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Keeping Bohemian as Real Estate Prices Soar: The Canada Letter

A few blocks south and east of Kensington there is, depending on your perspective, Toronto’s most innovative or most awful building: the Sharp Center for Design at OCAD University. It’s a white box with black specks and perches nine stories above the ground on a series of angled stilts. (For the record: I’m among its admirers.)

Will Alsop, the British architect who designed it, has died at the age of 70. In thisfascinating obituary, my colleague Richard Sandomir describes Mr. Alsop as a “Falstaffian provocateur.”

Reading about Mr. Alsop’s death and seeing the Sharp Center again reminded me of how buildings and architects have defined, and redefined, much of Canada. Imagine Quebec City without the Chateau Frontenac hotel or Vancouver without Canada Place.

Keeping Bohemian as Real Estate Prices Soar: The Canada Letter
Keeping Bohemian as Real Estate Prices Soar: The Canada Letter

Is there a building that has a special place in your heart — or one that makes your blood boil? Does a structure define where you live? Has a single architect changed Canada for the better? Please share your thoughts (and photos of the building if you have them): nytcanada@nytimes.com.

Trans Canada

—Prompted by your suggestions, Dan Bilefsky stopped by to see the mystery writer Louise Penny during his recent Quebec road trip. Dan has now returned to Ms. Penny’s home in the Eastern Townships to profile the creator of Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. “I am a killing machine but a happy one,” Ms. Penny told Dan. “I get all my resentments out in my books.”

—Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s hopes for a trade deal with China were probably undermined this week after his government used national security concerns to block plans for a Chinese state-controlled company to buy Aecon, the large Canadian contractor that’s built and maintained much of Canada’s key infrastructure, including nuclear power plants.

—Whatever you think about Jordan Peterson — the University of Toronto psychology professor, YouTube celebrity, best-selling author and champion of a particular expression of masculinity — you should read this insightful profile of him by Nellie Bowles, a tech writer in The Times San Francisco bureau.

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