Suburban Kunming

The new government building in Kunming, which strikes a great pagoda pose from a distance and serves as a great landmark. It’s even being used in real estate ads elsewhere in the city as a marker of prestige. Capital of southwestern China’s Yunnan Province, Kunming is a fairly unassuming, extensively modernised city. No part of […]

Posted in: Asia Pacific, Society and Culture by Desmond Bliek Comments Off on Suburban Kunming , , ,

Wing’s Nouilles Chinoises

Wing’s Chinese Noodles, owned by the venerable Lee family for half a century, is housed in a sturdy-looking warehouse built in 1826. All of the fortune cookies served in Montreal restaurants — bilingual and kosher, naturally — are made here. Every time I pass by, the sweet smell of fresh egg rolls lingers in the […]

The King is Dead; Long Live the King

One of the King of Kowloon’s last remaining pieces. Photo by Dustin Shum of the South China Morning Post Tsang Tsou Choi, the King of Kowloon, died two weeks ago at the age of 86. I wrote about Tsang in March, outlining my first encounter with his graffiti and the strange and sometimes nonsensical messages […]

Spiffy Bikes

Toronto seems to like its spiffy bikes. Even ignoring the number of people who seem to tool around on low-riders (including a crazy woman in Kensington Market who never seemed to dismount, even as she wobbled down Spadina Avenue, bumping into the sides of parked cars) there are a lot of cool-looking two-wheelers of various […]

Posted in: Canada, Transportation by Christopher DeWolf 3 Comments , , ,

Hamilton is a Green City?

A Hamilton foundry circa 1935. Courtesy Hamilton Public Library. Sometimes the road you take can lead you places you don’t expect. Shortly after my book on botanical gardens, Recreating Eden: A Natural History of Botanical Gardens (Véhicule Press, 2001) came out, the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton/Burlington, Ontario asked me to give a talk. I’d […]

Posted in: Canada, Environment, History by Mary Soderstrom 2 Comments ,

Hong Kong Beggar

Elderly man panhandling in Wan Chai

Posted in: Asia Pacific by Laine Tam 6 Comments , ,

Illicit Rooftop Views

I took these photos from the roof of an abandoned grain silo on St. Patrick Street in Point St. Charles, right next to the Lachine Canal. I was there, in the company of two Montrealers who have snuck up to dozens of roofs over the past few years, for an article that will appear soon […]

Lessons Learned From Just for Laughs

Every year, I head down to Just for Laughs. Not for the comedy, but for the festival site, which takes over the entire Latin Quarter and makes brilliant use of its meandering laneways and hidden corners. For two weeks in July, the Latin Quarter becomes a mysterious village, an amiable place where crowds wander through […]

Who is Painting the Manhole Covers?

I’m not just asking — I really want to know. Over the past month, somebody has painted dozens of manhole covers around Mile End, on Park Avenue, Bernard Street and St. Viateur Street. It’s quite a lovely endeavour, adding a bit of colour to the sidewalk while drawing attention to an overlooked but essential piece […]

Posted in: Canada, Public Space by Christopher DeWolf 11 Comments , ,

Toronto’s Little Streets

Kensington Place Hidden within the clutter of Toronto’s Kensington Market is a strange and surprising collection of little streets. Lined by diminutive rowhouses, they are nestled within larger blocks of houses. They usually culminate in a dead end; some are accessed only by an unassuming laneway, making the discovery of one seem like so much […]

Public Displays of (Dis) Affection

Rue du Faubourg Poissonnière, Paris Parque del Retiro, Madrid

Posted in: Canada, Europe by Christopher DeWolf 1 Comment , , ,

Green City: Montreal in the Summer

On the left, a good way to start a summer day On the right, the Mile End community garden sits next to old factories You can get hungry for green in Montreal in the winter, but in the summer the city abounds in greenery. Walking around this city got me started thinking a few years […]

Posted in: Canada, Environment by Mary Soderstrom 4 Comments , ,

Quartier Ephemère

Posted in: Public Space by Christopher DeWolf 1 Comment ,

Crassly Ste. Catherine

Looking at these old postcards of Ste. Catherine Street — the first one is a drawing from the 1930s and the second a photo taken in the 1960s — reveals a downtown thoroughfare that was decidedly upbeat, bright and giddy with neon. Like a northern Broadway, Ste. Catherine’s cinemas, nightclubs and restaurants advertised themselves with […]