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February 2014 Archives

Cross-country ski trails in Laurentians at risk

On the Jackrabbit trails.jpgThe Laurentians are a great place to ski - with hundreds and hundreds of kilometres of trails.

Many of those trails also have historical significance for the region.

But some cross-country enthusiasts fear they're at risk from land development.

Over the past 30 years or so, the Laurentians have shifted from a place people in the city would spend weekends and vacations --- to a place where they live permanently. The CBC's Marika Wheeler has been looking into the story and joins Shari Okeke from our Quebec City studio.

(Photo of James Jackson and,in background, Chris Schlachter; by Marika Wheeler)

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Tourism Quebec: Sunday

Micheline Lachance of Tourism Quebec is back with fun ways to enjoy the snow today.

Opti Neige (Matane, Gaspésie), on today

La Fête d'hiver de Rouyn-Noranda (Abitibi-Témiscamingue), through Sunday

Défi Nordique - Mauricie National Park, on today

For further details on activities, making accomodation reservations, or getting information, go to or call toll-free 1 877-Bonjour (1-877-266-5687).

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Yukigassen: snowball fight with rules

Yukigassen event in Edmonton 2011.jpgToday in Thetford Mines, the snowballs will be flying.

Teams of snowball fighters will be gathering in Notre-Dame park as of 9am to play Yukigassen. It's a Japanese sport that seems tailor-made for Canada - and it's catching on here.

This is the second year that the Thetford Mines carnival will feature Yukigassen. But this time, the snowball fights include the kids (which makes sense, doesn't it!).

Daniel Cyr is a founding member of Yukigassen Quebec. He was part of the winning team last year, and he joins Shari Okeke on the line.

(Photo of Yukigassen snowball fight in Edmonth, courtesy of CBC Edmonton)

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Seb: Laurentians' finest at Montréal en lumière

Restaurant Seb in Mont-Tremblant.jpgIt's the 15th anniversary of the Montréal en Lumière festival. Over the years, the winter festival has welcomed 450 chefs and wine producers from 5 continents.

Quebec's regions also get a spotlight. This year the focus is on the Laurentians.

Later today, seven chefs from the Laurentians will serve up seven comfort-food soups downtown - all for free.

Sébastien Houle is one of those chefs. He owns the restaurant Seb, in Mont Tremblant, a real foodie destination.

He's also participating in another event at Montréal en Lumière. For one night only, his dishes will be inspired by the work of artist René Derouinm who is also from the Laurentians.

He joins guest host Shari Okeke in studio this morning.

(Photo of Sebastien Houle's restaurant Seb in Mont-Tremblant, submitted by Montréal en lumière)

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Winter travel series with Kim Gray

Toque and canoe.JPGFor many Canadians, it's felt like a particularly punishing winter this year.
Record snowfalls, and bitterly cold temperatures have many people heading south to sunnier climates or at least dreaming about an escape
OTHER travellers are CELEBRATING winter - including our travel columnist Kim Gray from travel website This week she's wrapping up our winter travel series with a trip to the West Coast where "storm watching" is all the rage.

(Photo submitted by

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Tourism Quebec: Saturday

Micheline Lachance of Tourism Quebec is here with some ideas for your Saturday, everything from campfires to an intense winter workout - and relaxing with movies!

Mégantuque (Lac-Mégantic, Eastern Townships)
Through Sunday

Pentathlon des neiges (Quebec City)
Through March 9th

Les Rendez-vous du cinéma québécois (Montréal)
Through March 1rst

For further details on activities, making accomodation reservations or receiving brochures, go to or call toll-free 1 877-Bonjour (1-877-266-5687).

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Sylvie Desgroseilliers, woman of soul

SylvieDesgroseilliers 023-1.jpgImagine an evening filled with the soulful sounds of Josephine Baker...Mahalia Jackson... Billie Holiday... Etta James.... Gloria Gaynor and Whitney Houston.

Sylvie Desgroseilliers will pay tribute to those big voices when she performs her show Women of Soul in Quebec City later this month at Palais Montcalm.

The Quebec singer is well known to francophone audiences here. She's been singing professionally for 20 years. She went from singing at church to performing in Montreal's gay village to Montreal's Jubilation Gospel Choir. Then Sylvie Desgroseilliers released her first album at the age of 40. It sold more than 25,000 copies.

Now she's bringing her Women of Soul show to Quebec City for the first time - to where she spent part of her childhood. She joins Shari Okeke in studio.

(Photo submitted by Sylvie Desgroseilliers)

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Children of the Eastern Townships 1890-1930

Child in the bath, Speid-Motyer family collection.jpgIt's hard to beat photos of children - even if they're not our own. There's an added fascination when they feature children from the early days of photography. And that's what's on display now at Uplands Museum in Lennoxville.

A baby gripping the sides of a big round steel washtub at bathtime in the 1890s....Two boys with broad-rimmed straw hats playing on the sand....
Three others standing with their fishing poles on a summer's day....

These glimpses of the past are part of the archival collection of the Eastern Townships Resource Centre. It's opened its archival collection to the public for the first time at Uplands - and online.

Fabian Will chose the photos from hundreds in their collection. He's the executive director of the the resource centre.

(Photo submitted by Eastern Townships Resource Centre)

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Whisky Fête's whisky ambassador

Richard Urquhart (2).jpgThe second annual Whisky Fête returns to Montreal this Friday.

It's a chance to taste some fine whiskys, fine Scottish foods, and of course, see some highland dancing and hear some bagpipes. And it's all in a good cause. They're raising funds for McGill University's new Chair in Canadian-Scottish studies.

Richard Urquhart, this year's whisky ambassador, is coming all the way from Speyside in the northeast of Scotland. Benromach (2).jpgHe's the 4th generation of the Urquhart family to own and manage Gordon & MacPhail. They've been bottling single malt whiskys for more than 118 years. They also own the Benromach Distillery.

Richard Urquhart is still in Scotland so he joins Shari Okeke on the phone.

(Photos of Richard Urquhart and Benromach Distillery; submitted by Richard Urquhart)

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Tourism Quebec: Sunday

Micheline Lachance of Tourism Quebec is back with activities for your Sunday...from a winter Grand Prix to Pee Wee mythical creatures.

Grand Prix Ski-doo of Valcourt (Eastern Townships)
On today

Québec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament (Colisée Pepsi)
Through February 23rd

Barbegazi (Olympic stadium Montreal)
On today

For further details on activities, making accomodation reservations, or getting information, go to or call toll-free 1- 877-Bonjour (1-877-266-5687).

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Seedy Saturday on West Island

Seedy-Saturday_0.jpgIt may be hard to believe with all this snow on the ground....but gardening season is right around the corner.

Yes spring IS right around the corner.

And there's an event on Montreal's West Island today to help get you prepared.

Urban Seedling is an organic vegetable gardening service in Montreal. It's teaming up with local seeds vendors, organic gardening suppliers and other vegetable gardening organizations for "Seedy Saturday." It's all taking place at the Centennial Centre on McGill's MacDonald Campus in Ste Anne de Bellevue - and it's free.

Tereska Gesing is the owner of Urban Seedling....and very busy setting up for today's event. So she popped our studio yesterday....

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Rooster of St-Victor, made-in-Quebec animation

Maire et coq à vélo.jpgA new Quebec animated film is coming out, just in time for March Break. It's called Le Coq de St-Victor - or, in its English version, The Rooster of St-Victor.

It's set in a village in the Charlevoix, where laziness is not encouraged. The rooster in St Victor gets everyone going in the morning, and the mayor credits him with making the village so prosperous.But the rooster's 5am wake-up call - weekends and holidays included - gets on people's nerves. Soon there are cries of 'put him in the stew pot! And the rooster goes on the lam.

Le Coq de St-Victor is based on a children's book by Quebec author Johanne Mercier.
Nancy Florence Savard produced the animated film version. The film company Productions 10eme avenue, is based in Ste Augustin de Desmaures, near Quebec City.
And that's where we called up Nancy Florence Savard.

(Image courtesy of Productions 10eme Avenue)

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New curling rink in Grand-Mère opens

Rene Fugere at Grand-Mere curling rink.JPGFor the past seven years, curlers in Grand-Mere, a town near Shawinigan, haven't had a place to throw a stone.

Their curling club burned down in 2007.  But now, a brand-new state-of-the-art rink has opened its doors.

It's only been open a few months but it already has more members than the old club did.

Grand-Mère curling rink.JPGThe CBC's Marika Wheeler went to check it out, and she tells the story to guest host Shari Okeke.



(Photo of curling club treasurer René Fugère, left, and Grand-Mère club, right, by Marika Wheeler)

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Tourism Quebec: Sunday

Micheline Lachance from Tourism Quebec is back again to talk about pond hockey, polar nights....and love (at least Valentine's Day).

Festival de la Saint-Valentin (Montérégie)
Through February 14th

Les Nuits Polaires  (Trois-Rivières, Mauricie)
On today

Montréal pond hockey festival
On today

For further details on activities, making accomodation reservations or receiving brochures, go to or call toll-free 1 877-Bonjour (1-877-266-5687).

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Montreal laureates of Black History Month

David Shelton and Charmaine Nelson in studio.jpgBlack History Month celebrations are well underway: theatre, films, musical performances, dance, comedy and workshops - all underlining the contribution and talents of a diverse black community.

Every year,12 laureates are chosen as well, and they're featured in a Black History Month calendar. Two of those laureates join guest host Shari Okeke in studio. 

David Shelton is one of the first black firefighters in Quebec (and known to many elementary school students as "Firefighter Dave").  He recently completed the selection process for captain. David Shelton was born in Detroit and moved to Montreal in the early 90s and became fluent in French. He's also very active in the local Black community here.

Charmaine Nelson is the first black professor to teach Art History at a Canadian university.
Her courses focus on the historical representation of Black people within the context of slavery in Western art. She teaches at McGill University and has authored five books.

Hear Part One and Part Two of their conversation:

(Photo of David Shelton and Charmaine Nelson by Tara Brockwell)

Part 1

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Part 2

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Dunham gelato makers audition for Dragon's Den

Gelato at Steffanos.jpgIt's not exactly ice cream season.
But we hope that Italian gelato is a big seller for our next guest.

She's co-owner of a gelateria in Dunham in the Eastern Townships. It's called Steffanos. It's only been around since last spring, but it's already known locally for its delicious - and sometimes unusual - gelatos, including maple and bacon-flavoured  and chocolate,spinach and mint! Last fall, it had so much customer support that it won the Love Your Local Business contest.

That win entitles the owners of Steffanos to an audition to get onto CBC TV's Dragon Den. First they have to win over the producers ...then try to hook in a big investor on the show.

Karen Cote and her partner Stephane Boivin are preparing for their audition next Saturday.
Karen Coté joins Shari Okeke in-studio, with gelato - and some kind of mystery machine.


(Photo of their artisinal gelato submitted by Steffanos)

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Tourism Quebec: Saturday

There are so many ways to enjoy the snow this weekend  - from sleigh rides to admiring some snow sculptures. Micheline Lachance from Tourism Quebec brings us some of them..

Saguenay en Neige
Through Sunday 

Fête d'hiver de Saint-Jean-Port-Joli (Chaudière-Appalaches)
Through Sunday

Festival Feu et Glace (Repentigny,Lanaudière)
Through February 16th

For further details on activities, making accomodation reservations or receiving brochures, go to or call toll-free 1 877-Bonjour (1-877-266-5687).

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Shari Okeke is our guest host on All in a Weekend

Shari Okeke 2.jpgWhile Sonali Karnick is away covering the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, please welcome All in a Weekend's  guest host, CBC news reporter Shari Okeke.  





(Photo by Melinda Dalton)

Peter Wintonick's last film a search for utopia

Mira and her father Peter Wintonick.jpgIn November, we lost renowned documentary filmmaker Peter Wintonick.

He's best known for Manufacturing Consent, a film about media propaganda.

Peter Wintonick won a Governor General's Award for his work. He was also a mentor to many - including his daughter Mira. They co-directed the 2009 documentary PilgrIMAGE.

This fall, just after he was diagnosed with cancer, he started planning another documentary. It was about utopias - imagined, ideal places. He'd been gathering footage on it for years.

Peter Wintonick died before he could finish the project. Now, his daughter Mira Burt-Wintonick - a CBC producer - is hoping to complete it. She tells Sonali Karnick about the project and how you can help.

(If you're interested in helping Mira finish the film, visit: )

(Photo of Peter Wintonick with his daughter Mira courtesy of

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"The Book of Bob" retells the Book of Job

TheBookofBob.jpgEven if you do everything right, it doesn't mean everything will work out.

That's the starting point of an original, modern-day fable that opens at the Centaur Theatre in Montreal this week.

It's the story of a middle-aged professor, Bob, who does everything right. He eats high-fibre low-fat food.
He recycles. He won't drive a car or use a cell phone on principle.

But then God throws him a curve, or, quite a few curves, and Bob, the atheist, has to deal with a lot of bad stuff that he doesn't think he deserves.

If you know your Bible, that may sound familiar to you. The Book of Bob is a re-telling of the Book of Job.

The world premiere of The Book of Bob begins this week, with previews beginning on Tuesday night. The playwright, Arthur Holden, joins Sonali Karnick in studio.

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Toxin Toxout: how to detoxify your life

Toxin Toxout cover.jpgIn our everyday lives, we can come into contact with 80,000 synthetic chemicals. They're in our food, our clothing, our personal hygiene products, even our sofas and carpets, and they have an impact on our health.

That's what Bruce Lourie and Rick Smith told us in their 2010 bestseller Slow Death by Rubber Duck.

But readers kept asking them: How do I get this stuff out of me? So they launched into finding out. What they found out is in their latest book, Toxin Toxout.

Bruce Lourie and Rick Smith are also directors of major environmental organizations in Canada and the U.S.

They join Sonali Karnick in studio.

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Tourism Quebec : Sunday

Dogsledding, ice fishing, and golf on snow...Micheline Lachance from Tourism Quebec brings us more fun winter activities for the weekend:

Fête des neiges de Magog (Merry point, Eastern Townships)
Through February 16th weekends only

Sainte-Rose en Blanc à Laval
Through February 9th

Hiver en Fête (Sainte-Marguerite-du-Lac-Masson,Laurentides)
Through February 23, weekends only

For further details on activities, making accomodation reservations or receiving brochures, visit or call toll-free 1-877-Bonjour (1-877-266-5687).

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What's in your Olympic suitcase?

SS skin suit.JPGBefore Canada's short track speed skating team arrives in Sochi, Russia for the Olympics, they're in Budapest, Hungary for a week of training.  Before they left town, host Sonali Karnick met with the athletes at the airport.  She asked them about the one item in their suitcase that has nothing to do with their sport and how they're feeling going into the world's biggest competition for winter sports. 

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The Seagull at The Segal

The Seagull.JPG
Anton Chekhov's classic play The Seagull is on stage in Montreal.  Traditionally, it's set in the Russian countryside in the 19th century but this production is a more modern and closer to home.

The play brings together a successful writer, a fading actress, an ingenue, and an aspiring playwright. There's romantic conflict, artistic friction. . .no one seems to be happy.
It's a tragedy but it's also darkly funny. It's the comedy that director Peter Hinton wants to draw out in a new production of the play at The Segal Centre in Montreal.

The play's ensemble cast includes two veteran actors from the Stratford and Shaw theatre festivals. Lucy Peacock and Diane d'Aquila spoke with host Sonali Karnick.

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Mark Lavorato: "Serafim and Claire"

Serafim and Claire.jpg
Vaudeville, the suffragette movement and language tensions were all part of life in Montreal during the roaring twenties. That makes it an exciting setting for Mark Lavorato's new novel "Serafim and Claire".

Serafim immigrates to Montreal from Portugal as a young experimental photographer. Maybe too experimental for some. Claire is a dancer but not the kind her very proper Catholic French-Canadian parents approve of.  

Serafim and Claire cross paths when they're both a low point in their lives and try to change their luck together. Author Mark Lavorato spoke with Sonali Karnick before his book launch next week at Drawn and Quarterly bookstore. 
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Tourism Quebec: Saturday

Micheline with Bonhomme Carnaval.jpgMicheline Lachance from Tourism Quebec brings us some fun ways to get out in the snow:

Quebec Winter Carnival (in collaboration with Loto-Québec) (Quebec City)
Through February 16th

Winterlude  (Gatineau, Outaouais)
Through February 17th

Festival du talon libre (Centre de ski Mont La Réserve, St-Donat, Lanaudière)
Through Sunday

For further details on activities, making accomodation reservations or receiving brochures, visit: or call toll-free 1-877-Bonjour (1-877-266-5687).

(Photo of Micheline Lachance with Bonhomme Carnaval; submitted by Tourism Quebec)

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