I’m working on a photo series about Quebecois identity. What does it mean for each of my subjects to be Quebecois in their everyday lives?
For the purposes of the project, I’m using the definition of “Quebecois” identity loosely and letting my subjects define it for themselves: Must they be Francophone? (No.) Born in Quebec? (Not necessarily). But some are Francophone, born in Quebec or both.
La cabane de sucre
La reine de la maison
More photos to be added as the project continues. If you are interesed in being photographed for this project, send me a message.
Live on Elgin at 220 Elgin St., hosts an open mic night every Tuesday starting at 8 p.m. The bar, owned and operated by father-and-son-team, Lawrence and Jon Evenchick, opened on June 5 with the intent of fostering the local music scene by providing a venue for up-and-coming performers. Most of the open mic performers have played at Live before–some have hosted their album release nights there and some are more casual musicians.
Cats may win the Internet, but cat lovers were the winners at the Ottawa Valley Cat Show.
On Oct. 31, 117 cats competed in categories for purebreds, domestic cats and kittens at the Nepean Sportsplex on Woodruffe Avenue. Thousands of attendees dressed up for Halloween and owners dressed up their cats and decorated cages, including Cassandra Kluke, a local Sphinx breeder showing 10 of her cats at the show.
Kim Monkhouse helped found the Ottawa Valley Cat Club in 2000 and they held their first show in 2002. But cats have always had a place in Ottawa. They were brought into Parliament from the 1920s to the 1950s to control rodent populations and a cat sanctuary on the Hill took care of local strays until 2013.
The cat show is an opportunity to see how different breeds of cat behave. Some breeds are calm and quiet, while others, like Kluke’s Sphinxes, are much more lively.
In addition to showing purebred cats, the Cat Rescue Network shows cats in the domestic cat competition and showcases them for potential adoption. Jason Del Bosco, a volunteer for the organization, tells the story of one of the cats they brought to the show.
Elaine Gleason, a cat judge from London, Ont., was working most of the day judging different breeds of cats on how closely they match the breed standards set by the Canadian Cat Association. The owner of five cats, she got into cat judging by happenstance.
Gleason explained the process of cat judging, which has to be extensive in order to have enough knowledge to judge the wide variety of breeds.
Stephen and Laureen Harper are noted cat lovers. Laureen Harper was active with charities for cats and a section of 24 Sussex Dr. was set aside to foster “dozens of cats,” with litter and toys, according to the Washington Post.
Given that the Trudeau family currently has no pets, Monkhouse, Gleason, Del Bosco and Kluke each recommended a breed to the Trudeaus, should they consider adopting a cat.
Please click on a photo below to enlarge and scroll through the gallery.
On Sept. 29, a group of farmers rode tractors on Parliament Hill and brought cows to downtown Ottawa to protest a new trade agreement. Other farmers weren’t worried at all.
“It’s mainly an issue for the big players,” said Josef Regli of Canreg Station Farm and Pasture Dairy. “For the small ones that make a unique product locally, it’s not really competition.”
On the dim north side of the Museum of Nature on Saturday morning, Regli kept his hands in his pockets until customers came up to his table at the Main Farmers’ Market. Once one person came up, others followed and stood shivering in line waiting to buy his wool blankets, lamb and cheese.
His cheese is the big draw—it’s handmade and comes it varieties customers are unlikely to find in the grocery store, like Stinging Nettle and Bee Balm. It’s also less expensive than store-bought artisanal cheese.
“Our cheeses here go for $44 a kilo, whereas in the store, the same cheese has to go between $57 and 65,” he said.
He sells his cheese through supermarkets in Kingston, Brockville, Guelph and Toronto. Closer to his home in Finch, Ont. though, he prefers to sell his cheese at the farmers’ markets because he can cut out the middle man and sell each wheel for much less than the stores.
This is partly why he remains unconcerned about the potential effects of Trans Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement between Canada and 11 other countries. The TPP is set to allow imports of approximately 3.25 per cent of current Canadian dairy production.
“I think for us it’s an advantage,” said Regli. “So I’m not afraid at all.”
Some small dairy and poultry farmers who are governed by a supply management system are concerned about being undercut by foreign producers, but for small farmers like Regli, his closeness with his animals and his product allow him to build relationships with his customers.
“I can exactly tell the customer what’s in there—it’s only milk and the herbs, or whatever you use, and nothing else,” he said.
This is one of the concerns he sees with importing American cheese. He said that since the U.S. has different regulations on their dairy products, there may be concern about growth hormones in imported milk and cheese at grocery stores.
“People who are a little bit more conscious are getting a little bit more afraid,” he said, “so they will stick even more to local or transparent processing.”
The TPP still needs to pass through Parliament after the election, but both the Liberal Party and the NDP have said they will support it. For now, all the parties have said they will continue to support supply management, which allows farmers to collectively plan in advance for how much they believe Canadians will need of things like milk and eggs each year and produce accordingly.
“In the farming business, either you grow and you get bigger or you find a niche,” said Regli.
The farmers’ markets and the local food movement have allowed him to make use of his own niche without having to rely on either the grocery stores or the government. Once the Main Farmers’ Market closes on Oct. 31, he’ll continue to sell his cheese at the Ottawa Farmer’s Market at Lansdowne each Sunday.
“It’s a huge opportunity,” he said. “For the middle- and small-sized farms, it’s the only way to survive.”