A summer subject this year – coming from all sorts of people – is talk of boycotting things American. Everyone’s upset over Trump’s behaviour and his movement’s agenda, plus Trump’s import penalties imposed on our products. Besides US products and foodstuffs, this boycott talk includes travel to the US.
These feelings seem natural in our circumstances – independently of our individual feelings about Trump’ s towering makeover of US policies. But the chatter includes folks who had once supported Trump’s anti-establishment-ism, and, I found, even includes some mid-Ontario, last-June, voters.
With this on my mind and a list of errands in my hand, I found myself driving across Aylmer, Gatineau and the Municipality of Pontiac last weekend during another heat wave. In particular, I couldn’t help but be impressed with Aylmer at this time of year: so many homes well cared for, many under renovation. Aylmer’s yards and gardens are fantastic! There are flowers everywhere and the town’s big trees are most impressive in full leaf as they provide us the mass air-conditioning only trees can provide. Old Aylmer, especially. Each street I travelled seemed colourful, breezy, and well-maintained, showing pride – and, I’m certain, showing a Canadian determination to enjoy summer while we have it, even when it’s a scorcher.
Parc des cedres and the Marina were something out of a movie set (or an Impressionist painting) – every picnic table was occupied, coloured with tableclothes, picnic hampers and coolers, towels and toys, guitars, even badminton – families had strung up hammocks among the park’s many trees, and the play-structure activity was near-industrial, without being frantic. Good moods were on order, everyone mellow, even enjoying the heat. The water, not terribly busy, had kids doing their kid stuff and I noted two adults far out swimming alone with their dogs. Further out, sailboats completed the painterly scene, plus sail-boards, motorboats, kayaks and other craft.
Down Principale, I was again impressed with the great job the city has done in re-designing this heritage artery. Flowers everywhere – with the shops and patios a big part of the summery atmospherics. Most places of business that I noticed were sparkling, busy and cheerful. The restaurant patios were well-populated, umbrellas up, sidewalks active, music – the whole district clean as a whistle! And all of this even before APICA’s coming rue Principal festival.
North Aylmer, Mountain and Vanier roads, Highway 148, Lucerne and Deschenes .... Gatineau Park and its lakes must have been idyllic, teeming with couples and families. I wondered why any of us would pack up and leave to vacation elsewhere. We already have our destination, it seems clear, and it’s not a sweltering city or bare suburb, not big highways, not shopping centres. Why even talk of boycotts? We have so much to enjoy and take pleasure in, so many opportunities to relax and to catch up with our own spirits – let’s forget the over-heated politics and the hyperbole. Autumn will bring seriousness. Right now we’ve a home-town feeling the world would envy.