Come for the vegetables; stay for the art; leave with the ice cream.
Every Saturday morning in the summer in Old Chelsea, there is an open-air market selling locally grown vegetables, home baking, and handicrafts.
The market is located directly behind the former priest’s residence for St. Stephen’s Church, at 212 Old Chelsea Road. (Heading north from Hull on Autoroute 5, take exit 12.) Once done shopping, take a few minutes to look inside the former priestly abode. It now is an art gallery called La Fabrique, but generally known as La Fab.
An exhibition, running until July 28, recently opened. About 30 local artists are represented over the two floors of exhibition space.
A small ground-floor shop also sells handicrafts, including the very trendy hand-dyed wool of Wakefield’s Kathryn Drysdale, who used to be primarily known as a painter. In fact, two of her wax and goache on board creations are on view on the second floor. Check them out, they are among the best works in the show.
The Municipality of Chelsea, which includes the village of Old Chelsea, is known as an artists’ community. And there are some fine artists there. Some of them live just down the road from me. There are also a lot of people in Chelsea holding paintbrushes who wish they were artists but are perhaps best termed Sunday Painters. Many of them are represented in the current exhibition.
But do go see the show. There are some roses among the many thistles.
Photo-artist Adrienne Herron is definitely one of the roses. She has created a series of painterly photographs of forests. But she uses a slow shutter speed and jiggles the camera ever so slightly. The results are forests, moody and mystical.
The other roses include painters Reid McLachlan, Marie-France Nitski, Pamela Cockcroft-Lasserre, the aforementioned Drysdale and, for me, a new discovery: Claudia Salguero, who was represented in the show by two photographs transferred to aluminum. Music Under the Bridge was my favourite Salguero. It was a dramatic and poetic shot of the underbelly of the bridge where Wellington Street in Ottawa turns into Rideau Street. The multi-talented Salguero is also a Latin jazz vocalist.
Once you have purchased your veggies and checked out the roses, head down the street for some lunch. My favourite eatery in Old Chelsea these days is Biscotti (6 ch. Scott), across from a large National Capital Commission free parking lot. At Biscotti, one finds great homemade sandwiches and pastries. Those looking for something stronger than coffee can stop at Chelsea Pub (238 Old Chelsea Rd.). For dessert, go to La Cigale (14 ch. Scott), right beside Biscotti, and get the best ice cream cones this side of paradise.
Now, doesn’t that sound like a great day?