Author David Macaulay hosts CATHEDRAL, based on his award-winning book. Using a combination of spectacular location sequences and cinema-quality animation, the program surveys France’s most famous churches. Travel back to 1214 to explore the design of Notre Dame de Beaulieu, a representative Gothic cathedral. The program tells period tales revealing fascinating stories of life and death, faith and despair, prosperity, and intrigue.
I have been walking by this building for the last couple of weeks but it is a pain to photograph in late afternoon. The College of Medicine throws a long shadow and this was one of the few times I have been able to shoot the Gordon Oakes Red Bear Student Centre. It home to the aboriginal student’s union on campus and was designed by Ottawa architect Douglas Cardinal.
The new transit hub at the World Trade Center site is opening to the public this month. The design for the station was first revealed in 2004. It was projected to take five years and only $2.2 billion to complete, but after 12 years and many complications, $2.2 billion turned into $4 billion, making the Transportation Hub the most expensive train station ever. Though the main part of the station that connects to the PATH trains — known as the Oculus — will now be open, other parts, such as the retail space, are still under construction.
The hub was designed by architect Santiago Calatrava, who has worked on buildings in Spain, Switzerland, and Canada. He is currently designing St. Nicholas Church in Liberty Park, another building that was destroyed during the 9/11 attacks.
First of all, watch this time lapse video taken over five years.
Here is the story behind it.
The Elbphilharmonie is a concert hall under construction in the HafenCity quarter of Hamburg, Germany. The new construction sits on top of an old warehouse building and is designed by Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron.
In 2007, the construction was scheduled to be finished by 2010 with an estimated cost of €241 million. In November 2008, as an endorsement to the original contract, the costs for the project were estimated at €450 million.In August 2012, the cost were re-estimated to be over €500 million, which should also cover the increased cost for a strengthened roof.
As of December 2014, construction work is scheduled to end in October 2016 at a cost of €789 million, with an announced opening date of 12 January 2017.
The easternmost part of the building will be rented by Westin Hamburg hotel, scheduled to open in October 2016. The upper floors west of the concert hall will accommodate apartments.
I love the ambition of this project. It’s something you don’t often see anymore.
I wanted to one up (park)ing Day this year. Our house is on a corner lot. We have two parking spots. One is kind of gravelled while the other one is more dirt than gravel. Since moving in, I have planted seed along the side of the dirt one to keep the mud down and to make it look nicer. Since we only have one car, the one spot is rarely used so this year, I decided to seed in the second spot and do something with it.
I know some of you hate grass with a passion but I like lawn. Over the years with dogs that tend to tear up grass when they run on it, we have planted a more and more hearty grass. Instead of going to Wal-Mart of Canadian Tire, we go to Early’s and get both a tougher kind of grass but it also requires less watering. If you need grass seed, this is where you need to go. Since much of Mayfair was built with no topsoil, we mulch our grass, aerate it yearly, and put down compost. It’s not ideal but it does require less water than ever before.
I really wanted to do something with that spot. It is sheltered and will be really nice next summer but… it’s Mayfair and right beside my car and house. I really don’t want more stuff stolen or broken into. It’s also on the side street and not a lot of traffic. While the City has planted an oak and a maple tree on the side boulevard over the years, the oak hasn’t taken off year and the maple is at the back part of our lot.
So I am thinking of doing something along the front of the house. About a decade ago the City of Saskatoon planted (replanted?) a maple tree there and it is at a size where it is starting to give some shade. We have a lot of seniors in our neighbourhood that struggle to walk down to Safeway every day and for many of them, a bench might be nice there. I will either anchor it to the ground or use a coated chain to the tree and see how long it will be until it gets stolen.
We are also thinking of a planter there as well. It will be a pain in the neck to mow around it but it’s Mark and I that will be doing it and I will know who to complain to.
If it is an issue with the City, I can also put it on my property which is only more difficult in that I don’t have a tree to toss a chain around to secure it. I’d have to get to get two cement blocks and secure it to that. It’s not that hard but it’s more permanent than I want. That being said, I imagine I’ll do the same with the boulevard.
Small front yards, bike lanes integrated into suburban areas.
I love this. I wish Saskatoon and other cities would have a sense of humour like this like Bellvue, Washington. It’s also okay for cities to be fun.
Of course then there is this. It is amazing
For some reason I think that doing it in City Park under the rail tracks would look great. In case you are wondering, it is in Wuppertal, Germany.
Think of what little things like this all over Saskatoon would do for us. Surprising things to make us laugh, smile or just smirk a bit as we make our way through the city. I think it would be great.
On Sept. 2, four correction officers pulled Jose Guadalupe, an inmate classified in medical records as seriously mentally ill, into his solitary-confinement cell at Rikers Island and beat him unconscious.
A little over two months later, three guards wrestled another inmate, Tracy Johnson, to the floor, pepper-sprayed him in the face and broke a bone in his eye socket. Then, on Dec. 9, yet another group of officers beat Ambiorix Celedonio, an inmate with an I.Q. of 65, so badly that, as surveillance footage later showed, he had bruises and scratches on his face and blood coming from his mouth.
The brutal confrontations were among 62 cases identified by The New York Times in which inmates were seriously injured by correction officers between last August and January, a period when city and federal officials had become increasingly focused on reining in violence at Rikers.
It was in August that the United States attorneyâ€™s office in Manhattan issued a damning report about brutality at the jail complex and threatened to sue the city unless conditions there improved. And in November, Mayor Bill de Blasio declared that ending pervasive violence at Rikers had become a top priority for his administration.
But The Timesâ€™s examination makes clear that the violence has continued largely unabated, despite extraordinary levels of outside scrutiny, a substantial commitment of resources by Mr. de Blasio and a new team of high-ranking managers installed by the correction commissioner, Joseph Ponte, who took over the job in April.
This reminds me of the many conversations I had about jail with former inmates. Â The stories are not all that dissimilar. Â
Today, prison design is a civic cause for some architects who specialize in criminal justice and care about humane design. There is a lot of research documenting how the right kinds of design reduce violence inside prisons and even recidivism. Architects can help ensure that prisons donâ€™t succumb to our worst instincts â€” that they are not about spending the least amount of money to create the most horrendous places possible, in the name of vengeance â€” but promote rehabilitation and peace.
Hi, it’s Wendy. Every year I write a Christmas Gift Guide for those of you who are shopping for the men (boyfriends, brothers, husbands, fathers) in your life. The highly organized of you out there are already searching for Christmas gifts (as evidenced by the increased page views of previous years Christmas Gift Guides) so I decided that I had better kick off the 2014 edition before I hand the rest of them of to Jordon (although I will return to author a post on Christmas gifts for the cook). So here goes. Let me know what you think of these gifts in the comments.
I know recommending an iPad is like picking low hanging fruit but the new iPad Mini’s with a retina display is amazing. The new retina display has over 3.1 million pixels, which is a million more than a HDTV.
I never recommend that anyone uses the back camera of a tablet ever (you look ridiculous while using it as a camera), but the front facing camera of the iPad Mini with Retina Display is high definition and makes Apple Facetime (or Skype) video calls look fantastic which could be a killer feature if you or your loved one travels a lot. Staying in touch is important.
If the man you are Christmas shopping for is an iPhone or a Mac user, it’s an great addition (or upgrade) from a previous iPad (which may or may not support iOS 8)
- Starting from $399 at the Apple Store or only $345 at Amazon
If the man you are shopping for is an Android user, check out the new Nexus 7 from Google. It thinner, lighter, and faster. It’s not quite as sharp as the iPad Mini but it has a whopping 2.3 million pixels in the palm of your hand. So even if he has an older tablet, this is a great reason to upgrade with Google’s flagship Android tablet. With 323 pixels packed into every inch, you can read text that’s sharper than the printed page, see images more vivid than the highest quality photo magazine, and watch videos come to life in vibrant 1080p HD. He’ll love it.
- He will love the technology, you will love the price. It’s only $199 for the 16gb version on Amazon
Whether you get him an Android or iOS powered device, he is probably going to want to chill out with it which means he will need a great set of headphones. Money doesn’t mean quality (most people find Beats by Dre to be over priced and provide underwhelming sound despite their popularity). Here are some highly recommended headphones from well respected electronics website, The Wirecutter which tests hundreds of headphones every year.
Here is what The Wirecutter said about them:
The MDR-7506 have been a studio staple for years, and there’s a great reason why: Not only do they have an even response across the entire frequency range, the 7506 have better sonic depth and dexterity than many headphones twice their price. Plus, they are durable, comfortable, and reliable. And at a current retail price of less than $90, their performance was better than some of the competition that cost almost twice as much.
If you are on a budget, The Wirecutter recommends the Panasonic RP-TCM125K in ear headphones. We got a pair for Mark and he loves them. For only $15, they were one of the best technology purchases that Jordonor I have ever made.
The Panasonic headphones won because they sounded the best. Hands down. They were everyone’s top choice in terms of sound fidelity. They have a nice overall balance with airy, mellow highs and present-but-not-dominating bass. They sound just as good listening to acoustic guitar as they do hip hop and rock. Nothing pierces, nothing muddies: every frequency plays well with the others. And as you’ll see with other contenders later, that’s not often the case in this price range.
- So yeah, $15 gets you a lot. Find them at Amazon.
So if your guy wants to share the music, movie, or game he is playing (let’s not share the game), you will want to check out the MINI BOOM Wireless Bluetooth Speaker by Logitech.
Logitech’s UE Mini Boom works because it’s a speaker that you’ll actually use. It’s so portable it fits in a jacket pocket, but the sound it produces has enough power to clearly fill a room and preserve the most important aspects of the song being played. On top of that, despite retailing for substantially less than the original Jambox, pretty much every reviewer agrees that it performs better.
A smaller option with a fantastic looking carrying case and carabineer that allow you to take this speaker even more places and on more adventures.
It’s small and protected enough to take with you on trips, back and forth to work or even take with you on a hike and day out of the city.
The chant gives you around six hours of listening on a single charge which is perfect for an evening around the fire or chilling out with friends.
- You can get it at Amazon for $68
If you know Jordon, you know that he is on 650 News Talk Radio twice a week with David Kirton on the Saskatoon Afternoon Show. So I have to include a tabletop radio. The Model One Bluetooth Table Radio has both an amazing tabletop radio experience with a Bluetooth speaker.
It’s costly at $269 but it would look amazing on any bookshelf while providing brilliant sound to listen to the Saskatoon Afternoon Show on or to listen to the podcast later on that evening. Even if the guy you are shopping for isn ‘ t a News Talk Radio fan, can you think of a better device to listen to ESPN Radio on while having a drink on the deck? I can’t either.
If he is more old school and doesn’t mind some cords to connect his iPhone to the speaker, check out the Sangean WR-11SE AM/FM Table Top Radio 40th Anniversary Edition.
These are fantastic mini-binoculars. While not as good as high end binoculars from Zeiss or even higher end Pentax, these are affordable and portable enough to take with you anywhere. Jordon keeps a pair of Nikon Realtree Binoculars in his go-bag at all times. If these had come out when he bought those, he would have picked these instead.
Jordon is a photographer and loves his Pentax K-30 DSLR. He bought a Pentax Q this summer and loved it. It doesn’t replace his K-30 (it offers none of the lens options or the low light performance) but is so incredibly portable and easy to take with you no matter where he is going. It’s not going to be the camera he takes with him to photograph Nuit Blanche or to shoot Mark’s football games but it has been great to take with him when we are heading out for a walk, exploring the city or just chasing after the kids. Pentax/Ricoh’s website gives you an idea of lens options but according to Jordon, you really only need four.
The best camera is the one that you have with you. If a Pentax Q-S1 isn’t what you are looking for, then take a look at the popular Nikon 1 series of cameras. The Nikon 1 J4 camera with 1 NIKKOR 10-30mm lens and 30-110mm telephoto zoom lens is a great combo.
At $1300 it isn’t cheap but you wouldn’t expect the best compact camera in the world to be inexpensive.
The Fujifilm FinePix X100was a milestone camera in the industry as one of the first large sensor, prime lens cameras to achieve widespread popularity. Its classic look, obviously cribbed from a certain German camera maker, were justified by the excellent image quality its 35mm equivalent f/2 lens could produce. It was also a rare example of a camera its maker continued to develop, long after it hit the market. The X100T is is the third generation X100 and is better than ever.
I bought Jordon an Apple TV last Christmas. He loves it but if the Google Chromecast was available in Canada last year, I probably would have gotten him one of those.
Here are the reasons he will love it.
- Stream online video, music, photos and more to your TV using your smartphone, tablet, or laptop
- Supports a growing number of apps including Netflix, YouTube, HBO Go, Hulu Plus, Pandora, ESPN, MLB.TV, Google Play Movies and Music, Plex, MLS, crackle, Vevo, Rdio. Allows to cast a Chrome browser tab.
- Box includes Chromecast, HDMI extender, USB power cable, and power adapter. No remote needed.
- Easy setup: Plug into any HDTV and connect to your home WiFi network
- Works with Android phones and tablets, iPhone, iPad, Mac, Windows, and Chromebooks
A new leather Dopp Kit ($34) with:
- Gillette Fusion Flexball ($12) or a Schick Hydro razor ($8).
- Escali 100% Pure Badger Shaving Brush
- Kingsley Shave Soap Bowl with lid ($10) and Taylor of Old Bond Street Jermyn Street Shaving Soap Refill ($20) or just go with the Taylor of Old Bond Street Sandalwood Shaving Cream Bowl ($15)
- Intuition for Men EDT spray ($80)
He will love using the gift and you will love how he looks and smells after. (if the price of leather is too high, check out this great dopp kit from MEC)
LL Bean’s Adventure Duffle now comes in soft yet rugged cotton canvas for a lasting combination of durability and classic style. It’s more or less the same great bag that people have been using since the 1940s. It now has a water-resistant coating and comes in a variety of colors. Meets airline carry-on size requirements if not over stuffed. It’s a great gift for the traveller.
Men love flashlights. It’s part of what makes them men. He needs a small one on his keychain, a tactical one (a universal one works too) to take with him on adventures and and a more heavy-duty one in your house and garage. You can’t go wrong with a classic Maglite. The LED bulb will last nearly forever, and heavy-duty aluminum casing gives it shock and water resistance.
For times when he leaves the houses and has to do manly things, he will want an amazing travelling thermos. Made with stainless steel, the Stanley Thermos is rustproof and BPA free. The 8-ounce lid doubles as a cup for your coffee, hot chocolate, or soup. Oh, and it keeps its contents hot/cold for 24 hours. Need more convincing? Didn’t think so.
A shoeshine kit makes the perfect gift; it’s something that no guy thinks to buy, but every guy needs. Buy a quality kit in a manly wooden box that has all the necessary accoutrements to keep your loved one’s shoes shining like a sheet of glass. Included in this set are two cloths, a tin each of brown and black polish, two sponge daubers, two 100% horsehair brushes, a shoe horn, and of course the handsome wood box.
Depending on how old the guy is you are shopping for, he may have grown up with an Atari 2600 gaming console. He can relive his wasted youth with this flashback system. 92 built in games, the console and two controllers for under $50. What’s not to like?
If he is younger and wasted his youth on a Sega Genesis or a Nintendo, check out this system. No built in games but it is a completely redesigned Nintendo and Sega system in the same system. Blades of Steel, Sonic the Hedgehog, Tecmo Super Bowl, and Super Mario all on the same console.
I know watches are passé now that we all have our smartphones (unless of course your watch is a smartwatch) but sometimes you don’t have your phone with you to whip out 20 times a minute. Other times you just need to look like an adult. In those times you need a watch that is rugged enough to survive and smart looking enough to wear out on the town.
The Timex Expedition watches were inspired by the field watches issued to soldiers during the first half of the 20th century and look great with a wide variety of get-ups. While there are more expensive name-brand versions out there, if you’re looking for a simple, yet handsome-looking watch and can’t bear the thought of having to shell out over $150 or more, this is perfect.
- Full size watch, 3 time zone settings for traveling, Maximum style and performance with water resistant leather strap
- Water resistant up to 50 meters, Indigo night light for low light conditions, Metal case construction for enhanced durability
- 24 hour chronograph with lap and split option
- Daily alarm
- Easy to use 24 hour countdown timer
He has probably checked out the GoPro channel on YouTube (and made you watch some of them). Whether he admits it or not, he wants one of these. Here is why:
- Built-In Touch Display: Frame your shots. Easily adjust settings. Play back videos and photos. Improved Camera Control: New dedicated button enables quick access to camera settings. Simplified menus make navigating settings easier than ever.
- Fast, Powerful Photo Capture: Captures high-quality 12MP photos at speeds of up to 30 fps.
- Built-In WiFi + Bluetooth: Delivers enhanced connectivity to the GoPro App, Smart Remote
- Durable + Waterproof to 131′ (40m): Designed to withstand extreme environments and conditions. Wearable + Mountable: Enables immersive self-capture during your favorite activities. Compatible with all GoPro Mounts: 60+ mounts and accessories – and counting – for capturing a wide variety of perspective and activities. GoPro App + Software: Control your camera remotely. View and share your content. Easily create gorgeous GoPro-style videos.
- Protune – Now for Video + Photos: Cinema-quality capture and manual control of color, ISO limit, exposure and more. Night Photo Lapse: Customizable exposure settings up to 30 seconds for single and Time Lapse Photos. Auto Low Light: Automatically adjusts frame rates for optimal low-light performance. High-Performance Audio: New Audio System captures clean, high fidelity sound and nearly 2x the dynamic range. Ultra Wide-Angle Glass Lens: Enables engaging, immersive footage of you and your world. Selecable FOV: Three FOV settings – Ultra-Wide, Medium and Narrow – allow for a broad range of perspectives. HiLight Tag: Mark key moments while recording for easy playback, editing, and sharing. QuikCapture: Power on and record automatically with the press of a single button. SuperView: Captures the world’s most immersive wide-angle field of view.
Cast irons pans last a lifetime, cook your food evenly, and even impart a low dose of iron to your food. He’ll be making you bacon and eggs every single morning with this thing.
If you get him a great pen, he may actually start writing hand written letters. What would be better then sealing those letters with a wax seal. The fascinating history of the wax seal that dates all the way to the Middle Ages. The practice has changed very little since that time, and it’s easy to do yourself to bring some class to your correspondence. This kit contains one brass seal engraved with a letter of your choice, and four sticks of their supple sealing wax.
Speaking of writing, every man should keep a journal. If he is having trouble getting into this manly habit, perhaps what he needs is a journal so handsome and inviting it’s hard not to write in it. Wrapped up in leather, this journal will have him putting pen to paper in no time. Perfect as a travelogue for all of his 2015 adventures.
Craftsman is the gold standard when it comes to tools. This set comes with the Craftsman lifetime warranty, is made of alloyed steel, and better yet, will serve all your socket wrench needs. For the man in your life that isn’t terribly familiar with tools, this is a great set to have. It comes with two wrenches and 52 sockets, as well as a screwdriver with an interchangeable bit set.
If you know a man who spends a great deal of time outdoors, get him a nice pocket compass so he’ll never lose his way. Sure, GPS may be easier and more accurate, but batteries die and satellite connections can be disrupted. That’s when having a compass comes in handy. Get him one that he’ll pass on to his grandkids.
Jordon went to a super slim card wallet this year and has loved it. This is the thinnest wallet on the market and just makes a man’s life better.
The number one selling home product on Amazon. No wonder, it is a gift that will quickly save you money. The Nest Learning Thermostat learns what temperatures you like, turns itself down when you’re away and can be controlled from your smartphone, tablet or laptop.
With optimized beams, rubber grips, and tactical switches, Rayovac’s Sportsman lantern is ideal for use inside and out, whether you’re heading for the hills or camping out in your home during a power outage. Nicely compact and ultra-portable at just 7 inches tall and under 3.5 inches wide, the Rayovac lantern also provides an incredibly bright 240-lumen light that makes it a useful resource for outdoor adventures as well as for emergency preparedness.
You can also find all of the rest of the 2014 Christmas Gift Guides online here. There is a lot of great ideas for all of the important people in your life. Good luck with your shopping and have a great holiday season! Oh yeah, if I missed anything or you have any thoughts, let me know in the comments.
Hey look, they just got their butts handed to them by the Toydaria Wattos.
I have linked to the Winnipeg centric photography of Bryan Scott before. Â I have said for years that him and Sam JavanrouhÂ are two of my favourite street photographers in the world. Â Scott has a new book out called Stuck in the Middle and it is about what makes Winnipeg, well Winnipeg.
For the sake of an exercise, pretend you’re a god. You can go anywhere you want, by any mode of transportation you desire. What you’re most likely to desire is to travel as far away as possible from the coastlines of the continents, where the vast majority of humanity resides. This is a logical desire, as all gods consider homo sapiens a nuisance, if not a pest species.
In geographic terms, they call such a place a pole of inaccessibility — the farthest location you can travel from any coast. In Eurasia, discriminating deities will wind up in the GurbantÂºnggÂºt Desert, an arid patch of western China’s Xinjiang province, a few kilometres from the Kazakh border. In South America, misanthropic multi-dimensional beings may escape to the savannahs of the Mato Grosso plateau to enjoy the quiet company of Brazilian cattle. In Africa, the ultimate escape will place you among the pigeons and parrots of the Bengangai Game Reserve, near the tri-border confluence of South Sudan, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
In North America, however, the farthest place from anywhere is already occupied — by Winnipeg, home to more than 700,000 people and zero gods. More than any other city on the continent, Winnipeg is stuck in the middle.
Head east from Winnipeg in a car, and it’s a 2,700-kilometre drive to the Gulf of St. Lawrence, which flows into the Atlantic Ocean in the general vicinity of RiviÃ¨re-du-Loup. This coastal Quebec town is the birthplace of Alexandre-Antonin TachÃ©, the first Archbishop of St. Boniface, a Cassandra figure who tried and failed to prevent the 1870 MÃ©tis unrest thatÂ established Manitoba and paved the way for Winnipeg to be a provincial capital.
Drive west from Winnipeg, and it’s 2,300 kilometres to the Pacific coast city of Vancouver, a railway terminus whose early growth originally mirrored that of the Manitoba capital, once Canada’s biggest railway hub. But after the 1914 completion of the Panama Canal, the Port of Vancouver became a more profitable shipping route, and Gastown assumed Winnipeg’s role as Western Canada’s most important city.
Drive south from Winnipeg, and it is 2,750 kilometres to Corpus Christi, a Texas city on the Gulf of Mexico. Visit the suburb of Flour Bluff, and you may find yourself at the corner of Winnipeg Drive and Manitoba Drive, where a series of nondescript bungalows pays homage to hopelessly bored Prairie-dwellers who actually did get in their cars and drive until they could not go any farther.
You cannot travel by car directly from Winnipeg to the Arctic Ocean. But it’s only a 1,700-kilometre train ride to Churchill, Manitoba’s seaport on Hudson Bay. The Scottish settlers who helped found the Red River Settlement that would eventually spawn Winnipeg had to travel through the vast emptiness of Hudson Bay, whose shores are patrolled by polar bears. Open up a Lonely Planet guide to Canada, and you will find as many pages devoted to Churchill as there are to Winnipeg. In the eyes of international tourists, the permafrozen tundra is more attractive than a city that simply has the reputation of being among the coldest in the world.
If you insist on technicality, the North American pole of inaccessibility actually is embedded in the South Dakota badlands. But Winnipeg has more than just geographic reasons to claim the continent’s extreme centre.
As a city of 700,000, Winnipeg is too small to be cosmopolitan but too large to be folksy. Big-city complaints about violent crime compete with small-town gripes about the absence of privacy and if you’re single, a terribly shallow gene pool. Major amenities such as NHL hockey are balanced off by a minor-league transportation network saddled with only a rudimentary rump of a rapid-transit system.
Far from the moderating influence of the seas, Winnipeg is subject to a highly variable, mid-continental climate, where winters are frigid, summers are steamy and both spring and fall can involve either extreme. The annual mean temperature of 2.6 C belies the 86-degree spread between the city’s hottest and coldest recorded temperatures.
Winnipeg also falls smack in the middle when it comes to economic growth, chugging along at a modest pace during the entire postwar period while almost everywhere else underwent rapid expansions and precipitous declines. Winnipeg’s eggs are divided among many economic baskets — transportation, manufacturing, insurance, food processing — as if the gods designed a living embodiment of a balanced stock portfolio.
But none of this speaks to the real manner in which Winnipeg is stuck in the middle: It is a city that inspires a profound sense of ambivalence among its residents.
This has nothing to do with apathy, as there’s no such thing as a Winnipegger without a strong opinion about the city. They either despise it or adore it, depending on the nanosecond and whether or not the bus came on time, the street happened to get plowed or the Blue Bombers won the previous night. While ambivalence of this sort is present in any city, only in Winnipeg does it serve as the defining character of the populace.
In many ways, Winnipeg is a fascinating place. It was born of an act of violent resistance, a unique occurrence in this country. It was the fastest-growing city in North America for a time. It was the site of one of the largest workers’ revolts in the Western World. It was threatened with destruction by floodwaters twice in half a century. It is the second-smallest city on the continent to boast a major-league professional sports team. It boasts a selection of architectural wonders that ranges from surviving railway-boom warehouses to 20th-century modernist buildings to a handful of hyper-modernist structures.
Yet Winnipeg is also the very vision of homogeneity and inefficiency. It’s a low-density city that can barely afford to maintain its sprawling, aging infrastructure. It is not overly walkable or pedestrian-friendly. It makes artistic decisions based on politics and political decisions that appear to be inspired by Dadaism more than any political philosophy. It has a disturbing tendency to allow property owners to neglect and eventually demolish heritage structures.
Winnipeg tends to infuriate Winnipeggers, who sometimes question why they live in the city. But when they consider the alternative, they dare not dream of living anywhere else. Even Winnipeggers who do depart for Toronto, Calgary or Vancouver never assimilate or fully lose their regional identity. They remain stuck on their birthplace, in the middle of the flat, snowy, bug-ridden, flood-prone and isolated prairie, where everyone seems to know everyone despite the impossibility of the arithmetic involved.
To add another onion layer to this already-tired analogy, Winnipeg is also stuck in the middle of two possible destinies. One involves maturation into a medium-sized city that learns to live within its means by choosing to reinvigorate its inner core, increase the density of its older neighbourhoods and build new residential areas that make financial and environmental sense.
The other is a slide back to mediocrity by conducting postwar development business as usual: the endless construction of new single-family homes, sprawling out into a distance where the roads and sewers and water pipes will never be as good as the day they are laid, because no future government will be able to maintain them.
Winnipeg is a city on the precipice of a momentous decision, one that really amounts to the cumulative result of a series of smaller decisions. For now, it stands between two futures and potentially many more. Pray to whatever deity you like to ensure the right choices get made.
This looks to be an amazing Christmas gift for any urbanist (or Winnipeg resident) on your list.
Chattanooga, Tennessee has the distinction of being the first city in the United States to have its very own typeface: “Chatype.” Designed by Chattanoogans Jeremy Dooley and Robbie de Villiers with support from fellow designers D.J. Trischler and Jonathan Mansfield, the Kickstarter-funded typeface was released on Oct. 31. â€œEvery city needs a brand, to highlight its own distinctive offerings,â€ Dooley says. â€œTypefaces are ideal for such a large and diverse organization such as a city.â€
Dooley, who runs Insigne Design and sells his various fonts online through MyFonts, told me that the initial idea was to approach the city government for funding. But after some meetings his group decided that attaining public money would be difficult, run counter to the spirit of the project, and would require a lot of time to get people on board.
â€œWith Kickstarter, we bypassed the politics and bureaucracy and instead formed a grassroots effort through crowdfunding,â€ he says. â€œIt was only after our success and after multiple city organizations enthusiastically embraced the face that the city decided to name Chatype as its official typeface.â€
Although the project began under a prior administration, the current mayor, Andy Berke, has embraced the broader design strategy of type as a civic unifier. Nonprofits and foundations dedicated to enlivening the city have also said they’ll use the font.
One of the influences for this project was Metro Letters: A Typeface for the Twin Cities initiative by the University of Minnesota Design Institute, an experiment to understand the relationship between typography and urban identity. Inspired by this well-publicized 2003 project, Dooley, who started up his office in Chattanooga in 2007, sought out de Villiers, who had moved into town around the same time, as collaborators: â€œBeing new to the area, we didn’t know what we could or couldn’t do, so we took a shot at this new font concept.â€
If Saskatoon had a font, it would be Comic Sans, you know because it’s hated by designers and included with Windows and therefore free.