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 […]

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Photo of the Week: Canal Street

Decaying building on Canal Street, Chinatown, New York City. Photo by Vivienne Gucwa Every week, we feature striking images from our Urbanphoto group on Flickr. Want to see your photos here? Join the group.

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How a Roast Duck Sees Chinatown

Melbourne’s Chinatown as shot with a camera made from a duck Earlier this week, I paid a visit to Martin Cheung‘s studio in the Cattle Depot Artists’ Village in To Kwa Wan. I was there to speak to him about his work with pinhole photography, a medium that uses crude, handmade cameras to record images […]

A Window into Kuala Lumpur

Two weeks ago, my girlfriend and I were celebrating Malaysia’s national holiday at a street party in Bangsar, an upscale neighbourhood of Kuala Lumpur. We had just walked there along broken sidewalks, the sun beating down on us — Kuala Lumpur is not the most pedestrian-friendly place — and we were in desperate need of […]


I came across this guy in Phuket’s Chinatown, a quiet, crumbling reminder of the days when Phuket made its fortune from tin mining, not tourism. He might seem deep in thought but in reality he had just been picking his ear and was looking at the product of his excavations. We’re allowed to tell little […]

“To the Glory of God”

Chinese United Church, Second Avenue SW, Calgary

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The Main from Two Angles

St. Laurent Blvd. just below René Lévesque Blvd.

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Ominous Sky

8pm near the corner of St. Laurent and René Lévesque.

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Chinatown Saint-Jean

One of my favourite Saint-Jean-Baptiste celebrations is in Chinatown. The programming, on the stage in Sun Yat Sen Square, is eclectic and unexpected, a combination of Ukrainian folk dancing, Mandarin poetry recitals and, towards the end of the afternoon, awkward Chinese pop songs sung by a teenage rock band (with a cover of Audioslave thrown […]

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The Bowery

I’m not sure what I was expecting. The Bowery is one of those New York streets that have been mythologized and made famous by American pop culture; although it is less well-known than some other Manhattan arteries, its name still evokes sleazy bars, flophouses and the kind of grit and disorder that was associated with […]

Chinatown Reflections

Corner of Grand and Allen, New York La Gauchetière near St. Urbain, Montreal

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Under the Manhattan Bridge

It’s a bit of a paradox — bridges are meant to connect two sides of a gap, to bring them together, but they often act quite intentionally as barriers because the space beneath them is so problematic. There is a tendency to leave it unused and overgrown with weeds, or to give it up for […]

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Coke Machine Glow

Chinatown was probably the oddest part of central Boston, mostly because it had yet to be scrubbed clean of its grit. This old Coke machine, randomly found in the middle of the sidewalk and stocked not with soft drinks but with Miller Lite and Budweiser, is a prime example.

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Chinatown’s Jewish History

If Chinatown’s Jewish heritage isn’t obvious, it’s probably because it has been erased by time and redevelopment, swept away like Chenneville St. and its quietly imposing synagogue. Makom: Seeking Sacred Space, an ongoing exhibition at Hampstead’s Dorshei Emet synagogue, examines the historical traces of Montreal’s Jewish community with photos of former synagogues near the Main. […]