Seeing as Canada Day is coming up, I felt it was time to publish something just recently rediscovered in a half-forgotten sketchbook.
Drawn on the right is the third incarnation of the Hotel Vancouver, built from 1929-39. 17 storeys high, the monumental hotel was inspired by French Renaissance châteaux with touches of the Scottish baronial. This quintessentially Canadian style was popular during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, exemplified in the grand railway hotels built by rival companies Canadian Pacific (CP) and Canadian National (CN). Read more
Darkness had fallen and driving snow whipped against the windshield as my uncle drove down a familiar stretch of Highway 401 from the airport. Less than 10 hours earlier I had stood waiting at a boarding gate in Heathrow, bound not for the warm temperatures of subtropical Hong Kong, but the winter chill of Toronto. It was December 2008 and death had struck the family two weeks before Christmas. Read more
Lamma Island, Hong Kong
This month marks a season of celebration. Just recently Plus Ultra passed the 1,000 mark for followers, and now the blog is just shy of its 100th post! As much as I would like to throw a party in the blogosphere, there are a couple of practical issues to deal with (timezones, for instance!) so I am writing this post instead. Read more
A new Toronto icon
It feels uniquely satisfying, escaping the suburbs and slipping anonymously into the Toronto subway. Three dollar tokens, worn red seats and newspapers strewn on the floor, the trains are a time capsule from the seventies. Read more
As a fifteen-year-old, being in Montréal for the first time was an unforgettable experience. I was captivated by the beauty of the old town, its diverse cultural scene, and the distinct meld of European flair and North American optimism. My family had booked a hotel room somewhere along Sherbrooke, between the downtown skyscrapers and the slopes of Mont Royal. Although I did have a camera at the time (one of those tiny ones that used film), something about the city inspired me to record this scene in my sketchbook.
Queen Street in the rain
The skies are thick with clouds when we pull up at colonial Fort George. From the passenger seat I catch a glimpse of its palisade fence, barely a minute away through the trees. It seems like an ideal place to kick off a tour of Old Niagara. But the moment we get out of the car, it begins to rain. Heavily. Read more
Autumn in Ottawa
“You want the best poutine?” The cashier cocks her head, intrigued by my unusual inquiry. It’s a quiet weeknight and I am inside Le Moulin de Provence, the casual French bakery at the southern end of ByWard Market. Read more
St. George’s Cathedral
The drive from Toronto to Kingston was a lot shorter than I remembered. After a hot, record-breaking Thanksgiving weekend, it has taken less than three hours to reach the other end of Lake Ontario. I am really en route to Ottawa, but I hitch a ride with my uncle to Kingston, 90 miles away, where we will stay the night. Read more
I’ve just spent the past two weeks in the Great White North, visiting family and revelling in my first-ever Canadian autumn. As an introduction I thought I would share an account of one of the defining experiences of the trip: seeing the spectacular fall foliage outside Ottawa. Read more