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  #21  
Old Posted Sep 29, 2017, 11:47 PM
BlackRedGold BlackRedGold is offline
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Originally Posted by logan5 View Post
Nanaimo has a pretty good downtown (surprisingly).
What? I was there last year and it was one of the worst downtowns I've seen in Canada. A weird mix of almost dilapidated buildings and freshly built buildings with no street life and nothing of interest to see other than the view of the water.
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  #22  
Old Posted Sep 30, 2017, 5:32 PM
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Originally Posted by SignalHillHiker View Post
They have lots of German immigrants as well, even Low German (Mennonite, etc.) Especially in Brazil:

https://www.mwc-cmm.org/content/newc...nonites-brazil

And Germans were, by far, the most populous immigrant group to the United States for many decades. It was even a common second language until the World Wars. Still today, it's one of the largest at 40+ million:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_Americans

I'm not surprised at all it'd be the Germans who are the kitsch village thing throughout the Americas. The Spanish influence is obvious, and all of southern Europe is so similar that anything Italian wouldn't really stand out all that much.
Yeah, I guess south American cities and towns already look Iberian enough, at least in the centres, anyway. With the German thing it seems like the perfect mix of enough immigrants combined with unique architectural flourishes and cultural touchstones.

You get an echo of this when you see the onion tops of the Orthodox churches in the distance while driving toward the little Ukrainian villages in southern Manitoba, but the cultural experience is probably limited to biannual pierogi suppers and the odd night of dancing in Winnipeg or Edmonton. Maybe Ukrainian culture doesn't really lend itself to Disneyfication like Bavaria does.

Or maybe the Ukrainian population didn't reach critical mass here like the Germans did?

Funny how I overlooked this, but Chinatowns are an obvious corollary to this, except they're always in cities. And Chinatowns are a purely organic phenomenon anyway. Nobody in 1962 decided "there should be a Chinatown here to attract tourists."

Though that's also due to the quaintness factor, which you have in spades with German stuff but not really at all in East Asia, where "garish" is the more apt descriptor than anything else.
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  #23  
Old Posted Sep 30, 2017, 5:56 PM
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Asmara, the capital of Eritrea actually has a ton of Italian fascist era art-deco futurist architecture that seems incredibly out of place. The Italians tried to build it up as a model city during their ill-fated colonial exploits. Not quite the same but in this day and age it must look like it in the middle of that country.

https://www.theguardian.com/artandde...ge-site-asmara
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  #24  
Old Posted Sep 30, 2017, 6:36 PM
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Alberta Views ran a piece a couple months back on the status of Ukrainian culture in Alberta. The article posits that the history of Ukrainians in Alberta has been whitewashed, and that Ukrainian-Canadians has been positioned as the "default prairie ethnic."

The most interesting part of the article is the following:

"In August 2012 the ancestral house of former Alberta premier Ed Stelmach, built by his grandparents in 1915, was moved from its moorings on the original quarter-section near Andrew to the Heritage Village. Together with other agricultural mementoes, such as a pigsty, granaries, market square and roadside shrine, the Stelmach house invites visitors to marvel at how far settlers have come: “From untouched bush, settlers carved out farms, and soon turned their attention to building their communities.”

The implication is that, prior to the prodigious investment of our labour, the land had been useless, unproductive and uninhabited. Asserting since the 1970s the deep belonging we felt to our place on the prairie that was neither English nor French, we had stepped up as exemplars of and participants in multiculturalism, having earned our right to the status of a “founding people” here thanks to our sweat, toil and tears on the land."

https://albertaviews.ca/babas-other-children/

If you took the above as true (arguable), you might say that the default prairie style is "Ukrainian." It isn't, therefore, distinguishable from other settler architecture except for those rare flourishes (eg. the onion domes).
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  #25  
Old Posted Sep 30, 2017, 6:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Boris2k7 View Post
...having earned our right to the status of a “founding people” here thanks to our sweat, toil and tears on the land."
Hope this isn't off-topic or too political a tangent, but if Alberta was founded in 1905 as a province, and if the European-style polity of the last century is vastly different from the previous centuries of First Nations presence there, then I don't think "founding people" should really be all that controversial.

While combing through what people say to point out blithe omissions of who lived here before the Europeans has become de rigeur, I don't think the characterization of the Ukrainians in your quote is inaccurate, no matter the perception of how insensitive or upsetting it might sound.

Though I like the phrase "default prairie ethnic." And actually, come to think of it, it makes a lot of sense.
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  #26  
Old Posted Oct 1, 2017, 1:00 PM
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Welcome to the forum and cool thread idea.

For myself, a mom and pop bakery is a must in any small charming town.
Bonus points for a glass blowing shop giving demoes and yard sales just happening off some of the side streets.
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  #27  
Old Posted Oct 1, 2017, 3:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Razor View Post
For myself, a mom and pop bakery is a must in any small charming town.
Well then, you'd love Alma in New Brunswick.



Alma is a small fishing village along the upper reaches of the Bay of Fundy and is the service town for Fundy National Park (similar in that regard to Banff, Jasper or Revelstoke, except much smaller and much, MUCH, MUCH more humble).

Off season, the population of the village is only about 400, but it has many more restaurants, hotels and motels than you would normally expect given it's size, including a new craft brewery which is getting good reviews.

Anyway, Kelly's Bake Shop in Alma proclaims itself as the "home of the sticky bun", and in turn as being "world famous". I thought it was all hype, but I went there for the first time this summer and there was a line-up almost out the door for the sticky buns. It reminded me instantly of the "soup Nazi" from Seinfeld. You go to the counter, obediently place your order, and then, after paying, wait quietly amongst the assembled crowd for the order to be processed. I had the mental image that if you raised a ruckus, somebody would shout out "no sticky buns for you!!!"

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  #28  
Old Posted Oct 1, 2017, 5:56 PM
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Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
Come to think of it, there are German-themed towns all over North and South America, but you don't really get this with other ethnicities, do you? I mean, there are no Italian-looking towns anywhere, or French, or Thai, or Jamaican, or what have you.

Why did this happen with Germans? Brazil and Argentina have the most Italian immigrants, but you don't have little Italian-themed towns anywhere, just German ones.

Weird.
Certainly in Canada and the northern US, Bavarian style architecture is suited to the climate. Plus Bavaria is beautiful, I can see why people would want to emulate it in mountainous settings
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  #29  
Old Posted Oct 1, 2017, 6:06 PM
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Good point that hipster duck said about tenant mix.

I never considered such a thing until I started working in commercial RE. Lots of landlords have declined some tenants, even good tenants, due to the nature of their business. They prefer a certain kind of mix when it's a landlord's leasing market.

Definitely helps if there's a nice mix of tenants at different corners.
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  #30  
Old Posted Oct 1, 2017, 10:21 PM
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Thanks for the welcoming messages.
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  #31  
Old Posted Oct 2, 2017, 12:28 AM
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Originally Posted by hipster duck View Post
- Old, but well maintained buildings/houses with character. Including an old church. Agreed.

- Very low vacancy.

Yup. I think that goes without saying.

- Unique and colourful storefronts/facades all different than the next one. Whether they're original or fake.

Agreed. Although,
I would hope that the modern buildings have facades that reflect the contemproary styles of that era. Even a building from the nadir era of architecture (for me that would be the late 1970s to the early 1990s) would be unabashedly representative of that time.


- Ivy growing up some buildings helps.

If you have a climate that is conducive to this, then, yes. The emphasis should be on the word 'some'. Ivy covering all buildings would be weird.

- Sidewalks are lined with trees/bushes, big or small.

I'll disagree with you on this one. Trees are kind of overrated on commercial streets.

- Lamp posts have hanging flower baskets.

That's a nice-to-have, but, again, I don't think you need to have flowers or shrubbery everywhere to make an attractive commercial landscape.

- Not too many franchised stores but rather some individual cafes and boutique stores.

Not sure I agree completely. If chains (not banks, though) choose to locate in the downtown of a small city, it is a sign that the downtown is an important retail destination in the region for people with disposable incomes. For example, Kingston - which has the best downtown of a city of its size in Ontario - has an Urban Outfitters and a Lululemon on Princess Street. I think chain retail follows vibrancy, rather than the other way around, so I'll say that it's more a symptom of a good downtown than a cause.

- Narrow streets, which adds to the intimacy. Bad for driving in bigger places but fine for small towns as traffic is not an issue.

Absolutely. North American downtowns would be so much better if their streets were narrower. I think that's part of the reason why we have an affinity for skyscrapers on this board. On a certain level, they make our wide, straight streets feel hemmed in, which, I feel, is something we gravitate to without even knowing.

- Cobblestone would help but most places are not Old Quebec or Montreal.

I personally don't care for cobblestone. In our climate, it's a major pain in the ass to shovel/plow, it's terrible for bicyclists, wheelchairs or strollers, and since our cities don't have a history of building cobblestone streets, it can come off as inauthentic and faux. Smooth stone paving systems are better IMHO. Honestly, I don't really care too much about what the sidewalk is made of. Concrete is fine if it's well maintained. The worst were those interlocking brick pavers from the 1980s that come loose or have weeds poking through them.

- Overhanging sign or banners. Like a sign with the town's name on it or banners promoting festivals. Even having some wires crossing over the street adds to the closeness and intimacy IMO.

Okay, I disagree with you here. I find vinyl banners to be so kitschy and provincial, and they ruin the vistas of our streets. They're primarily aimed at drivers, anyway.


Anything else to add?

I think making sure that the main intersection in your downtown has a different type of business on every corner is important.
If all 4 corners are occupied by banks, it will be dead. If all 4 corners are occupied by restaurants, that would be interesting, but it would only be active at restaurant hours. Having a clothes shop, a bank, a restaurant and maybe a bar/cafe would be ideal.
Good points here and I agree with most. Regarding the bolded, I think it's preferable to have a mix - especially in larger cities. Midtown Manhattan works with the wider streets and Greenwich Village works with narrow streets - context is important.
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  #32  
Old Posted Oct 5, 2017, 12:13 AM
megadude megadude is offline
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Just drove through Downtown Oakville and Kerr Village and it reminded me about the white Christmas lights in the trees.

Can also wrap around the tree trunks like Las Olas area of Downtown Ft. Lauderdale.



From ronniemills.com


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  #33  
Old Posted Oct 5, 2017, 3:32 AM
MolsonExport MolsonExport is offline
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lack of parking lots and chain fast food, gasoline joints. Naturally, stately old buildings right up to the curb, narrow streets, mature trees, walkable streets, eclectic shops, lack of stinkos, a meandering river....
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  #34  
Old Posted Oct 5, 2017, 11:40 AM
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lack of parking lots and chain fast food, gasoline joints. Naturally, stately old buildings right up to the curb, narrow streets, mature trees, walkable streets, eclectic shops, lack of stinkos, a meandering river....
That's another. The river. Paris, ON on the main street is decent, but on the other side of the shops is what's most interesting. Right over the Grand River. Cambridge too has an interesting riverfront on the Grand.

Also, the Thames is a big part of Stratford.


Cambridge

Sue Moffet https://www.flickr.com/photos/suemof...phy/8012707231



Elora. Also on the Grand

Last edited by megadude; Oct 6, 2017 at 12:20 AM.
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  #35  
Old Posted Oct 5, 2017, 2:31 PM
kwoldtimer kwoldtimer is offline
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Originally Posted by megadude View Post
That's another. The river. Paris, ON on the main street is decent, but on the other side of the shops is what's most interesting. Right over the Grand River.

Also, the Thames is a big part of Stratford.
I suppose, if the fact that Stratford's Avon River flows into the Thames makes the latter a "big part".
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  #36  
Old Posted Oct 5, 2017, 4:55 PM
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I suppose, if the fact that Stratford's Avon River flows into the Thames makes the latter a "big part".
Lol. My bad. Mixing up my Southwest Ontario rivers. Only been to Stratford once.

Last month when I visited Kincardine I thought that I was looking at the Maitland. For a good week I was under that impression until I looked at the map again.

I guess I tend to mix up rivers I don't fish in. Because I did take my little boat up the Sauble that same day and won't forget that one!

As I started to fish more and started driving around more, I began to realize just how many those towns lining the Great Lakes have boatable rivers and creeks. I wish I had the time and money to venture up every single one of them while hopefully catching fish at the same time. It's another nice way of seeing a town. I like the eclectic mix of homes, boats and businesses along the river.

One of the most interesting sights was on the Welland River in Wellandport. Was passing by a horse farm. As I got closer a few horses came right up to the water's edge to check me out. I was about five feet away and then backed off because I was genuinely scared one of them was going to jump in the boat to make a run from the farm.

Last edited by megadude; Oct 5, 2017 at 5:09 PM.
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  #37  
Old Posted Oct 5, 2017, 5:34 PM
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Originally Posted by MolsonExport View Post
lack of parking lots and chain fast food, gasoline joints. Naturally, stately old buildings right up to the curb, narrow streets, mature trees, walkable streets, eclectic shops, lack of stinkos, a meandering river....

Yes to all of that, but what's a "Stinko"
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  #38  
Old Posted Oct 5, 2017, 6:24 PM
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Yes to all of that, but what's a "Stinko"
A "wino" or vagrant I suppose?
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  #39  
Old Posted Oct 5, 2017, 6:27 PM
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I thought so.
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  #40  
Old Posted Oct 5, 2017, 10:25 PM
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The girls are at the bingo and the boys are getting stinko and in related news Sudbury most certainly does not have a charming downtown that's for sure
North Bay's Main Street is somewhat charming -- at least a block or two of it, anyway.

https://goo.gl/maps/7r6sLKQi4xN2

https://goo.gl/maps/GnjLaW1XTGS2
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