Tag Archives: Canada

Cheer up Canada!

14 Aug

Given its less-than-dazzling display at London 2012, you’d think Canada would leap at the opportunity to shout about achievements in other spheres.

So I’m baffled as to why the Canadian press seems to have ignored the Economist Intelligence Unit’s latest annual survey on the world’s most liveable cities, which was published today and places three of this country’s cities in the top 10.

Granted, the top slots haven’t changed much since last year, with Melbourne basking in pole position, followed by Vienna, then Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary, Adelaide, Sydney, Helsinki, Perth and Auckland. The top five places haven’t budged at all.

However, it’s a strong return to form for Canada after an experimental metholodogy, in a separate EIU survey last month, saw Toronto drop to eighth place and Vancouver fall out of the runnings. This blog explains some of the potential weaknesses of July’s survey, in which Hong Kong was placed first.

It all got me thinking about the good and bad aspects of living in Toronto – based on my very limited experiences so far. Just for fun, I’ve incorporated my thoughts into a Prezi, which you can also see below (best viewed on fullscreen):

I’d be very interested to know other people’s take on Toronto’s ranking – does it deserve such a high accolade? What are your favourite things about the city and what needs to improve? If you’re from a different part of the world, does your hometown deserve to be in the top 10?

16 August 2012: Update: The liveability story finally made it to the Canadian newspapers yesterday – but not until the evening. I’m intrigued; is the delay due to a staggered international embargo? Surely such a concept has been made redundant by the internet? Please enlighten me if you know the answer.

Canadian Cottaging

9 Aug

After a hedonistic start to the weekend involving tequila, dancing and an ass contest in Toronto’s gay village, we were in dire need of some quiet cottaging.

Apologies to Canadians; us Brits can’t help but resort to seaside humour at the mention of your favourite summer pastime. Headlines like this are just plain titter-inducing. This probably isn’t news to you, but our definition of cottaging is a little…lewder than yours.

Chortling aside, we really did decide to escape the city over the long public holiday weekend, heading to Parry Sound – just three hours north of Toronto (the ass contest bit also really happened…but that’s another story).

The 30,000 Islands – for which Parry Sound is the jumping off point – were beautiful. Cruising around them on the Island Queen’s four hour afternoon wilderness tour was the ideal way to escape the 37 degree heat and see areas that are only accessible by water.

But we couldn’t help but observe that many of the “cottages” were rather grand, often with their own boat dock, a yacht or speed boat, or at the very least several jet skis and canoes.

Here’s an example of one such “cottage”:

Canadian cottage

A Canadian “cottage”

And here’s a typical English cottage, with thanks to www.cottagehomedecorating.com:

English cottage

A typical English cottage

I’d be pretty chuffed if a friend invited me to their out-of-town cottage if it turned out to be on a private island:

Parry_Sound island cottage

One of the many private islands we passed

On our second day, we took out some sea kayaks and battled against seriously choppy waters, passing hot stony ledges that we swore were buzzing with the sound of Massasauga rattlesnakes, to reach a deserted strip of white sand and sunbleached rock on Franklin Island. The water was crystal clear – what a stunning place. I just wish I’d bought a waterproof bag so I could’ve taken my camera.

Definitely somewhere that warrants a return visit – hopefully in a tent – once all our camping equipment arrives from the UK.

John Howson

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