Don’t Touch the Art

The scene plays out hundreds of times a day, like a sad rendition of Groundhog Day. With nowhere to sit, a weary passerby leans against the leg of Happy Man, the nine-metre-high sculpture by American sculptor Larry Bell that stands in front of the Langham Place shopping mall at the corner of Argyle and Portland […]

Posted in: Art and Design, Asia Pacific, Canada, Public Space, Society and Culture by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Don’t Touch the Art , , , ,

Lofty Skies from Yonge and Bloor

Toronto, November 2011

Posted in: Canada by Karl Leung Comments Off on Lofty Skies from Yonge and Bloor ,

How to Rethink Our Streets

Saint-Jean-Baptiste Boulevard, Montreal, Spring 2011 Urban design proposed for the boulevard, February 2012 Last year, my team and the planning service of Rivière-des-Prairies-Pointe-aux-Trembles borough worked to rethink the design of Saint-Jean-Baptiste Boulevard. It is located east of downtown Montreal, where it crosses old districts from the early 1900s and suburbs from the 1960s. It was […]

Posted in: Architecture, Art and Design, Canada, Environment, Transportation by Daniel Corbeil Comments Off on How to Rethink Our Streets , , ,

The Underground City

If you live in Montreal, you’ll eventually be asked the question: “Which way is the underground city?” You will probably be walking along Ste. Catherine Street, the city’s main shopping artery, where H&M and Zara jostle for space with strip clubs and hot dog joints. Or maybe you will be making your way through the […]

Another Hole in Montreal’s Heart

The lower Main in 1997. Photo by Kate McDonnell One of the defining features of Montreal’s cityscape is the abundance of vacant lots. Weedy, gravelly blocks of land, they can be seen in every neighbourhood, in some areas on every street, delineated by rows of misshapen concrete blocks, like boulders left behind by the retreat […]

Roadsworth’s Legacy

Eight years ago, I was crossing Fairmount Avenue near my apartment in Montreal’s Mile End district when I noticed a strange addition to the zebra crossing beneath my feet: barbed wire. Not actual barbed wire, but a painted rendition of it along the edge of the crosswalk, half in yellow, the other half white, both […]

Wednesday in Calgary

Reminders of farmlands and country living now mix with a new generation of pioneer folk and industry. Home to big skies and the rocky prairies… we’re settling the West, and this is what it looks like today. While rightfully modern, Calgary’s still framed up with dairy silos, storage yards, and straw coloured fields.

Posted in: Canada by Karl Leung Comments Off on Wednesday in Calgary

Alone at the Beach

Kitsilano Beach, Vancouver English Bay Beach, Vancouver

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A Fire on Mount Royal

The temperature was edging below zero when the first drug dealer approached. “You want something?” he asked, peering at us from under the hood of his jacket. We said no and he wandered away, casting us a suspicious glance over his shoulder. Soon, half a dozen men were eyeing us. “What you doing here?” shouted […]

Neon History

In the middle of the 1980s, after lobbying from businesses and Chinese community leaders, a series of decorative gates were built to mark the various entrances to Montreal’s Chinatown. One of these is found at the corner of de la Gauchetière and Jeanne-Mance, the western end of the district. But to me, the real signal […]

Posted in: Architecture, Art and Design, Canada, Heritage and Preservation, History by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Neon History , , , ,

Montreal by Bike

My love affair with Bixi remains undiminished. This despite the wear-and-tear its popularity has caused — I have been left frustrated by broken docks and bikes on more than a couple of occasions — and the fact that accessibility on the fringes of its service areas is a bit spotty. (It’s no fun to bike […]

In Between

The neighbourhood around Marconi Avenue is a bit of a strange place. I’m not even sure what to call it. Marooned between Little Italy to the east, the CPR tracks to the south, the Outremont railyards to the west and Jean-Talon to the north, it’s a kind of urban interstitial space, not entirely industrial, a […]

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Ma Yansong’s Organic Architecture

Mississauga was as close to a blank slate as Beijing-based architect Ma Yansong could hope for. For more than twenty years, the sprawling city in the suburbs of Toronto has been searching fruitlessly for an identity. Its first attempt came in 1987, when a national design competition produced a post-modern City Hall that resembled a […]

Occupy Toronto: One Month Later

On the morning of November 15th, governments in many cities around the world launched a coordinated crackdown on local Occupy movements, serving up eviction notices with plans to forcibly remove protesters from public spaces. If you haven’t already seen the herculean 17 hour livestream of the eviction of New York’s Occupy Wall Street by citizen […]

Posted in: Canada, Politics, Public Space by Karl Leung Comments Off on Occupy Toronto: One Month Later , ,