Sketches of Life


Radio Canada International and its partners collaborated to bring you soundscapes and images of similar places in each of our countries: Canada, Poland, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Romania.

3rd episode: Markets

Jean Talon Market, in Montreal  (Québec, Canada)

The Jean Talon Market, founded in Montreal in 1933 and named in honour of the first governor of New France, is one of the largest markets in North America. It is open during the four seasons. Its visitors - more than 2.5 million in 2018, including tourists - purchase fruits, vegetables, produce, herbs and flowers from local farmers whose farms are generally within 50 km from the market.

Located in the district of Little Italy, this multicultural market is famous for the wealth of organic produce and regional products of the province of Quebec it offers to its visitors.

A market in Bucharest

The “Matache Măcelaru” Market is located within walking distance from North Station, the main train station in Bucharest, at the crossroads of Calea Griviței and Calea Buzești, the favourite place of merchants and tradesmen in the late 19th Century. One of them was butcher Loloescu Matache. He started doing business in the wake of the Romanian War of Independence, around 1879, when he started building the famous Matache hall, which has recently been demolished. Back then, the market was located on the outskirts of Bucharest. In 1948, it became the “Ilie Pintilie” state-owned market, named after a former Romanian communist leader. In the “Drumul Taberei” district in Bucharest, the main market has borne the name of another communist politician, Alexandru Moghioroş, for a long time. Soon after the fall of communism, it was renamed after the famous Romanian conductor Sergiu Celibidache. Going beyond its name, it is still the market of choice for the district dwellers.

A market in Bern, Switzerland

For over 130 years, a weekly market has been held on the Bundesplatz near the historic old town of the Swiss capital Bern. Local farmers offer their specialities directly in front of the parliament building. Not only many people from the population visit the market. It also attracts tourists - and sometimes you even see a minister shopping.



A market in Warsaw, Poland

Hala Mirowska is one of the largest markets in Warsaw. It was constructed in the beginning of the 20th century. The building was bombed during the Warsaw Uprising in 1944. Rebuilt in the 1950s, it was restored to its original function as a market and is now a place where different generations meet. It is also a popular spot for tourists, who come here to look for traditional and regional polish products, like sauerkraut, beetroot, sour cream, mushrooms, honey, fresh herbs, smoked cheese and sausage. The market consists also of a modern and very chic hall, but the real charm can be found only in the old area of the market.

A market in Prague, Czech Republic

A short distance from the city centre, the embankment Rašínovo nábřeží in Prague is filled with lovers of fresh, local products on Saturdays. The atmosphere of farmers’ markets, with their tastings, seating and often music, attracts locals and tourists. In recent years the number of markets has risen steadily and there are now more than 20 each week in the Czech capital alone. This signifies a revival of sales of fresh foods from regional producers, which was forcibly interrupted during the Communist period.

2nd episode: Train stations

Montreal Central Station (Québec, Canada)

Central Station opened in 1943. It is the second-busiest rail station in Canada, after Toronto's Union Station (Ontario, Canada).
The station is adorned with art deco bas-relief friezes on its interior and exterior walls.  The east and west interior walls of the station feature two large bas-reliefs depicting Canadian life, arts and industry. Included in the bas-reliefs are some of the lyrics of Canada's national anthem, O Canada. The lyrics are in French on the east side of the station and in English on the west side.

The North Station in Bucharest, Romania

The North Station in Bucharest is the biggest railway station in Romania. Approximately 300 trains are arriving in and departing from this station every day. The station was built between 1868 and 1872, the building being included on the list of historical monuments in Bucharest. Even if it was not designed to be the main station in Bucharest, it has become the main railway node of the Capital City and of Romania, but it was already too small to accommodate the growing flow of traffic as early as 1880. The communist period saw a spectacular growth in railway transport, but the number of passengers has plummeted all across Romania since 1990. Among other issues, the precarious state of the station also led to the reduction of rail traffic. As early as 1906, when the famous Orient Express train was inaugurated, the North Station in Bucharest was included as a stop on this route. At present, the Orient Express is running twice a year.

Main station in Zurich, Switzerland

Switzerland is known around the world for having a dense and well-organized railway network, where the trains run on time and to all corners of the country. That’s no small feat considering the Alps spread over about 60% of Switzerland’s geographical area. The Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) is the largest railway company and handles the majority of national and international traffic. According to the SBB, there are about 10,600 trains and 1.26 million passengers per day. Furthermore, there are about 800 railway stations and stops in Switzerland. Zurich main station is the largest of these: it has multiple platforms, facilities and shops above and below ground.

Railway station in Warsaw, Poland

Warszawa Centralna is the main railway station in Warsaw, Poland. It construction began in 1972 and was a flagship project during the Communist-era. The station is located in the very center of the city. Some years ago the grey concrete building had a refurbishment and the main hall has more light and a more friendly atmosphere. In 2017 Warszawa Centralna was used by 15,1 Million passengers. Every day nearly 1000 trains run through. You can catch a direct train to capitals like Vienna, Prague, Berlin, Budapest, Kiev or Moscow.

Main railway station in Prague, Czech republic

The main railway station in Prague is the largest passenger railway station in the Czech Republic. The historical building above the railroad is also the largest Art Nouveau monument in the country. Work on it started in 1869 and its present-day appearance is the result of a recent reconstruction made according to the original design by architect Josef Fanta.
The station handles 27 million passengers annually.

1st episode: Churches

Mass at the Shrine of Kateri Tekakwitha in Kahnawake, Quebec, Canada

Kateri Tekakwitha (1656-1680), a Mohawk woman from Kahnawake − an Indigenous community near Montreal (Quebec, Canada) −, was canonized by the Catholic Church in 2012. On October 21st 2018, a special mass was celebrated for the 6th anniversary of her canonization at the St. Francis Xavier Mission, in Kahnawake, which also houses her shrine. The choir sings in Mohawk and some of the prayers are also in that language.

Churches in Romania

86.5% of the Romanians have declared themselves Orthodox Christians, in the latest census. What's the sound of an Orthodox mass in Romania, in a centuries-old monastery with World Heritage frescoes in the region of Bukovina, in a district church, in the Patriarchal Cathedral in Bucharest or in a small wooden church in Maramures County?

A Church in Arlesheim, Switzerland

The majority of Swiss people are Christians, most of them Roman Catholics. A 2016 report showed that about 70% of Swiss visited a place of worship at most five times a year. The number of believers has dropped in the past few years. In October 2018, Arlesheim Cathedral community welcomed their new pastor Sylvester Ihuoma in a solemn mass. The cathedral was built in the 1680s and is known for its impressive late Baroque architecture.

A church in Warsaw, Poland

About 93% of Poles declare themselves to be Catholics. But even in Poland is the number of church service attendees falling. By 2016, the figure had dropped to 36.7%. Despite the fall, the Sunday mass remains for many Poles a very important part of life.

A church in Prague, Czech Republic

The Czech Republic is one of the most atheistic countries in the world. The number of believers has consistently been dropping and has halved in the course of the last two decades. Only a fifth of Czech citizens claim to belong to a faith. Only a tenth of believers go to church regularly, at least once a month. The Roman Catholic Church has the largest number of followers.

By RCI | Contact me
Sunday 4 November, 2018

Radio Canada International


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