Welcome to the Urban Culture course at Avila University created by Susan Lawlor and Dotty Hamilton.  We travel with our students to great cities to explore art museums, engage with the architecture, study the local film and music venues, and experience the ethnic enclaves as a way to learn about the culture of urban spaces and the interaction of art and environment.  It's a fun, intense learning environment.  

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Bixi Bikes

The hop-on hop-off Bixi Bikes were a hit with many in the group. They are a fun, refreshing and speedy way to get around the city.
Bike racks are in handy locations throughout the city.

Hannah and Mary, our group's Bixi experts, chose to spend the last night in Montreal out on the roads.

Sunday night improv at the Theatre Saint Catherine

The small venue was perfect for audience participation.

There may be a doppleganger in the group of performers.

Mile End Food Tour

Mile End is one of the more trendy (hipster) neighborhoods of the city. It's enjoying a surge in popularity in recent years. It boasts the most artists per square kilometer in all of Canada.
The tour began with vegan felafels at Panthere Verte (green panther).

Ubisoft's rise in the gaming industry and influx of employees is primarily responsible for the explosion of restaurants in Mile End.

Genevieve herself designed everything about this establishment from the fine chocolate to the logo and fun surface designs.

Tasteful beauty.
"Give" boxes are set up throughout the neighborhood. They serve as a way for residents to give and take household and personal items (books, clothes, etc) as needed.

The Theatre Rialto has surged from closed doors just five years ago to a thriving 25+ performances per month.

Tiffany stained glass.

At Drogheria Fine learning about the proper way to make tomato sauce.

Gnochi in tomato veal sauce.

Mile End is home to a thriving Hasidic Jewish population.

Fun fact. Cats walk on bricks while there are drying.

Today was the city wide restaurant day, allowing anyone to open a private restaurant for one day. This allow was bustling with neighborhood diners, a great way to meet the neighbors.

This family's waiter is poised on a ladder at the window to give and receive food orders.

Boucherie Lawrence shared some fine meets and cheeses. Cheese is on the rise in Montreal.

Mmmm...ice cream, what a great way to end the tour. Kem Coba is blend of Canadian and Vietnamese flavors.

"Triplex Nervosa" at the Centaur Theatre

Group dinner in Old Montreal

The lighting was dim, but the food was bright.

Walking tour of Vieux Montreal (Old Montreal)

We were fortunate to have another excellent tour guide show us around the historic district of the city.
The Montreal coat of arms includes: a thistle for Scotland, rose for England, shamrock for Ireland and beaver for the First Nations. The slogan roughly translated means "Harmony through communication."
Ramsey "castle" where Ben Franklin once stayed during negotiations to establish Montreal as a U.S. colony.
Statue of the Virgin Mary greets sailors who enter port and is also their guardian.
Boats as gifts from sailors to the Virgin Mary thanking her for protecting them.

View of the port.

Notre Dame Basilica, a reminder that the main intention for settlement in Montreal was to convert the First Nations people to Catholicism.

Maisonneuve, creator of the city. His statue stands on the spot where he is said to have personally defeated the chief of the Iroquios tribe in hand-to-hand combat.

Montreal's FIRST skyscraper.
Evidence of the city's divided past is ever-present, represented through sculptural commentary in the financial district. Meet the "British Pug"...
and the "French Poodle." Both statues anchor opposing corners of a large bank building.

Being shown where the old wall of Montreal once was. It now runs through the trade center. The piece of Berlin wall was a gift from Germany to commemorate Montreal's 350th Centennial.

Never a dull view from inside the convention and visitors' center.

"Lipstick Forrest." Actual trees covered in pink paint.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Montreal after dark

After our Korean dinner, we caught a film at a nearby cinema and then walked the Quarter des Spectacles, Montreal's premiere entertainment district.

Swinging is fun for adults too! Especially when they're lit up and play musical notes as you swing back and forth.

Highlighted wall of musicians who have performed at the world famous Montreal jazz festival.

Lighting and projected graphics and images are a big part of what makes this entertainment district so special.

Korean food for dinner

This was a new experience for most of our group. It's a unique experience in what it means to dine in a sharing way, and a bold reminder that food is a without question a distinct cultural element.

Marche Jean-Talon

We caught a glimpse of this large produce market in Little Italy during our multicultural tour. The entire class wanted to come back, so we made it our post-contemporary art lunch spot.

Musee d Art Contemporain

What a great experience we had at the Museum of Contemporary Art! Our guide, Tracy, did an excellent job of explaining the exhibits and encouraging audience interaction.

Learning more about the intent of the artist curator for this exhibit of figurative artwork.
2-D work with a 3-D optical illusion that you have to see in person to understand. Pretty great!