Saguenay - the winter capital of Canada?
There cannot be many places as beautiful in the winter as the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region in Quebec. I made a series of videos there last winter for the tourism people and truly tested out the capabilities of my thrummed mittens, I can tell you. The videos are being posted on the SaguenayLacSaintJean Youtube channel. You can watch the first one here...
The story behind the video....
|Meeting horseman Jean Gagné.|
Jean Gagné is a Saguenay character. Right down to his floppy hat. You know this the moment you meet him. I was filming at his Centre Équestre des Plateaux in L'Anse Saint Jean where, together with a partner, he offers horse rides in the snow. Only trouble is his horses are on top of a hill and the road is snowed in, so you have to get a lift on his snowmobile and sled to get to the top. It was well below freezing but a brisk jaunt up the hill is enough to make your eyes water.
|Jean and his horses|
The horses, he tells me, love the snow and have grown winter coats to keep warm. They are certainly a sight as they nuzzle up together in the field, a light snow falling around them. We film riders on the trails and I'm transported by the enthusiastic Jean on his snowmobile through the forest to keep ahead of the horses. It's idyllic out here and I'm not surprised that Jean has built a home here on the edge of the woods. In winter horse rides are either half day or multi-day treks. It's especially quiet as your horse pads down the slopes in the woods - the snow sound proofs everything.
|A scene from the video|
He tells me the local community is a friendly one made up of artisans and family-run businesses. Quebec winters are in the blood. Snow and horses are part of our culture, he says. We are invited into his home to warm up after filming. I gaze out the window at the horses below. I get the impression that this is a very happy man - nestled here in the snowy hills for six months. As we said goodbye after another bracing snowmobile journey - I was just a bit jealous of his life at the top of the hill.
|Help. I'm from England.|