Originally Posted by someone123
Have you ever been there? I'm not sure I can agree with this. I mean, if you go visit Halifax and stand in the Grand Parade, a prominent spot in the middle of town, you're on a square from 1749 and there's a church from 1750, a stone building behind that from 1760, and then a few other wooden buildings from 1760-1810. Then up the hill is the Town Clock, maybe the most famous landmark in the city, and it's from 1802.
Another aspect of the aesthetics of Atlantic Canada that I failed to mention is that I like the brightly coloured wooden buildings more than, say, brown brick. This is just a personal preference.
I have been to the Maritimes, and I agree with Monkey Ronin.
Look, I'm not saying that Halifax isn't historic. It most certainly is, but its history isn't so predominant in the way it is in Quebec City, much of Montreal, even smaller cities like Stratford or Lunenburg. Yeah, you've got the Town Clock, sure, but what's behind it? All modern buildings. It's not meant as an insult, either, as it makes Halifax more dynamic. You can be walking along the harbourfront at Purdys Wharf, turn a corner, and you're in the Historic Properties. Halifax isn't one or the other, it's both. Even outside of the downtown, there's a fair bit of infill and such (which is overall good).
By the same token, I would say Toronto has a lot of history, but it isn't dominated by it in any way. The '70s commie blocks are as much apart of the Toronto vernacular as Bay and Gables, despite the latter being discussed far more often. And yes, the other cities in my example, like Montreal and even Lunenburg, have newer looking areas, but in my experience, the history jumped out at me more there. Montreal is a very old school city.
For what it's worth, I didn't find the brightly coloured wooden buildings as common in the Maritimes as I thought it would be. Yeah, it exists, but I found the towns tended to err towards brick or less-colourful wooden vernacular. I didn't spend much time on the South Shore, though, which, by street view, seems to have a bit more of that. The whole brightly coloured wooden buildings thing is something I associate more strongly with Newfoundland.
was how I found the average Maritime town. Not colourful, but somewhat historic in a shabby sense. More hugging a single road rather than having a proper grid and neighbourhoods. This
is more what I think of as a typical Ontario town. I mean, there are towns like that in the Maritimes (eg Pictou, New Glasgow, Amherst, Antigonish) but they're more the exception. Compared with the Prairies
-- shabbier than Ontario, but more substantial than the Maritimes.
Originally Posted by hipster duck
It is surprising how far Canadian cities have come in the last 15-20 years. I think that might be one of the reasons we're on this forum. That's the reason I'm on this forum. I wouldn't have become such an urban aficionado if the rate of change in our cities wasn't so tangible.
When I was a teen in the late 1990s, most Canadian cities except maybe Vancouver seemed to be at their urban nadir. Montreal was no exception to this.
Back then, Toronto looked incredibly provincial - even as a kid I felt this way. There were hardly any downtown intersections that had a building on all 4 corners; the parking lots that occupied their place often were surfaced in gravel and had rusting or leaning signs. I was part of an exchange with a school in Germany, and I was blown away by how solid and well-kept everything was in [smaller] Hamburg. Thinking back, it was a bit of a time warp - except in the opposite direction: the solidity of their architecture notwisthstanding, their public realm had everything we are starting to have like separated bike lanes, sidewalks with artisanal pavers, eye-catching transit shelters with sleek buses, low-floor streetcars etc. When they came over here, we drove them around in our boxy Oldsmobiles, took them for a ride on TTC subway cars that still had the fake wood paneling and orange vinyl seats, and then led them over to Yonge street. Aside from the fun they had at the record stores they were like: "what the hell is this place?"
At the time they were 15 years ahead of us. I haven't been back to Hamburg since then, but I've been to the rest of Europe quite a few times, and I've been to cities that are supposedly on the forefront of good urbanism - like Amsterdam and Barcelona. Needless to say, I don't think they're 15 years ahead of us anymore.
It doesn't really surprise me that Europeans aren't really active on urban discussion boards (and I don't think it's English-fluency on SSP or the Internet, because the French-language urban discussion boards in Quebec like MTLUrb are very active) because, all things considered, their cities aren't improving that much.
The Europeans have SSC
. There's also a lot of development in Australia and East Asia, but you wouldn't know that from SSP because SSP is more North America-centric.