Warming Up to Bison Art and Branding

A sign of an entrenched native prairie animal icon, is  a hulking, ugly bison stamped into Alberta handmade soap.  Not that I’ve seen a salmon icon on Pacific coast local soap  –yet.  Pacific coastal soapmakers might find dolphins and whales more romantic iconography for beauty soap products. Not Exactly Cuddly While the bison isn’t cuddly nor evokes…

Easy-Peasy or Daunting: Getting to Local Art and Attractions by Bike, Foot, Transit

A long while ago, I was  volunteer blogger for Tourism Vancouver’s blog, Inside Vancouver.  My special self-chosen niche, was flogging outdoor Vancouver attractions, reachable by bike, foot or transit. So I zoomed into fabulous outdoor art, parks and scenic vistas.  Metro Vancouver is abundant with an array of  jaw-dropping scenery, galleries and historic sites clustered…

That Train in My Canadian Cycling Horizon

Every few weeks when I’m cycling, a major train pops up on the horizon with dinging bell, 1 or 2  red locomotive engines, pulling a serpentine string of cargo train loads and tanks.  The train is either the Canadian National Railway or the Canadian Pacific Railway. Like any cyclist, I just hope the frickin’ train is…

Canadian Contrasts or Ignorance: 3 Cities, 3 Solitudes

It’s harder than it appears:  distillating facts and personal musings on the major cities where I’ve lived, worked and cycled so far.  Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary are big and jostle for world stage, as Canada’s world-class city. Several sword points to note: Vancouver in my infographic, refers to  City of Vancouver.  Not 20 other suburban cities around which…

Prairie’s Declaration of Horse Love in Art

Alberta loves to trot out its love for horses in visual art, equestrian arts and competition, as well as rodeo events. It wasn’t until I moved to  Calgary in the prairies, where I’ve met more ordinary folks in this Canadian region,  than Toronto or Vancouver, who have family members that own and ride at least…

More than Just Dragons- Art on Chinese-Canadian Experience

Don’t get me wrong: I love dragons. A dragon pops up often enough:  whenever there is a celebration or poster flogging a Canadian Chinatown event or something involving Chinese-Canadian history or culture. I love the dragon for its aesthetic drawing power –in parades, dance, paintings, textiles, rugs, sculpture and jewellery. Dragons in Canada- Convenient Icon? However, I…

Marriage of Cowboys, Dolls, Bicycles and Chopsticks

It’s culture shock when I return from sushi, salmon and ocean in Vancouver, to yeehaw hijinks of the Calgary Stampede. The Stampede is Canada’s annual and biggest bash on bucking rodeo sports, country western music and cowboy culture. Let’s face it, in the 21st century, there aren’t a lot of true cowboys and cowgirls in Calgary….

What Shapes Me: Neighbourhoods That Are Walkable, Cycleable

It isn’t just my genes or my lifelong, whole food cooking tendencies (thanks mom), that shapes me: I have always lived in walkable, cycleable neighbourhoods. That’s a long time. Over 55 years in 9 different neighbourhoods across 7 Canadian cities. I’ve  previously trumpeted this fact in this blog, as a cyclist living in Toronto, Vancouver…

Major Flood or Disaster- Do Transportation Habits Change?

Well, my choice of transportation around my city, didn’t change during the flood nor afterwards. I kept on cycling. I’ve been car-free for past 3 decades. During and after our city’s major river flood, I wondered if people living in the flooded neighbourhoods, had to modify their travel habits. For certain, residents with cars and…

Post-Flood: Art and Memory Along the Bow River, Calgary

Do you ever blog, write, paint or photograph something that you saw but know it will disappear forever? That your act of solidifying its image, is to brand it alive in your memory and heart for years to come? I’ve been feeling this way lately. Several weeks ago, a major flood in Calgary destroyed several hundred…

Bike to Work Day, Month: Affirmation in 3 Canadian Cities

Cycling  to work, shopping or to school, is still a minority transportation choice in North American cities. For me, as a long-time  bike commuter for the last 22 years, Bike to Work Day or Month (depending on the city),  is not only a public event to encourage bike commuting love. This Bike to Work event, also affirms…

Injecting Life and Identity: Outdoor Public Art in the Prairies

When the prairies lack a rich, green tree canopy in its cities, outdoor public art injects animated life. That is, certain types of art works. Rolling oceans of grass, brilliant blue sky expanses that are Nature’s canvas for dynamic cloud shapes, are already fantastic abstracts for me. Beyond Artifice of Abstract Art- Search for Prairie…

Christmas Haiku Meditations

A lonely bike light- Flickering snow firefly Flits over fresh snow. Turtledoves wander Listless, mute in gilded cage: Gold becomes their sun. Icing sugar dusts Green leaf medallions, Fragile garlands droop. Christmas chill frosts breath Of life, a halo warms face, Memories blurr vision. Snowman cake warms me. Tummy smiles, sated dreams Melted with coffee….

How to Celebrate Bike-Pedestrian Bridges: Let Me Count Thy Ways

A shiny new bridge,  is a local cause célèbre in many ways, for expected and totally unexpected reasons. Sometimes it’s just a lovely architectural backdrop to frame not only cyclists and strollers, but also graduation parties, post-wedding photos, seminal reunions of family and friends. Peace Bridge, Calgary: Frames Grad, Wedding and Family Celebrations We were cycling…

Canadian Reindeer Look-Alikes: Elk, Caribou and Mule Deer

A few weeks ago, Ava, a Filipino blog reader wondered what elk was after I mentioned we were going to have elk for our Christmas meal. So after plumbing into our well of digital photo archives, I resurfaced with some wonderful photos:  I just could not write a blog post that featured a dish of…

Cycling For Favourite Foods To Devour at Farmers’ Markets

I tend to be a goal-oriented cyclist –I have a destination in mind. Sometimes that turnaround point involves food. Now any diet-conscious cyclist would admonish my attitude:  to maintain a healthy weight, do not reward yourself by eating calorie laden food.  True.  The reality is at least a snack at the market, is a fabulous carrot…

Cycling A Piece of Maidei’s Global Relay Journey: Calgary, Alberta

Maidei comes delivered in her own tiny cycling jersey,  with her handcrafted bike and even a pair of miniature skis in a Cuban cigar box, with tattered logo label, Romeo Y Julieta. To cushion the postal delivery bumps, she is protected by a growing wad of postcards, bike maps and mementos that her cycling hosts have added to the pile…

Outdoor Art Work as a Thread of National History Across Canada: Monuments to Chinese-Canadian Railway Workers

In Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary, where I have visited and lived, there is outdoor public art which commemorates the historic work by the Chinese Canadian railway workers on Canada’s transcontinental railroad. The Chinese labourers helped build the national Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) from 1858 – 1885.  Each of the profiled city monuments were independently conceived, designed…