One of the traditions we've developed since living in Montreal is an autumn visit to Mont Royal to admire the changing leaves. Mont Royal, a park and "mountain" in the center of Montreal, may not be what you envision when you think of a mountain. Certainly for me, having lived both off of the California coast and an hour away from the Smoky Mountains, referring to this hill as a mountain feels a little silly. But if we re-define a mountain as a tall place that can be seen from the surrounding areas, then yes, it's a mountain.
But semantics aside, it's quite lovely. There's more to say about the park than I could possibly share in a little blog post, but our annual fall visit takes us to one specific area: Beaver Lake. And, as you might imagine, the "lake" on the "mountain" is really more of a large pond--a charming pond, filled, in the summer, with birds, fish, and turtles (and rental canoes). I believe they also offer ice skating in the winter, but we've yet to try that as this year is probably the first that I can let Bojey try the little starter skates.
Our choice to visit the park today was a risky one. It was extremely cold, and we have yet to build up this year's tolerance for frigid temperatures. According to the weather forecast, however, today was the only one of our upcoming unscheduled days that was slated to be rain-free. I hated the thought of missing our trip, so we went anyway. And here are the chickies, frozen, slowly making their way up the hill: I was able to convince them that they'd quickly warm up if they ran (in this case toward their mama's shadow):Visible from the park is St. Joseph's Oratory, a strange and fascinating religious shrine that I'll tell you more about in December when we take a holiday-themed field trip there. It, like Mont Royal, is visible for miles and in unexpected places. I think I've taken this same photo in at least ten different places over the years. I just love the image of a road or path leading into the woods:
Barely visible to the left of the tree in the following photo is a giant outdoor sculpture. Quite a few of these dot the park's landscape: The chicks did some rock climbing: The occasional rogue red leaf stood out among its largely dried and crispy brown brethren:"Look mommy! I running faster!":I'm so annoyed at the orientation of this photo, but I can't seem to fix it. It's of an image at the top of a short cement pillar in one of the park's playgrounds. It says "jouer," which means "to play" in French.
Next to it is this:
It says, in French (and a bit of English): "To Play...Article 31...The Right to Leisure" (and so on.) Upon reading this, I felt both clueless and very curious. After the chicks went to sleep tonight I did some research and discovered that this is one of 54 articles outlined in the UN's Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Have you heard of this? Maybe I've been living under a rock, but I had no idea such a thing existed. Article 31, so aptly referenced in the park, explains the child's right to play. Amazing and lovely--the UN considers a child's right to play among his basic human rights. I'm looking forward to reading the remaining 53 articles.
The treaty, written in 1989, has been ratified by almost every member of the UN. Only two members have yet to do so--Somalia, a country pretty much without a functioning government, and one more. Can you guess which country it is?