Urban Decoder: Secrets from the Dark Underbelly of the Mega-City!


156 pages
Contains Photos, Index
ISBN 0-7715-7624-2
DDC 971.3'54'1002





Reviewed by Steve Pitt

Steve Pitt is a Toronto-based freelance writer and an award-winning journalist. He has written many young adult and children's books, including Day of the Flying Fox: The True Story of World War II Pilot Charley Fox.


The expression “urban myth” has come to mean some highly improbable
answer to an equally improbable question. (“Question: What happens if
people flush their pet alligators down the toilet? Answer: They will
they survive and grow into giant, albino mutants.”) If you live in
Toronto and happen to be in the mood for some choice silly answers, you
will find no better source than this collection of responses to silly
questions that were published in Toronto Life.

A refreshingly whimsical chord is struck as the writing team known as
The Urban Decoder answers questions such as these: Why do people in
Toronto steal horse manure? What would happen if someone drank a pint of
Lake Ontario water? How many Toronto taxi drivers have Ph.D.s? Did
anyone die while constructing the CN tower? How early in the morning can
your neighbor start knocking down walls with a jackhammer? Can police
officers give speeding tickets to bicycle riders? As far as urban myths
go, these questions are pretty down-to-earth, but of course that’s
precisely what makes them so true to the Toronto sensibility.


Bingham, Richard, Lesley Hyland Byrne, and Laas Turnbull., “Urban Decoder: Secrets from the Dark Underbelly of the Mega-City!,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 24, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/3233.