Beach Life in the Winter

Busan, South Korea’s second-largest city, is known as a summertime destination — seafood, beaches, that kind of thing. Dozens of love hotels dot beachfront neighbourhoods like Gwangan and Haeundae, geared towards couples looking for a sultry oceanside tryst. But I was there in December, just as the city was sliding headlong into winter. Busan’s climate […]

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The House on Derby Road

When property prices reach such outlandish heights as in Hong Kong, it creates some peculiar distortions in the local market. Whenever I walk around Kowloon Tong, a wealthy, low-rise neighbourhood not far from my apartment, I’m surprised by the number of derelict and seemingly abandoned houses. Kowloon Tong was first developed as a garden suburb […]

The Seawall in all its Incarnations

Walking the length of Vancouver’s Seawall is a lesson in design fads and fashions. The Stanley Park stretch dates back to 1914 and is elegant in its simplicity; a rough-hewn stone wall threads its way around the park’s craggy shoreline, rainforest on one side and cool Pacific waters on the other. Near Granville Island, the […]

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Walking in the City Without Ground

One of the first lessons of walking in Hong Kong: maps are your enemy. In a city with such dramatic topography, where private and public spaces blend together almost seamlessly, the best routes are not the most obvious. Take for example the 20-minute walk from the cafés of Star Street to the shops of Queen’s […]

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Fall City

I’ve been lucky enough to travel pretty extensively over the past few years. There have been sunny mornings in Munich, cold winter treks through Seoul, sweaty nights in Bangkok. Yet for all the cities I’ve encountered, all the streets I’ve walked, I still think Montreal is one of the most enjoyable places in the world […]

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The Sacred Food Court

Seats of imperial power are often regarded with a certain reverence — they provoke admiration, astonishment, even fear. That’s certainly the case in New Delhi, where British colonialists built a series of massive, belittling monuments to their rule, or in Washington, DC, where the Mall is increasingly seen by its National Park Service administrators not […]

The Treehouse of Roosevelt Road

A couple of months ago, I wrote about the fig tree that has taken root atop a dilapidated building on Temple Street in Hong Kong. 800 kilometres to the northeast, across the Taiwan Strait, there is something even more spectacular: an enormous tree that grows straight through an otherwise ordinary shophouse. You can find the […]

Palermo Pastoral

On the morning of my single day in Palermo — a city that left a real impression on me, despite the short amount of time I spent there — I came across a vacant lot near the harbour that was overgrown with vegetation. The funny thing is, I didn’t realize it was a vacant lot […]

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COB on Calle Florida

It may share a name with a certain sedated, semitropical retirement home of a state to its north, but nowhere is the raw verve of Buenos Aires more palpable than on Calle Florida. In a city of Brobdingnagian boulevards, it’s as claustrophobic as an Istanbul alley. Whereas most of Argentina’s capital is a blend of […]

Cicchetti veneziani

There’s always a disconnect between the way a city is portrayed on screen and the day-to-day reality of its existence. New York isn’t actually surly taxi drivers and whistling construction workers; you can’t see the Eiffel Tower from every street in Paris. But Venice is the exception. There is nowhere else like it. What’s more, […]

August 25, Three Decades Apart

Last week, the Archives de la Ville de Montréal uploaded a short series of photos taken on August 25, 1969, around Ste. Catherine and Sherbrooke streets. I’m always a fan of vintage street photography, especially from the relatively recent past, but these struck a real chord with me for one reason: it was on that […]

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Even the Dead Live in High-Rises

Cemetery in Macau Every time I take the bus through the Aberdeen Tunnel, emerging in Happy Valley outside Hong Kong’s oldest burial grounds, I marvel at the tombstones of the Catholic cemetery, jostling for space and attention beneath the gaze of a copper-domed mausoleum. The scene makes me think of the multitude of greystone Catholic […]

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The Faded Glory of Not-So-Ancient Rome

Posted in: Architecture, Europe by Christopher Szabla Comments Off on The Faded Glory of Not-So-Ancient Rome , ,

Porto Defeated Me

Porto. The city was called Portus in imperial times, and all of Portugal now bears its name. A merchant city with an urban fabric that sometimes seems to break down, metamorphosing. A medieval Cathedral that overlooks a hill that seems to be inhabited by darkness and fear. Some prostitutes, few tourists. In February 2012, Porto […]

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