The Bike Path of Champions

“I am now betting this bike path will change radically the lifestyle and quality of life of many Montrealers.” – André Lavallée, member of Montreal’s executive committee, quoted in the Montreal Gazette, November 7, 2007 “It could turn downtown into a ghost town.” – Sal Parasuco, retailer, quoted in the Montreal Gazette, September 10, 2007 […]

Riding the Rails Up Mount Royal

Just 90 years ago (it seems like yesterday!), you would have been able to transport yourself from the corner of Park and Duluth to the top of the mountain in a matter of minutes, thanks entirely to the Mount Royal Funicular Railway. Frederick Law Olmstead, who designed Mount Royal Park, didn’t want Montrealers to have […]

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A New Way to Eat the City

Over the holidays, the Tyee, a Vancouver-based webzine, published a series of twelve “New Ideas for the New Year.” Here’s one that really caught my attention: planting fruit trees on city streets. While the benefits of greening the city are well-known — street trees provide shade, suck up storm water, remove carbon from the atmosphere […]

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4pm at Sherbrooke and Alymer

Late afternoon at the corner of Sherbrooke and Aylmer in Montreal

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“Give Them Bread and Circuses, and TV Ads on the Subway”

The usual assortment of passengers on the train: cellphone fiddlers, ad-gazers and the lone reader With typical New China audacity, even hubris, Shanghai authorities opened up more than 100km of subway tracks on a single day this past December, nearly doubling the metro system in a single stroke. This puts it well on its way […]

Chinatown, Greektown

Toronto, like many cities across North America, uses its street signs to identify neighbourhoods. Chinatown and Greektown are no exception. In Greektown, which extends along the Danforth for several blocks, Greek signs are posted above the standard English signs. It’s more a token recognition of the neighbourhood’s historical ethnic character than anything else. In the […]

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Urban, Multicultural Environmentalism

Volunteers at the 2007 Chinatown Clean Up, an event designed, in part, to raise environmental awareness A few years ago, Sandra Lee was a McGill marketing student with a budding interest in environmental issues. Involved with a mainstream environmental advocacy group, she found herself increasingly alienated by what she terms the “camping culture” of the […]

Nathalie and Denbigh

My hunt for apartment building names has only just begun, but these two photos show exactly why I’m interested in them in the first place. Appartement Nathalie is located on St. Denis near Rachel, right in the middle of the Plateau Mont-Royal. The Denbigh, meanwhile, can be found about five kilometres to the west, at […]

Public Fire Alarms

Over the weekend, as he ate a slice of pecan pie, my friend Sam teased me for dwelling so much on the minutiae of urban life. “Next you’re going to be writing about doorknobs,” he said, “and you’ll have photos of all the doorknobs in Mile End.” Not yet. Today, I’m looking at the public […]

A Car’s-Eye View of Newark

Suppose you wrote the names of the largest hundred or so municipalities in the United States on a series of index cards. What’s the logical way to arrange them? By population, land area, age, or density? By the proportions of various ethnic groups? Now, suppose you arranged the cards by something more qualitative: levels of […]

Posted in: United States by Sam Imberman 1 Comment ,

On the Green Line

The Green Line is Boston’s streetcar-subway combo, running above ground on Commonwealth Ave., Beacon St. and Huntington Ave. west of Massachusetts Ave. and below ground in the city centre.

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Past Lives on Milton Street

I’ve always loved this house on Milton Street, between Ste. Famille and Jeanne Mance, in Montreal’s McGill Ghetto. For awhile, I used to eat breakfast across the street at Milton Place, a greasy spoon, and wonder what it would be like to live there. I’ll probably never know, but at least I can find out […]

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Montreal’s Lost Expo Opportunity

Expo 67’s 40th anniversary has passed, but there’s one aspect of the world fair that I find strangely overlooked: its transportation system. While the Minirail and pedicabs moved people around the Expo site, more serious transit links were needed to get them to and from Notre Dame and St. Helen’s islands. That’s where the metro, […]

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The Isles of Montreal

This map of “The Isles of Montreal as they have been Survey’d By the French Engineers” was drawn in 1761, one year after the British conquest of New France. It depicts most of the Hochelaga Archipelago, including the walled town of Ville-Marie, or Montreal, which at the time was home to about 5,500 people living […]

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