Fort McMurray Goes Supernova

Oilsands refinery in Fort McMurray, Alberta. Photo by Chad Young, the online documentary arm of Vice Magazine run by Spike Jonze, has a thought-provoking documentary called Toxic Alberta available to view for free (in 15 segments, with some interruptions for ads). The film touches on the extreme environmental impact of tar sands operations; the […]

Looking for Chinatown

“There’s no Chinatown in Quebec City. There’s never been one,” snapped a research assistant at the city archives. It sounded as if I wasn’t the first to come asking for information. “There were a handful of Chinese-owned stores in the lower city, but it was hardly a ‘Chinatown.’” Had I been misled all these years? […]

Where Latinos Speak Korean

Se habla español in LA’s Koreatown. Photo by Hunhee. Multiculturalism is usually framed in terms of the relationship between immigrants and a “host society.” But what about the relationship between immigrants themselves? In Los Angeles’ sprawling Koreatown, a growing population of Latino immigrants is leading to a cultural and linguistic exchange that is unprecedented in […]

No Ching-Chong Here

“Yeah, but where are you really from?” It’s a question familiar to many Chinese-Canadians who grew up feeling torn between different cultures, identities and places. Tomorrow, seven young Montrealers of Chinese descent will share a roundtable discussion on what it means to be Chinese in a multicultural Canada: General Tao, Kung Fu, Ching-chong: Chinese Identity […]

Posted in: Canada, Demographics, Society and Culture by Christopher DeWolf 1 Comment ,

The Greeks of Tarpon Springs

Close to three major metro areas and thirty suburbs make up the collection of cities known as Tampa Bay. Starting with Apollo Beach to the south on the mainland, the arc of towns curves counter-clockwise through Brandon, Tampa, Dunedin, Clearwater, and finally ending with St. Petersburg on a spit of land in the Gulf of […]

Posted in: Demographics, Society and Culture, United States by Julie Manenti Comments Off on The Greeks of Tarpon Springs

Are Canada’s Cities Becoming More Segregated?

“Mapped Presence” by blacqbook According to Statistics Canada, Canada now has 254 “visible minority neighbourhoods”—neighbourhoods that have more than 30 percent of their population from a particular visible minority group—most of which are found in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. When this number was first revealed in 2004, many members of Canada’s mass media saw it […]

This is Where You Lived in 2006

New condo tower in fast-growing downtown Vancouver The first round of data from Canada’s 2006 census was released yesterday morning; we now have an accurate update of city population trends across the country. (We’ll still have to wait for the juicier data on income, education, language, race, and immigration, however. They will be released at […]

Posted in: Canada, Demographics by Christopher DeWolf 7 Comments

The Age of Chinese Laundries

Chong Sing Laundry, Notre Dame Street The Chinese laundry seems like such an inexplicable stereotype. References to them still exist—witness Abercrombie and Fitch’s infamous “Wong Brothers Laundry Service” t-shirt from several years back—yet Chinese laundries long ago vanished from the North American landscape. There are no indications today why Chinese people would ever be associated […]

Gung Hay Fat Choy: Notes from Vancouver

Candy-apple pig’s heads in a chocolate shop in downtown Vancouver For a Montrealer, visiting Vancouver in mid-February is eerie, at once a glimpse of the future and a visit to some alternate dimension. Fountains gurgle, people sit in sidewalk cafés and flowers are starting to bloom—it’s strange to experience this without having to pass through […]


New development in Orlando. Photo by David Burnett “Everything happening to America today is happening here,” writes T.D. Allman in the latest issue of National Geographic. He’s talking about Orlando, the sprawling urban region in Central Florida that is most famously home to Disney World. For Allman, Orlando represents the next generation of American cities, […]

Posted in: Demographics, Society and Culture, United States by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Disneyopolis

My Heimishe Bakery

Every couple of days, I walk to the corner and buy a few things at Cheskie, my heimishe bakery. Of course it’s not actually my heimishe bakery—it’s owned by Cheskie Lebowitz, an affable Hasidic Jew from New York—but I’ve gone there enough over the years to feel a sense of proprietary pride. As its name […]

Posted in: Demographics, Food, Society and Culture by Christopher DeWolf 8 Comments ,

Hérouxville and the Big City

Over the past year, Montrealers have been subjected to a steady flow of stories on “reasonable accomodation,” a catchphrase that refers to the accomodation of religious minority needs in public institutions. Like other major Canadian cities, Montreal is very diverse. It has a long history of intercultural relations, so reasonable accommodation seemed, well, reasonable. But […]

Posted in: Demographics, Politics, Society and Culture by Christopher DeWolf 3 Comments

A New “Chinatown” Grows in Montreal

On a cold January night, Fabian Jean and his mother, Lily, were enjoying a warming bowl of tong shui (sweet dessert soup) at the Chinese restaurant Prêt à Manger on Ste. Catherine St. West. “I find it’s actually a lot better than the Chinese restaurants in Chinatown,” Fabian said. “It’s so hard to park in […]

Typographic Tokyo

Korean snack stand in Tokyo. Photo by Yohei Morita My wife and I lived in Tokyo from 1992 till 1998. We spent a week here in 2000 and I am now back here for a week in 2007. It is a tantalising experience—it seems familiar in so many ways and yet subtly different, like a […]