Vintage / Mod Design: The City Bus

vancouver-bus-4

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.

Angela Carlsen’s Retro Americana Art

a-carlsen-boulevard-drive-in

Angela Carlsen, “Boulevard Drive In”

If you take creative photography, neon signs and other roadside kitsch and mix them together with a retro-pop art sensibility, for me that’s a winning formula and is the approach taken by Nova Scotia-based artist, Angela Carlsen with her artwork.   Much of her recent mixed media art focuses on bygone Americana as a result of her road trips over the last few years through the American West.   Vanishing roadside relics, such as those depicted in this sampling, comprise a significant part of both the Canadian and America car cultures, and her work serves as a fitting artistic bridge between them.

You can see more of her retro art at Carlsen’s artist site here.  She’s also represented by Argyle Fine Art in Halifax.

a-carlsen-copper-manor

Angela Carlsen, “Copper Manor Motel”

~

a-carlsen-fresh-donuts

Angela Carlsen, “Fresh Donuts”

~

a-carlsen-supai-motel

Angela Carlsen, “Supai Motel”

~

a-carlsen-four-winds-motel

Angela Carlsen, “Four Winds Motel”

Related posts on O’Canada:

Artist to Appreciate: Katharine Burns

Artist Appreciation: Andrew Horne

Vintage Quebec: Helen’s Motel

— Acadia Theatre’s Classic Neon Splendor!

Mod Design: Vintage Postcards of Expo 67

Forest Pavilion

Canada Forestry and Paper Pavilion

With the Rio Summer Olympics being just around the corner this prompted me to ponder the differences between the Olympics and the World Fairs.  While both are cultural showcases that bring together people of many nations to good-naturedly preen about their countries, World Fairs seem more ad hoc than the more structured, media spectacle of the Olympics.

Coinciding with Canada’s centennial in 1967, Montreal hosted what is considered to be one of the most successful World Fairs, which was the first to adopt the “Expo” moniker by which all subsequent World’s Fairs have been named.  As attested by these postcards, the various national pavilions at Expo 67 served as grand displays for then cutting-edge, very “mod” design and innovation.

Mel’s Tea Room and More . . . Sackville, New Brunswick

wwwDSC_9390

Mel’s Tea Room, Sackville, New Brunswick

___

These classic old signs and doorway tiles stood out on a recent stop in the historic town of Sackville, New Brunswick.  The neon and styling of the sign for Mel’s Tea Room — a local diner that is authentically vintage — in particular harkens back to an earlier era.

___

wwDSC_9386Sackville Bowling, Sackville, New Brunswick

___

wwDSC_9388Tiled Store Entryway, Sackville, New Brunswick

Espresso Cup Charm at The Flying Fox

wDSC_9556

___

These bright little espresso cups caught my eye at the very cozy The Flying Fox Bake Shop in historic Shelburne, Nova Scotia. The shop’s tasty fresh-baked treats and piping hot coffee brightened the cold November day considerably, as did the ready conversation of the shop’s cheerful owner, Julie Shand.  Julie shared with me that in light of her having lived way up near Yellowknife, Yukon Territory, shortly before opening the Flying Fox, Shelburne’s windy temperatures of 33°F / 0°C on that day seemed nearly tropical to her! For my part, I kept my gloves near at hand.

___

wDSC_9553

Vintage Canadian Apple Crate Labels

Ogopogo Apples

___

In the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia and many places in between, Fall is harvest time from coast to coast for Canada’s rich variety of apples.    That variety is also reflected in the colorful artistry of numerous vintage apple crate labels — such as the incredible OgoPogo one above — which recently caught my eye and which I thought would be worth collecting here to share.  (You can click through the slides below.)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

%d bloggers like this: