I'm Canadian, from Vancouver, and despite the differences between our two countries -firstly, the CLIMATE ! ! (you lucky folks) - secondly, the fact that we are joined at the navel to the USA - our two countries share many co-incidental similarities; Commonwealth offspring; relatively small populations concentrated very much in ciies; miles and miles of wilderness. (You have your great deserts and northern jungle areas; we have our vast Siberia-like forests and rugged Arctic tundra)
We have two really big cities, Montreal and Toronto (Tornto now being the fourth largest metro area in North America, at 6m, ahead of Houston TX), the Vancouver at third place, which recently pushed past the 2m mark, several cities of nearly 1m (Calgary, Edmonton, and Ottawa) and Winnipeg at 600,000, although not really big, of strategic and economic importance.
You have Sydney and Melbourne leading the pack, followed by Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide. I do not know the size of Canberra.
Regarding your big cities and our big cities, it is interesting to compare the architecture of both countries.
Toronto has soaring highrises, but an altogether more austere and conservative appearance than Sydney. Montreal has fewer very tall buildings, but the tall buildings it has are elegant and often very pleasing to the eye. The "Chateau Champlain" hotel is such a building if any of you are interested.
Vancouver is a mass of high-rise condominium buildings in the central core, usually around 30 storeys, with a handful of buildings over 40 stories, and several new ones under construction pushing 60 storeys.
I have seen pictures of the downtown areas of Sydney and Melbourne, and I think they have more character, in their own way, than our big cities (with the possible exception of Montreal).
However, especially here in rapidly-growing Vancouver, we are always looking for new ideas in not only architecture, but in urban amenities such as pedestrian malls, rapid transit (which you are way ahead of us on) parks, housing and other issues.
I'd like to invite anyone interested to go to the SKYSCRAPERPAGE forum, find CANADA, click on Vancouver
, and submit pictures and ideas. SKYSCRAPERPAGE is very popular in Canada, especially Vancouver, and speaking on behalf of my fellow Vancouverites, we'd welcome pictures, ideas, and criticisms too, of what we're doing right, and what we're doing wrong.
Your cities seem like great place places, and I think we could learn a lot from you, so if you have anything to add, especially visual, COME ON OVER ! ! !
It would be great hearing from you.