As an “everyday” tourist, I can find interesting things to see and do in my own neighborhood. I don’t have to walk too far to begin my urban adventure. For the past few days, I have been enjoying the sun and warmth of our winter Chinooks to walk to yoga and squash or to meet up with friends or colleagues for coffee or lunch.
Along the way I am always amazed at all the new homes under construction, well as the old ones that still exist. I love the fact the new homes are bringing young families into the community which helps to rejuvenate it. The numerous playgrounds are full of kids playing, as are our outdoor ice rinks.
I am still intrigued by the many tiny houses built in the ‘40s. These houses come in all shapes and sizes but the one thing they have in common is that they are about a third the size of a modern home. I don’t have to travel to faraway places to find history or to study the way other people lived, I can do it right in my own backyard. Seeing these cabin-like homes reminds me how urban living has evolved in Canadian over the past 75 years. In many ways this is way more relevant to my understanding of who I am and where I can from than any trip to Australia or Europe. Even after more than 25 years of infilling and upgrading of the community’s housing stock, there is a cabin-house on almost every block – a constant reminder that live is always evolving.
I also enjoy the wonderful array of architecture of the new homes, from post-modern angular homes to the rustic arts and craft homes that look more like a weekend getaway home and should be in a mountain or lake-side setting. Some have a southern coastal feel and remind me of wandering the streets of South Beach, in Miami or Coronado Island, in San Diego. Some are uber contemporary and recall trips wandering the trendy neighbourhoods of Vancouver or San Francisco. These homes are evidence that when it comes to urban living we definitely live in a global village.
There are also homes tucked up against a sound barrier wall next to the freeway. When passing these I often wonder “who would live here” and yet these homes rarely go up for sale, so for someone this is “home sweet home.”
There are also several seniors residents in the community, ranging from a major complex to smaller apartment blocks. There is even a small homeless shelter in our community, located next to a brand new senior’s apartment (they tore down a dozen cabins and built a four story modern building) and a major electrical station in an island created by the intersection of two major roads. How urban is that? There is a lesson here about diversity and density and urban living in the 21st century.
I am lucky I don’t have to travel to other cities to find interesting urban villages to explore, or to find that off the beaten path bookstore, café or blues bar. For the “everyday tourist” your own city is “home sweet home.”
Enjoy the photo walking tour of my community below: