Saturday, 31 August 2013

What's up?

With September comes the time to return to my volunteer duties at the National Gallery of Canada. I have not really been off, all summer I had little projects to keep me busy. So I continue to put in my hours, though with September the new Season of art and culture lectures will be on.

We inaugurate the new Season on Wednesday 25 September at 2pm in the Auditorium of the National Art Gallery of Canada on Sussex Drive. Most people know the building because of the big spider sculpture by Louise Bourgeois and for the galloping horses by Joe Fafard, you cannot miss them.

Also this fall a new exhibit will open on 8 November entitled;
Artists, Architects and Artisans, Canadian Art from 1890 to 1918. 

This exhibition will examine the creative output in painting, architecture, household furnishings and items of a quality previously unparalleled in Canada's history.

You can consult the NGC's web site at for more details.

As the Coordinator of Les mercredis culturels, I had to find and invite 12 lecturers to present various topics on art and culture on selected Wednesday afternoons from September to April. This is part of our French language program at the Musée des beaux-arts du Canada as it is known in French.

I wanted to have a varied program, something that would offer something for our very diverse French speaking audience. I also arranged for a special price for students of $3 dollars per conferences, a first, which is less than a coffee in one of those chain Coffee Shops.

You can view the program of Les mercredis culturels for the Season 2013-2014 here:

If you find it of interest, I hope to see you at the Musée on one of those Wednesday afternoons.

Gustav Hahn, Hail to the Dominion, 1906, NGC Collection

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Talking about Syria

Yesterday, Saturday 24 August, which is still summer vacation time, in Europe most people are still at the beach, here in Canada people are also on vacation, thinking of other things and not looking at the ''hard'' news, we could read in the local paper that Stevie Harper was talking with Cameron of Britain and Hollande of France about Syria. I wonder what did the conversation sound like given that all 3 men have different agendas politically in 3 very different countries. Where they responding to the grumblings in the Obama White House? The US Government is itching for a fight with Russia after the Snowden affair, tempest in a tea pot perhaps?

Last week there were reports that a poison gas attack had taken place in Syria and that scores of people were dead and even more injured. Capitals were assessing if any of it was true. Suddenly French reporters started to present in their news stories detailed reports of poison gas attacks describing the symptoms of victims. None of these reporters where on site, no, they instead picked-up the detailed accounts from gossip heard on the Internet and pieced it all together. Allegations that 2 French reporters brought back samples, really? A bit like your Aunt Maud hanging the wash and hearing neighbourhood gossip over the clothes line.

Syria on Sunday agreed to having UN inspectors look at the alleged site of the attack, the White House says ''It is too late'', an almost Bush Era like response. So we will never know if there was or not a poison gas attack. Does it matter, the goal appears to be to get rid of Assad and give a blow to Hezbollah and Iran. I would counsel patience, let the UN team do its work and if it is demonstrated that poison gas was used then decide what to do. But before doing anything think of the consequences and what might happen next. Public Opinion is not pushing for a quick solution.

Again the media in general is more than happy to trumpet whatever the politicians will claim to be the reason for this attack. In the past 20 years the following reasons where given, #1 must eliminate weapons of mass destruction, #2 bring democracy to the region, #3 bring prosperity to the region, #4 educate girls (boys are never mentioned, they apparently do not deserve education), #5 Uphold human rights, #6 win minds and hearts, #7 Defending our National Interests.

I remember after the First Gulf War (1991) when Iraq under Saddam Hussein was forced to retreat and leave Kuwait, the Media announced that the USA had brought democracy to Kuwait because Kuwaitis loved Fast Food and Shopping malls, they were just like us, they want to breathe Freedom.

Of course Freedom, Democracy, Promotion of Western Feminist ideals and Education for girls are all good popular ideals to throw into the debate, the public can see that the goals are noble. We do not need to ask ourselves hard questions or understand that we are dealing with societies unlike ours and societies that are evolving under very different circumstances and a history very different from ours. In other words, we have little in common. What we want for them is not what they want, we did not ask them, we simply imposed our views on them. More and more it smacks of New Colonialism disguised under new words, slogans, colours and banners but is in fact the same old story. Colonialism did not die in 1960, it simply went into a slumber like Sleeping Beauty.

Intervention in Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, Libya and now possibly Syria did not change anything to the lives of the people of those countries, it only made things worse, much worse.

Intervention in Syria is not to help Syrians, it is about getting back at Iran and it's proxy army Hezbollah. Many of whom are Canadian Citizens with families in the Greater Toronto Area, thanks to our blind and generous immigration policies. It is also to make a point with Russia's Putin, Syria has always been a pawn in Cold War Politics and it remains a pawn to this day. It's a cynical game between Russia and the USA. France also has a stake in the region as it sees Lebanon and Syria as old colonies. But France has been kept on the sidelines in the Middle-East by the USA and this creates a lot of friction between France and the USA.
The French are still trying to position themselves in this game. Let's not forget how in Iraq, France tried and failed to protect its Oil contracts with Saddam and how they sheltered for years in France the Ayatollah Khomeini going so far as to fly him on a special Air France flight to Iran in 1979. Britain also has an role or a hand in all this since Ottoman times. In such disputes the UK are the strong ally of the USA.

What I do not understand here is the involvement of Canadian PM Harper in this debate. A man who has repeatedly shown how little he understands in World Affairs, is he even interested beyond the photo-op? Canada has never had anything more than a small role in the Middle-East and in terms of Foreign Policy we have been fence sitters, refusing to take sides until recently when Prime Minister Harper decided that we would change course and put ourselves squarely behind Israël and support wholeheartedly Prime Minister Netenyahu, come Hell or High Water.

Again in what way does this enhance our Canadian National Interests is not clear. It does enhance the political profile of Mr. Harper and partisan politics is what he is all about. Canada did very well in Afghanistan and we did make an important contribution, what will be the lasting legacy of that intervention is uncertain at best. It is for the Afghani people to decide what they want for their future. It is clear though that we did not need to get involved, it was not a peace keeping mission as initially explained by Mr. Harper. We were not involved in Iraq our Prime Minister then, Jean Chretien refusing to go along with the USA.

In Libya, Canada was the master of the skies, our Air Force was stationed in Trapani, Sicily, again we did very well, though the final goal beyond getting rid of the troublesome Qaddafi and company was not clear. No one, who is knowledgeable about the ground situation in Libya expected democracy to blossom. The Libyans would be grateful we were told, really? The public had to be told that we were pursuing a peaceful and democratic solution in Libya. However politicians have used this excuse so often that very few still believe that our goals are noble, its all about power politics and influence, the public has become increasingly cynical of what politicians have to say.

I do not see Canadians in favour of our involvement in Syria, an involvement which would complicate our clouded Foreign Policy. Harper will have to explain how involving our armed forces or more likely our Air Force in Syria which is an expensive enterprise in difficult fiscal times as the Prime Minister likes to say, would be of any benefit. We are well on our way in 2013 in creating a new budget deficit larger than last year while our PM is trying to tell us that he is desperately trying to balance the books which he has not done in 8 years in power. What would we gain from such an intervention. I could see pandering to the Lebanese-Syrian Community in Canada and to the Iranian diaspora in a cynical political game for votes, beyond that not much.

We have to accept that trying to re-arrange the world order by massive military intervention is not a solution. Some conflicts no matter how horrible and devastating in far away lands are none of our business. The idea that we have an international obligation to intervene is bunk. Sometimes conflicts exist for reasons beyond our understanding and I would advocate in such case the Chinese approach, not to meddle in the internal affairs of other countries, especially when it does not threaten our Sovereignty and or our vital National Interests.


Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Restaurant review in Stratford, Ontario

I am told that many decades ago when the Stratford Theatre Festival first started in 1953 the choices of restaurants in this small community of 30,000, it was much less then hovering around 12,000, was rather limited. People often came by special trains organized by the Toronto Telegraph Newspaper. You had dinners offered by the Parkview United Church ladies, good, solid food but nothing fancy. There was also the famous Golden Bamboo Chinese restaurant now close for the last 10 years, fondly remembered and still up for sale, and maybe one other diner. In such a small community people had meals at home or went to Kitchener or Guelph for more choices on special occasions.

Today Stratford offers a huge array of fine gourmet dining, the only thing is that if you have evening theatre tickets for a show at 8pm this means having dinner at 5pm and making a table reservation a week or more in advance. If on the other hand you are willing to wait until 7:30pm for dinner then the town is yours as most people will be gone to one of the four main theatre venues.  This is why we enjoyed our B&B so much. At the Stratford Whitehouse we had an efficiency apartment with full kitchen, so we could cook meals, easy enough and relaxing.

We also took in Matinées so a show at 2pm is over by 5pm and then its time for cocktails and dinner afterwards.

We went for coffee at Revel Café, a very nice coffee shop, modern and funky decor. We had meals at Mercer Hall, great food made from Ontario produce with a European flair and style, I had one of the best steaks ever, reminding me of Tuscany beef and Florence.

We also went to Raja Indian Restaurant, the service was great, so were the drinks and food. Keystone Alley Café had the nicest staff and great food.

Pazzo, the Italian restaurant is not to be missed, the Chef Gilad Rozenberg makes his own Burrata in house, I could not believe it, this type of cheese is from the same family as the Mozzarella with the difference that the inside is soft and creamy. In Italy it is made only in the Puglia Region (the heel of the  boot). Their pizzas are also authentic Italian nothing North American about them.

Down the Street we went to for cocktails and meals, the kitchen is open late for after theatre crowds. Finally Features restaurant is the best for a great breakfast.

We also went to The Barkery (like in Bark Bark) its a healthy bakery for Dogs. See the webpage at Their cookies are so good people eat them, all natural, hypo allergenic, etc...

Now I would be remiss if I did not mention Tim Horton the Canadian doughnut chain available everywhere I am told, sigh....
Well on this trip the infamous Dr. Spo who I am told is the North American Authority on Tim Horton doughnut (see Guinness book of world records) was with us and of course he waxes poetic about Tim Horton. I thought we would need the OPP (Ontario Provincial Police) to restrain him when we pass by the local doughnut shop on Ontario street. Apparently it is his considered medical opinion that humans can actually live off a diet of Tim Horton doughnut. It may be true if I look at our Prime Minister S. Harper who is know as a fan of the doughnut chain, he is known to have missed meetings at the United Nation General Assembly in New York to be at the opening of a new Tim Horton.

Though strangely enough, despite the fact that Dr. Spo speaks non-stop of Tim Horton, I never actually seen him eat one. Strange, very strange.

Monday, 19 August 2013

our road trip to the Stratford Theatre Festival 2013

Settlement in Stratford started in 1828, it is located in South West Ontario with a population of 30,000 persons. Part of the river that crosses the city was named the Avon by Canada Company Official John Mercer Jones, the rest of the river which is 273 KM long is known as the Thames, a name given by Governor John Graves Simcoe. The original name in Algonquin language is Askunissippi (Antler) and the lake in the middle of the town is named after Queen Victoria.

Stratford was an important railway junction as of 1858 and then became known for fine quality furniture manufacturing. In 1953 Tom Patterson, a journalist suggested that a Theatre Festival be mounted and only 2 years later, the dream came through. The Festival has become famous because of the big name actors who perform there each summer, in years past, William Hutt, Martha Henry, Sir Alec Guinness, Christopher Plummer, Peter Ustinov, Dame Maggie Smith and the list goes on. But also the quality of the productions, sets and costumes has enhance the prestige of this festival.

This was my first visit to Stratford and for Will it was a return visit the first in 35 years, he attended each year from 1958 to 1978. We saw Fiddler on the roof, Blythe Spirit, The Three Musketeers, Waiting for Godot and Taking Shakespeare.

Will made a donation of theatre material he had collected through the years and we visited the archives of the Festival and met with its Director, Doctor Francesca Marini. The archives building is a very big site and holds costumes, decor, various objects connected with 60 years of Festival performances.

We went to Stratford after I spoke for about two years with fellow bloggers in the USA, Michael and David from Phoenix, Arizona. Both have blogs that I read and both suggested we should meet at Stratford. We also met their friend Martin Katz and Dale Zimmerman and this being a small world it turns out we have friends in common.

The City is beautiful and has that feel of a small town in South West Ontario farming community. It is two hours by car from Toronto and is far away to be untainted by that great miasma of a city.

The plays we saw, Fiddler on the roof was the strongest in my opinion, with Scott Wentworth as Tevye  in the title role. Then Waiting for Godot with Stephen Ouimette, Tom Rooney and Brian Dennehy as Pozzo was dark and oppressive, a different presentation from what I had seen in London with Sir Ian McKellen.  I was put off by the constant giggling of a certain number of people who appeared to think that this was a comedy on the scale of Mame. I think that when Beckett wrote this play in 1953 in French, he had gone through the Second World War and its horrors in France. It was a different time and the play appealed to a public who could relate to recent world events. Today all this is very far from us, so far it is difficult to relate to the characters. It would help if the next producer updated the setting to maybe stage it in a refugee camp today.

Taking Shakespeare with Martha Henry as the old professor whose talent is great and a pleasure to see and a young man Luke Humphrey as the student Murph who is starting in the theatre and whose performance is very uneven. We saw him in the Three Musketeers playing D'artagnan it was tedious and frankly I wanted to throw tomatoes, that is how bad it was. Maybe 20 years from now when he grows up....

Noel Coward's Blythe Spirit was a delight, though it is a period piece somewhat removed from our world today. Ben Carlson played Charles and Seana McKenna played Madame Arcati. In the end you realize that none of the characters are very nice people.

We stayed in a beautiful B&B which was more along the lines of an efficiency apartment but very pleasant. We could walk to all venues easily. I liked the fact that it was quiet, more so than Ottawa.

We are scheduled to go back next year to see our friends again and in the meantime I have to investigate more about life in Stratford, Ontario.


Monday, 5 August 2013

Fad, Fadish, Transitory, Ephemeral

The restaurant scene in Ottawa and across the river in Gatineau is constantly changing and transforming itself. Since 2000 there has been a net improvement in restaurants in Ottawa. Gatineau which always had the best restaurants of the region has also evolved but the competition from Ottawa is present not to say pressing.

Though this was not the case prior to 1990, Gatineau then known as Hull had restaurants which attracted the high and mighty for its fine cuisine and good wines. Ottawa had the Canadian Grill at the Chateau Laurier Hotel. The rest of the City was composed of restaurants offering mediocre cuisine, a poor wine selection and bad service. Many restaurants like the Green Valley offered a cuisine you might think safe and not challenging, the sort of meal you knew an elderly relative would enjoy with peas and carrots and mash potatoes and gravy. People went out for anniversaries otherwise you did not go out, certainly not during a week night and on weekends only on Friday if you were a childless couple and on Saturday nights with family. Dinner was always early starting around 05:30pm meaning that restaurants were deserted by 08:00pm. The Quebec side of the river was very different, it had restaurants, dance clubs, bars, entertainment, none of which existed in Ottawa, the founders of Ottawa were Presbyterians after all.

In the 1980's the concept of Family restaurants became very popular, it seems that every new restaurants was family oriented, offered all you can eat menus for a few dollars. We had the Spaghetti Factory, various restaurants offering all you can eat salad bars and the kids could run around. None of it was conducive to fine dining or a pleasant atmosphere. Then the Brunch scene on Sunday became another fad, quickly extended to Saturday and then morphing with breakfast, so the Brunch could start at 8am and run until 1pm. Most clients though they might go out very late for breakfast preferred still a breakfast menu, eggs and sausage than a more lunch mid-day style menu. So to this day we still do not have in Ottawa a real Brunch menu of dishes mixing both early morning and mid-day meal. For the longest while Quiche and Black Forest cakes were all the rage until the Cheese Cake New-York style made its entry, all of that has now disappeared, another fad.

The Capital also grew, from half a million people in 1976 to one million today, the government presence has shrank considerably and with new arrivals to the city, new taste develop and new offerings appear. Many new young Chefs have opened restaurants in Ottawa, the market place is less crowded for them than in say Montreal or Toronto and with the awards they have won at various culinary contests have established a new philosophy of food creation in the public mind.

You will often hear the word Hipster to describe those who go out a lot. I am not quite sure what that term means, Hipsters do this or that, they are on the scene, is there a scene? Where? Also the word Hipster appears to describe a young person, under 40 who is single and lives in the downtown core.
But I am not so sure they have all that much influence in the changes we have seen in restaurant offering. What has definitely changed is the atmosphere in restaurants, more qualified Chefs instead of general cooks and menus are created not simply put together with no thought. Many restaurants are Chef Owned, I think here of Café Fraser, Oz, 327 Wine Bar, Atelier, DiVino and others. Meaning that you are not dealing with an owner who hired some cook with little knowledge of food preparation, this was too often the case in the past. Now you see the Chef at work in an open concept kitchen.

There is a emphasis on quality, preparing food from scratch, innovative cuisine and a quality decor.
Though this does not prevent the return of the fad restaurant with items copied from foreign cuisines, usually Southern US foods and presented as innovative and different, boiled peanuts, yard bird AKA roast chicken and ribs. Micro breweries have mushroomed and more are coming, the market will certainly be saturated very quickly. This is probably a fad and will pass, there is always a crowd following trends and maybe this is where the Hipsters fall in.

Quality bakeries from the original BOKO on Elgin c.1980 we now have Art-Is-In at City Centre which offers daily fresh bake breads and goods and the guarantee is that it is organic and just out of the oven. I can vouch for that, the bread is still hot when you buy it. There are many more who offer a variety of bake goods, the famous gluten free Pastry Shop Thimblecakes on Bank street produces the most fanciful cakes, just looking at their website is fun.

Restaurants also offer a wider selection of wines, for years the Government of Ontario through the Liquor Board (LCBO) had a choke hold on liquor sales. Now restaurants go through agents who buy on consignment, private customers can do the same. This has a beneficial effect of opening up the offer and allowing people to sample wines otherwise not available. Anyone remember the days of the Chablis or Chardonnay as if that was the only White wines available.

All these changes can only bode well for the future of the City and by 2017 when we celebrate 150 years of Confederation, Ottawa will not be like the small town of 1967.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Berlusconi needless drama

Finally after 33 trials in 22 years Sylvio Berlusconi the ex-Prime Minister of Italy ( 9 years in office) has been found guilty and sentenced to jail.

Berlusconi is 76 years old a multi-millionaire and belongs to that generation in Italy who grew up after the war in an Italy that was seriously divided between the Fascists, the Communists and the Christian Democrats. Despite his conviction on fraud his media company Mediaset, he still has a hardline 30% of supporters who will vote for him no matter what. He is the only top politician on the Right able to rally the troops and deliver a political punch. For outsiders this is very difficult to understand, his appeal comes from various corners in the political culture of Italy. Berlusconi appeals to the small business owners who are not keen on paying taxes, he is seen as the guy who is smart enough to always get around the law and not get caught, the word in Italian for this is Furbo meaning wily, cunning, a quality much admired in Italian Culture amongst a certain age group. He does not hesitate to wrap himself in the flag or say all the things which will appeal to the average person, saying out loud what everyone is thinking silently even when it is crude.

He has been at war with the Judiciary in Italy for many years, he denounces Judges he sees as being activists, he used his time in Office to have laws voted which would shield him from prosecution but at the same time pervert Justice. He has his supporters who believe he is right and out to protect the little guy. Berlusconi uses the word Liberty at will, to him it means being able to do whatever and ignoring laws which are inconvenient. In the current economic crisis in Italy which developed during his time in Office when he could have intervened and taken action, he now claims it is all the fault of Chancellor Merkel of Germany.  Many believe him, Merkel is the enemy, Italy would do well if it was not for Germany. Simplistic approach but it works for Berlusconi supporters.

Italian Prime Minister, Enrico Letta

The current Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta declared that the coalition government he heads now is strong and he does not believe that if Berlusconi is forbidden next week by the Courts to hold public office, that the government would fall. Though this is exactly what Berlusconi is saying, the threat is that if he does not get a Pardon from the Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, his party Popolo della Liberta (PdL) will walk out. Napolitano who never disguised the fact that he does not like Berlusconi is not likely to grant the requested Pardon. Though a very real political crisis has developed with no one on the Political Right being able to pick up after Berlusconi.

President of the Italian Republic, Giorgio Napolitano

Berlusconi will not go to jail because of his age, by law in Italy a person over 75 years of age does not go to jail, but also because he remains the Cavaliere, an honorific title which his supporters bestowed on him. It would be unseemly in Italy for an ex-Prime Minister to go to jail, it is simply not done. Again difficult concept for outsiders to understand. He is likely to spend his time assigned to residence in his home in Rome, Palazzo Grazioli next to the Piazza Venezia in the heart of the Città. He will play up the victim for the Press and he may do community work and be sure that he will play it up for all that is worth. Berlusconi the political actor to the end as he demonstrated on Sunday 4 August when is supporters came to the Palazzo and he presented himself wearing a mask of grief and stating that he is suffering but will go on.

Palazzo Grazioli in the City, residence of Sylvio Berlusconi, near Piazza Venezia, Rome.

Summer and Fer'Agosto

We have now entered into high summer vacation season in Europe and here in North America.

It has become one of my favourite times of the year. The city becomes more quiet and the gardens are in full bloom. The fruits are coming in for harvest. It is a time of relaxation.

Walking around the block, here are some views of the gardens and flower beds. It is also a season of renovations, it looks like every second neighbour is having his roof redone or some other improvement to the property. We live in a condo building, but here too a lot of repair and maintenance work has gone on. We are getting two new hardwood floors installed which will be very nice and also upgraded  bathrooms. So it gives us a new look for our third year in Ottawa.

Crab Apple trees
 Flowerbeds along the Rideau Canal, Ottawa
Boats on the Rideau Canal at McLeod Street

One of my favourite films for this time of the year was made 3 years ago by Gianni Di Gregorio, titled Pranzo di Ferragosto, filmed on location in Rome in the Trastevere neighbourhood. He employed his mother and her friends for this touching film of a luncheon on 15 August Ferragosto. Back then Romans still went away for a few weeks to the countryside or seaside. Now with the political and economic crisis fewer people can afford it and many stay in the Città. Though lunch with friends and family remains important.

Buon Ferragosto a tutti!

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Samuel de Champlain visits the Anishinabe Aki (1613-2013)

In 2013 we mark the visit or land survery and exploration 400 years ago of Samuel de Champlain who was the French explorer, surveyor and founder of Quebec City. With the help of the First Nation Anishinabe (Algonquin) sailed down with 3 companions from Quebec City, then nothing more than a few buildings on the shore of the Saint-Laurent housing a total population of 30 men.
Samuel de Champlain, explorer, founder of Quebec City 1608 and of New France

He travelled up the Outaouais River known then as Kichi Zibi. If you look at the map of the time you will note that by leaving Quebec, Champlain was going West into unknown and potentially dangerous territory, there is no Montreal and no Ottawa as we know it today, no other European settlements, the Saint-Laurent river was patrolled by War Parties of Iroquois and Algonquin.

The First Nation near Quebec are the Montagnais-Huron,  then south of the Island of Montreal is Iroquois country and then up the Kichi Zibi he would enter into Anishinabe Aki (Algonquin) lands. The Algonquin are closely related to the Montagnais-Huron and their deadly enemy was the Iroquois Confederation. The reason why Champlain made a long detour up the Outaouais river in trying to reach the Great Lakes was because of the war between the Iroquois and the Algonquin, Montagnais-Huron which had been on-going since 1550. His Native guides pointed out the way on this trip to avoid any encounter with the Iroquois. The Algonquin were also protecting their trade with the French which gave them access to metal axes, metal pots for cooking and firearms which were a powerful weapon their enemy did not have.  All huge improvements on their quality of life.

Upon arrival in the Ottawa Valley, Champlain will give a French name the great Asticou Falls which he translated into Chaudières.  He will write that the thundering noise of the waterfalls was so great that you could hear them 2 km away. As for the Rideau water falls, he will ignore them and the naming will come some 60 years later. Champlain also did not think much of the Ottawa valley or the Anishinabe lands. He uses many negative words in his journal to describe the region, he wrote that God may have planted numerous wild strawberry, raspberry and blueberry plants in the region as compensation for the poverty of the place.

Asticou or Chaudière Falls in 1860.

After passing the numerous rapids of the Kichi Zibi in front of what is today Parliament Hill and the Chaudière (Asticou) waterfalls he will meet with Chief Tessouat at Allumettes Island, he will engage him into diplomatic negotiations and try to obtain permission to go further up the river. However Tessouat will refuse to grant him this permission fearing lost of exclusive trade routes and interference by the French with the Nipissing people from whom the Algonquin collected a tax. Nicholas de Vignau who was Champlain's translator and who had travelled previously or so he claimed up the Outaouais river made several boastful claims. The first was that it was possible to nagivate without portage up the river. Luckily Champlain listened to his Algonquin guides who explained that the rapids were terrifying and un-passable, something Champlain quickly understood when he saw them. Vignau had also spoken of a Northern Sea further ahead, probably was is called today James Bay, on this point Vignau was called a liar by Chief Tessouat, who said if he saw the great Northern Sea it was in his dreams. Champlain trying to preserve his good and important relations with the Algonquin rebuked him publicly and angrily, he then abandoned Vignau in the forest near the Island of Montreal, Vignau was never heard of again and it is not known what happened to him but it is easy to imagine that his fate was grim.

Of the legacy of the trip made by Champlain in the Anishinabe Aki (Ottawa valley) little remains, 1613 was not a good year for him. The only lasting mark are the maps and the tracing of the Kichi Zibi (Outaouais) river. However this new water way will be a highway for all fur traders in future and then much later for the lumber industry.

If the Europeans saw this excursion into Anishinabe Aki as a great endeavour full of wonderful discovery and daring. For the Natives this anniversary is not one to be remembered fondly, this was the beginning of a very sad and sorry period which would see their culture destroyed and pushed aside.