26 June 2014

The Trip part 3

Val d'Or
Elder and Sister Rhodes with Val d'Or behind them (Taken up on the Rotary Tower)

It was so nice to see Dad and Tina. They met me at the bus and after meeting the  missionaries next door, visiting and getting settled we headed to bed to be up for church in the morning.

Val d'Or
My room for the week

Val d'Or
The view from the apartment before church
Packing up for Sunday meetings

I woke up in Quebec. My high school french was not going to cut it so I had to use the translation headphones during Sacrament meeting. I attended the English Sunday School class and then I sat with Cindy, another non-francophone, in Relief Society,  following along in the English manual and scriptures and trying to keep pace with the class. I remembered spending the greater part of my mission doing this in Korea. Despite not having a high council speaker this Sunday, the branch met for soup and sandwiches after the meeting.

Primary painted Prayer Rocks, Lunch after meetings, Dad doing dishes - his way, I'm sure
Monday was Victoria Day - not the biggest celebration in Canada but maybe especially so in Quebec. So while some businesses were closed and people enjoyed a day off, we went on a walkabout on the main thoroughfare - 3rd Avenue, Val d'Or.  I was familiar with the area all ready because of my virtual tours using Google street view, so it was fun to see it in person. Up and down the avenue, businesses had set up front sidewalk cafe seating by adding boardwalk extensions into the parking spots. Clever idea if the parking isn't essential.

Val d'Or
This is the front door of the church (meeting rooms and offices on the 2nd floor) on 3rd Avenue.

Third Avenue, Val d'Or
Monday night was Men's Night. We dropped off Dad and went to visit with Josette. Loved her home and garden. She has a very welcoming place and it was a great visit.


Men's Night - we arrived in time for the end of the game and snacks. 
Tuesday included some shopping:

This is obviously a favourite spot considering all the great deals on items now in their apartment. Dad was looking at silk ties and leather belts. Tina found a next to new spring green jacket that looked great on her. I resisted but browsed the books, art and knick knacks.

Entertainment in Val d'Or - Thrift store shopping
We stopped in at the mall as well. I found a new t-shirt (my luggage included more formal clothing than I wanted to wear - especially in the humidity in Ottawa. After the mall, we picked up some groceries and I learned about the availability of some new sweet treats - I've never heard of sugar or maple syrup pie before. So I bought the maple syrup pie to take home. Yum - especially warmed up!

Val d'Or
Sweet treats in Quebec
I was also called to action to teach English class that night. The topic was already chosen for me and I didn't have a good sense of how comfortable everyone was with their English but we worked it out - I always know after what I would have done differently but it was fun. I made puffed wheat squares for the snack afterwards.

English Class - Working with partners

English Class - sharing Puffed Wheat squares after the lesson
Gold was discovered in this area back in 1923 and Val d'Or (which means Valley of Gold) is surrounded by mines. Copper, zinc and lead are also important resources in the area. On Wednesday, after walking up the Rotary Tower and taking pictures of Val d'Or,  we drove over to an area of Val d'Or called "The City of Gold". It is the mining village of Bourlamaque, and the Lamaque mine, closed in 1985 when the supply of gold was exhausted. It is now used for mining training and was declared a National Historic Site in 2012.

The Historic Mining Village of Bourlamaque

Val d'Or
Lamaque Mine (taken from the Rotary Tower)
We also drove a half hour out to visit the nearby town of Malartic a hub of mining in the region since 1923. In 2008, Osisko Mining found an untapped reservoir of gold under the town and is now the largest open pit gold mine in Canada. While I was there, this mine was setting records in gold production with a value of $72 million recovered. The mine has a viewing platform that is opened for visitors when blasting isn't taking place. I enjoyed watching the gigantic equipment at work. You can see more pictures of this area on Elder and Sister Rhodes' blog here.

Osisko Gold Mine
Before we went out to dinner, Tina and I stopped in to visit Madame Gabrysz, landlady for their apartment. She was delightful to visit - a real treasure and graciously took me on a quick tour of her home.  I could have spent more time visiting with her. She has quite a rich history and an creative and artistic sensibility. I took some pictures but more didn't turn out than did. I am still learning about my camera - inside close shots are not its strong point - it does much better with outdoor landscape shots and zooming.  But here are a few - more are here, including a photograph of her with Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.

Val d'Or
This is a great photo of Madame, one that she is quite pleased with. 

Val d'Or
This room has items of significance from WWII. (She put her hair down for me - gorgeous)

Val d'Or
The mannequins are adorned with furs, scarves, jewelry, hold instruments and have Barbie dolls perched on their shoulders. Whimsical and so much fun to see the kitsch mixed in with items of real value - gorgeous Inuit sculptures, paintings, etc.  
Her artistic creations are whimsical and so much fun, you will see the kitsch mixed in with items of real value - gorgeous Inuit sculptures, paintings, etc.   Madame Gabrysz is featured in a French documentary about her and the priest from the local Ukrainian church, The Cossack and the Gypsy.  Here's the trailer.

Our final meal in Val d'Or was poutine - what else would you eat in Quebec?

I am so glad I was able to come to Val d'Or and share in this missionary experience. Dad and Tina are happy and making a real difference in people's lives - they are loved and they love the people right back. I know they will be sad to leave but it will be great to have them back home again.

Elder Thia and Elder Luggo- saying hello

Val d'Or
Elder Luggo and Elder Thia - saying goodbye
My visit in Val d'Or wouldn't have been the same without the Elders next door. 
They greeted me my first night and bid me farewell before I left. 

And in between, we had fun sending messages using the communication method of a clothesline that extended from our balcony to theirs. The interesting accessories when they came to say goodbye was referencing a picture that had been delivered earlier. 

It all started when we noticed the message "Hello Lovely Neighbors!"  

Messages to the Missionaries - using the clothesline delivery system

Val d'Or
The Elders ready to teach the people of Val d'Or
We left Val d'Or Thursday to head down to Ottawa for some final sightseeing before I returned to Calgary. We stopped at the Chutes du Lac Roland as we headed south. 

Chutes du Lac Roland

The three of us on a roadside break at the falls
My trip is not over yet - a few more days left to tour Ottawa. More in the next post!

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