Where to see extraordinary creativity

Some of our favourite artists and architects

We jubilados (Spanish for retirees) are constantly on the lookout for art: in galleries, on the street and in the wild


Ninstints Mortuary poles

I’ve wanted to see them for decades.

Ever since I saw their photos back in the 70s, mystical figures of ghostly grey imparting a powerful, compelling presence.

The totem poles at Ninstints on Haida Gwaii.

It’s the only place on Haida Gwaii where they still stand. A dozen of them, disciples of the supernatural, silently keeping watch.

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Roman city of ConÍmbriga, Portugal

What fascinated us about the Roman city of ConÍmbriga in Portugal were the intricate mosaics, uncovered and open to the sky— still intact after 2,000 years! Think of it. How will our living room floors look in 4019? Especially if we left them roofless and open to the elements for centuries?

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“It’s Sunday so they’re a bit busy. But we have permission to land,” captain Tom told us as he piloted Ocean Light II to our first stop: the abandoned ancient village of Skedans sheltered on the northeastern coast of Louise Island in Haida Gwaii.

Would you be surprised to learn that permission may have been granted by a sixteen-year-old girl? In her second summer as a watchman?

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“Everything starts with Chaco,” writes archeologist Steve Lekson.

Chaco: built in the northwestern corner of New Mexico between 850-1150 AD—the most advanced civilization in North America until the nineteenth century. Chaco: never before had semi-nomadic people built anything of this scale—200 great houses, some the size of the Roman Coliseum. Chaco: constructed in astonishing alignment, like a celestial calendar—a truly astronomical feat accomplished without the telescope, the wheel or a written language.

Scholars at this UNESCO World Heritage Site are still debatingChaco’s grand purpose. Was Chaco a religious centre? Military base? Government capital? Pre-Columbian shopping mall? Gambling domain?

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“Where are you going next?” A common Q&A among jubilados isn’t it? Often followed by “What’s on your bucket list?”

A day after a friend (a younger jubilado) said he was done with travel and going green, I was lying on a yoga mat at Granville Island thinking about his decision when the topic of bucket lists, one we’ve been contemplating writing about for some time, resurfaced. The ah-ha moment was realizing “What’s on your bucket list?” might be the wrong question: it may be more important to ask “Why are you going?”

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Were I four decades younger and had the means to live in any city in the world, the white cobblestones of Lisbon would be a strong contender for my wandering feet. Magellan agrees. Lisbon is in his triumvirate of top cities. But a decade from now, the seven hills of Lisbon could be too much of a challenge.

If we were living there, we’d have an annual membership at the Museu Nacional do Azulejo, now that we know it’s so intriguing.

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