El Centro

There is one thing I miss every time I return home to St. Catharines: el centro. The city centre in most Mexican towns and cities is built around the principal plaza, which is surrounded by the cathedral or local church, government buildings, and other businesses and restaurants. When the Spaniards first arrived to the New World they wanted to spread the power and authority of the Spanish crown and civilize the indigenous population, so they built their cities according to the traza model. This grid-like pattern provided order to urban life and a place where people could come together to visit, protest, buy, trade, pray, and socialize. Today lovers, beggars, merchants, priests, preachers, tourists, and families still congregate in the central plaza as part of their daily rituals or to celebrate special days in the calendar year. El centro is often a window onto the heart of the cultural fabric of a given community, and these photo essays are an attempt to offer a partial tour of these privileged spaces beyond the Mexican capital.



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