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Snow and sub-zero temperatures characterized the first few days of spring. In fact, the 5th annual Quebec City Saint Patrick's Parade took place last Saturday during a not-so-minor snow storm.
A few weeks ago, Bethann and a colleague from the newspaper went on a bit of a road trip to another town that has a considerable English-speaking population. The community they visited, Thetford Mines, is nestled into a bucolic forest-and-farms region. Most of it looks fairly timeless, apart from the modern contrast of an extensive wind energy development dotted along the hill tops. As you can see in the pictures, there was no shortage of snow.
Thinking we'd better take a few photos before the snow piles melted, we posed for this picture two weeks ago. In the intervening days, we've received several more inches of snow, the temperatures have yet to rise above freezing, and the snow piles are in no danger.
Still operating under the assumption the weather would warm sometime soon, we recently took the ferry across the Saint Lawrence river before all the ice broke up. Despite the bright sun and the on-going efforts of Canadian Coast Guard ice breakers, the river is still cloaked in thick ice floes. Some of the ice sheets are so extensive that they jar the ferry when it bumps into it. The sound of ice scraping against the boat makes me thankful for childhood summers full of swimming lessons.
While the ice was half our motivation for the trans-river expedition, chocolat chaud was the other. On the opposite side of the river from Quebec City sits the city of Lévis (lay-vee). A quaint downtown area boasts a gourmet sausage shop, a café we'll have to come back to check out, and a chocolate shop which sells some serious hot chocolat.
As we wandered the streets, sipping piping hot cocoa, we came across a gaudy-yet-hilarious graffiti project. For blocks, the trees, light poles, and hand rails of downtown Lévis were wrapped in colorful knitting. The secondary benefit of keeping the trees warm is dubious at best, but this project saucily underscores how cold this "spring" is.
We'll leave you with a few more glimpses of snow-coated Quebec City. In the past week or so, we've seen a few male cardinals, resplendent in their scarlet feathers. Maybe they know something we don't about all this snow. Or perhaps like their hardy cousins, the House Sparrows that overwinter here (see pics below), they simply aren't phased by it.