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Evelyn Reid

Montreal

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Montreal Easter 2014: What's Open, What's Closed, What's Happening

Thursday April 17, 2014
montreal easter 2014 weekend evelyn reidMontreal Easter weekend in 2014 features the usual cast of seasonal activities, from its monochromatic mega dance party to its kid-approved egg hunts. Getty Images

From what's open Montreal Easter weekend to what's closed to what-can-I-do-that-doesn't-involve-watching-this-AGAIN, I've got you covered with the most exhaustive guide on the subject across the world wide web courtesy of your humbleness doing the grunt work of three interns to update the damn thing.

montreal easter 2014 weekend evelyn reidAbove: Throwback Thursday with your humble Montreal expert! On Halloween. (Minor detail). Photo © Evelyn Reid

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Kurios Preview: Cirque du Soleil's 35th Touring Production Features Electro Swing, Rolla Bolla

Friday April 11, 2014
Kurios cirque du soleil touring show cabinet curiosites montreal evelyn reidKurios is Cirque du Soleil's 35th production in 30 years, a touring show premiering in Montreal this April. Image courtesy of Cirque du Soleil

Kurios , the name of Cirque du Soleil's latest touring show is on the verge of premiering worldwide, this April 24, 2014, under the Big Top in Montreal's Old Port, wrapping up in July. Touring Quebec City and then Toronto throughout the summer, the show will go on throughout the United States come fall.

Proposing a post-industrial, steampunk theme, the makers pen:

"What if you could alter reality at will? Delve into a world of curiosity where seeing is disbelieving: the world of KURIOS - Cabinet of Curiosities from Cirque du Soleil. The show immerses you in a mysterious and fascinating realm that disorients your senses and challenges your perceptions, leaving you to wonder: "Is it real, or just a figment of my imagination?"

Having had a chance to attend a media preview two weeks prior to Kurios' worldwide debut, it's safe to say that presented acts suggested as much. Here's what I saw.

Kurios cirque du soleil touring show cabinet curiosites montreal evelyn reidImage courtesy of Cirque du Soleil

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Braderie de Mode: 2014 Big Fashion Sale by Quebec Designers Now Through April 13

Thursday April 10, 2014
Braderie de Mode: 2014 Spring Fashion Sale by Quebec Designers Now Through April 13 Photo courtesy of Eve Gravel

The Braderie de Mode Québécoise, aka The Big Fashion Sale by Quebec Designers spring edition kicks off today at Marché Bonsecours and runs through Sunday, April 13, 2014, proposing sale prices 50% to 80% off suggested retail.

My experience attending the sale suggests that range is more of a guideline than bona fide fact. I've seen more than a few sale prices in the 20% to 40% range which is not exactly what's advertised so just be aware of that. But white lies aside, the Braderie is the best opportunity consumers have of checking out what the bulk of local designers are producing, up close. Fashion shows are nice and all, but not every designer can afford to showcase their work in that manner. So in a way, the Braderie is a democratizing force for local fashion.

And my favorite part of all is that you can inspect fabric composition and quality up close, which in my opinion is THE most important decision-making variable to consider when building a functional wardrobe. I don't care how gorgeous the cut is, if the fabric is cheap and doesn't breathe, or wrinkles in all the wrong places after just a two-second pinch test, I know I'll be miserable wearing the piece. I can't properly gauge a designer collection I can't touch --no one can-- and I don't have time to go to every boutique in the city to inspect the goods, so the Braderie is all sorts of perfect in those respects.

One last thing. Apart from a handful of exceptions, there were little to no private changing areas at past Braderies, so I'd recommend dressing strategically for the sale. Think leggings and layers (thin camisole underneath for women, wifebeater for men). That way, you can easily try on a top, shirt, skirt or dress on the spot. Or if you're bent on finding women's slacks, throw on a maxi dress. You can then easily try on pants anywhere without flashing the masses.

And travel light. It gets crowded and stuffy in there.

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Eating Local in Montreal: Sign-up Season for CSA Vegetable Baskets Is Now

Wednesday April 9, 2014
Eating Local in Montreal: Sign-up Season for CSA Vegetable Baskets Is NowDon't count on finding oranges in your CSA baskets --you'd have to be slightly insane to try growing oranges in Quebec, the polar opposite of subtropical Florida-- BUT pretty much everything else in the above photo will end up in your locally-grown CSA vegetable basket, depending on the week. Martin Poole / Getty Images

I'm nuts about vegetables. Nuts! Eating ten servings of fruits and veggies in the span of 24 hours is a bare minimum for me. Below five servings a day seems to correlate with my body feeling off, suboptimal, even lethargic. So if I had a few hundred dollars lying around to cover the upfront costs of joining community-supported agriculture coupled with a predictable schedule to allow for specifically-timed weekly pickups, I would sign up to receive homegrown veggie baskets in a heartbeat.

While I'm on the topic, who told you a diet high in fruits and vegetables is a luxury reserved for the elite? Let me guess. Someone who doesn't eat veggies and/or doesn't know how to cook from scratch and/or has it stuck in their head that expensive organic food is the only way to eat healthy.

You do realize that you can eat like a king with the means of a pauper, don't you? It's all strategy, folks.

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2014 Quebec Election Results: Liberal Majority Upsets PQ Minority

Tuesday April 8, 2014
2014 Quebec Election Results: Liberal Majority Upsets PQ MinorityAbove: Quebec's new Premier, Liberal Party leader Philippe Couillard. Photo courtesy of the Quebec Liberal Party

Characterized by many political pundits as one of the dirtiest provincial election campaigns in recent history, yesterday's 2014 Quebec election results spelled things out rather clearly: don't divide Quebecers. A Quebecer is a Quebecer is a Quebecer, regardless of religion and what language was first learned as an infant.

The federalist, pro-Canada Liberal Party won a majority government last night, earning 70 of the Quebec National Assembly's 125 seats, with former neurosurgeon and current Liberal Party leader Philippe Couillard earning the title of Quebec Prime Minister.

Former minority government party the Parti Québécois earned 30 seats, 24 down from the 2012 election which had granted them 54 seats. The Coalition Avenir Québec scored 22 seats, a three-seat gain compared to their 2012 election results. Polls had predicted much smaller numbers for the Coalition, believed to have ultimately split the Parti Québécois vote. Finally, Québec Solidaire scooped up three seats, a modest though significant increase from its two-seat win in 2012.

For the record, both the Parti Québécois and Québec Solidaire conspicuously included Quebec's separation from Canada as chief platform goals. Meanwhile, Coalition Avenir Québec, while founded and helmed by former Parti Québécois minister François Legault, insisted it was not interested in pursuing Quebec independence, though some voters ostensibly welcomed that position with caution bordering on skepticism, opting instead for a party with no ties to sovereignty, be they past or present.

In many cases a vote for the Liberal Party wasn't so much a vote of support as it was a vote AGAINST separation and talk of sovereignty. There is a veritable wave of fatigue gripping the province emanating from citizens who have downright had it with language and identity politics insinuating some Quebecers are more equal than others, identity politics that inspire exclusion, hate and mindless scapegoating, with a majority of voting constituents demanding government priorities be directed at rebuilding Quebec's economy, healthcare system and international reputation with zero energy dedicated to hidden or overt agendas set on creating "winning conditions" for separation from Canada.

A common sentiment expressed among political experts was that the 2014 Quebec election was the dirtiest one they recalled, with divisive wedge politics a center stage strategy employed by the Parti Québécois, who've arguably experienced one of the harshest voter backlashes in the party's history. Even Parti Québécois leader and now former Quebec Premier Pauline Marois lost her seat, subsequently stepping down from political life after nearly 35 years in the game.

For those unfamiliar with Quebec politics and what all this religion and language division talk is about, this analysis by CBC's Michelle Gagnon should offer some insight.

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Montreal Museum of Fine Arts' Permanent Collection No Longer Free, Except...

Tuesday April 1, 2014
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts' Permanent Collection No Longer Free, Except...No more Roman replica of the original Greek Bust of Socrates circa 390-370 BCE for you! Unless you pay $12. Or are under age 31. Or are over 65 and drop by on a Thursday. Or...
Photo © Evelyn Reid

It's the end of an era, folks, a dark day for broke art lovers over the age of 30 who sought refuge for years in the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts' sit-down nook with gorgeous view by the permanent Napoleon exhibit. No more spontaneous afternoons lingering in Ancient Greece nor contemplating Persian artifacts from the middle ages or the more recent works of household names as well as fellow Canadians. Since 1996, the MMFA's permanent collection composed of over 30,000 art objects and historical relics was open to the public free of charge.

But as of today, April 1, 2014, the Museum will be charging a $12 admission fee, save a few age, art and community-related workarounds.

No joke.

Here's why.

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts' Permanent Collection No Longer Free, Except...No more unhindered, free access to "Fat Chance" painted by David Elliott circa 2004 for you! Unless... Photo © Evelyn Reid

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Montreal Spring 2014: The Events, The Activities, The Weather

Thursday March 27, 2014
Montreal spring 2014 guide covering the season's hottest events, activities and weather expectations.Montreal spring 2014 promises to be, um... seasonal? Photo © Evelyn Reid

Montreal in the spring is a glorious time. Cases of seasonal affective disorder go from wax to wane, down-filled parkas make way for lighter wool and polyester alternatives and as soon as that first wave of thaw kicks in, something changes in the air.

Local folk get restless, praising the powers that be for a chance to expose a neck. Or collar bone. Or ankle!

(Look. It's been a long winter).

And things ever so gradually start heating up.

Montreal spring 2014 guide covering the season's hottest events, activities and weather expectations.It's coming. It's coming. Photo © Evelyn Reid

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Montreal Spring Weather: The Lowdown

Tuesday March 25, 2014
Montreal spring weather explained by Evelyn Reid.Your humble expert, Evelyn Reid, showcasing what spring in Montreal looks like via a wardrobe and coping mechanism demonstration. Photo © Clint Lewis

So... is it spring yet?

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Quebec Swear Words Pop Quiz: How Do You Spell Tabernacle?

Tuesday March 25, 2014
Quebec swear words: how do you spell tabernacle?Is "tabernacle" more valid than "tabernac"? Carston Koall / Getty Images

You know, until my favorite Irish travel colleague from across the pond asked me the question this morning, I had never really thought about it. How do you spell "tabernacle" anyways? I'm somewhat of a purist myself so I've stuck to the original sacred box spelling, but I've seen everything from "tabernak" and "tabarnak" to the anglo-accented "taburnak."

Or is that with a C?

Is there a styleguide entry for this somewhere?

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Spa Week 2014: Montreal Spring Edition runs April 21 to April 27

Tuesday March 18, 2014
Spa Week 2014 in Montreal runs April 21 to April 27, 2014.Hulton Archives / Getty Images

Montreal's sophomore edition of Spa Week running April 21 to April 27, 2014 is a month away but now would be the time to book those appointments lest the most coveted (and discounted) treatments fill to capacity, which was the case during Spa Week's inaugural run in the city last October. Wait a week? Lose your spot.

And out the dozens of massages and treatments and facials on offer, my little eye spied:

1) Clinique Modica
Usually $185, during Montreal Spa Week Clinique Modica only charges $50 for a three-hour customized acne treatment in their Westmount medical spa. This may be of potential interest to people who respond poorly to Accutane. Modica is also offering a two-hour diamond microdermabrasion session that also comes with a facial at $105 off the regular price. By the way, my colleague Anitra Brown, About.com's resident spa expert, says diamond tip is a better bet for sensitive skin than the more common crystal microdermabrasion technique. She also claims it produces less discomfort during treatment.
Clinique Modica Contact Info

2) Club Physique Massage Therapy Centre
Three one-hour therapeutic massage sessions for $50 total??? Going the extra mile to this Brossard-based massage centre might just be worth it. At that insane rate ($16.67 per massage), you're saving $130.
Club Physique Massage Therapy Centre Contact Info

3)Ideal Body Clinic Clinique Corps Ideal
Between Ideal Body Clinic's O2 marine oxygenating facial, lipomassage and liftmassage treatments offered during Montreal Spa Week, I haven't the foggiest clue which one to recommend. My vague understanding of lipo and liftmassage treatments is that they allegedly target stubborn fat deposits to help give the body a smoother appearance. But I dunno. The before-after photos I saw appear dubious, with harsher lighting and forced butt contractions emphasizing imperfections on the before pics. Besides, I'm a believer in the power of fitness. I've got a more toned and smoother body now than I did at 16 from simply working out. No spa treatments required. So I can't in good conscience tell you to drop everything and book a lipo-whatever. But maybe this stuff works. What do I know? What I can safely recommend is the spa itself. I've been treated there before for some skin imperfections on my legs on three occasions. I was pleased with each session, though things did feel a little rushed. Staff was friendly, down-to-earth, competent and coincidentally, GORGEOUS. Of the four staffers I met, who ranged in their mid-twenties to mid-forties, all of them were a vision of health and had natural-looking vibrant skin. They were probably Botox-free too, from what I could tell of their facial movements. As I always say, if spa staffers look like a team of forest nymphs, it's usually a good sign...
Ideal Body Clinic Clinique Corps Ideal Contact Info

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