CANADA HOLDS DOWN #10 & #20 SPOTS ON NEW YORK TIMES’ ANNUAL ’52 PLACES TO GO’ TRAVEL FEATURE

#10 – ONTARIO’S ICE CAVES . . . “See them now, as climate change may pose a threat. The caves are a regularly occurring feature, notably along the shoreline near Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, just across the border from a Michigan town of the same name.

“The wind, shifts in the ice and the effects of the sun constantly remake the formation. February is the most reliable month for a visit.” – IAN AUSTEN, NYT

#20 – CALGARY’S NEW CENTRAL LIBRARY . . . “From the architectural firm Snohetta, the Library creates not just a design destination, with daily tours, but also a gateway in the form of an arched cedar-clad passageway linking downtown to the city’s evolving East Village, a booming neighbourhood where the Bow and Elbow Rivers meet.” – ELAINE GLUSAC, NYT; PHOTO – CRACMACS.ca

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AN IMPRESSION OF VANCOUVER IN FIFTEEN PHOTOS – NOT EASY, BUT I GAVE IT A ‘GO’

<From YVR to downtown VANCOUVER via the Canada Line computer-operated Skytrain, costs about $8, the price of a Transit Day Pass.  YVR on Sea Island is an award-winning airport – continually rated one of North America’s finest.>

<In this City of Glass, apartments can run you anywhere from $500,000 for a studio (without a bedroom), to the $$millions.  Don’t even think about buying a house – unless you’re a millionaire. Cables in the photo above are from a city-centre trolley bus.>

<It rains a lot in VANCOUVER.>

<The specks above are window-washers on the Wall building near the business district.  The city has a surprising number of seriously tall towers, without much space between them.  Several more are on the way. The one above is the most forbidding.>

<Canada Geese can turn up anywhere – from the wealthy West End to downtown streets to Stanley Park.>

<It’s a city with a multitude of marinas & sailors.>

<Taking the mascots of the Hotel Vancouver for an outing.>

<By mid-September, the trees are already changing colour and the temperature is brisk in the morning, warm in the afternoon.  Possibility of showers – anytime.>

<VANCOUVER’s Art Gallery is free (with a donation) on Tuesday evenings. It occupies a heritage building off fashionable Robson Street.>

<The trees in Stanley Park are massive.  For $2, the Pender Street trolley bus #19 will take you there.>

<Dr. Sun Yat Sen park and garden in the heart of Chinatown>

<The Aquabus to famous Granville Island & its markets, fare $2>

<The Vancouver Aquarium is a winner.  It’s one of Canada’s finest, and is known for environmental research.>

<The 80-year-old Burrard Street Bridge is a Vancouver landmark.  Recently, the span was given a top-to-bottom renovation.  It connects Vancouver with Kitsulano – and offers both sidewalks and bike paths.  In a city of bridges, I think this one is the best.>

<I didn’t actually see this, but it does exist – the House on Stilts sculpture>

<Way to go, VANCOUVER!>

THIS WEEK I VISITED CANADA’S ‘MOST EDUCATED CITY’ – OTTAWA – POPULATION ONE MILLION

<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. <PHOTO ABOVE – Ross Winter>

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

HOW BIG IS TOO BIG? SPRAWLING LIKE A GIANT SEA CREATURE, BEIJING’S NEW AIRPORT OPENS IN 2019

BEIJING’s Daxing International will be the largest airport on the planet when it opens for business in 2019. <RENDERING – Zaha Hadid architects>

DAXING will have eight runways, and will be able to serve up to 100-million passengers annually. Over the next 20 years, commercial passenger traffic in the Asia-Pacific region is forecast to increase by 1.8 billion, the same amount for the rest of the world combined.

Three big commercial service providers — Air China, China Eastern & China Southern — are already vying for space at Daxing in Beijing’s southern suburbs.

DENMARK’S ‘HIPPIES’ ARE BRINGING IN THE CROWDS TO CHRISTIANIA – COPENHAGEN’S FREETOWN

<PHOTO – Jan Grarup for the New York Times>

Hundreds of thousands of tourists have visited counterculture world – aka CHRISTIANIA – a unique community built among lakes and trees in central Copenhagen. Its houses are assembled from discarded bits and pieces of other houses.

The city government is all for this brightly painted neighbourhood because it shows that Denmark’s capital isn’t so conservative and gray after all – unlike the exteriors shown in the television series ‘Borgen’. In fact, Copenhagen is a very tolerant city and Christiania has become its centrepiece.