Main Street

Independencia Avenue, Chihuahua, Mexico. circa 1960

Vintage Everyday this week has a small collection of Mexican postcards from the 1950s and '60s.  Far from looking like a foreign country, these small town street scenes look like anywhere in Canada of the same era.  Prairie towns such as High River, or Olds, still have a scrappy one- and two-storey main street with cars and trucks angle-parked on both sides.  They look like these postcards, and like lots of little towns in the American southwest today.  

This was thirty years before NAFTA integration; cartoon Mexico of the 1950s was Speedy Gonzales.  And yet, US penetration into both Canada and Mexico was so pervasive that small town morphology in each three countries followed the American frontier model.

Of course the Jai Alai arena, the bullring in Nogales, or the churches are specifically Mexican, but the signage — a mix of constructivism and art deco, the neon, the products, the cars — it all looks like Hastings Street in Vancouver in 1958.

The past is a foreign country and it looks like Mexico.

Stephanie Whiteculture, urbanism