Category Archives: Paris civic functions

Borders, boundaries, and snails

Toronto has recently completed a Ward Boundary Review, its first since, oh, 2000. City councillors were concerned that some wards had far more voters than others. Population was growing downtown and declining in the inner suburbs. After 17 years, Something … Continue reading

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The art of the gasometer

The major summer exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario is devoted to the work of Canadian artist Lawren Harris (1885–1970). I associate his name with bold, abstracted images of Canada’s Far North – mountains and glaciers and frozen seas. … Continue reading

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Vespasiennes: Does a Roman Emperor Deserve This?

Our home offices are in two adjacent rooms. While exploring one of my favourite Paris websites, Paris en Images, I called to Philippa, “What’s a Vespasienne?” and was instantly told, “A public urinal.” There had to be a blog in … Continue reading

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A city built on air

A few years ago, we found this postcard in a street market, showing a sinkhole in the Place Saint-Augustin. What on earth (or under the earth) had happened during the storm of June 15, 1914? We found one account in … Continue reading

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The invention of the omnibus

Take a good look at this postcard. What do you see? I tend to gravitate to postcards like this because of the rich detail in the buildings – the names of businesses, the façades of the old houses, the advertisements, … Continue reading

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The Other Great Nineteenth-Century Tower of Paris

The story begins in a photograph shop in the Village St-Paul. I was browsing among the stereograph cards, when I came across something that looked like this. It captivated me. I say “looked like,” because this is not the same … Continue reading

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The art and purpose of the colonne sèche

The Parisienne colonne sèche is not a medical condition or procedure. However, a colonne sèche could be very good for your health, particularly in the event of a fire. There is no need to look hang-dog about it. Paris is … Continue reading

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