La Grande Jatte

Every day from spring to fall, a scene reminiscent of Georges Seurat’s most famous painting is reenacted next to the Lafontaine Park pond in Montreal. It’s as much of a scene as any bar or café: teenagers flirting, sunbathers bathing, les ostie de gratteux de guitare strumming their guitars. Thinking back to my most recent […]

Roadsworth’s Legacy

Eight years ago, I was crossing Fairmount Avenue near my apartment in Montreal’s Mile End district when I noticed a strange addition to the zebra crossing beneath my feet: barbed wire. Not actual barbed wire, but a painted rendition of it along the edge of the crosswalk, half in yellow, the other half white, both […]

The Lingering Ghost

On a bright summer day in 1996, Kate McDonnell was wandering through an alley in the eastern Plateau when she spotted the remnants of a hand-painted tobacco ad on the wall of an old triplex. Fifteen years later, Kate ventured down the same alley and, sure enough, the ad was still there, a bit more […]

A Walk Through the Bairro Português

Jane Jacobs died five years ago and fans of cities and the celebrated, iconclastic urbanist have been remembering her contribution with walks through neighborhoods around the world since 2007. This coming weekend, May 7 and 8, enthusiastic city lovers in more than 150 cities around the world, from Toronto to São Paulo, will lead Jane’s […]

Posted in: Art and Design, Canada, Heritage and Preservation, Public Space, Society and Culture by Mary Soderstrom Comments Off on A Walk Through the Bairro Português , , ,

Grace and Gracelessness

I often groan while looking at then-and-now photos, since the “now” is usually so bland and graceless compared to the “then.” This new compilation by Guillaume St-Jean, which depicts the corner of Sherbrooke Street and St-Laurent in Montreal, leaves me rather more dumbfounded. How on earth did that end up looking like this?

Dear Hong Kong: Why I Love Bixi

The following essay appears in the August 2010 issue of Muse, a Hong Kong arts and culture magazine. I still remember bicycling up Mount Royal. It was a warm summer night and there were five of us riding through the streets of Montreal, looking for something to do. Somebody suggested heading up the mountain that […]

Morning Coffee: Tao Dan Park

I knew I would like Ho Chi Minh City the minute I had my first cup of coffee. Any city where it’s normal to take a leisurely mid-morning coffee break is fine by me — especially when those coffee breaks take place with birdcages and newspapers in a public park. Last year, I wrote about […]

French Expats, Here and There

French football fans celebrate in 2006 on the Plateau Mont-Royal Photo by Oliver Lavery It’s been a long time coming, but the French — in the words of a shop manager on Mount Royal Avenue — “are taking over the Plateau!” French immigrants have been coming to Quebec for decades, but the past few years […]

Posted in: Asia Pacific, Canada, Demographics, Society and Culture by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on French Expats, Here and There , , , ,

À Bout de souffle, version américaine

[youtube][/youtube] I’m a great fan of Jean Leloup not only because we share a name (though his is made up and mine is real) or because he lived near me and I used to see him on the street every other day. I like him because he’s probably the strangest, most brilliant musician to have […]

Posted in: Canada, Music, Video by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on À Bout de souffle, version américaine , , ,

It’s Always Autumn

Avenue de l’Hôtel-de-Ville between Roy and Duluth The first big snow has already fallen on Montreal, but I still picture the city in the midst of autumn, partly because that’s when the city looks its best and partly because I still haven’t worked through the hundreds of photos I took when I was back to […]

Posted in: Canada by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on It’s Always Autumn , , ,

Display Case

A ground floor window, if it’s close enough to the sidewalk, is the perfect vehicle for self-expression. When I was growing up in Calgary, I would walk along 17th Avenue every day, passing by an apartment window that was festooned with anti-war posters, music stickers and various other countercultural emblems. In Montreal, at the corner […]

Posted in: Art and Design, Canada by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Display Case , , ,

Hey You, Hurry Up

Street art on Duluth and St. Viateur streets, Montreal

Posted in: Art and Design, Canada by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Hey You, Hurry Up , , , , ,

Making of a Square

Place Gérald-Godin in 1979 and 2009. Compilation by Guillaume St-Jean Over the past decade, Montreal has invested heavily in big-ticket squares and plazas, including the remarkable Place Jean-Paul Riopelle and redesigned Victoria Square, both completed in 2003, and the surprisingly successful Place des Festivals, which opened earlier this year. But some of the smaller new […]

Night on the Plateau

Posted in: Canada by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Night on the Plateau , ,