Of Schemes and Memes Blog

Mapping Science: Toronto

After a brief pause, we’re back in the chart room with a first entry for Canada. Eva Amsen has specced out this scientific map of Toronto, a city she recently left for Cambridge (another in our growing empire of mapped cities).

View Science in Toronto in a larger map

“The problem with Toronto,” says Eva, “is that it’s not the capital, so most important national institutions are actually based in Ottawa. Also, a lot of great things have no physical location at all, such as the science festival, and some lecture series.”

That said, there’s still plenty to hold the attention. The University of Toronto is one of the top 30 universities in the world and receives more funding than any other higher education establishment in Canada. The university’s scientific ouput has included early research into insulin and stem cells, the first practical electron microscope, and development of multi-touch technology now familiar from iPhones and iPads. Eva also lists other research institutes, places of cultural significance and major pharma companies such as GlaxoSmithKline.

“I [also] learned that the concept of consistent global time-zones was invented in Toronto,” says Eva. "Although the history website files that under “science”, I don’t really think it is (more business/economics/practical) so despite it being really awesome, I left it off the map.

Another omission is one of Toronto’s greatest scientists. “Toronto doesn’t seem to like its living scientific Nobel Laureates… Banting and Macleod (insulin discovery) are all over the place and have everything named after them, but poor John Polanyi (”University of Toronto chemist":http://www.utoronto.ca/jpolanyi/, Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1986 for work done in Toronto), doesn’t even get a plaque, and probably just because he’s still active and alive. So maybe Polanyi deserves a shout-out in lieu of being on the map."

And a final pop-cultural sidenote: the Baldwin Steps, marked as a prehistoric lake border (blue marker off Davenport Road), are the place where Scott Pilgrim defeats Lucas Lee in the currently running Scott Pilgrim movie.

The map is a starting point, rather than a finished product. If you’d like to nominate other places in Toronto for inclusion, please leave a comment below.

If you’d like to put together a map of science in your own city or region, please contact Matt Brown (i.am.mattbrown – at – gmail.com) for assistance.

Previous maps

Cambridge, UK




New York

San Francisco


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