This a reprint of an article that appeared in the August Edition of Canadian Living Magazine.
Before I visit my home town of Saint-Lambert, Que, a spring enters my step. My mother still lives there, so the joy of seeing her doubles the pleasure of going home.When I was a child, the annual La Fete de Saint-Lambert meant a pancake breakfast in the town square and the chance to spend my allowance at the sidewalok sale. As an adult, these few days in August which I still faithfully attend, fill me with a sense of belonging and unabashed pride for this city that combines the je ne sais quoi of Quebec culture with parks aplenty and genteel bilingual coexistence.
At the centre of Saint-Lambert is what the town's 21,500 residents affectionately call The Village.
There you'll find the basics, as well as a fromagerie, a pasta shop, and Taylor's, the three-story department store where Montreal magician Magic Tom used to entertain the kids.
Two of my favourite treats can be found in tThe Village: a perfectly delicate croissant filled with a generous ribbon of dark chocolate at Aux Beaux Tilleuls, and the terrasse menu at L'Ancien Chablis (the fire station is kitty-corner to the restaurant and sometimes adds a little dinnertime excitement). Beyond The Village are tree-lined streets - Pine, Oak and Maple Avenues to name a few - perfect for walk-andtalk with friends.
Saint-Lambert's added bonus is that it's across the river from utterly cool Montreal. The big-city lights were close enough to make cosmopolitan living part of my upbringing, but far enough to to make getting to know the pizzazz of Montreal a graduated pastime.
Saint-Lambert is the recurring backdrop of my life: My grandparents settled there, my parents lovingly raised my sister and me there, and my husband wisely proposed to me in front of Bijouterie Rivet (the Saint-Lambert version of Tiffany and Co).
My eyes well with tears each time I leave, driving under the canopy of trees along Logan Street, passing familiar parks that whisper tales of my teenage years, crossing Victoria Bridge with a view of Mount Royal and then merging onto Highway 20 westbound to Ottawa. Once again, I'm leaving home.