Every week, Andrew Sullivan’s blog ‘The Dish‘ posts a pic from a reader which is, simply, a shot taken out of a window.  The challenge: Guess from where was it taken.  The city of origin, of course, but also the building, right down to the specific window.

PT readers will likely identify last week’s picture:




As interesting as the guesses are the comments which accompany them.  Here are some selected excerpts.

  • I have no idea where this week’s VFYW is taken and I am so glad I don’t live there.
  • I was lost on this one until I started watching The Wizard of Oz last night. It’s obviously “The Amethyst City” – the Emerald City’s less known, contrasting and under-appreciated rival.
  • Millions of empty balconies … dumbfounded by searching Hong Kong high rises. Let’s go further south for better air and patio palm trees to guess … Singapore? I bet they have windows there.
  • Is there a major city less architecturally interesting than Vancouver? It seems that every high-rise in the city is more boring than the next. Can you imagine coming home drunk to this complex of buildings? Would you even be able to figure out which was yours?

  • I immediately recognized the buildings in my hometown, which are very typical of our city. There is even an architectural style that has been coined “vancouverism” based on the glass towers and urban design principles. Vancouver is a fantastic city and with a great downtown for a mid-size city. That is what makes it one of the of the most attractive places to live and unfortunately one of the most expensive.

  • The lesson? When it kind of looks like America, but you can’t quite put your finger on it, try Canada.
  • The light is the giveway. Only one bunch of weirdos puts up yellow traffic lights with yellow frames: Canadians! Assuming the photo is roughly current, the lack of winter hellscape tells you it must be Vancouver. Which happens to have a Granville Street – the original main street downtown, in fact – on which there is one building with a mansard roof, at the corner with Drake Street.

Vancouver is clearly a favorite city for many:

  • There are so many nice things about Vancouver that it’s hard to list them all here – Stanley Park, Gastown, the skyride up to Grouse Mountain, the Granville Island Farmers Market. What I love most about the city is its unparalleled setting among the inlets and bays of the Salish Sea with the dramatic backdrop of the mountains towering above the city just north across the harbor. My favorite memory of the city, though, is awakening on a boat sailing north just off the city’s west side and witnessing an escort of killer whales just off our beam. That is a sight you never forget.

  • I’m no good at the Google Earth searches that your other readers like to do. I wanted to respond, however, because of my love for Vancouver. My husband and I visited the city in the summer of 2010 as part of our “baby-moon” (the trip you take before your first child arrives), and it immediately became the city where we would move in the event someone like Rick Santorum ever got elected president.

More on the neighborhood as it was:




  • This is a real mix of the old and new cities. Until 30 years ago, the land all those condo towers are on was at the seedy end of Seymour Street. When I lived in Vancouver as a young adolescent, that was a noted part of the red light district. Next door to the Yale Hotel was the equally legendary Cecil, noted for its strip club. If memory serves the Best Western itself stands on the site of another hotel with another strip club. That one I remember hazily from my university days – I can’t recall the club’s name, but I do remember that it served one of the best – and cheapest – hamburgers in town.

  • Redevelopment started in the mid 1980s with the Expo 1986 project, and soon enough the neighbourhood filled with shiny new towers. But the old city is still there – the Yale Hotel survived despite the demolition of the Cecil for another condo tower, and when I lived a couple of blocks away at Seymour and Helmcken, the concierge at our condo would routinely shoo the sex workers away from the front doors

And more on the hotel in the above photo:

  • The heritage building in the foreground is the old Yale Hotel, one of Vancouver’s oldest and most distinct buildings: “The historic building was built in 1888, when the City of Vancouver was just two years old. The Yale’s red brick façade, mansard roof and neon signs make it one of Vancouver’s most distinctive buildings.” For many years The Yale housed a famous, world-class blues club which is now closed, but the building just underwent an extensive historical renovation as part of a condo project (everything in Vancouver these days is a condo project).

There are lots more comments here, but you have be to a paid Dish subscriber to see them all.  (The blog is worth it.)



  1. Flash One.

    Weird that I remember the name of the strip club (across from the Yale) with the burgers in the 80s since I had never been there.

    I went to high school in Abbotsford and some of the football players – if they had a free period adjacent to lunch – would drive to downtown Vancouver to go there, eat burgers, and watch the show.

    And get back in time for class.

    Tanya Paz from a mobile device

    604.309.1266 | LinkedIn.com/in/tanyapaz | https://twitter.com/tanyapazzy

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