Le moins vieux Québec


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Old Québec City is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for a reason. It’s the only North American city to have preserved its fortifications and ramparts, and is second to none in terms of its architecture, historic charm and overall awesomeness. If you’ve never been, you must go.

However, there’s a whole lot of charm in Québec City outside the walls of the Old Town. The “haute ville” and the “basse ville,” particularly in the St-Jean-Baptiste, Montcalm, and St-Roch neighbourhoods (just to the west of the ramparts).

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The old buildings in these neighborhoods—not quite as old as Old Québec, but old enough—have generally been well-maintained and ooze charm. These areas are mostly residential with a dash of commercial here & there. Formerly working-class, they are gentrifying quickly and you can feel the tension between the traditional residents and the monied classes moving in. It shows in the grafitti, and it shows in the vary states of renovation.

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Las Vegas, le matin

The Strip in Las Vegas really isn’t my cup of tea. It’s gaudy, garish, noisy, and crowded. Wall-to-wall people in varying states of lucidity careening from one casino to the next. Party girls trolling for new “friends.” Families looking visibly uncomfortable wondering why they brought their children to a modern Sodom.

And in July, it’s hot. Real hot. Walking into a kiln hot. I don’t “do” heat very well (if at all) and was thankful that the conference centres at the MGM Grand, the Aria and Mandalay Bay were all thoroughly air conditioned.

For the first few days there, my body was still adjusted to Eastern time (Vegas is 3 hours “behind” in the Pacific time zone), which meant I naturally woke up at 4 or 5 in the morning. Since the conference didn’t start until 8:30, there was nothing to do; so I went for walks before sunrise. Quiet streets, reasonably comfortable temperatures, and for a few fleeting moments, some really great light reflecting off the nicer buildings.

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Leaving Las VegasLeaving Las Vegas

Leaving Las Vegas

eighteen shades of gay

The stretch of rue Ste-Catherine between rue St-Hubert and av. Papineau has long been considered the heart of Montréal’s Gay Village.

Every summer, cars are banned and it is converted to a pedestrian mall, covered with millions of coloured balls arranged in a rainbow over the 1km stretch. Read more about the installation, 18 nuances de gai, here.

Turns out that on a sunny day, this is a most awesome place to have lunch (and a beer) on a patio and people-watch!

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