Toronto / London Comparison

It’s been two weeks since I left Toronto. Already I am moving towards the next target in my life, which is to pass the accountancy exams in a week’s time. Revision has been tough. There’s a constant feeling of inadequacy at the sheer volume of syllabus that is unknown. I’m going through past paper questions with a stopwatch but the stress is getting the better of me. Morale is low.

I’ve been reading a book called “Killing Rommel” by Steven Pressfield. It’s a WWII fiction about the exploits of a crack British unit. There’s a line which says that the most important factor in winning or losing a war is morale. Yes, I am comparing accountancy exams to armed combat. I’m bloody hacked off and I feel like waving the white flag.

So I’m impelled to take a break, regroup and finish writing this long overdue blog post.

All great cities are situated near some natural water feature. Beijing goes against this by being in the middle of a desert, but is still a great city. London has the River Thames and Toronto has Lake Ontario. Both are equally polluted. So the only way to judge which is better is to time how long you would survive a swim. In the River Thames you would be instantly killed by the River Boat. I’d take my chances against the radiation emanating from the nuclear power plant on the shore of Lake Ontario.

London 0 – Toronto 1

2009_08_02 Canada 81

Number of Chinese People
For some reason, vast numbers of Chinese have made Toronto their home. The Chinatowns of both cities are pretty dire. However, Toronto wins because they sell cheaper bubble (tapioca) tea. 

London 0 – Toronto 1 – Liverpool 1 (because we have a better Chinatown with a much bigger arch)

Bubble (tapioca) tea

Toronto’s roads are designed in an idiot-proof grid system. London’s roads require a Tom Tom to navigate, or a well trained black taxi driver. All Londoners moan about the tube, but the network is so extensive that two different shades of blue are needed for the map. Toronto has three lines and is crap.

London 1 – Toronto 1 – Liverpool -1 (I’ve just remembered how bad Merseyrail is)


Seriously? London hands down.

London 2 – Toronto 1 – Liverpool 0 (European Capital of Culture 2008 remember)

Global Warming Prospects
How would each city fare if the crackpot prophecies came true and the ice caps started to melt?

  • Liverpool – floods
  • Toronto – Also floods, and you will be attacked by radioactive moose
  • London – Floods, unless you keep working in the office on the 17th floor while civilisation collapses around you. At least there won’t be a cooling problem on the Underground
  • Beijing – is safe! Those ancient Chinese City planners were actually geniuses.

Final score

London 1 – Toronto 0 – Liverpool -1

And a million Scousers demand a recount.

Danish Invasion

My Danish friends came to visit me last weekend. It was exciting because I hadn’t seen them for over a year.

Some highlights


  • The railcard system is ridiculously complicated because Oyster Pay-As-You Go does not work on the Mainline trains South of the River Thames.
  • Transport for 2 Danes for 4 days ended up costing over a hundred pounds.
  • Half the Underground lines were closed for engineering works. It turns out that constantly changing trains is quite exhausting.
  • Bank station shows that you can change from the Central Line to the DLR (Docklands Light Railway). It’s actually a good 10 minute walk.

Exchange Rate
The Danish Kroner is killing poor Pound Sterling.

Free = Fantastic.
I really enjoyed the old classics at the National Art Gallery and the dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum.

They wanted to visit Starbucks because they don’t have them in Denmark. We passed over 30 in three days.

Greenwich Park
Magnificent views. Really steep hills. The novelty of standing between East and West. Deer.

Me with Danish friends in Greenwich

Me with Danish friends in Greenwich

As my friends left, they planted a Danish flag and proclaimed sovereignty over this bankrupt nation.