Country Town in the City

Lachine is an old working-class suburb of Montreal, located at the western end of the Lachine Canal. It’s like a bizarre country town lost in the industrial grime of the big city. Near the canal, twentieth-century duplexes sidle up to nineteenth-century cottages. The stop signs read “Stop” instead of “Arrêt.” The atmosphere is that of […]

Posted in: Canada by Christopher DeWolf 3 Comments ,

Home Sweet Flophouse

A single-room occupancy hotel in Vancouver Today’s Guardian features an article on a new generation of Japanese — most of them young men — unable to afford homes. They spend their days either unemployed or working at menial jobs; at night, they float between 24-hour internet cafés and capsule hotels. “According to a recent government […]

Posted in: Asia Pacific, Canada, Society and Culture by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Home Sweet Flophouse ,

To Market, To Market

There’s a new market in Montreal. For the next two weeks, and then again next spring, a farmer’s market will open outside Frontenac metro every Saturday between 10am and 4pm. It’s great news for one of the city’s poorest neighbourhoods, Ste. Marie, one that has only recently stepped away from an economic and social precipice. […]

Posted in: Canada by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on To Market, To Market ,

Signs of Chinatown

In a city whose urban landscape sometimes seems too neat, too standardized, too inorganic, Vancouver’s Chinatown is a refreshing enclave of clutter, unabashed commerce and grime: visible signs of human occupation. One of my favourite things about it is the multitude of signs, layers upon layers of them. Above are just a few examples found […]

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Is Civility Just a Mask?

Every so often there is a reminder that Montreal, for all its history as a capital of Jewish culture in North America, still has a problem with anti-Semitism. In the past year alone, a molotov cocktail was thrown at a Jewish school on Van Horne and a bomb exploded outside of a Jewish community centre […]

Posted in: Canada, Society and Culture by Christopher DeWolf 4 Comments ,

Parking Lot Parties on Queen West

This past Saturday in Toronto, Car Free Day was held on Queen Street West. This event was coordinated by Streets are for People, who also spearheaded events such as Pedestrian Sundays in Kensington Market. Part of the celebration involved parking meter parties, which lined the street intermittently roughly from Bathurst to Trinity-Bellwoods park . These […]

Posted in: Canada, Public Space, Society and Culture by Nick Wellington Comments Off on Parking Lot Parties on Queen West ,

Calgary’s Montreal Suburb

Stroll up the hill just south of downtown and take a look at the street signs: Frontenac Avenue. Montreal Avenue. Wolfe Street. Cabot Street. Montcalm Crescent. Talon Avenue. Laval Avenue. Dorchester Avenue. Where are we? In Mount Royal, of course, Calgary’s most prestigious neighbourhood. I’ve always found it odd that the street names found in […]

After Dinner on Denman Street

Denman is one of my favourite streets in Vancouver. Maybe it’s the seaside resort feel, drawing you past cafés, restaurants and gelaterias to the beach at English Bay. The palm trees next to the beach only reinforce the holiday feel. Like the rest of Vancouver’s West End, Denman Street was laid out at the end […]

Posted in: Canada by Christopher DeWolf 2 Comments ,

Destroying Beijing’s Hutongs

[youtube]EqRt6oK2k2s[/youtube] Last year, Danwei TV, an internet television station that produces short videos about China, produced a series of episodes on Beijing’s famous hutongs, old neighbourhoods built around narrow laneways and courtyards. Over the past couple of decades, the number of hutongs in Beijing has dropped dramatically as they have been bulldozed for new residential […]

Fairmount Avenue

Two scenes from Fairmount Avenue in Mile End

Posted in: Canada by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Fairmount Avenue ,

It’s Car Free Day!

Today is Montreal’s fifth annual edition of Car Free Day, known officially (and awkwardly) as “In town, without my car!” The east end of the downtown core, between McGill College on the west and St. Urbain on the east, de Maisonneuve on the north and René Lévesque on the south, will be closed from 9:30am […]

The Urban Midwest

Kansas City Saint Louis Chicago I gallivanted somewhat in August, visiting St. Louis and Chicago, and as always, snapping prodigious amounts of photos in the interim in Kansas City. Check out the entire set from the urban midwestern United States

Posted in: United States by Eric Bowers 1 Comment , ,

The Spots on the Sidewalk

Next time you walk down the street, take a look down. See the spots? That’s gum, pressed into the pavement by thousands of footsteps. I normally don’t pay them much notice but, now that I think of it, they’re a good indication of how busy a particular stretch a sidewalk is. The more pedestrians that […]

Posted in: Canada, Public Space, United States by Christopher DeWolf 2 Comments , ,

More Exceptional Street Signs

Even now, 40 years after Bill 101 mandated that Montreal conduct its official business in French only, it is not uncommon to find old English or bilingual public signs. While some ideologues might consider this a bad thing, I’m inclined to view it as a window into Montreal’s past, and a fascinating one at that. […]