As you may know, I recently relocated to Christchurch, New Zealand and have been exploring the various neighbourhoods that comprise the garden city. In many ways, Christchurch is almost unrecognizable from its prior self. With whole blocks completely wiped out by the earthquakes, the city is disorientating even for those who’ve spent their whole lives here. While there’s lots to miss about the old Christchurch, the ongoing revitalization continues to challenge the city’s former ecosystem. The contrasts between old and new, pre and post-earthquake are what compelled Nick and I to move back. And we feel unusually privileged to be here; to witness and influence this city in transition.
New jobs are constantly being created as projects unfold, bringing diverse talent into what was previously one of New Zealand’s more homogenous populations.
One of my first priorities upon arriving in Christchurch was to purchase a bicycle. With new cycleways being added on the regular, I thought what better way to get around and experience the city! Fortunately, I discovered Velo-Ideale, a small workshop selling beautifully simple bicycles. I like the owner’s emphasis on a relaxed and comfortable style of riding.
Nick has taken me on several tours of downtown Christchurch. I found the 185 empty white chairs piece, which is a memorial dedicated to the 185 people who lost their lives on February 22nd, 2011, incredibly powerful. Moments like these act as reminders of what was lost, but you’ll also notice just how alive Christchurch is at present and why it’s such a valuable place to visit.
The beautiful Anglican cathedral was severely damaged by the February 22nd, 2011 earthquake and now the congregation worships at the cardboard cathedral, a transitional space. The cardboard cathedral is host to many local events, just last week we attended a Korean festival.
I’ve been seeing these trams everywhere and they remind me of Toronto’s streetcars. I initially referred to them as streetcars and instantly gave myself away as a non-local. I obviously want to have a ride, but apparently they’re quite expensive. I’m assuming they’re used for tourism purposes only rather than a viable way of getting around (like in Toronto).
New Regent Street is my favourite street in Christchurch, those pastel facades are just too pretty.
Of course, I’ve also been indulging in the delicious café scene. Christchurch has so much fresh produce and the coffee culture is unbeatable. Foodie culture has multiplied in recent months, with more restaurants, cafés and bars than imaginable. My favourites so far are Hello Sunday, The Caffeine Laboratory and Supreme Supreme. I’m also a huge fan of Made Espresso Bar‘s interior and the coffee at C1 Espresso, which has done amazing things for the central city.
Lyttelton is a vibrant port town on the north shore of the Lyttelton Harbour. It is all too easy to spend an afternoon exploring the old storefronts and watching the ships.
New Brighton is a beautiful coastal suburb, east of central Chirstchurch.
The Christchurch Farmer’s Market is a sight to behold. Held every Saturday morning, vendors sell fresh produce, delicious baked goods, and locals and visitors gather by the river to relax and enjoy their breakfast.
I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but Christchurch is Nick’s hometown. Last week we visited his family home, which was significantly damaged by the series of earthquakes. To say that I admire his resilience and foresight is an understatement. He loved growing up in Christchurch and has always spoken of it fondly. Thankfully his knowledge and expertise working as an transportation planner in Toronto will be a huge asset to the Christchurch City Council.
I attended Cup and Show Week thanks to some lovely friends, Andrew, Beth and Mariah! I’ll take any excuse to dress up and wear a fascinator!
Thanks for reading!