Postwar Ugly or Postwar Chic?

Calgary has a lot of squat apartment buildings built in the 1950s and 60s. Unlike their counterparts in Vancouver, which tend towards a breezy, pastel-coloured Art Moderne kind of style, these are typically clad in frumpy brown brick. They look cheap and outdated, but I’ve noticed a handful of such buildings that have undergone renovations […]

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Calgary Scrambles

I’m in Calgary at the moment. This is a fast-growing, fast-changing city, and there are a couple of interesting changes that I noticed while I was here. One of them is the introduction of two new scramble crossings in the Eau Claire neighbourhood of the city’s downtown area. Often associated with Tokyo’s famous Shibuya Crossing, […]

No Poor People Here

Every summer, Prince’s Island — a beautiful island park in the Bow River, right next to downtown Calgary — plays host to a number of large festivals, including the always-interesting folk music festival, which took place last week with some big headliners and great enthusiasm. These festivals are an asset to the cultural life of […]

Posted in: Art and Design, Canada, Politics, Public Space, Society and Culture by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on No Poor People Here , , , ,

Mount Royal at Night

For years, I ignored the brooding hulk of Mount Royal at night, pausing only occasionally to contemplate the shape of its silhouette or the glow of the cross atop it. It was only recently that I actually began to venture onto the mountain after dark, well after most park-goers head home, and when the woods […]

Hong Kong Doorways: Shuttered

Metal shutters are common in many cities; Hong Kong is no exception, especially since many of its shops lack doors altogether, making the shutter the only way to seal it up at night. Every so often, just after a store has closed or before it has opened, a small door is left open in the […]

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Bière Froide

Chicoutimi, Quebec

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Montreal East

Montreal East is a small separate city whose territory is mostly occupied by oil refineries and other industrial installations, some of which are objectively interesting as photographic subjects, whether by day or glittering with lights at night. There’s always a tang of sulphur in the air from the hydrocarbon cracking. The streets are in poor […]

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Cops and Crowds

Police officers on Ste. Catherine Street, Montreal

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La Belle Province

Ugly building on the main street of Saint Georges de Beauce Many of Quebec’s smaller cities are grim, depressing places. Like most cities in North America, they witnessed a period of downtown decline during the suburban explosion of the fifties and sixties. People moved out, shops closed, and buildings were razed and replaced by parking […]

Everywhere People

2005 2008 My life in Montreal is full of what my friends call “everywhere people,” strangers whom I see on a regular basis, walking down the street, sitting in a café, on the metro, in line for a movie. I don’t know them and I have no reason to talk to them, but they give […]

Another Time, Another City

The National Film Board of Canada is about to release La mémoire des anges, a new film by Luc Bourdon about life in 1950s and 60s Montreal, created by stitching together footage from the NFB’s vast archives. If this trailer is any indication, it will be an absolutely fascinating look at a city that, for […]

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Walking Outremont’s Parks

On a warm day—or, even better, on a warm night—I like to walk through Outremont. It’s one of Montreal’s most picturesque boroughs, with streets as orderly and genteel as many of its inhabitants. Like Westmount, Outremont was conceived almost from the beginning as an enclave of the well-to-do. Building codes mandated large setbacks, abundant greenery […]

The Main from Two Angles

St. Laurent Blvd. just below René Lévesque Blvd.

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NDG Evening

Earlier this month I accompanied my friends on a nostalgic walk through NDG, the sprawling west end neighbourhood in which they used to live. Developed in the early twentieth century on some of Montreal’s most fertile land—the famed Montreal Melon once grew there—NDG was for the first part of its history a fairly humdrum suburb […]

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