Wednesday, 20 June 2007
CTV's new story Canadian cities cheap in cost-of-living was a reminder and a confirmation of what I experience every day here in Scotland - it's expensive to live here. In the rankings, the most expensive Canadian city is Toronto, 82nd on the list with an index of 78.8 points while Glasgow, near where I live, or "stay" as they say here, is 36th with an index of 88.1. The company that compiled the data is Mercer and more details are here. It's hard to tell how to interpret the index but if it is meant to be linear - i.e. an index number twice as high means twice the cost of living - then I don't think the survey quite captures the reality. My experience is that things in Scotland and the UK cost about twice as much as in Canada, not the 10-15% the Mercer numbers suggest. My rule of thumb is £1 here buys more or less what $1CDN buys in Canada. Clothing, hotels, food at grocery stores or in restaurants, gas (petrol), golf - just about everything is costlier (The only thing about the same price is booze - it is an essential of life here - most Scots can outdrink Canadians by a mile!). The pain has been lessening somewhat in the past few months as the exchange rate has fallen from around $2.30/£1 to about $2.10 but travellers and vacationers be forewarned in your budgeting.
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