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Going North: Of Canada Day and Rochester, NY, Jazz, Poutine and Tim Horton’s

For Canada Day, and I am reflecting on my circuitous route from Edmonton, AB to Lansdale, PA and my vacation to Rochester for the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival.  2012 was the 4th year Stratoz and I have made the journey north for the festival, as we both love jazz and I particularly love going north in the summer.  We stayed with our friends who Stratoz met through his blog, and enjoyed good company and 5 nights of jazz.  The Nordic jazz venue was a favorite of ours, with Sunna Gunnlaugs trio from Iceland, and other musicians from even farther north than Rochester.

Milestone Glass, Rochester, NY. Photo by Wayne Stratz.
Milestone Glass, Rochester, NY. Photo by Wayne Stratz.

On the way to my pilgrimage to Tim Horton’s for a maple dip donut and coffee, we rediscovered Milestone Glass Creations, and got some fine sheets of glass as souvenirs of our trip.  I remember Timmy’s from my youth, the shop on Whyte Ave in Edmonton, and I still do not understand why something as delicious as  maple glazed donuts are so scarce in the US.  Rochester is far enough north that Tim Horton’s has infiltrated.

Tim Hortons Coffee and Maple Glaze, Photo by Wayne Stratz.
Tim Hortons Coffee and Maple Glaze, Photo by Wayne Stratz.

Most unexpectedly, our friend Kathryn alerted us to the Le Petit Poutine truck parked at Abilene, one of the jazz fest venues, with owners from Quebec.  I had not partaken of  poutine since the night the Edmonton Oilers won the Stanley Cup, and all the food trucks were out for the revelers downtown.  In the interim, I became a vegetarian, but happily, Le Petit Poutine has a vegetarian version of the luscious gravy, fries and cheese curds, topped with fresh thyme.   Apparently, the name “poutine” comes from an Acadian word for “mess” and yes, it’s a big delicious mess, and being descended from Acadians, I approve.

Mmm...Le Petit Poutine, Rochester NY food truck
Mmm…Le Petit Poutine, Rochester NY food truck

The final thing to evoke Canada for me was the accent I kept hearing in lines for jazz venues, almost Canadian in inflection, with some Chicago thrown in.  I don’t know why I didn’t notice this in previous years, but apparently Rochester has its own dialect.  People were always delighted and surprised to discover we had come up from Philadelphia to the festival.A jazz bonus:  Taurey Butler trio ended the festival for us, and he was a wonderful pianist, from East Orange, NJ who discovered Oscar Peterson(Canadian), and after a degree in engineering and Japanese, eventually started playing jazz piano, and moved to Montreal, Oscar’s hometown.

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