Eric Chalifour – Site Analysis Manager
“Before the Circus Comes to Town”

Upon strolling onto a Cirque show site one is impressed by the grandeur of it all – from the fences that corral ticket holders, to the imposing spires of the tent and the bright blue and yellow colors of the canvas, not to mention the anticipation at the wonders within. But not as obvious upon first glance is the workhorse power behind the grandeur – not just the electrical cables snaking their way through the site like veins, or the water or sewer digestive tract, but the hiding-in-plain-sight network of beams, masts, supports, and cables – the bones and muscle – that hold the tent skin taut and upright.

Bringing a Cirque show to a city involves much more than just setting up the big top. It takes months, often several months of planning. Numerous departments and many people are involved. They are what you might consider the pioneers, the leading edge, of Cirque’s visit to a city.

If you’ve ever watched Cirque prepare a site, set up their tent, perform and then leave, you might have observed the transformation a site goes through. Parking lots become barren blacktop pads, park fields get massively terra-formed. The results of the efforts of the pre and post-visit crews were first made clear to my wife and me when Alegria visited Seattle in the summer of 2003. Before Cirque moved to its current Marymoor Park site Cirque set up in an expansive parking lot in the city of Renton, easily visible from the freeway. The parking lot was normally used as overflow parking for a Boeing aircraft manufacturing facility. Though the area was flat it had any number of curbs, streetlights, and markings. We were impressed when we visited the show how completely the lot had been restructured to accommodate Cirque’s small city. All of those offending obstructions had been completely removed, to the point it was hard to tell they had been there at all. And when we returned three weeks after the show had left, we found the site had been returned to almost exactly how it looked before – the curbs were in their proper place, landscaping and beauty bark had been placed and the area had been restriped. You could hardly tell Cirque had ever been there.

What we saw with Alegria fascinated us, so we decided to investigate further the next time Cirque came to town. We thought visiting a tent site prior to the arrival of the big top would be a good place to start. But beforehand we wanted to get some background information on what is actually involved before the circus arrives.

Back in April 2006, several weeks before Varekai arrived in Seattle, we spoke with Eric Chalifour, Analysis Manager for Cirque du Soleil, from his office in Montreal. Mr. Chalifour had been with Cirque du Soleil for four years at the time of our conversation. “I’m a land surveyor. I was working at my own company doing road surveys and locating buildings. But now instead of locating buildings I’m locating big tops!”

While it might seem like any number of sites might be able to host a Grand Chapiteau, it isn’t that simple. Long before the big top arrives, a small army of people have visited – measuring, analyzing, preparing. Mr. Chalifour started by explaining the process and his responsibilities.

“Site survey analysis is really important. We have six tours around the world with many site surveys being done at the same time. When the tour plan says we need to go to a particular city we have a department that seeks sites. So they visit a city and look for possibilities. Once possibilities are [identified] they ask me to visit the sites and measure them to see if there are any obstacles according to our tolerances. [We have to identify] parking facilities, visibility, sewer connections, availability of phone lines – many issues that need to be covered before saying that a site is correct for us. And we have [to create] a lot of drawings for permits such as evacuation & fire [prevention]. As a manager I supervise those activities and I’m in charge of drawings as well.”

Their measurements can tell a lot about the suitability of a site, but it’s only one ingredient in the mixture of factors Cirque considers. “Sometimes because of our recommendation they don’t go [to a site] because we tell them not to go because it’s a mistake. And sometimes they don’t listen. (Laughs) […] But there are other issues than ours. Visibility and availability of sites are sometimes a problem. The best sites logistically and construction-wise and cost-wise may not be available, but another site that might cost more might be available within our timeframe. There are many issues that determine which sites we will use. But when the Site Selection Committee meets they take our recommendations into account.”

What size makes for an ideal site? “We ask for 100 x 180 meters (around 300 x 600 feet). It can’t be flat because of rainwater, which is usually an issue for our patrons, so we always try to avoid water accumulation. When we do site construction and we have to start from scratch, say in a soccer field, we usually do a crown shape to let water flow down each side of the site. Under the big top we try to have as flat a surface as possible, because our stage and sets and backstage have close tolerances and there is no rain accumulation since we have a roof. But in the grandstand area we can have a little bit of slope.”

It is interesting to note that, though they will occasionally set up in parks, they never set up on bare grass. “Not the patron area [or] the big top area, those two areas will be paved. The back of the site and the rest of the area will be [well-compacted] gravel filling material. Because if we don’t compact it well our trailers will sink. We have to have a strong surface but not necessarily entirely paved; it’s costly to pave everything. The main issue for us is the patron. So we always try to figure out where the patrons will go and pave those areas.”

For Seattle, the size that has hosted Cirque du Soleil tents for several shows has been a specially-constructed pad of asphalt about 15 miles east of Seattle in Marymoor Park in the city of Redmond.

Mr. Chalifour discussed how the Marymoor Park site is different from many of the other types of sites they use, and how the site was created. “I was there personally at Marymoor Park. At the time it was a soccer field and they decided to develop the area into a park event area. They told us we were the biggest event they would have so if they build their [site] according to our specs they would be able to receive any other event. So we gave them our recommendations and they did the job according to our specs. They filled the place with gravel and added asphalt over a huge area to allow us to install our stuff. It has several fire hydrants, a sewer connection to catch our wastewater – the whole system is there. And after the work had been done we sent a guy to survey the site and it was perfectly done, so we are keen to go there. It’s already perfect for us. So we will do a week of marking without any site construction needed. And they can also use it for other events.”


We asked Mr. Chalifour what happens after the site has been decided upon. “If we look at the preparation of the site (before the tent arrives) and its restoration (after the tent leaves), we have two departments that work together: my department, Site Analysis and Marking, and Site Construction. We have a civil engineer in Site Construction who is the manager of several supervisors who go on-site and assist the contractor during site construction to make sure that their work is according to our specs. And we work together with them.”

“We first locate obstacles and analyze the situation and recommend any construction. We do a topographic survey where we do a drawing to read the surface. And when a slope is too high we know we need to correct it. So we calculate the amount of filling material we need, give the drawings to the civil engineer (in Site Construction) and he’ll hire someone to do the job.”

Sometimes quite a bit of work is needed to make a site suitable. “Depending upon the amount of work that needs to be done they might start one week or one month before or maybe two months if it’s a huge parcel with lots of obstacles. And we keep in touch with them during the construction process. And then we arrive one week before the first day of the setup.”

They are on a strict timetable, because the circus is on its way. “The last show occurs on Sunday and we remove everything by Tuesday, they travel on Tuesday night and start to set up in the new city on Wednesday. But all the markings have been done and the anchors and plates have been put in place ready for them, because we have two plate and stake kits. Then it takes nine days of set up before the premiere.”

“We use one supervisor with six temporary staff. My people do the locating of everything and the marking and stake driving. We rent a Bobcat and put a hydraulic hammer on it and [use it to] drive the stakes properly. I am the manager, I usually stay in Montréal, but we have a supervisor on-site.”

While the supervisor on-site is a Cirque employee, the rest of the crew are temporary Cirque staff. “They travel from one site to another. We call them fly-ins because they fly everywhere. We have a long list of fly-ins that we ask to travel from one site to another.” One crew travels the West Coast while another travels the East Coast. “Usually some stay in Europe and some in America because we have demands everywhere, but sometimes we don’t have a choice and we must call [Europeans] to help in the United States.”


After major site construction has been completed, and about a week prior to the arrival of the tent, Mr.Chalifour’s crew arrives. “We [first] need to prepare the site with markings. What we mean by markings is we note all the [site] infrastructure. We have to mark the location of the main tent, the main anchor, all the other tents and containers. It’s like a little city; it’s a lot of stuff. So we have to mark every single thing precisely because we don’t usually have lots of space. We take as little space as possible because the more space we take the more rent we have to pay. So we always take as little as we can.”

“We have the usual survey equipment, not just a single measuring tape. We need a theodolite or Total Station to measure everything. This operation takes a few days to a whole week – a few days to localize things and a few days to drive the stakes into place.” (A Total Station is an instrument (otherwise called a theodolite) used in modern surveying, which incorporates the traditional transit with a distance meter to read distances from the instrument to a specific point. See a picture and read more at < >.)

“The marking operation is to place our equipment as well as locate any underground utilities. We usually set up in parking lots, and usually there are electrical cables that feed lampposts and occasionally water lines. When a water line is crossing the site we don’t want to hit that, so we localize the utility and see if we can avoid it. If we can’t we have a lot of tricks, we can weld wider metal plates under our usual plates and drive the stakes a bit wider than usual to avoid the line.”

Ah yes, the stakes. These are the unsung and overlooked workhorses of any Cirque site. Look carefully around the perimeter of a tent and you will see a series of these stakes hammered into the ground and holding supporting wires. The amount of stakes varies from 300 to 1200 depending on the tour. The stakes are 5 feet long and 2 inches in diameter and weigh 20-25 pounds each, and, as Mr. Chalifour mentioned, are hammered into the ground by a hydraulic hammer placed onto the end of a Bobcat small bulldozer.


Each site presents its own challenges, some more severe than others. “Sometimes we’ve had to remove a number of major trees. Those are the kinds of issues we don’t like to deal with because we don’t like to remove trees. Sometimes it’s a nice park, a nice landscape, and we have to remove everything and put it back later. Sometimes we can keep [the trees alive] and put them back afterward. And sometimes the landowner says they want the area clear for major events anyway, so they ask us to prepare the site the way we want and leave it as-is afterwards. But the reason the trees are removed is the circus.”

“[But] removing a wall or a fence is not a major issue for us. Sometimes there’s a slope on the site where we’ll need to put in a lot of fill material that can cost a lot. But the environmental side of site preparation can be a challenge. We don’t like to remove things.”

“So that’s about it,” he summarized. “Localize any underground utilities or infrastructure, drive the stakes, put the utilities and anchor system in, and then the tent crew arrives to put up the tent.”

Occasionally, despite the best planning, things can go completely awry. Such as in August 2005 when Hurricane Emily swept through the Gulf Coast wreaking havoc on Monterrey, Mexico, where Saltimbanco was just about to open. “They had a flat area for sporting events with a [nearby] parking lot that was right above the Rio Grande River. But because of a hurricane the water level raised and the flow rate of the river raised a lot as well. And part of the site was removed by the river. We were about to lose too much space so we decided to remove all the stakes and all the plates and get out of there. And in 24 hours we had to find another site, survey it and sign contracts with the owner. In the end, 48 hours later we had a new site and we were able to drive the stakes.”

“The tour manager and tour crew were already there so my team, the construction team and the tour staff had to work together to [evacuate] and find another place, and do all the marking and stake driving (at the new site) as quickly as possible. So [while] we were removing anchor plates and stakes we were driving those same plates a few hours later in the new site. It was heroic but we had help from the local people there and we made it happen.”

There are, of course, two parts to a city visit. We’ve talked at length about what happens to a site before the circus comes to town, but what about after the circus leaves?

How long it takes to return a site to its former condition varies. “Once the last stake has been removed (from the old site), it takes a few days to fill the holes. If we just had to remove a fence and fill holes it takes a few days. If we have to landscape and reinstall lamps and such it can take up to two or maybe three weeks. Sometimes we import a lot of filling material, and sometimes they tell us we can leave it because they now have a level area they can use for other events. Sometimes they ask us to remove everything. But a usual restoration takes three weeks. We do asphalt repairs, reinstall fencing, and remove all the trash. And usually that’s about it.”

But hearing about what’s involved in preparing a site for a Cirque show is only half the story. And so we scheduled a visit to a site in process, to check it out.


April 2006. An overcast Friday in the great Pacific Northwest. My wife LouAnna and I are heading across Washington state to visit her father. But before we venture across the Cascade Mountains we drive to Marymoor Park in Redmond, where we have an appointment with the pre-set-up crew for Varekai.

We have both arranged to work in the tents for the run of the show, so we will learn the route by heart in the next few weeks. When we arrive it’s about 11 o’clock. The park is quiet today; most of the soccer and baseball fields won’t be busy until tomorrow. We eventually reach the site about 3/4 of the way into the park. But there is none of the excitement we would normally feel, as there is no tent here. Yet.

There are a few flatbed trucks parked outside the perimeter fence, but other than that the area feels – lonely. < > We walk up to the gate. The site looks huge, a grand expanse of level black asphalt, newly laid, with no marks or holes. The opposite end seems far away. < > Meanwhile, geese honk as they fly overhead, heading north into Canada for the spring breeding season.

On the site are a few men, dwarfed by the expanse of blackness on which they stand. As we scan the blacktop we can see occasional marks, painted lines, an occasional metal bracket. Construction supplies lie here and there. A Bobcat (a small mini-bulldozer) putters around in the background. < >

Announcing our presence, we are introduced to Mario Tomassini, Site Analysis Supervisor, Touring Shows Division, Cirque du Soleil. It is he who greets us with, “Are you starting a new circus?” One of his co-workers is Serge Savard. < > Both are from Montréal. (Mario-left, Serge-right) Mario has been here for two days, Serge flew in yesterday. Another person, Daniel, is the site construction manager in charge of finding a local contractor to make any major structural changes to the site.

Mario started with Cirque as a Site Supervisor eight years ago, coming from the construction industry. “At first I spent all of my time on the road because I was on tour. Now it’s like a third of the time. It’s really nice, two thirds of my time is in Montréal getting a real life. (Laughs) But it’s a fun life. When we travel we travel to beautiful cities; sometimes in the winter you leave from Montréal where it’s -28 Celsius (18 degrees below zero Fahrenheit) and you’re going to Miami or Los Angeles.”

Serge has been with Cirque for four years. He worked the Saltimbanco and Alegria tours, a jack of all trades. He stands in the center of the site with a machine called Total Station and directs the markings that appear on the asphalt. < > Mario tells us about his crew. “Four of us came from Montréal. And we have two guys who came from Quidam which is currently tearing down in Long Beach; they were available so they flew in. Sometimes our entire crew does not come from Montréal. We have Americans working for us who fly from their hometown. We have some Australians, some from New Zealand, Europe, Germans, a lot of Spanish.”

“The first part of our job is to find a site we will accept,” Mario explains. “Sometimes it’s hard to find a site. Topographically Seattle is very hard; we need a flat area so it’s not that easy. We need about 600′ x 300′. But it could be an odd shape and we can design the site around it.”

“This asphalt is brand new and it’s the first time we are using it. We did a survey [of the site] before when the blacktop was not here. Once the blacktop was laid we did another reading and sent it to the [Varekai] technical department. Some of the equipment [we use] can be adjusted before it [arrives]. Sometimes the grade is not up to our standard, such as when it’s too steep, so they ask us to correct it. Then when the guy with the asphalt is here we ask him to fill in a bit before the tour shows up.”

“Once we find the site we do a reading with a special machine, that’s over there.” He gestures at the Total Station in the center of the asphalt. < > “It takes readings like a photograph of every obstacle on the landscape. We take topographic measurements that we bring into AutoCAD. And then we try to lay out the circus village on the measurements of the site. We try to stay away from obstacles, [or] things we have to move, such as lamp posts. [Because] everything needs to be removed and put back.”

“Once we design the site we send it to the shows Tour Manager who distributes the plan to everybody on tour, so if anybody’s concerned about anything they can comment. For example, if the box office didn’t think that their operation would be possible in that setting, it would be changed. So it’s a process.”


Once the layout has been approved they then come up with a marking plan. Mario shows us a layout on a color 8.5″ x 11″ piece of paper. < > It is a CAD drawing of the entire “city.” It shows the location of the support trailers and kitchen (in blue). Blue lines also identify the cables that will hold the tent masts in place. The huge stomach of the main tent sits like a Buddha in the center. The artistic, concessions and VIP tent are outlined in red. Everything is marked here – the box office, toilets, even the fake palm trees in the VIP Patio. And it is all positioned very, very precisely.

Mario points to the drawing. “We have so much information in CAD. This is just one layer and is simplified and is very precise. We know the position of each stake and we know if it’s going to conflict with anything underground – telecom, water, electricity, anything”.

“We redraw [this] in full-scale, exactly what you see on the map, on asphalt. We use the Total Station.” He again gestures to the center of the site, as Serge peers through one end of the instrument on the tripod as the marking process continues. < > “There are several models but we use this one when we are scouting sites. For marking it gives us the angles. Yesterday I came and located the center of the big top which is also the center of the site. This line here (pointing to a line on the asphalt) is the main axis of the site. Stage right is 0° for us and for all the markings.”

“We set up in the center (of the site) and record a zero angle.” He pokes at a line on the drawing. “Then we go with our list. All we need to locate anything is an angle. Let’s say we need to put a stake at 10 degrees 20 minutes 54 seconds. We use the angle relative to the main axis and we go clockwise. Then we need a distance. When you have a degree and a distance you have a very precise position. And this is very very precise, we’re talking about millimeters.”

He points again at markings on the ground indicating where the concessions tents and the main tent will be placed. A smaller white circle is circumferenced by a blue line. “The blue line is the stake line. The white line is the outline of the tent.” < >

Today they will lay down marks for the front of house, which includes the concessions tents. Tomorrow they will continue, marking the artistic tent, kitchen and most of the other onsite trailers. “The point of marking everything is to give everybody a reference. A lot of points that you see here are not [necessarily] for one person, it could be for several people.”

Mario introduces us to various configurations of the heavy metal plates that will be fastened to the asphalt. < > The plates don’t look that heavy just sitting there, but considering the metal used is one inch thick it’s no surprise they weigh several hundred pounds each. They all have holes through which stakes are pounded to fasten the plate to the asphalt. Some are used for the big top, others for the concession, artistic and VIP tents. He also shows us small metal plates that are only one-quarter inch thick, these are used as shims underneath the mast poles to help meet its 10cm (about four inches) tolerance.

We walk across the site, as he shows us how the plates are placed. “Each position is located by an angle and distance according to the center of the big top and [the zero degree] axis. Each position has a nail which has a name on a tag. < > And the tag has all the coordinates, because we need to double-check, sometimes it’s wrong. So this one for example, it’s called the “45 plate.” You see on the tag it’s got the angle and the distance. If this one’s off by even just a bit it throws the rest of the plate off.

<> So if we suspect that one of the nails is off we get a tape and check the distance to make sure it is the same as the distance written on the tag. It’s a way of double-checking everything we do. And it’s idiot proof, because sometimes we’re idiots. (Laughs) Everybody has a chance to check so they don’t call me and say, ‘Hey Mario what’s happening?’ They know, and the job gets done easily.”

He points to other lines on the ground. “These point out underground utilities. We marked those yesterday. We imported them into our drawing and we know right away where it’s going to conflict.”

As if on cue to illustrate his point, the Bobcat driver approaches and speaks to Mario in French. They have a short conversation and Mario walks behind the Bobcat as it putters to a location on the site. There is an underground utility near where one of the stakes is to be pounded. Mario discusses the situation with the crew.

“So we know in this case there is a conflict.” He points to a place on the ground where one color of lines overlaps another.

< > “What you see is he is about to mark one stake. It’s very close to the line. We have this in CAD, so we can see that we might have a problem with this utility here. So before the guy starts to pound the stake in we know we’re close to this problem area. We’ve put a little buffer in, but the stake seems to conflict with the bumper so we are going to put [the stake] in at an angle so that it will avoid the pipe. So with this stake we might cheat, there are plenty of stakes that we can cheat with. Some, [like] tent plates, we cannot cheat.”

Nearby we spy a set of stakes resting in a case.

< > The number of stakes used on a site varies from 300 to 1200 depending on the tour and setup conditions. The stakes are 5 feet long, 2 inches in diameter and weigh 20-25 pounds each. Even though they are sitting quietly they look substantial and heavy. I ask to lift one and LouAnna laughs. “Can you?” It takes most of my palm to wrap around it. < > It has a sizable heft, feeling like 40 pounds but actually just 25. “At the beginning of the day it feels like 40 pounds,” Mario quips, “but by the end of the day it feels more like 150!”

We stand in front of one of the plates that will hold a wire that connects to one of the masts. There are 14 stakes bolting this one into the ground. < > “Each stake is designed to hold one ton,” says Mario. “But that’s a conservative estimate. In reality it holds much more, but for easy calculation it’s one to 1 1/2 tons.” He points to a nearby wire, about 2 inches thick, several smaller metal strands wrapped together. “This is the big top guy wire, it goes (in the center of the plate) and connects to the mast and helps hold up the tent.”

The mast plates are designed to hold 16 tons but are tested to 20. “We have eight of these, they’ll be tested tomorrow. For Washington State we have an engineer coming from California with a big truck that will pull 17 to 20 tons against it. We have some blocks that will sit on top of it and the truck will try and rip it off. We [measure] any displacement of the plate, and it needs to pass.

The main anchors are always tested. Because if there is ever a tornado or severe weather we know that it will hold.”

At first glance that might seem overrated. But the tent has lots of surface area and odd shapes, and they want to make sure it will stand up to a big storm or wind (up to 150km). Does it ever not hold? “Never. No chance. When we put 5000 pounds of blocks on top, with the capacity of the stakes, plus the weight on top – forget it. Sometimes we break the towing machine!” LouAnna says, “I feel so much better now.”

When they’re putting in the first stake for a plate how do they keep the plate from moving with all the movement from the hydraulic jack-hammering? “It will move a bit, but the other person working with the Bobcat will kick the plate back into place. How critical the plate is, such as for a mast or other critical component or something somebody else will use as a reference will determine how critical we must be.”

“So they just hammer the stakes into the ground?” LouAnna asks. “Yes with this machine,” Mario replies, pointing to the Bobcat. < > “That would be really hard to do the old- fashioned way,” LouAnna suggests. “Sometimes we do it that way,” Mario responds. “Sometimes if we forget to put nails in a spot and we no longer have access to the Bobcat we hammer them in by hand.”

He points to the hydraulic hammer on the end of the Bobcat, on which is fitted a special head that looks like a large inverted metal golf tee. < > “This is the hammer and we have a special mold which you cannot buy or rent.” The head of the stake fits in the mold and then is pounded by the hydraulics of the hammer attached to the Bobcat. “We have two of them. Sometimes the ground can be very hard and it might take 15 minutes to pound a stake in. With 1200 stakes to pound in you can’t spend 15 minutes on each one so we use the second.”

He takes us to the back of the site, where there sits a huge metal industrial toolbox situated on the back end of a flatbed. < > We carefully walk up the narrow ramp and peer in. The toolbox contains everything they will need to do the job while they are here. < > Lying on the flatbed is a stake mold broken in two by a lightning bolt of a cut. It will cost $500 to replace. < >

The Bobcat begins to hammer another stake. Even from where we stand at the other end of the site it makes a raucous deafening jackhammer sound. But as we watch the stake is swiftly driven into the asphalt. We imagine that sound multiplied by 1200 over the course of a few days and it makes us shiver. “I have the ears of an old man,” Mario laments.


The amount of activity and number of people on the site vary day by day. “Yesterday we were just two people marking the site. Today there are six of us doing more marking and pounding of the stakes. We’ll continue pounding stakes until almost the end [of the job]. But today we’re a bit ahead.”

Mario shows us a schedule of deliveries to the site by vendors of supplies and materials. < > “It’s not very elaborate,” he says. “A utility locator marked everything yesterday. And we marked the big top center and did a show level. We are supposed to receive cement blocks today.” Other deliveries noted on the list are for trailers, electricity and water connections. “Tomorrow we have load tests. Usually we do our own tests but because we’re in Washington (or Oregon or California) we have to have someone else do the testing.”

“The asphalt guys will also be here tomorrow and will build troughs and ramps. We have wire bridges to protect the wires that must be done before the tour comes in.” To avoid patrons or forklifts walking over or damaging the web of power cables that snake across the site they build small ramps through which the cables pass. Asphalt curbs are also built around the perimeter of the tents to keep out rainwater.

He shows us another checklist of all the things that must be done while they are on the site. < > “It’s not a schedule; it’s just a checklist to make sure that everything has been done. Did we forget the asphalt curb? No we got the asphalt curb.” He picks off selected others from the list, his voice trailing off. “Bleacher lines, center line… [We’ll be finished] around Monday the 24th. Today is Friday the 21st. So we’ll be working through the weekend. Varekai will be here from Portland on Wednesday the 26th.”

As we wrapped up our visit to the blacktop on which the Varekai tent would settle just one week later, Mario reflected on how his job has changed. “I started eight years ago and it wasn’t like this [back then], it was more by eye. We had gentlemen from the old school. They were very good; they had the eye to do the job. But we started to have more shows and those guys were not available for all the shows. So we [had] to find a new way. Now we have a folder that I can give to the person onsite. I could give it to you, I could explain the system in one or two hours and you could mark the site.”

Now that we have witnessed the otherwise unseen time and effort that goes into developing a site for a Cirque big top it gives us greater appreciation for all the preparation that must take place before the show can premiere in a new town, or before the audience sets foot onto the site on the way to their seats, or before the artists step foot onto the stage.

Meanwhile the Bobcat’s stuttering thud reminds us of the work still to be done as it pounds another stake into the ground like butter.

My sincere thanks go to: Mr’s Tomassini and Savard for so graciously spending time with us, especially in the midst of such a busy day, Chantal Côte, Corporate PR Manager, And my wife LouAnna for putting up with my sometimes obsessive hobby.