My First County Christmas I always promised myself that when my kids were launched, I would move to the country with my horses and my dogs. And I did - Hemmingford Township, a farming community in South Western Quebec, an hour’s drive from Montreal. On my first country Christmas, I received a beautiful box wrapped in velvet. Only it wasn’t a gift. It was the ashes of my Australian Shepherd, Lola. At six years old, she had her neck broken during a morning walk on Le Sentier du Paysan - the municipal bike path near my house. December 3rd 2011, my husband Don was walking the path off Route 219 between Hemmingford and Sherrington. Lola caught a scent and bolted into the bush. The scent was bait and Don found Lola, writhing in agony, her neck crushed between thick wires, dying in a spring-loaded body trap. She didn't die instantly. Her eyes never left Don the whole time he was trying to free her, as if she was saying, “Why is this happening to me?” Before that day, I didn’t know that in Sector 84, trapping season lasts from October 25th to April 15th for some species; I didn’t know that anyone over twelve who passes a course and fills out a form can put traps anywhere on their property. And I bought into the myth that these traps are somehow humane. My city-slicker self never imagined that it could be perfectly legal to put deadly traps so close to a public recreation space, or that the person laying those traps is not required to mark them so a dog walker, a kid on a snowmobile, or a cyclist who needs to pee in the bushes can protect themselves. I went to the Hemmingford Township office and was greeted by a worker who pointed out that it’s actually my dog that is potentially lethal as she can attack and kill if not on a leash. I asked him how often dangerous dog attacks happened on this touristic path, and he had to admit the answer was NEVER! On the other hand, the local vet said this is a regular occurrence, dogs and cats dying, necks broken by unmarked spring loaded traps. The day I got Lola, I made a deal. I’d protect her from fast cars and bad people. And in return, I’d have a faithful friend. When I buried Lola, I renewed the promise. I would work to change the by-law and enact a safety zone area around touristic areas. I would oblige trappers to post signs on their property where trapping does occur. I wrote articles in the local press. I went on radio with my sad story. And then I received another piece of advice from the local vet. Shut up about hunting and trapping if you don’t want your other dog to be killed. So I did. I still live in the country. But when my dog was killed, so were my illusions.
by Wayne Chan | May 3rd 11:55 am
My daily commute is like a small gear of mechanical time, of epicycles upon epicycles, where days turn to months and to years, and the seasons cycle through. The rhythms of time are constant, but the changes they bring are not.
by george ilsley | May 3rd 1:44 pm
The neighborhood of Broma in Vancouver (around Broadway and Main) used to have salmon streams and a temperate rainforest. Now it has hipsters.
by Brendan Harrison | Apr 12th 12:54 pm
When white supremacists moved into my neighbourhood, I was forced to reconsider what community meant to me.
by Monica Meneghetti | May 2nd 11:45 pm
Queer Banffites come in every stripe but, like other wildlife, most of us are well-camouflaged.
by Christin Geall | May 3rd 10:16 pm
In my neighborhood, houses float out to sea. They’re jacked up from their foundations, lifted onto trucks, and barged away.