The Canadian Way of Death

Canada is a very safe country.

Here’s how we die.

Ages 1-4: #6 Motor vehicle crashes

Ages 5-9: #5 Motor vehicle crashes

Ages 10-14: #3 Motor vehicle crashes, #4 Suicide

Ages 15-19: #1 Motor vehicle crashes, #2 Suicide

Ages 20-24: #1 Motor vehicle crashes, #2 Suicide

Ages 25-29: #1 Suicide, #2 Motor vehicle crashes

Ages 30-34: #1 Suicide, #4 Motor vehicle crashes

What kills people from 10 to 34 is being in a car, driving a car, being in the way of a car, and despair.

Data from Statistics Canada. CANSIM 102-0551 (Deaths and mortality rate, by selected grouped causes, age group and sex, Canada, annual, 2000 to 2009) with two choices (using Add/Remove Data): ages 1-34 selected and importantly, the general category Accidents (unintentional injuries) [V01-X59, Y85-Y86] split into Transport Accidents (which are really motor vehicle crashes, not accidents) and Non-Transport Accidents. Incidentally, this international standard choice for grouping Transport and Non-Transport together as “Accidents” often obscures the fact that transport crashes are a major cause of death.

If you want to see the total number of Canadians killed by motor vehicle crashes, by age group, see Statistics Canada table Motor vehicle accidents causing death, by sex and by age group (a different extract from CANSIM 102-0551).

Note: Graphs below are not all to the same scale (X axes changes as number of deaths increases).  You can click any of them to see a larger version (they’re hosted on Flickr).

Here is the data file used: cansim4025849392952653274.csv (zipped CSV file, you can unzip and open in e.g. Excel)


la Commission Mobilité 21 – French rail plans report

Summary of June 27, 2013 report from la Commission Mobilité 21, with a focus on how it will affect Rouen

76actu – LNPN, contournement Est de Rouen : où en est-on ?

The two major elements are bringing high-speed TGV to Rouen and building a new train station, Rouen-Rive-Gauche/Saint-Sever.  (The current station is Rouen-Rive-Droite; the original Saint-Sever train station was destroyed in WWII.)

The project is Ligne nouvelle Paris-Normandie (LNPN).  In 2012 there was discussion, followed by an April 5, 2012 decision (PDF) from RFF, the French rail infrastructure operator.  Following that decision, the Mobilité 21 commission looked at things further and produced its 2013 report.

Basically some activity is going to be delayed.  The new station and the TGV to Rouen may take until 2030.  The report proposed various scenarios, but the final decision hasn’t been made yet.  The article linked above says « Tout le suspense repose sur les choix de scénario que vont retenir Parlement et État dans les mois à venir. »

Other lines are already underway and not affected.  For example, by 2017, LGV-Est will extend to Vendenheim, just outside Strasbourg.  Also there will be TGV to Bordeaux by 2018.  The sub-project is LGV Tours – Bordeaux.  There’s supposed to be an entire site on the encompassing project, but it’s down.

UPDATE 2013-07-04: Bordeaux high-speed rail project site is back up.  Réseau Ferré de France: Ligne á Grande Vitesse, Sud Europe Atlantique, LGV Tours > Bordeaux.  (RFF: LGV Bordeaux)  « Il s’échelonnera sur 5 années pour permettre une mise en service en 2017. »  The line will run at 320km/h.  « Une vitesse commerciale de 320 km/h »  There is also a more detailed project progress site from the contractor: You can read a PDF summary (press release) from June 2013 in French and in English.

Bent Restaurant Toronto – chef’s tasting menu

Chef Susur Lee was in the kitchen, so we told them just to bring us whatever he wanted to make.

This is what we were served (not exactly in this order).  It was fantastic.  One of the best meals I’ve ever had.


– Chipotle Charred Onion Tomato Salsa, Mango, Avocado, in a Taro Shell

Calamari ceviche
– w spicy citrus juice & Asian pear

– Spicy Tuna with Avocado
Salmon with Shallots, Capers, Gherkins and Dill
Served Sushi Style on a Crispy Rice Cake, Candied Nori

– Lime, Perilla, Lemongrass Infused Vodka

– Tuna with Fresh Grated Wasabi, Charred Scallop with Yuzu Peppers,
White Snapper with Chili Grated Daikon, Atlantic Salmon with Asian
Style Gravlax Marinade, Medallion of Lobster with Lemon Preserves and
Chives, Roasted Argon Oil, Fresh Black Pepper, Calamansi Lime, Sea

Rare Filet Of Beef
– Lightly Seared Beef, Herbed Olive Oil, Momiji Oroshi, Diced
Scallion, Ume Ponzu, Melted Beer Cheese Crouton


Warm banana chocolate cake with creme fraiche
(I had a sort of raspberry thing with tapioca balls)

French intercity first class isn’t

UPDATE 2013-07-02:

France has two kinds of intercity trains.  For shorter distances or smaller towns, or where the high-speed network hasn’t been built yet there are slower trains, the TER and Intercités trains.  (Still fast by North American standards.)  This post is about first class on these slower intercity trains.

For the slower trains, there are 1st and 2nd classes, but there is no point in getting 1st class.  (Disclaimer: At least for trips less than 2 hours, which is what I was taking.  I was on 8 trains in total, three different routes.)

France has also been building out a high-speed network, the TGV trains.  This connects major cities, across long distances, but is not complete yet.  You can see the current lines in blue on this official map or download a detailed PDF map (15MB).

UPDATE 2015-04-11: While the TGV does have a first-class service, it has many similar characteristics to the TER – mostly you’re paying for a bit more space.  There may not be a lounge, and there’s no food service.  ENDUPDATE

Canada has no high-speed rail, there is a single kind of intercity rail, VIA.

Here’s a handy comparison chart, between Canada’s VIA Business Class (used to be called VIA 1), and French TER/Intercités 1ère classe

[Extensive rewrite of above section.]  ENDUPDATE

feature Canada VIA Business Class France TER/Intercités 1ère classe
lounge yes no
assigned seating yes no
priority boarding yes no
dedicated car(s) yes no, usually half 1st, half 2nd
located for ease of detraining and/or boarding yes, usually front of train, or near entrance no
baggage area yes, large sometimes a tiny (2 bag) one
lots of room for mid-size bags above seat yes no, a purse or small bag at most
seats offer extra space, better materials yes no
free drinks yes no, no service at all
included meal and snacks yes no, no food whatsoever

In summary: French TER/Intercités 1st class is a more expensive version of 2nd class, I’m guessing mostly intended to separate business travelers from regular travelers. It is in no other way better than 2nd class. You end up walking along the train trying to find the first class car (or usually the first class part of a car, indicated by a 1 and an arrow), and then jamming yourself in, no different from second class.

Don’t get me wrong, the French TER/Intercités intercity trains are great.  Service is frequent and many towns and even villages have stations.  Almost all stations are in the town centre.  Just don’t bring a big bag (you will have a hard time even finding space for a carry-on rolling bag) and don’t bother with first class.  And buy any food and drink you may want before you get on the train.  If there are 3+ of you traveling together, you can try to get to the cars as soon as they announce the track, and look to see if the 4-person tables are available and go in and grab them.

UPDATE 2013-07-02: If you want to know more about the French train network see the complete page of maps from RFF (the rail infrastructure operator) as well as the list of projects.  (Linked to French pages as the English pages are out-of-date.)

Summer Streets – Regent Street

closing streets so that they can be used by pedestrians is a great way to make a liveable city

Cities for People

If you are in London this summer, take the chance to experience beautiful Regent Street without traffic! A Summer Streets event will take place every Sunday in July 2013 (7th, 14th, 21st, 28th) the street will be closed to traffic between 11am and 6pm on each of the pre-arranged dates.


Seeing the city in a new light

There is a lot of interest surrounding the competitiveness of global cites, firstly there are few truly global cities and London is in among the top five.  Altering the way people use, or can use city streets, invites new experiences and interpretation of spaces. Our experience in other major international cities has shown that temporary interventions introduce people to architecture they never knew existed; they can look up without fear of being hit by a moving vehicle. Visitors to these spaces are often struck by…

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