Drawn to Quebec

Drawn to Quebec: The complexity of cashmere

Call-out box: The complexity of cashmere

According to the Canadian Cashmere Producers Association, the western world may have been introduced to cashmere when Napoleon gave his wife Josephine one of the fabled shawls from Central Asia.

Drawn to Quebec: Back to school, not back inside

Photo: Illustration © Bethann G. Merkle, 2014

Does returning to school require eschewing the outdoors? Not necessarily. A growing body of research shows children learn better, have less behavioural problems, and perform better academically, when they learn in and about nature.

The not-so-great news is that most children are not experiencing these benefits.

Drawn to Quebec: Something Fishy

Photo: Illustration © Bethann G. Merkle, 2014

When you think of wild-harvested foods, do you envision the bounty in the watery wilds?

Drawn to Quebec: The Buzz about Bees

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Photo: Illustration © Bethann G. Merkle, 2014

It could be argued that bees make the world work.

Their diversity and sheer numbers are astounding. Bees of all stripes pollinate Quebec City residents' veggie and berry patches, contribute to abundant harvests in Quebec's countryside and forests, and are also a key food source for birds and other small wildlife. This is equally true in much of the rest of the world.

Drawn to Quebec: Fruits of Summer

Photo: Illustration © Bethann G. Merkle, 2014

Yes, late July is hot, but we can better appreciate the heat and humidity by considering how necessary long sunny days are for ripening the fruits that characterize summer.

Drawn to Quebec: Fire and earth

Photo: Illustration © Bethann G. Merkle, 2014

Fire and earth - working with clay is almost that simple. Add sufficient water to make the earth malleable, and you can meld three of the four "basic elements" into functional vessels and stunning works of art. Those at the peak of this artform have dedicated their lives to the craft but for beginners, working with clay can seem almost instinctive.

Age-old craft

Drawn to Quebec: Sketching en plein air

Photo: Illustration © Bethann G. Merkle, 2014

The sun was brilliant, the sky was bluebird blue, and the Roger-Van den Hende botanical gardens was swarming - with local sketchers. Imagine a day-long flash mob involving some thirty people drawing and painting the roses, lily pads, bumble bees and gazebos.

Drawn to Quebec: Birds in plain sight

Photo: Illustration © Bethann G. Merkle, 2014

While the Plains of Abraham are overrun with Festival d'Été spectators, flocks of local residents have a bird's-eye view. Take a casual stroll through the Plains - with or without binoculars, field guides, and notebooks - and you are sure to catch a glimpse of some of them. Common species you are likely to see include chickadees, crows, gulls, house finches, and robins.

Drawn to Quebec: St. Matthew’s bells

Photo: Illustration © Bethann G. Merkle, 2014

For over 130 years, the spire of St. Matthew's Anglican Church has pierced the air above St. Matthew's cemetery. During that time, much has changed beneath and around it, but little has changed within.*

Designed by William Tutin Thomas to house a set of change-ringing bells, the tower has presided over Rue Saint-Jean since 1882. Countless ringers from the far corners of the world have rung St.

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