Oblongs

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Central Alley

Laneway off Wellington Street in Central, Hong Kong

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An Unexplored Alley

For all of the things I’ve written about exploring Montreal’s laneways, and in particular those of Mile End, there are still some alleys close to home that I have never, for reasons that are beyond me, wandered down. In fact, when I walk through the lanes near home I usually take the same ones, probably […]

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The Main from Two Angles

St. Laurent Blvd. just below René Lévesque Blvd.

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Half-Truths and Reflections on Home

[youtube]aY9BtROpNQ4[/youtube] If it hasn’t yet been made clear to my regular readers, I’m on the verge of moving to Hong Kong, maybe for only a year, but likely for much longer than that. What this means, of course, is that I’m going to leave Montreal. (I would take my beloved city with me, but the […]

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Child’s Play

In the alley between Clark and St. Urbain and St. Viateur and Fairmount, Mile End

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Night Art

Clark Street below St. Joseph Boulevard In the lane between St. Laurent and Clark, near Mount Royal

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Ruelles With Potential

Montreal is one of the most dynamic and engaging cities in North America, but sometimes I wish that creativity would be reflected in its urban planning. So many corners of this city brim with potential — but much of that potential is being wasted. Consider the case of two downtown laneways: Mount Royal Place and […]

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Walking Mile End’s Laneways

In many ways, Montreal is a remarkably heterogeneous city, and its built form is no exception. Each individual neighbourhood is distinct enough to provide the aimless walker with enough visual cues to figure out where he or she is. Alleys, too, vary from one part of the city to the next. In nineteenth-century neighbourhoods, they’re […]

Back Alley Forest

Laneway between Jeanne-Mance and Esplanade, Mile End, Montreal

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Dans la ruelle

After awhile, even the largest city can shrink to the size of a village. On a good day, this creates a comfortable intimacy; on a bad day, it can impose a banal, oppressive familiarity. Passing through the same streets day after day, it’s easy to lose sight of the things that so charmed you about […]

Three Strange Streets

Back in October, on one of the unseasonably warm and humid days Montreal had towards the end of fall, I was on the 129 bus heading west to Victoria Avenue when I noticed three odd streets on the south side of Côte Ste. Catherine. Unusually for streets in Côte des Neiges, which tend to be […]

Living in a Laneway

Abandoned laneway triplex near St. Louis Square This summer, while wandering through one of the sidestreets between Prince Arthur and Sherbrooke, I veered off into a laneway. Expecting to find some interesting graffiti, a picturesque clothesline or maybe some discarded furniture, I was surprised to come across an entire triplex at the intersection of two […]

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A Book Market for the Big Bibliothèque?

When it opened at the end of April, 2005, the Grande Bibliothèque defied expectations when it attracted tens of thousands of people who were eager to check out its airy architecture and multimedia, multilingual collection. The crowds never let up: even today, two and a half years later, a visit to the library reveals an […]

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