Naoya Hatakeyama’s Urban Illusions

Tobu World Square’s model of New York. Photo by Naoya Hatakeyama When I was a kid, my grandparents would take me on vacation to Victoria, BC. The highlight of the trip—for me, at least—was always a visit to Miniature World, an odd little museum tucked into the north wing of the Empress Hotel. There, I […]

Posted in: Architecture, Art and Design, Asia Pacific, Canada, United States by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Naoya Hatakeyama’s Urban Illusions , , , , , ,

The Baby Cops’ Debut

Every summer, Montreal’s police department sends its most fresh-faced cadets to patrol Ste. Catherine Street. For police headquarters, it’s a way to train their newest recruits and ensure a police presence on the street without shelling out for real, fully-salaried traffic cops. For the cadets, who are sometimes known as “baby cops,” it’s more like […]

Taking it to the Streets

“The Nest,” an early October installation by Chih Chien Wang It glowed amid its sombre surroundings, a giant Lego-brick lantern underneath the Van Horne Viaduct. For three weeks this fall, Chih-Chien Wang’s installation The Nest was hosted by the artist-run centre Dare-Dare in a space at the corner of St. Laurent Blvd. and Van Horne […]

The Edible City

Public space isn’t supposed to poison you. Last year, though, hundreds of Montrealers discovered that their community garden plots were contaminated with lead and arsenic. In some sections of the Plateau Mont-Royal’s Baldwin Garden, located on the site of an old quarry, lead levels were found to be nearly 1,000 times higher than the acceptable […]

Chinese Food Around Corner

Two generations of advertisements in downtown Boston

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The Vancouver Art Gallery’s steps on Robson St. It would hardly be an original observation to point out that a simple set of steps can become a well-used hangout. One of the world’s most famous public spaces is, after all, known as the Spanish Steps. But for all their ubiquity, only some steps become popular […]

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Signs of the Far East

The topic of old commercial signs is esoteric enough, but I’ve managed to find an even more obscure type of commercial signage: 1960s-era Chinatown signs that use Rickshaw or some other kind of orientalist typeface. Most of them have disappeared, for obvious reasons, but it’s still possible to find traces of them in cities around […]

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Inner City Pressure

[youtube]_RC0DdrHbGg[/youtube] I’ve written about music here before, and I’ve even posted a couple of music videos that have absolutely nothing to do with cities aside from the fact that they were shot in them. It feels kind of silly, but still, it’s a nice distraction from the dreary November weather. So here’s another video, this […]

Posted in: Music, United States, Video by Christopher DeWolf 3 Comments ,

“Hey Paul!”

North Street, North End, Boston

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Village Griffintown: We Have Questions

As a resident of Sud-Ouest — right where Griffintown, Little Burgundy and Point St-Charles intersect, actually — I was surprised by the scope and scale of the Village Griffintown project announced yesterday for a long-neglected neighbourhood in southwestern Montreal. It’s not at all what we were expecting, and while we welcome redevelopment, and the proposed […]

Montreal and its Suburbs… in 1843

Way back in 1843, Montreal, population 50,000, was big enough to have six whole suburbs to its name. On the west, there was the Recollet Suburb, St. Ann’s Suburb, St. Joseph’s Suburb and the St. Antoine Suburb. On the north, the St. Lawrence Suburb followed the path of St. Lawrence Street, already the city’s main […]

Vacant Lot Concrete Blocks

Charlotte Street near Berger, Montreal

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St. Louis Square’s Old Basin

St. Louis Square, often known as Carré St-Louis (though this is, to the surprise of many, actually an anglicism), is one of Montreal’s greatest public spaces. A traditional Victorian park, ringed by beautiful old greystone rowhouses and villas, it first came into existence as a reservoir in 1851. In 1880, the reservoir was drained and […]

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Charlie on the T

I just got back from Boston, where I spent the weekend riding the subway — known there as the T — with a CharlieCard, the reloadable, contactless smart card that was introduced at the beginning of the year. Montreal’s smart card will be introduced in January, with a full implementation in the spring, but its […]

Posted in: Transportation, United States by Christopher DeWolf 4 Comments ,