Tuesday, April 08, 2008

being a copycat

Jenkneebee has just done a fantastic blog post on the St. Paul Stone Arch Bridge as part of something called My Town Monday. Being, uh, me, I wanted to do the same thing! (I love how this form of plagiarism is acceptable while blogging!) I don't exactly intend to do something like this every single Monday but I do think it's a cool idea. So, I have chosen to write the Arts Centre, which is in the heart of Christchurch and one of my favourite places to go. (Here is the website for it.)

The University of Canterbury was founded in 1873 and what is now the Arts Centre was the site. Unfortunately for me, the university moved in 1974 to its current campus in Ilam, which is just not as pretty as the Arts Centre, though bigger. My dad studied at the original site in his days of BSc and MSc, and below are some older photos of the buildings and grounds.

The modern Arts Centre has kept its Gothic architecture, thank goodness, but the contents of it are quite different now. Restaurants, cafes, arty shops and galleries and workshops. I think some parts of the buildings are even apartments now, but most of the area is open to the public and there are heaps of things to do and see.

There is also at the Arts Centre a fantastic little movie theatre called Academy Cinema, which plays any slightly arty or special movie that has just come out, and also regularly plays a few films that are just so good people keep coming back. Gloomy Sunday has been playing there every night at 7.15pm for about five years now, in a tiny little theatre that seats about nine people. Also at the Arts Centre is the Court Theatre, which always has something of very high quality on - Shakespeare, modern drama, improvised comedy, musicals, you name it.
The Arts Centre is just about the most popular wedding photo destination in Christchurch (as below), and it is general practice now to book different areas in it for photos so that there are not huge numbers of bridal parties fighting it out for the best photos. Venues at the Arts Centre like the Great Hall can be hired for weddings as well.
There are heaps of cool little shops at the Arts Centre which I have loved to visit all my life. The Fudge Cottage (below), is one of the best. The fudge is delicious, and there are always free samples to taste. :) Another favourite of mine is Beadz Unlimited, a fantastic shop filled with a huge amount of beautiful beads and everything you could ever need to make your own jewellery. Even if I don't want to buy anything I visit it every time I go to the Arts Centre. Besides these particular shops, there's a huge amount of little arty shops filled with paintings, pottery, woodwork, and so on. Great for wedding presents or any kind of present that you want to be slightly special.

However, my favourite, favourite part of the Arts Centre is the markets that you can shop at on Saturdays and Sundays (below). These are random, arty and eclectic, some are expensive items, some are cheap. There's always some buskers round (including, in 2006, yours truly) and great food to sample. Even if you don't buy anything it's fun to look around.
The restaurants and cafes are also some of my favourites in town. The Dux de Lux is a vegetarian and fish restaurant that occupies the old Student Union building. Le Cafe has the best chicken nachos and coffee, and a great brunch menu. Alchemy cafe, down the road at the Art Gallery, makes the best iced coffee I've ever had. One of the best parts, though, is the ethnic food stalls that are open on the weekends, where you can buy incredibly yummy food from all over the world and then eat it on the sunny North Quad lawn.

Technically not in the Arts Centre, but so close that I have to mention them, are some other great places: Across the road, the Botanic Gardens and the Canterbury Museum (below)...

... the Antigua Boatsheds (below), where you can hire canoes for an hour or two and paddle up and down the Avon River, or hire some time on a punt, being peacefully punted along the river by a nice looking man in a funny uniform and flat hat...
... and the Christchurch Art Gallery (below), which is obviously a building of more modern architecture, but which I think is really quite beautiful, and filled with fantastic artwork, a very cool bookshop, and, as I mentioned before, a fantastic cafe.
The End. Come visit me and I'll show you around!


JenKneeBee said...

Wow! Those are some beautiful buildings. You have trolleys?! I love cities with trolleys. And you busk? That's so cool. With your recorder? Do tell more please.

LEstes65 said...

NZ needs to hire you to write its tourism stuff. Holy guacamole! I so totally want to come visit you. Why - oh WHY did I marry a penniless drummer?!!!!

Sarakastic said...

I LOVE the random unicycle man in the first picture. Thanks for showing me around but with free samples at the fudge shop I probably wouldn't see anywhere else.

Trish Ryan said...

It is just gorgeous there! I've been feeling the urge to come to NZ since I started reading your blog...these pictures aren't helping me fight it off! :)

heidikins said...

Love! Absolutely LOVE this post...and yes, I may or may not looked up ticket prices. Which, of course, shattered my dreams. You just can't fly to NZ for under $20 bucks.... sigh. Someday.


~Virginia~ said...

absolutely beautiful! i love outdoor markets!

Lisa Marie said...

Oh, it's all so very, very beautiful! Just like I remember and love.

Have you seen Dantastic about recently? He was my favorite busker, perhaps ever. Reciting the opening monologue of Richard III while gradually attaching clothespin after clothespin to your face? Genius, really.

Thanks for the little tour! Popping on over to NZ was just what this long Tuesday needed.

E. said...

Oops, that one above is from me---my supervisor and I have been swapping computer time all shift!