SOME CITIES GROW WAY TOO FAST & JAKARTA IS ONE OF THEM – SADLY, IT’S ALSO SINKING

CBC television reported this week that JAKARTA, capital city of Indonesia, is one of the world’s fastest sinking big cities. Because of that, a new capital on the island of Borneo is in the planning stages. Over 30-million live in Jakarta, which makes it even larger than Mexico City, and just below the population of Tokyo.The BBC has created a hair-raising video of this massive metropolis with some of the worst air quality almost anywhere. The address – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOSwBIstZUs

THE GAZETTE’S ALLISON HANES WRITES THAT BOTH MONTREAL & TORONTO ARE UNFAIRLY CONTROLLED

Not so long ago, MONTREAL was basking in official recognition as a “metropolis” by its political masters in Quebec City. Not so much anymore.  MONTREAL is being treated like an adult child whose parents still call the shots.  ALLISON HANES – “Transportation policy is the biggest bone of contention by far between Montreal and Quebec City, with the provincial government (CAQ) not only ignoring the city’s needs, but actively undermining them. On climate change, the city and province are also at loggerheads.”

<Editorial cartoon by TERRY MOSHER (AISLIN), Montreal Gazette; MONTREAL & THE REST OF QUEBEC>  MONTREAL’s main financial lever is property taxes, which it depends on for nearly 70 per cent of its revenue. For the rest, it must go cap in hand to the provincial or federal governments, making it impossible for the city to dream big without higher level approval.”

“Canadian cities are constitutionally “creatures of their provinces.” This parochial relationship is downright dysfunctional in a world where more people than ever are living in cities and municipal governments have increasingly complex and important responsibilities. While cities like PARIS and NEW YORK wield their clout, MONTREAL is being treated like an adult child whose parents still call the shots.”<“DOUG”, editorial cartoon by MICHAEL DE ADDER, The Hill>  “Things aren’t much better in TORONTO, where Ontario Premier DOUG FORD slashed city council in half & announced he will seize control of the subway system. The City of Toronto Act, inaugurated in 2006, offers no more protection from paternalism than Quebec’s Bill 121.

“MONTREAL may have metropolis status — but it seems like the city is on a tighter leash than ever.”  ALLISON HANES’ complete column – https://montrealgazette.com/opinion/columnists/allison-hanes-wither-montreals-metropolis-status

And in TORONTO . . . Mayor JOHN TORY fired off some choice words aimed at Premier DOUG FORD and his OPPRESSIVE CONSERVATIVE provincial government. Mr. Tory said “you’ll see me standing up for TORONTO when the provincial government risks stalling out the economic engine of Ontario just to waive less than one-tenth of one percentage point of the provincial budget . . . Cutting public health programs so as to find extra money . . . (eventually costing the city $100-million annually) . . . to pay The Beer Store to change their contract? What does that say about (your) priorities? Cutting public health and child care, by funding a greater supply of alcohol in corner stores?  I will not let this city be pushed backwards.”

GUY JONES TAKES US TO THE DUTCH City of UTRECHT IN 1925, AT NORMAL SPEED & WITH SOUND

GUY JONES is a videographer who brings history to life by editing old films and making them more watchable. He slows them down to a natural speed and adds sound – making them a totally new viewing experience.  This one is a look at the busy streets of UTRECHT, a transportation hub in the centre of the Netherlands. There’s a lot of activity going on, and the design of vehicles is fascinating.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlCQXtfAWPc

MISSISSAUGA WANTS TO STOP FEEDING $85-MILLION ANNUALLY TO OTHER TOWNS & CITIES

<PHOTO ABOVE – Mississauga City Hall, adjacent to the Living Arts Centre>  If the Ontario government approves, TORONTO’s neighbour, MISSISSAUGA plans to break away from Peel Region and become a grown-up, totally independent city of 721,000 – third largest in Ontario.

Mississauga is wasting money according to Mayor Bonnie Crombie. “Analysis shows we send $85-million annually to the Region of Peel to fund the growth of other cities (such as Brampton). Our money should go towards Mississauga priorities. It’s money that … should be spent in our own city.”  Makes sense to me.

<ABOVE – Mississauga City Centre, from Eglinton Avenue and Mavis Intersection.> 

I REVISITED MY BUCKET LIST OF GREAT CITIES – ROTTERDAM, ANTWERP & VENICE – MARCH/2019

Bombed by the Nazis during World War II, ROTTERDAM has now become a Dutch cuisine, night life, art and architecture capital.  It’s a popular destination for tourists and cruise ships, but not in the extreme.  This, of course, might change as the word gets out.

Manhattanizing ROTTERDAM is now building the tallest skyscraper in Europe.  It’s no longer the ‘second city’, and these days it’s holding its own against rivaling AMSTERDAM.  <PHOTO ABOVE – the Erasmus Bridge> ANTWERP, Belgium, is another favorite of mine, with two brand new museums to visit – the Museum of Modern Art, and an exceptionally fine Fotomuseum<PHOTO ABOVE – Antwerp’s unique railway station, which is on several levels; BELOW – feeding time for the flamingos at Antwerp Zoo>A TORONTO surprise in ANTWERP was brought to our attention by SABINA, a tour guide we happened to meet on the street and asked for directions. She said the Peter Paul Rubens painting ‘The Massacre of the Innocents’ had returned to Antwerp, the city where it was painted. It’s on loan to Rubens House from the Art Gallery of Ontario.  The painting is reportedly worth about $200,000,000 – a gift from the Thomson family.This painting crossed oceans and mountain ranges, survived wars, been lost and found, and set an auction record. But it had never been exhibited in a European museum.When it returns to TORONTO you can be sure this masterpiece will receive more attention than usual.The ‘Queen of the Adriatic’, otherwise known as VENICE, was the third city we visited. A watery land of canals, magnificent architecture, history wherever one looked, this ancient city lives up to its reputation and then some. How amazing that it still exists.IT WAS GREAT SEEING ALL THREE OF THEM AGAIN.

“SOJOURN IN VENICE” BY TANEREDI (1927-64) SUMS UP THE ENERGY & CULTURE OF A TOTALLY UNIQUE CITY

<‘Sojourn in Venice’ by Taneredi, 1955, oil on hardboard, Ca’Rezzonico Museum>

Having taken 350 photos of VENICE in a few days, there’s no room for all of them. Below you’ll find a few.

<The RIALTO BRIDGE above>

This floater is one of the most expensive luxury yachts in the world. Try $180,000,000 on for size. Owned by billionaire heiress HEIDI HORTON, the Carinthia VII was built at the Lurssen yard in 2002 and had a refit 3 years later. She sails under the flag of Austria and is named after Austria’s Carinthia region.  Mrs. Horten and her late husband have owned several other large yachts, all named Carinthia. Presently, home base is VENICE. <PHOTO – Ross Winter>

<Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute (or St. Mary of Health) – above, faces toward St. Mark’s Basin>The city is much larger than I remembered & early March is a good time to visit – few tourists, easy admission to museums, efficient public transport, food is average and expensive, pizza is pizza, museum & transit passes may be worth while, back streets are an explorer’s delight, not much night life unless you drink, after dark many restaurants shut down.  Venetians dress smartly, there are churches everywhere, and if your room faces a major canal, remember it’s a busy thoroughfare & boats have horns.  <PHOTO – Murano Piazza, Christmas tree and tower>

<On the way back to Venice on Vaporetto #2 from Murano, an island that specializes in glass art.>They’re efficient, noisy and quick – the Vaporetto is an important part of Venice’s public transit system.

<The Doge; his palace has long lineups even in off-peak months. Doges of Venice were elected for life by the city-state‘s aristocracy.>

<“CHANGING PLACE, CHANGING TIME, CHANGING THOUGHTS, CHANGING FUTURE”, courtyard of the Peggy Guggenheim Museum on the Grand Canal>

<Even public utilities have a certain artistic style in Venice>    <PHOTO ABOVE by Ross Winter, St. Mark’s Square – a must visit>

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

AN IMPRESSION OF VANCOUVER IN TEN 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.>

<It rains a lot in VANCOUVER.  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.>

<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.>

<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.>

<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 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>

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.

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