Halifax’s Manhole Covers

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While recently running an errand in Halifax I snapped these manhole covers as examples of subtle industrial design.  I didn’t notice as much variety among them as I’ve seen in other cities but that’s probably because I collected these so quickly.  Still, there are a few distinctive examples to see, including one that’s a square cover formed by two triangles.

Similar posts on O’Canada:

⊗ Creativity Afoot:  Toronto’s Varied Manhole Covers

⊕ Manhole Covers of Quebec City

Regent Gas Station and Sleek Modern Design

Regent Gas Station (Left View), Toronto (1949),
Designed by John Parkin, Photo by Hugh Robertson

Although these vintage images only showcase a humble gas station they’re amazingly good! That’s because they combine the modernist industrial design of distinguished Toronto architect John Parkin and the often-dramatic photography of Hugh Robertson and his team at Toronto’s former Panda Associates firm, both of whom helped popularize modern design in Canada during the 1950s and 60s.

Regent Gas Station (Right View), Toronto (1949),
Designed by John Parkin, Photo by Hugh Robertson

A trove of other vintage architectural photos can be seen at the Panda Associates Digital Image Collection, Canadian Architectural Archives, which is maintained by the University of Calgary, and in the book John C. Parkin, Archives and Photography: Reflections on the Practice and Presentation of Modern Architecture (University of Calgary Press 2013).

(Image Credits:  Hugh Robertson/Panda Associates, Canadian Architectural Archives, University of Calgary)

Vintage / Mod Design: The City Bus

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City Bus on Vancouver Street (about mid-1950s)

Distinctive industrial design reveals itself in many ways and, when done well, can be a genuine pleasure to take in.   While the specialness of such design is often difficult to see in our contemporary surroundings, its otherwise subtle impact jumps out when looking back at vintage images. A case in point: the humble municipal bus, operated in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary and other cities across Canada.  Over this period theses buses began to display a very mod sensibility as they evolved from the severe boxiness of earlier 1930s and 1940s versions to later, during the 1950s through the 1970s, being adorned with more rounded contours, sleek curves and very stylized lines and chrome elements.

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