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Hot Entertainment: Book Celebrates Photographer Selwyn Pullan and West Coast Modernism

Selwyn Pullan: Photographing Mid-Century West Coast Modernism

Heavy timber post-and-beam structures with sleek sculptural lines built on dramatic sites boasting spectacular views of the ocean or forest—these are the hallmarks of West Coast Modernism, which transformed BC architecture in the 1950s and ’60s. Selwyn Pullan captured this innovative style in images that appeared in popular magazines of the era, photographing projects for leading architects such as Arthur Erickson. See Pullan’s critically acclaimed work in the new book Selwyn Pullan: Photographing Mid-Century West Coast Modernism (Douglas & McIntyre; $45), which is being released in conjunction with an exhibition of the same name at the West Vancouver Museum (to Dec. 15), and you just might fall in love with the West Coast all over again.—Sheri Radford

Calgary Attractions: Discover Ralph Klein Park

The Environmental Education and Ethics Centre. Photo: Courtesy Ralph Klein Park.

Located in the city’s southeast, the Shepard Wetlands at Ralph Klein Provincial Park is the largest man-made urban wetland in the country and the cornerstone of the city’s wetland conservation efforts.

The wetland was created to control flooding and naturally purify urban runoff as it flows toward the Bow River.

Opened in 2011, the park is named for former Calgary mayor and Alberta premier Ralph Klein and is home to the Environmental Education and Ethics Centre. The interpretive learning venue houses an art studio, classrooms, meeting rooms and viewing decks. (more…)

Hot Entertainment: VanDusen Botanical Garden’s Green Design

VanDusen Botanical Garden's visitor centre. Photo by KK Law

From the top of its green roof to the depths of its geothermal energy system, the new visitor centre at VanDusen Botanical Garden is blazing a path in sustainable design. The building, with its eye-catching undulating roofline that resembles an orchid, uses green strategies such as rammed-earth walls, reclaimed lumber, on-site water capture and treatment, a photovoltaic system to generate electricity, and a giant skylight/solar chimney (pictured) that functions as a natural air conditioner. Designed to exceed LEED Platinum certification, the centre is also on track to be the fourth building in the world (and first in Canada) to meet the stringent Living Building Challenge (www.ilbi.org), which analyzes seven key components: site, water, energy, health, materials, equity and beauty. Even for those who don’t know anything about eco-friendly design, there’s no denying the building’s beauty. See it for yourself this month, and be sure to stop by on Plant Sale Day (Apr. 29), when admission to the garden is free. —Sheri Radford

Where in Toronto: Of Buildings and Bridezillas

U of T's ivy-covered campus is home to numerous historic buildings (photo by Alistair Edmondson)

I’m not a bridezilla. Really. I haven’t been planning my wedding since I was 12. I don’t have a dress picked out. And not everything has to be done my way. My wishes are simple: I just want a summer wedding and amazing photography.

My summer-wedding wish was granted fairly early in the planning process. So I was able to get straight to work on ensuring my fiancé and I would have top-notch photographs. For that I needed to find an amazing setting.

I wanted our photos to be backdropped by some classic, European-style architecture. Big columns, grand arches, rotundas, the works—like the Pantheon in Paris, or, even better, Rome’s Coliseum! I thought it would be poetic to pick an Italian-inspired building. My fiancé and I both have a trip to Italy on our respective bucket lists, our favourite movie is The Godfather, and our very first conversation happened to uncover a mutual love for Italian soccer. How cool would it be if our wedding pictures were shot in Italy? Of course, travelling to Rome would put us slightly over budget.

Thus, we looked to Toronto’s underrated stock of heritage buildings. Forget the high-rise towers and the edgy ROM and the artistic AGO. They’re nice and all, but they faded to the background of my thoughts as I rediscovered the city’s gorgeous Old World–influenced architecture. (more…)

Canada’s Best New Attractions for Summer 2011

Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta

For travellers planning their summer trips in Canada this year, the regional editors of Where magazine have released their top picks for summer travel. The winners of Where Canada’s Best New Attractions for Summer 2011 represent the most exciting attractions – new, significantly improved, or celebrating major milestones this year. A diverse group of attractions from coast to coast, this year’s winners offer a wide range of activities and events suitable for any family, art lover, sports fanatic, nature lover or adventurer. Together, these attractions serve as the top must-see and must-dos for anyone travelling in Canada this summer. (more…)

Hot Attractions: Explore with Doors Open Ottawa

7 Rideau Gate is just one of the sites on offer during Doors Open Ottawa.

June 4 and 5. Discover the city’s architectural treasures during Doors Open Ottawa. With more than 100 buildings on offer, you can tour some of the city’s finest landmarks, some of which are often not open to the public. See the sparkling dome of the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat, 7 Rideau Gate (the historic guesthouse for visiting heads of state), an assortment of embassies, and other gems. Whether you want the hallowed halls of churches or ultra-modern construction, this annual event takes you to the hidden side of Ottawa design.

Hot Date: Welcome In!

Peek inside Toronto's Old City Hall and many other buildings as part of Doors Open

MAY 29 & 30 Step out into the street and discover some very interesting buildings as part of Doors Open Toronto, an annual celebration of the city’s architectural excellence. This free event offers visitors access to 150 unique modern and longstanding structures—including Old City Hall, St. James Cathedral and the reopened City Hall Podium Green Roof—each with their own historical, cultural, architectural and even environmental stories. Some locations offer tours, interpretive materials and activities to augment your visitor experience. And don’t forget to bring your camera—some of these sites are not open to the public at any other time of the year. Various venues and times; call 416-338-0628 or click here for further details.

This Weekend: Stroll the City

photo by TorontoCityLife

Spring has officially sprung in Toronto (though if recent, relatively balmy weather is any indication, the season snuck in unannounced at least a week ago). In this city and any other, there are few better ways to celebrate the temperature’s rise than by getting outside for a nice long walk.

Tomorrow—Sunday, March 21—the Canadian Tour Guide Association of Toronto offers an extra reason to partake in a reinvigorating amble. From 10 a.m. until noon, the organization’s learned and friendly members will be leading free walking tours of Toronto’s downtown core. Starting from Nathan Phillips Square (100 Queen St. W.) and departing every 15 minutes, these hour-long excursions are sure to give you a new perspective on Toronto’s history, architecture and unique urban fabric.

Hot Art: Taste of Local Talent

Arbutus Tree by Emily Carr. Photo courtesy Heffel Fine Art Auction House

The desire to inspire has moulded Canadian art into something unique and synonymous with life here in the north. The iconic paintings of Emily Carr brought to life the diverse landscape intermixed with Native culture (pictured). Master carver Bill Reid showed us his passion for Haida art with intricate totem poles, sculptures and jewellery. Arthur Erickson pushed architectural design into the future with his contemporary creations, including the Museum of Anthropology at UBC. Photographers Fred Herzog and Jeff Wall continue to immortalize life in Vancouver with their powerful photographs. Visual artist and novelist Douglas Coupland is always changing the face of pop culture, and painter Gordon Smith has received the Order of Canada. There must be something in the water here.—Jennifer Patterson

30 Things We Love About Toronto This December

The Paper Place1 Pondering Audrea DiJulio’s multi-material sculptures at Loop Gallery.

2 Finding perfect paper for creating seasonal cards at The Paper Place.

3 The magnificent arched ceiling of the Great Library at historic Osgoode Hall.

4 Ambling through peaceful Mount Pleasant Cemetery after a snowfall.

5 Melt-in-your-mouth triple- cream brie from a local fave, the Leslieville Cheese Market (891 Queen St. E., 416-465-7143).