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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Spacing Saturday: Electoral Upheaval, Donut Shop Politics, and Sunday Shinny

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Spacing Saturday highlights posts from across Spacing’s blog network in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, and the Atlantic region.

Devin Alfaro looks at surprising polls showing the NDP leading across the Montreal region and speculates about what an electoral upheaval could mean for the city. The discussion gets at the question of whether an area is best served by reliable support for a party or having to be played to with promises.

Marie-Sophie Banville reflects on her concerns for the city’s plans to create a new public space in the Sainte-Marie neighbourhood of Montreal. Worried that the space will ignore the characteristics of the area and promote a different social class, Banville proposes a bold scheme for a socially inclusive restoration of nature.

Eric Darwin zooms onto one specific stretch of recently renovated building frontage in downtown Ottawa to examine how a mediocre space was converted into a quite terrible one. The new design includes a strange cage along the sidewalk, and a hostile aesthetic which hampers the public space.

Clive Doucet devoted his column this week to a refreshing lament of the federal election. Highlighting the Donut Shop photo-ops of the Harper campaign Doucet notes that the debate is lacking in a proper discussion of culture and instead turning to the politics of consumption; most notably of consumption of security.

Jay Baltz provides an update on the Hiltonburg Hub project, an effort to bring much needed affordable housing and community health amenities to an undeserved part of the city. Baltz argues that government support is necessary to allow the not-for-profit project to include heritage and green space preservation at the proposed site.

Sean Gillis comments and speculates on the reasons behind a massive new commercial development at Bayers Lake approved without public consultation by the Halifax Regional Municipality. The development will help pay to upgrade infrastructure in the area but could adversely affect plans for a nearby regional park.

Following up on Earth Day, Halifax’s Ecology Action Centre is kicked off a ‘40 Days of Action‘ campaign this week with a picnic at the site of a failed waterfront expressway project.

As part of the One Book Toronto series Jacqueline Whyte Appleby reflects on the use of highway 401 in this year’s selected novel Midnight at the Dragon Cafe. Set during the time period in which the highway was being built, Appleby reflects on the process of building the freeway and how it changed lives in the Province; links to great historical shots are also included.

Following up on a feature in the latest edition of the magazine, Ian Malczewski highlights, and provides links to, a new short film about the Margaret Philip Cup, a memorial trophy awarded within the women’s hockey league that plays in the frozen lagoons of the Toronto Islands.

Photograph by: Marilylle Soveran