TEN GREAT FIRST DATES: SEEKING SANCTUARY

Warning: Just because you go somewhere spectacular on a first date don’t assume that the date will also be spectacular.

Parc des Rapides is one of my favorite places in Montreal. It’s a bird sanctuary. You will find it as a tourist attraction in Lonely Planet, Fodors, Tripadvisor, Tourism Montreal, Montreal sites and attractions and so forth. Yet, few Montrealers know about this wonderful wild and peaceful oasis along the St. Lawrence Seaway.

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What makes it unique is the contrast of the rapids churning on one side and the reservoir of calm water that flows through the dam built by Hydro Quebec on the other side.

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This park is one of my favorite meeting places with my friend and writing buddy, Thelma. Our walks usually end up with us chatting about our writing or the men we date. At the time I met Thelma, she was well into a paranormal romance novel, while I was writing a psychological crime novel. Our novels finished, drafted a zillion times and polished we are still looking for an agent or publisher and debate about going the self-publishing route. You have to understand that we do not embrace ebooks with the same enthusiasm as those in their twenties or thirties. We’re barely half way over the stigma hurdle of self-publishing.

Because Thelma was leaving for a trip to Italy in a few days, I asked her to join me at the park for my photographs of this post of great first dates.

“I’ve taken over a dozen men here on a first date,” she told me. “It’s a much more natural environment than having to sit across someone in a noisy coffee shop examining how his nose is too big,  his teeth too crooked, or OMG he put six packs of sugar in his coffee!”

As I clicked away, sorry that I didn’t have a powerful lens to photograph the huge turtles lying on a rock or the cormorants in the middle of the seaway, I listened to her first date tales.

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“Not one of them,” she claimed, “Turned into a second date.”

Click. Click.

I mentally made a list of reasons why she’d rejected them.

He threw his Kleenex on the ground. “Hey,” she told him, “You’re polluting my environment.” His reply: They’ve got somebody to pick it up.

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On another date, at dusk she and her date were walking along the rose-bush path. There was no one around when he told her, “You know I could take you right here.”

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Then she had the date where a flock of birds flew by and her date said “God, I wish I’d have brought along my gun. I love shooting birds for sport.”

  • There was the crazy man who at the end of their walk said, “So, what do you think? Do you want to see me again?” This is always a difficult situation to be in. Thelma said, “I just don’t think that there’s anything between us.” His response: “You’re the first woman to tell me that.” Really! She thought. Hard to believe. This is the same man who showed her his driver’s license to prove he was who he claimed to be, after asking if her teeth were REAL. “I felt like a horse at an auction,” she said.

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In spite of these first date disappointments, this park is a wonderful place to get to know someone. Is he a nature lover? Does the quietness bother him? You get to know someone much quicker by walking in nature than you do among a crowd coming and going talking on their cells. Not to say that being in nature is a guarantee that a fellow will turn off his cell phone. There’s nothing more annoying and disrespectful than having a date constantly pulling aside to take a call. Worse still, to make one.

Things like this, ladies, do happen.

It was late September and there weren’t any rafters, but if you go there in the summer time you’re likely to see this:

© Luc Girouard - Rafting - Jet Boating Montréal          image courtesy of http://www.tourisme-montreal.org

18 thoughts on “TEN GREAT FIRST DATES: SEEKING SANCTUARY

  1. BE AWARE OF THE FACT THAT WHAT TO EXPECT FROM A BIRD SANTUARY, COULD END-UP BEING A RARE BIRD. FROM WHAT I READ, YOU DID MEET WITH A NUMBER OF THEM, SHOULD HAVE BROUGHT MY GUN, SPORT BIRD SHOOTING.. LOL

  2. There certainly are a lot of rare birds around.Yes, you should have been our body guard. I appreciate tremendously your comments on my posts. Thanks.

  3. I LOVE the photos in this post (but then, this wild bird sanctuary is one of my favourite spots). Whether you have a date to bring along or not, it’s a wonderful place to visit!

    Sometimes it’s better enjoyed in solitude. Just bring along a journal in case you get inspired to write something, and of course bring your camera.

  4. Another thoughtful and interesting post. “… asking if her teeth were REAL.” I hadn’t heard that one before. I’m enjoying reading you First Date series.

  5. What a wonderful idea for a date (except in Montreal winters, perhaps?) Your stories are funny!

    I have been through some lovely parks in Montreal, but not that one. I had a date at one where there was a petting zoo. It was a wonderful place for a walk and lots to talk about. It was not at all a first date, but it was a good one. Made for great pictures and nice memories.

  6. This was sad, Carol, but you found out more about this guy than if you had stayed together to eat dinner. Good idea, just the wrong guy! Smiles, Robin

    • Thanks, Robin for reading this series. It was one of my first ones. The “research” for this series was a lot of fun and, although I didn’t meet Prince Charming, my encounters were mostly pleasant. 🙂

  7. I loved reading this…the beautiful photos right beside the “one day this will be a funny story” dates. In NYC, it’s always a quick drink or coffee.

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