The West Block, Parliament Hill, Ottawa – Scheduled to reopen in 2017
Having each calendar year begin on a seemingly arbitrary day smack in the middle of the winter – just another cold day, undistinguishable from the cold days that preceded it – always struck me as an odd way to start fresh. If I had my way, I would have advised Pope Gregory to start every year in September. What better way to begin anew than during the most dramatic seasonal transition of all, that from summer to fall?
On the subject of fresh starts, I have recently moved. I packed up my things in Montreal to begin a new life and a new job in Ottawa. That’s right: now both Vappz and I live in our respective nations’ capitals.
When Montrealers learned I was moving to Ottawa, I received one of four responses:
- You can skate to work! (True: many people skate along the Rideau Canal to work downtown.)
- It’s very clean. (Also true.)
- Everyone is so polite! (SO true. My hardened Montreal mindset is blown every time someone holds the door open for me, which is all the time.)
- You’re still very close to Montreal.
That last point is true, as well. I tested it out this past weekend when I went home for my brother’s birthday, which conveniently coincided with our annual indie music festival, Pop Montreal. Thanks to my friend Sabrina’s keen eye, we found out about a charity basketball tournament called Pop vs. Jock, which pitted McGill and Concordia University athletes against indie musicians.
This year’s crop included Arcade Fire’s Win and Will Butler, Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, and The Strokes’ Nikolai Fraiture, all of whom were surprisingly decent basketball players (particularly Win). Arcade Fire’s Régine Chassagne and DJ Kid Koala provided tunes throughout. The halftime show featured karaoke to “You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morissette (arguably Ottawa’s most famous offspring), and a lovely rendition of Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight.”
While today’s featured band did not play this year’s Pop Montreal festival, they were in the city earlier in the summer at a Pop-sponsored concert. I love this track, for its talk of changing seasons and constant movement. Anyone who has moved to a new city and/or started a new job knows that it’s all a dance, we know the moves, “sentiments the same, but the pair of feet change.”
“Coffee” by Sylvan Esso