A personal view of Knowlton, Quebec, the Eastern Townships most beautiful village.

Townships new therapeutic laughter center
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With the Montreal Canadiens going in to the Stanley Cup Playoffs it is surely time to laugh...laugh...laugh and be happy!The AVIVA Spa, the new wellness centre, located in the beautiful Qullliams Hotel on Lac Brome will be offering a range of courses in the new advanced laughter technique Laughercize. This new round of "Laughercize" starting in Knowlton is further proof that there is more to The Eastern Townships of Quebec than just Maple Syrup and the Big Brome Fair! Already a prime destination for visitors and one of the most desirable places to live in all of Quebec, Brome Lake is now being known as the home to such innovative and fun activities as the "Laughercize" program!

Laughercize was created by filmmaker Albert Nerenberg, who developed the method by fusing therapeutic laughter with exercise. Laughercize yields health benefits, fights stress and elevates mood. A series of new Laughercize sessions begin in March and April including: Introduction to Laughercize, Advanced Laughercize and Laughercize for couples.

Nerenberg who teaches some of the classes, says he is delighted to be at AVIVA. “It’s a perfect location, fantastic air wide open spaces, and stunning views,” he said. Quilliams is often less than an hour from Montreal by car centrally located in the Townships. Montrealers can come down for a weekend and go home with a new exercise technique under their belts.

Laughercize, has taken off in the Townships with capacity classes and some of the graduates adding to the method.

Students Adding to the Technique

”One of the challenges of the practice since it is group driven, is how to you bring it home” said Nerenberg is who is also CBC Radio Noon’s Laughologist. “ One of our graduates Margaret Zurbrigg developed a technique of laughing in the shower. It sounds crazy but it works.”

The laughter of children is one of the major inspirations for the Laughercize program!Shower Laughter was featured on several Montreal radio stations. “I believe we’re at the ground floor of the laughter movement,” said Chris Severs founder of the AVIVA SPA SANTE. “Therapeutic laughter is a new and effective and fun form of fitness and wellness, as well as mood elevation. And Laughercize is the most comprehensive and
enjoyable technique to date.”

Laughercize is suited to all ages including seniors who often find it less strenuous and more enjoyable then other forms of fitness.The AVIVA SPA SANTE specializes in positive wellness and health practices.

Laughercize is based on recent scientific discoveries that prove laughter helps blood circulation, strengthens immunity and can fight depression. As well, it’s a form of fitness. However, to reap the benefits people need to laugh for reasonable lengths of time, which is where Laughercize comes in. People often laugh for half an hour at a time in the sessions. Nerenberg is plans to train Laughercize instructors. With Laughercize headquartered here, the plan is to turn the Eastern Townships as a
centre for therapeutic laughter.

Albert Nerenberg is the hilarious mastermind behind Laughercize as well as the creator of many documentary films that have enjoyed major success throughout Canada!”Nothing says Joie de vivre like Quebec’s Eastern Townships,” said Nerenberg.

People interested in classes can call 450-242-2927 or email [email protected] or visit the laughercize website at http://www.laughercize.com

The Quilliams Hotel is at 572 Lakeside on beautiful Lac Brome.

For more information on the Laughercize program look back at this DestinationKnowlton.com article: Laughter: The Best Medicine for The Eastern Townships

Day of Celebration at Arts Sutton
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Hélène Latulippe La Reine de la nuit Glass and mixed media 40 x 40 x 20 cm
With the month of March coming in like a lion and showing us, with this last major snowstorm, that winter in the Eastern Townships is not yet over we often need to find activities that can help us beat the cabin-fever and winter blahs that tend to set in around this time of year.

But can someone tell me how do we stay positive when there is nothing but a cold bone-fingered windchill greeting us for breakfast? Getting plenty of exercise is one way to keep the body and mind fit and happy when all around us is bitter cold, darkness and high heating bills! Image courtesy of Arts Sutton and the artist Hélène Latulippe - La Reine de la nuit - Glass and mixed media - 40 x 40 x 20 cm

One of the best places to keep in shape in Knowlton is at Brome Lake Fitness where you’ll find residents and visitors working out and getting healthy lifestyle tips and encouragement from the friendly and professional staff. In-expensive monthly and yearly memberships are available at the Gym as well as walk-in rates and they have a tanning bed too; I’ve gone from a chunky gluttonous blob to a handsome chiseled physique (well...sort of) in only a few months thanks to the help of Alan “Gut Grinder” Gauthier and Jessica “Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone” Brown...check it out...why not make a change for the better before Spring hits and you fall out of you bathing suit like groceries from a wet paper bag! Visit Brome Lake Fitness.

Another great way to feel positive and happy and re-set your outlook on life is to have a close encounter of the artistic kind. Knowlton is lucky to have the Gallerie Knowlton, a warm and eclectic art gallery at the heart of the village, home to unique art and wonderful gifts created by local and internationally renowned artists. Visit The Gallerie Knowlton Website.

When it comes to viewing original art and experiencing new trends in the world of artistic expression we are also fortunate to be so close to such lovely towns as Sutton which is home to Arts Sutton, one of the premiere art galleries outside of Lac Brome that is constantly striving to innovate and showcase new and exciting Quebec and Canadian artists. Sutton is only a short drive from Lac Brome and is the home to many exceptional restaurants, boutiques and a fantastic ski hill.

Currently Arts Sutton Gallery is welcoming Spring with a festive show by three Montreal artists: Hélène Latulippe, Sacha Marie Levay and Claude Prairie. Titled “Day of Celebration,” the show will run from March 15 – April 13 and will be an oasis of joy, lightness and pleasure.

The show will open on Saturday, March 15 at 2 pm; the artists will be present. Each artist addresses the theme of celebration in her own way: Hélène Latulippe through her theatre of objects from the neighbourhood hardware store, working with a vocabulary that develops around a simple form, bright colours and everyday objects. All of her works in Puttin’ on the Ritz are playful figures with unusual personalities.

Sacha Marie Levay captures moments from the past in wood, wax and pigments: echoes of music, dance, laughter and tears. Her watercolours and wood sculptures express the pure emotions experienced in daily life.

Claude Prairie-Vase à un pied Ceramic 12 x 13 x 10 cmClaude Prairie takes a vase and invites us to look at it from a new perspective. She shapes clay in a way that shows her sensitivity to the dual nature of the material. An expert in nuance, her works offer the visitor an exploration of variations, taking us on a waltz between the original utilitarian function of the object and its purely formal characteristics. Image courtesy of Arts Sutton and the artist Claude Prairie Vase à un pied Ceramic 12 x 13 x 10 cm

Come play with us at the special opening event with masks on March 15 at 2 pm. The theatre troop Mobile Home will be performing.

The Galley is located at 7 Academy in Sutton. The gallery and offices are open from Thursday to Sunday, from 11 am to 5 pm.

For more info contact Catherine Audet at Arts Sutton Gallery 450.538.2563 inf[email protected] Visit the Arts Sutton Galerie D'art Website at http://www.artssutton.com/

Winter Storm Hits Eastern Townships
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Saturday evening in Knowlton it was starting to look very messy!The 29th snow storm of the year pounded the Townships bringing a bit of everything, allowing us to sample climactic delicacies from all over Canada; from pouring rain like in Vancouver to gale forced winds like at the Alert Weather Station in Nunavut, this storm gave us a taste of all!

The start of the weekend was literally the calm before the storm. Saturday saw temperatures climbing up above freezing and then all day the rain got heavier and heavier and the Coldbrook was threatening her banks and huge pools of mushy ugliness built up on roads all over Knowlton. Roads were closed throughout Quebec and many of us were glad to be living in the small town of Knowlton as those poor Montreal residents must be going through a special kind of snow hell!

When the rain turned to ice rain the tree branches began to feel the weight of the ice and many were cracking and tumbling to the ground. Luckily the ice rain turned to snow and throughout the night the warm air melted most of the snow so there was not an emergency ice storm like the big bad one a decade ago.

Winds picked up and blowing snow started into Sunday and huge piles of snow created snow dunes and winds were expected to be gusting over 100 km/h in some areas, luckily The Eastern Townships is not expected to see such strong winds but more snow is going to be falling and with the winds it's a good time to stay home and curl up under a blanket and sleep until May!

Beautiful snow drifts formed during the blowing snowstorm!At least there is some good news this weekend: Panissimo, Knowlton's favorite artisan bakery and bread emporium, has started selling fresh croissants! Up until now Panissimo only sold a variety of baked bread, and while it is the best bread in the region surpassing Owl's Bread in flavor and quality, it is great that they will now be serving up fresh baked croissants starting every morning. Panissimo opens daily at 8am so go and get your fresh croissants and tell them you read the news here on DestinationKnowlton.com!

Saturday saw heavy rains and temperatures hovering around freezing and the storm warning sent people scurrying for their emergency candles and extra blankets as it looked like a major winter storm would make it's way in to The Eastern Townships.

Many of us remember where we were during the Quebec Ice Storm of 1998 and how we were without power for days and suffered immense losses of trees that buckled under the weight of the heavy frozen ice. Well, it looks like we might have a little bit of deja vu all over again as the rain started pouring down on Knowlton, Lac Brome and the Eastern Townships in what is looking to be a real messy weekend!

While it may not be as exciting as the last great Ice Storm and may be only considered a winter storm with a bit of freezing rain it still had people wondering what to expect as they sat down to dinner.

By 5 PM on Saturday, Lac Brome work crews were busy trying to open up storm drains on Victoria Street as the snow from last night turned to thick slush in the rain and blocked the drains and made driving hazardous. Victoria Street is already a pock marked mess like some sort of pot-hole slalom course and the huge piles of slush that started forming on Saturday didn't help. Cars sent slushy spray flying into other cars and the police were busy with accidents as drivers, once again, fail to realize that pouring rain and temperatures at the freezing point can be a be a complicated mix.

Sunday, With the temperatures plummeting and the high winds the roads are a mixture of ice covered potholes with ridges of solidly frozen tire tracks with large snow dunes!

With so many trees having poorly placed hydro quebec lines it's no wonder the power goes out. You'd think the Hydro Quebec brainiacs would have thought of this when they set up their poles? Snow from last night gradually turned into a steady rain as a trough of low pressure passed over the Townships. The entire Eastern Seaboard has been pummeled by a monster winter storm recently and it looks like it's now our turn! While the daylight can make frozen branches look rather beautiful it is the weight of the frozen snow combined with high winds that cause branches to fall and break power lines and damage property.

Power and cable services started fading off and on just after 6pm and with violent winds being forecast for the night along with several more mm of freezing rain. Ice pellets and high winds! This is the sort of nightmare scenario that leaves hockey fans in doubt of watching their Hockey Night in Canada on a Saturday night! For some of us that is enough to make us want to buy an emergency generator...what would happen if we lost power during the playoffs!?

And why do these havoc-wreaking storms always seem to hit on a weekend? Why doesn't this sort of thing happen on a Tuesday so we can have a few days off work instead of ruining our weekends!

Such is the mischievous side of Mother Nature!

Blowing snow turned streets in Knowlton into desolate and uninviting stretches of misery!Tree branches started tumbling in the early afternoon around Knowlton as a warning that maybe candles and camp stoves would be in use over the rest of the weekend. The IGA in Knowlton was busy as residents and visitors stocked up on supplies in advance of the storm. Skiers must be madder than Jasey-Jay with a hangover as this weekend at Bromont and Sutton look to be washouts!

As people sat down to supper they could only imagine and wait in anticipation as to what the night would bring. When Environment Canada issues severe storm warnings it's always a good idea to take them seriously and this looks like it's going to be a long and dark night!

At least the storm won't be getting any worse...it's still bad...almost as bad as the chances that the Leafs will make the playoffs, but if we have to light a few candles and cook using fondue pots because we lose electricity so be it! I tell you one thing...it really makes me treasure those few precious weeks I got to spend in Hawaii in January.

What adds insult to this icy injury is we are also switching to Daylight Savings Time this weekend and so we get one less hour of sleep before we have to wake up and start shovelling our cars out from under a mountain!!

Well...it's a good thing it's March and not December and we're almost at the end of Winter. And at least now you will be able to fuel up for the day of shovelling with fresh n' hot croissants from Panissimo! Oops...I guess you have to shovel out your car first! Hang in there!

Group Believes in Knowlton's Revival
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Located in the center of Knowlton; the Arts and Antiquities Co-op brings together local artisans who share a positive and progressive vision of Knowlton! There’s a new wave of creativity happening in Knowlton and coupled with a good dose of retail savvy, it may well signal a rebirth of the village’s fortunes. Long a tourist centre from both a commercial and artistic point-of-view, Knowlton, of late, has been suffering the closure of many of its small boutiques and with that, the beginnings of rumours exclaiming the demise of the village.

Not so, say a group of artists and business people who are spearheading this new wave of optimism and positive action. “Arts & Antiquities ~ A La Carte” is a newly-formed coop of some 20 creative entrepreneurs that see the village as their home as well as their way of life. Having rented a large space in the heart of the village at One Lakeside Road, the group of artists, artisans and antique dealers have set up a mini shopping center of individuality and creativity that has yet to be seen in the Eastern Townships.

Products available at ‘Arts & Antiquites ~ A La Carte include handmade soaps and lotions, braided rugs, sculptures and paintings, lamps and lampshades and antiques that include china, glassware and furniture.

From the whimsical to the unbelievable, from the classic antiques to folk-art fancy; visitors can find everything in one central location in Knowlton!“We believe in Knowlton and we believe our collective creativity will attract and keep shoppers coming to Knowlton. People like us need to get together to showcase our respective artistic offerings and here we share the costs as well as our ideas which creates a great synergy. That translates into great shopping for the customer, “ enthuses group spokesperson Judith Duncanson, who is an antique dealer.

The group is also pleased that the Town of Brome Lake is taking a positive step towards the revitalization of the village core with action recommended by the ‘Fondation Rues principales’. “We are extremely pleased with this new effort and we will do everything possible to make it work,” says Duncanson. “We felt, however, that we had to do something now; not wait for a report.”

Members of the group are: Gail Bolton, naive art; Shannon Brown, painter; Nicole Brunet Moras, totes, hangbags, etc. made from re-cycled materials; Nathalie Cyr, stained glass; Suzanne Demers, frames and custom framing; Géraldine Dubé, handmade soaps & lotions; Judith Duncanson, antiques; Claire Globensky, doll houses; Anne Johnston, braided rugs; Pina Macku, hats & decorative arts; Elena Morgan, handmade soaps; Judy Mullins, Santa Clauses made from re-cycled materials; Thèrése Savard, mosaic-topped tables; Richard Shea, antique restoration & sales; Carolyn Smart, lamps & lamp shades ; Jack Walker, naive art, paintings & furniture; Tanya Workman, products for the body.

The creations of Carolyn Smart are some of the unique pieces you can find at the Knowlton Coop.This picture shows a small sample of the wonderful lamp creations of Carolyn Smart, who is one of the artists coming together to form the “Arts & Antiquities ~ A La Carte”. Carolyn creates original lamps from interesting objects, antiques, porcelains and candlesticks. She also make custom lampshades in a variety of styles for any decor style. More information on Carolyn Smart at www.tinkhamsmart.com

Arts & Antiquities ~ A La Carte is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday until May when it will be open 7 days a week. It is located in the Auberge Knowlton building, tucked cozily under the popular terrasse of Knowlton's favorite Inn. For further information, please contact: Judith Duncanson 450-242-2491

More information on the Auberge Knowlton at www.aubergeknowlton.ca
More information on Lac Brome at www.knowltonquebec.ca

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