Using the vorticity and stream function variables is an effective way to compute 2-D incompressible flow due to the facts that the incompressibility constraint for the velocity is automatically satisfied, the pressure variable is eliminated, and high order schemes can be efficiently implemented. However, a difficulty arises in a multi-connected computational domain in determining the constants for the stream function on the boundary of the "holes". This is an especially challenging task for the calculation of unsteady flows, since these constants vary with time to reflect the total fluxes of the flow in each sub-channel. In this paper, we propose an efficient method in a finite difference setting to solve this problem and present some numerical experiments, including an accuracy check of a Taylor vortex-type flow, flow past a non-symmetric square, and flow in a heat exchanger. Â© 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.