Central

Food Street Markets in Hong Kong

Being a North American, the traditional food and produce market is a mostly foreign concept. Most of us in North America drive once a week to the supermarket for our food. In Vancouver, I guess we’re lucky enough to have places like the Granville Island Public Market and various farmers markets that introduce supermarket shoppers to the traditional market.

Hong Kong is full of old street markets. Although most of them are no longer truly on the street. Most of them have been moved into large multi-story buildings. The name street market still adorns most of the entrances, but it’s a “vertical street of sorts”

Central Market

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Hong Kong – Central Ferry Piers

What do you do when you’ve just witnessed your cousin bring the bride home for a traditional tea ceremony and you have a few hours to kill before the wedding banquet? I don’t know about you, but my sister and I went for a long walk down to the Hong Kong waterfront, namely the Central Ferry Piers.

(L) Macau Ferry Terminal, (C Back) FCC Tower, (R) Central Ferry Piers

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Walking the Small Streets of Central

I was in Hong Kong over the holidays for a wedding. Thankfully, my sister and I managed to find some time to do somewhat touristy things. With all the large meals we were subjected to, it was actually very nice and refreshing to actually get out and walk for long distances about town. This is what we did in the small streets of Central in Hong Kong. Our uncle played neighbourhood guide for us for this walk.
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Edmonton LRT – Downtown and University of Alberta

The downtown Edmonton LRT stations are currently all underground.  It starts at Churchill Station in the east.  Churchill is right under the Sir Winston Churchill Square which is home to festivals every weekend in the summer.  It’s also right by Edmonton City Hall.

Edmonton City Hall (2012)

The signature undulating Frank Gehry curves of the Art Gallery of Alberta (2012)

The LRT then swings straight westward underneath Jasper Avenue.  3 stations sit underneath Jasper Avenue.  From east to west the stations are Central, Bay/Enterprise Square, and Corona.  I didn’t get to spend much time visiting the downtown LRT stations.  I got a few shots in Corona Station that turned out, but the rest didn’t make the cut.  The glass chandeliers from the mezzanine hanging over the platform are what caught my eyes at Corona.

After Corona Station, the LRT then turns due south to the Alberta Legislature grounds. The grounds can be accessed by disembarking at Gradin/Government Centre.  It’s a quick walk up to the parliament buildings.  Tours of the building are always available.

Alberta Legislature reflecting pool and fountain

Stained glass in the Alberta Legislature

The train leaving south from Gradin/Government Centre soon exits the darkness of the downtown tunnels and emerges along the LRT Bridge crossing the North Saskatchewan River.  Just east of the LRT Bridge is the towering and historic High Level Bridge.  The train’s exposure to the sun is brief and it soon enters the deepest underground LRT station in the city at University Station.

View of LRT train crossing the North Saskatchewan River from the High Level Bridge Streetcar (2012)

University of Alberta crest and motto

U of A’s HUB Mall connected to University Station

For the longest time, University Station was the end of the line for the LRT.  It wasn’t until 2006 that the LRT had finally expanded further south.  The first of the stations on the Southern Extension was Health Sciences Station. I think one of the most impressive collection of health and medicine facilities surround this ground level station.

Health Sciences Station

Stollery Children’s Hospital

Beyond Health Sciences Station are 4 more stations that make up most of the Southern LRT extension.  All of which were completed between 2009 and 2010.   More to come in the next post.

Major transit expansion for Hong Kong

Current MTR System Map

Hong Kong is already a Mecca for transit aficionados. It has 7 heavy rail lines that crisscross the territory plus an express rail link to the airport. There are four major bus companies that serve the majority of transit riders. There are ferries to all the outlying islands. All of these different forms of transit and these different private companies are unified by a single smart card payment system known as the Octopus card.

The current picture of transit in Hong Kong is already very impressive. Now even more major investments in the rapid transit network are underway. There are five major expansions which should all be in operation by 2015.

Ocean Park Station rendition

On Hong Kong Island, there are two major MTR (Mass Railway Transit) projects. One is the extension of the Island Line west via Hong Kong University to Kennedy Town. This a three-station extension through a fairly built up area of the island. The other project is a new South Island Line from Admiralty in central Hong Kong that will tunnel it’s way under the hills of the island to the communities in the south and the ever popular Ocean Park amusement park. The South Island line will add four new stops to the south side of Hong Kong Island.

On the Kowloon side, there’s a short two-station extension of the Kwun Tong line from it’s current terminus at Yau Ma Tei to Ho Man Tin and Whampoa.

Hin Keng Station rendition

Then there’s the Sha Tin Central Link (SCL) that will provide direct rail service from the New Territories to Hong Kong Island for the first time ever. This new line will have ten stations in total, six of which are all new. The SCL will connect to the East, West, and Ma On Shan Rail lines (all formerly KCR lines), as well as to the Kwun Tong and Island Lines. In terms of urban rapid transit, the SCL is the biggest of the rail projects.

future West Kowloon Express Rail Link Terminus Station

However, there is one interurban rail project that could eclipse the SCL in importance. The planned Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail link would connect Hong Kong to China’s rapidly expanding high speed rail network. With respect to economics and tourism, this rail link could be a major boon to the territory.

So by 2015, Hong Kong will have completed all five of these major rail projects. For details on how Hong Kong and it’s MTR Corporation have managed these major projects, read up Yonah Freeman’s post at The Transport Politic.

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