National Geographic : 1958 Jan
Lauzon N As I watched, one of the matchsticks wig gled. My host motioned with his hand. "Voila!" he said. "Allez-y. Go to it." Care fully I pulled up the vibrating line. My tommycod turned out to be seven inches long and a bit too squirmy to suit me. So my host threw it out the window to join a dozen companions in nature's quick-freeze. On a small island close to the eastern bank of the Sainte Anne River stands a graceful, sprawling house that dates from 1820-the home of Mlles. Cecile and Jeanne Marcotte. I found these leading authorities on La Pe rade's annual fish fest with M. Auguste Bari beau, the town's courtly former mayor. "What can I tell you about ice fishing?" M. Baribeau beamed. "Ah, we have such good times. Earlier this year there were 750 cabanes. They stretched out for almost a mile along the river." Jeanne Marcotte said: "Many friends come from Quebec and Montreal to fish at La Pe rade. Then, I tell you, everyone is happy laughing and telling stories. Maybe Henri brings his accordion, and Jean pulls out a harmonica; then we sing." M. Baribeau reminisced in a soft, clear baritone, "Youpe, youpe, sur la riviere...." "You're not supposed to make noise while fishing," said Cecile, "but when there are 10 or 12 people in one hut, you can't help it. And you should hear the whoop that goes up at the first catch. "In the old days," Cecile went on nostal gically, "we used oil lamps, and it was very pretty to see the lights wink as the people came down the hill. And maybe a sleigh would jingle past. Now electric wires are strung along the streets of the ice village and there are lights and radios in the cabanes. Just this year, helas, someone even put a TV in his hut." Tinted Ice Sculptures Brighten Streets I drove back to Quebec City along the winding highway that skirts the north bank of the St. Lawrence. Glistening ice sculptures brightened the city's streets and squares; a cluster near the Chateau Frontenac was dyed pink, blue, and yellow. An enormous stylized crown of ice blocks stood before the provincial Parliament Buildings. The big news in Quebec continued to be the Campbell brothers. Their 10 straight curling victories had set the stage for a dra matic climax to the bonspiel, and I went to watch them in their final match on the ice of the Quebec Winter Club. Garnet Campbell, youngest of the brothers, served as "skip," or captain. The skip's sta tion is just behind the target, and he directs the play of each teammate with a combina tion of arm and broom signals. The remain ing two team members stand ready with their brooms to sweep the path of the stone to "keep it coming." A skillful sweeper is a tremendous asset to any rink, and tests have shown that adroit broom handling can add as much as 15 feet to the average cast. The Campbells had a brisk, competent man ner on the ice; their deliveries were so accu rate that little sweeping was necessary. The army of spectators watched spellbound as the brothers racked up dazzling shot after daz zling shot. So quiet and attentive was the crowd that the only sound I could hear in the immense hall was the rumble of the stones as they slid along the ice. Finally the last stone skidded down the alley, the crowd roared, and the Campbells grinned jubilantly. They had defeated Que bec's own Etchemin team 11-9, captured all three major awards-and become the first ever to go through the bonspiel undefeated.