Apartment Building Names

Maplecourt, McGill Ghetto On a cold, grey day last December, stir-crazy after more than a week of snow, I took a walk down Decarie Boulevard in Montreal. It’s not the most obvious place for a stroll—a six-lane, sunken expressway runs down the middle of it—but it’s a pretty interesting street nonetheless, taking you through a […]

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. […]

Nathalie and Denbigh

My hunt for apartment building names has only just begun, but these two photos show exactly why I’m interested in them in the first place. Appartement Nathalie is located on St. Denis near Rachel, right in the middle of the Plateau Mont-Royal. The Denbigh, meanwhile, can be found about five kilometres to the west, at […]

Paris: Beyond the End of History

Quai d’Orsay: From Commuters to Connoisseurs French culture is dead. So declared Time magazine’s Don Morrison recently. Complacently subsisting off plentiful government subsidies, France’s once-trendsetting culture class have failed to keep up and compete with any of the noise issuing forth from the anglophone world. If France’s capital city is any reflection of the country’s […]

Il fait beau dans l’métro

[youtube]DcC31r1BxBY[/youtube] (I first posted about Il fait beau dans l’métro last April. Today, an article was published with a more in-depth look at the advertisement.) A troupe of exuberant dancers isn’t what most commuters expect when they descend into the métro. But there they were, in Il fait beau dans l’métro, an iconic 1976 television […]

Calgary’s Montreal Suburb

Stroll up the hill just south of downtown and take a look at the street signs: Frontenac Avenue. Montreal Avenue. Wolfe Street. Cabot Street. Montcalm Crescent. Talon Avenue. Laval Avenue. Dorchester Avenue. Where are we? In Mount Royal, of course, Calgary’s most prestigious neighbourhood. I’ve always found it odd that the street names found in […]

The King is Dead; Long Live the King

One of the King of Kowloon’s last remaining pieces. Photo by Dustin Shum of the South China Morning Post Tsang Tsou Choi, the King of Kowloon, died two weeks ago at the age of 86. I wrote about Tsang in March, outlining my first encounter with his graffiti and the strange and sometimes nonsensical messages […]

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 […]

You Are Here: A City In Its Street Signs

Rue Groll St., reads the street sign, jutting out from a wood hydro pole. This isn’t a sign in officially bilingual Ottawa: it is found in officially French Montreal, on a tiny lane in Mile End. The original sign was in English, but some time ago a sticker reading “Rue” was added, in a rather […]

The King of Kowloon

Before we left for our trip to Hong Kong, my girlfriend told me about the world’s oldest graffiti artist. “He’s eighty-five years old and he calls himself the King of Kowloon,” she explained. I had trouble reconciling the image of a frail old man with that of a typical paint-wielding street artist, especially after seeing […]

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 […]

Dépanneur Weijia

I can’t remember what was there before Weijia. Another depanneur, sure, but obviously not a remarkable one. I’m not even sure it had a sign. But then, a couple of years ago, a friendly, middle-aged couple from the northern Chinese province of Shandong bought the depanneur and mounted a large vinyl banner that clearly announced […]

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