<Rolling Aires Mall, abandoned, AKRON, Ohio, New York Times>  Scattered across Canada and the United States are thousands of defunct shopping malls – fortunately many more there, than here.

<Boarded up Zellers store at the mall, AMHERST, Nova Scotia, photo – Ross Winter>  KATE FOLK, writing in the New York Times magazine believes “no other category offers the spectacle of modern ruin on such a horrifying scale: the scars of familiar logos on storefronts, the desiccated planters, the sheer volume of emptiness and waste . . . a once-beloved edifice that, in the space of a few years has become so worthless no one even cares enough to tear it down.”

<Bayside Mall, formerly the Eaton Centre, SARNIA, Ontario, photo –>  Ms.Folk unwinds late at night “by watching tours of dead and dying shopping malls on YouTube.” She says “there are two basic types. The first explores a mall that is still open, though the end is evidently nigh – the retail equivalent of a sinking ship. Then there are the tours of malls that have already been shut down and abandoned, often for years – deep sea footage from within the moldering shipwreck.”

<Mall debris, VIRGINIA>   But fortunately there are exceptions – many shopping malls are going strong. YORKDALE in TORONTO is thriving – more these days than ever before. Part of its success no doubt comes from a longtime connection to the city’s subway network.

The WEST EDMONTON MALL, North America’s largest, boasts over 800 stores and services, 9 attractions, 2 hotels and over 100 places to eat and drink. There’s parking for 20,000 vehicles, and it’s visited by 32-million annually.


<A utility box painting on Rideau Street>

<ABOVE – The Library of Parliament>

<OTTAWA has a growing number of bike paths.>

<Demolition near famed BYWARD MARKET, to be replaced by a Brazilian restaurant>

The 1927 Beaux Arts Wellington Building
Architect: NORR Architects & Engineers Limited
Heritage Conservation Architect: Architecture EVOQ inc.
Image: doublespace photography

<ABOVE – the “original” House of Commons facing a 25-year reno>

<PHOTO – looking down on the National Gallery>  OTTAWA – on the surface – is like any other Canadian city. But it’s also our national capital, home to Parliament, the National Gallery, National Arts Centre, several post-secondary institutions, the Governor-General and Prime Minister’s residences, posh Rockcliffe, a collection of first-rate museums. the National War Memorial – and it boasts low unemployment.The OAG (Ottawa Art Gallery), 50 MacKenzie King Bridge, recently opened a brand new five-storey building in the capital.

Within the building – a fine cafe and restaurant, research facility, two rooftop terraces, and five times the space the gallery once had.OTTAWA Art Gallery hours – 9 am to 9 pm. Architects – KPMB

The highlight of my visit was the Canadian War Museum, 1 Vimy Place in LeBreton Flats – our country’s collection of military history. It’s massive. You could spend an entire day here.

Among the exhibits – models for Canada’s Vimy Ridge Monument in France <photo above>, 2,500 pieces of war art, audio-visual displays, naval guns, multiple tanks, motorcycles and aircraft.

Within the walls of the War Museum – the Military History Research Centre and a collection of about 500,000 artifacts, including uniforms, medals, weapons, military vehicles and artillery.

The original CWM was founded in 1880; the new one opened in May/2005. Architects – Raymond Moriyama and Teshima


It all began in the coal mining community of SPRINGHILL, Nova Scotia. Not known for its beauty, SPRINGHILL was a gray, hard-scrabble industrial town. I know that because my father worked in the mines and we lived there for a short while.  ANNE MURRAY grew up in SPRINGHILL.  Her parents and family remained in the town and Nova Scotia.

ANNE’s television debut was on CKCWtv, Moncton, New Brunswick. Then along came CBC television (‘Sing-a-long Jubilee’), and not long after that TORONTO recording sessions & concerts at Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall, the Royal Albert Hall, the London Palladium, and Las Vegas.  And through it all, Anne went back to her hometown regularly to visit family and friends.

<Anne with Gordon Lightfoot & Stompin’ Tom Connors, 1973 Juno Awards, PLUM Communications Inc.>

Now in her seventies, Anne has given an extensive archive to the University of TORONTO Libraries. The collection includes 70 boxes containing 188 LP albums, nearly 900 photographs, 253 audiotapes and cassettes going back to the time she was 18, videotapes of her television appearances, scrapbooks of clippings, fan mail and letters.

“She embodies the Canadian popular music industry,” said Brock Silversides, director of U of T Libraries’ Media Commons, an audiovisual & media archive within the Robarts Library. “She’s been so successful in Canada and internationally. Even one of her songs Snowbird, that’s so Canada . . .  Just with her voice alone, she’s become enormously successful and has affected a lot of people. At the risk of sounding like a cliché, Anne’s music has been the soundtrack to many people’s lives.”

ANNE MURRAY, Now & Forever, indeed!


Urban sprawl looks best after dark from the CN TOWER’s revolving restaurant, THE 360. Reservations – on line or at 416-362-5411.

SCARAMOUCHE Pasta Bar and Grill, on the brow of Avenue Road at 1 Benvenuto Place, provides one of the best views of downtown. In business for 38 years the restaurant is a longtime TORONTO favourite. Reservations – 416-961- 8011

The ONE EIGHTY on the 51st floor of the Manulife Centre, 55 Bloor St. West, is in the centre of it all. Reservations – 416-967-0000

The THOMPSON HOTEL’s chic rooftop lounge is known for its 360° views of the skyline and Lake Ontario. Live entertainment Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Address – 550 Wellington Street West, 416-640-7778

The ROOF LOUNGE on the 18th floor of the Park Hyatt Hotel, 4 Avenue Road, looks down on the Royal Ontario Museum, University of TORONTO and all points south. It’s undergoing renovations at present, and will re-open in 2019. The Lounge is a wonderful place to be on a warm summer evening. Phone 416-924-5471