It’s the middle of winter. Icicles glitter from the roofs, white covers the ground. Nothing is further away than the thought of patio furniture. At least that’s what you may think if you’re from the “warm” south – southern Ontario that is.
I had the pleasure of spending a few days in Quebec over the holidays. About an hour from Montreal, you’ll find the Eastern Townships with Lake Magog, Mount Orford and other spectacular views. A beautiful area with lots of activities; skiing, snowshoeing, snowtubeing, skating, just to name a few. In summer, the area is well known for its gorgeous lakes which attract thousands of people from Montreal and other parts of the country, seeking a wonderful outdoor experience.
Unfortunately, temperatures this holiday season were a bit chilly. My nose turned white and without any sensation whatsoever while skiing. I could not feel my toes even with heat pads within a mere 10 minutes of skating around Lake Magog. So I gave up on the outdoor activities, running the risk of being called “wimp from the South”.
As soon as I returned to the hotel, I headed for the wellness area. The sauna warmed me up nicely. To my surprise, in the hottub even the tough local breed was wearing their toques. Which in retrospect made a lot of sense. My wet hair had frozen into a messy pile of icicles.
On the patio, there is a hotel employee lighting a fire. Solid outdoor furniture wraps around the metal fire pit. A picnic table is brought out, a thermos and cups follow. Guests start gathering, some sit close together on the benches, some are standing right by the fire. There is hot chocolate for the kids and mulled wine for the grown-ups. It tastes delicious and the scent of the fire complements the wonderful atmosphere. Me standing there in -24 (-37 windchill) with flip-flops amuses the locals and we talk for a while. Seems like I earned some respect for daring to immerse in a true “experience Quebecois”.
This is how patio furniture got to play a pivotal role in the cold Canadian winter. If you are inspired, check out the new collection at Velago.