Falls, that long ago summer, P. R. began to feel antsy. She soon understood what she was going through : it was the Green Blues Attack. Too much green ! Too much peace & quiet ! So, as she had done while in Kathy Vale, she escaped again to The Big City, Zinfandel. But this time she decided to do the Kultur thing -- no more follies at the amusement park. Let's go highbrow, she thought. Museums, art galleries, theatre (the live kind, not the movies...) and music : first night, the Opera -- Cosi FanTutte. Then, realizing the Science Museum blue dome was just on the other side of the track with its reclaimed banks -- parks and bike paths--, she went there the morning after.
Then it was the Oceanographic Museum --with a little detour by the Aquarium.
In the afternoon, a movie theatre beckoned, but P. R. resisted virtuously and went instead to the Museum of Arts & Crafts (they take their arts & crafts very seriously in Zinfandel, she thought : what grand building !) Then not far, there were the City Archives, with a big “Zinfandel through the Ages” exposition .P. R. is a sucker for old engravings and nostalgic sepia photos, so she went.
There she met an interesting older gentleman, who directed her to a smaller museum, not as frequented but worth the visit for its semi-private collection of Seventeenth and Eighteenth century miniatures. “Well, as long as they provide magnifying glasses...” They did, so she went (it's the small Mediterranean looking building...) The older gentleman turned out be the curator of that little museum and an excellent tour guide.
There is a nice park close to it, but she was feeling a little tired -- and the day was getting hotter, so she went and did some laps at the Municipal Swimming Arena to get the kinks out of her back.
The day after that, as she wasn't yet Kultured out, she went to the Gavern Art Museum, close to one of the many city libraries -a modern, all glass one (in summer, Museums are decidedly cool, aren't they ? )
And then she went back to her hotel, because she had kept the whole last day for the pièce de résistance : The Zinfandel Gallery, a multi-media, multi-shopping, multi-restaurants, multi-everything she had been told about enthusiastically while in Kathy Vale but had declined visiting during her first escape to the Big City. In prevision, she had booked her room at the nearby Karhu hotel. (in fact there were yet two other museums in the vicinity, but she called it quits).
Oh my, multi it was ! (and multi-levelled : the shopping was all underground.)
After that, a culturally satiated P. R. went back to Martin Falls, more than ready ready to tackle more weeks of lazy, quiet greenery !
So, why is Martin Galls called "Martin Falls" ? Well... because there are falls on the Sainte-Eulalie river after it gets out of Martin Lake
Downstream, L'île Bizard
Seen from the other side :
The Bizard Bridge
During her stay in Martin Falls, P. R. didn't live near the falls, though ; she stayed in a very small B&B on Pointe-à-Lacalle, which divides the Ru-à-Jacques :
... the first red-tile-roofed building on the left, after the Sainte Rita church .
There were quiet walks along the Ru, during lazy Sunday afternoons :
[here, feel free to add bird songs and cicadas...]
When the tourist boom began in earnest, a lot of money-grabbing realtors began looking for places to build -- but the people who lived around Lake Martin were adamantly polysyllabic : NO rampant urbanification. Still, one entrepreneurial tycoon, named Don Rump, looked at the map and thought : But There Be Islands ! He immediately connived and schemed and bought under tables and he managed to get the main island all to himself. There would have been a murder of skyscrapers, and (good gracious !) a bridge to the lake's shore there if the People hadn't united and fought his dastardly plans. A compromise was reached. There would be no bridge, no skyscrapers, no building higher than two storeys. But, it would all be high-paying property and strictly controlled -- in fact like a gated community, except the gates are the waters of the lake, as you need either to own a boat (but no big boat allowed, remember : rowing or sailing only) or to take the daily ferry. And so was born L'Île aux Angles.
Of course, there are no cars either.
Then the UCF (the United Citizen Front) rallied the rest of the population and a bill was passed by the City Council declaring all Lake Martin's islands natural preserves. But it was after one of the islands was bought by Normand Bates, a misanthropic billionaire who'd made his fortune in computer stuff but wanted to return to a simpler way of life. What he was offering the city was just too god to pass, so they waited for him to be installed to vote on the bill. He just had a tent, at first. But, little by llittle, he built a nice little place for himself. In thirty years he hasn't left the island now named L'Île à Normand or l'Île-au-Fou. He has a cow, some sheep, bees, and an old rickety pick-up truck that hasn't moved in decades. Sometimes, for no fathomable reason, he paints it -- all red, or yellow, or blue.
So, the other islands were safe. There is, unavoidably, L'île-à-Jacques and L'Île-à-Martin, named after the city's founding fathers ; they're small, and generally left alone for the birds, and swimming racoons.
The islands that form the Sainte-Eulalie river's delta are affectionately called “The Paw". It is clear why : you have three fingers and the palm, right ?
That's the only part of the river that has been canalized, mostly because of the railway bridge and mostly farther west.
The three fingers have respectively been called Einie, Minnie and Moe ; the palm is, more seriously, the Île Morisset. But none have been built upon.
Einie Island, closer :
Now you may wonder why Martin Falls is called... well, Martin Falls. You'll see next time.
Over the years, Martin Falls has become where people from all over the region (and farther away) come for the summer, fall in love with the scenery, and retire -- which doesn't do wonders for the overall energy of the place but sure does for the peace and quiet.
Strangely enough, Martin Falls' railway station is just a little stop -- there has been talk of building a bigger one, though. But things move slowly in Martin Falls.
From there, you go to a variety of B&B and small hotels :
Or to your posh home away from home :
You can also rent a small house, a cabin, or an appartement -- or a boat :
The main reason for the touristic appeal is that Martin Falls is where the region's rivers converge to form a lake, named (you guessed it) Lake Martin.
As you can see, building has been kept to a minimum around the lake. People wanted to keep its shores as pristine as possible. But that is where the Kimmur Marina is. Small, and no big boats : no decibels, please. We row, we do not roar.
But in the lake, there are islands, and there, at first, the realtors had themselves a ball before a new, more ecologically-minded Mayor was elected and reined them in.
She has a nice house (the modern one) :
Next : Islands Galore.
The other "borough" of Eden Bay were P. R. went to preach & teach the Beauty of Writing after Kathy Vale was Martin Falls. (Martin Dumarais and his brother Jacques were the place's first settlers, and as such got to name a lot of its features ; you'll see). With Sooky County and Hummingcrest (that she only visited very briefly and has no pictures of, having forgotten her camera), it is the most agricultural part of the amalgamated Eden Bay city. It is in fact quite a sleepy little town, which only awakens in summer because it's the most touristic part of the region -- apart from agriculture, almost everything is geared to tourism. But it's not the noisy, frantic kind of tourism ; people come to Martin Falls from all over the region to spend their summer in peace. No music festivals, no summer theatre, no races, no nothing. You come, you boat, you swim, you walk around, you eat (well, as in the whole region), you get a tan, period. Even for Country Girl Extraordinaire P. R., it was a bit much -- or more accurately a bit not enough ( so she escaped once or twice again to Zinfandel. More of that later.)
The few things Martin Falls can be proud of are of the eggheady kind, in fact : the Bio Research Institute, which work la mano in la mano with the local outreach of the regional university, mostly dedicated to the sciences -- fortunately, P. R. is writing science fiction, and so she paradoxically received at once a slightly better welcome here than in more literary stuck-up Kathy Vale.
The local buildings of the Regional University :
It's close to the small canalized part of the Martin River -- the Zabnises' canal program didn't play as well here as in Kathy Vale ; the residents obdurately want their river and streams untamed.
Also, the claim to fame, for Martin Falls, is that it is the place where the two main railroads intersect. Hard to contain one's excitement...
But there is at least one spooky story still running around the town, of the farmer on whose (mostly boggy) lands the interchange was built, who cursed the whole Zabnis lineage and disappeared. His angry ghost is said to reside in a giant oak that was blasted by lightning on a Dark and Stormy Night, way back then.
The main attraction, of course is Martin's Lake (yawn...) , fed by the Sainte-Eulalie (Ah !) river and its small bifurcated tributary, le Ru-à-Jacques (of course...)
The place is mainly dedicated to agriculture, as I said That's where almost all the region's produce comes to be shipped outside, to ZInfandel and to Eden Bay proper.
Also people like to garden. A lot.
This is the street where P. R. lived during her stay in Martin Falls, on the second storey of the little castle-looking hotel (it IS named Castlebrook Hotel !), left bottom corner. Peace. Quiet. Ommmmm. At least she could sleep soundly.
After her adventurous stint in Zinfandel, P. R. was extremely happy to reacquaint herself with the peace and quiet of green Eden Bay. Especially the rivers, streams, lakes and boggy pools of Kathy Vale (and even more so because that summer was very hot). It's cooler. Like, when you're shopping :
... or walking around ...
... or jogging ..
... water, water everywhere ! Thank the Mayor, the MEP (Mosquito Eradication Program) is working well.