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Morning Brief: Canada's Most Overrated Cities, A Coin Fit For A Queen & More

9 things you need to know for Monday, January 30.

​The Calgary Tower in Calgary. Right: The late Queen Elizabeth II.
Features Editor

The Calgary Tower in Calgary. Right: The late Queen Elizabeth II.


Good morning; welcome to the last-ever Monday of January 2023 — Andrew from Narcity here. ☕

Off The Top: The Royal Canadian Mint has issued a new commemorative coin, "The Imperial State Crown," in honour of the late Queen Elizabeth II. The silver piece features the monarch's visage on one side and... well, what looks like cheap costume jewellery on the other — meant to evoke the queen's crown. If you thought Canada was starting to get inflation under control, think again; this $20 commemorative piece will set you back about $160.

In Case You Missed It

What Are The Freest Countries In The World For 2023?

A Canadian flag in Montreal.

A Canadian flag in Montreal.

Diego Grandi | Dreamstime

Freedom should never be taken for granted — even in the fairly politically progressive Canada. That much was made clear by the latest update to the Human Freedom Index; the report, which is produced by the Libertarian-leaning Fraser Institute, concludes that Canada is no longer one of the top 10 most free countries in the world, sliding six spots globally over the past three years. Canada now sits in 13th place, MTL Blog's Sofia Misenheimer notes, still ahead of the U.K. (20) and the U.S. (23) but not quite as high as we once were.

  • By the Numbers: On a 10-point scale, Canada scored 8.95 for personal freedom, 7.81 for economic freedom and 8.47 for human freedom. The country also saw its score for freedom of movement drop to 6.5 after nearly a decade of almost-perfect scores.
  • Go Deeper: The top three nations? They would be Switzerland, New Zealand and Estonia. Bottom? Syria, Venezuela and Iran brought up the rear.

Are There Any Federal Benefits For Canadian Students?

Students walking on the University of Toronto campus. Right: Canadian money.

Students walking on the University of Toronto campus. Right: Canadian money.

@uoft | Instagram, derek robbins | Dreamstime

The Canada Learning Bond is a relatively new way for parents to save for their kids' education. Children under 18 and students aged 18-21 can participate in the program, which puts up to $2,000 into a Registered Education Savings Plan. Those funds can then be used toward the cost of full-time or part-time post-secondary education — including universities, colleges, apprenticeships, CEGEPs and trade schools. Lisa Belmonte explains how it all works.

What Are The Most Overrated Cities In Canada?

Downtown Toronto. Right: The Calgary Tower in Calgary.

Downtown Toronto. Right: The Calgary Tower in Calgary.

Giovanni Gagliardi | Dreamstime, Benkrut | Dreamstime

It's said that you don't really see your own city until someone else visits. Apparently, plenty of our guests have been leaving Canada feeling a little underwhelmed. Per a study by the U.K.-based King Casino Bonus, Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver were dubbed the three most overrated tourist destinations in Canada, with visitors taking aim at the Toronto Zoo, Montreal's Biodome and Vancouver's Gastown district in particular. Katherine Caspersz breaks down the data, including the next three most overrated Canadian cities on the ranking.

  • My Take: I was going to wonder aloud why we care what "King Casino Bonus" thinks about anything — then I remembered that the global arbiter for fine dining is a tire company.

What Else You Need To Know Today

Ontario is starting to receive some clarity about how spring will look in the province this year. According to Patrick John Gilson, the Farmers' Almanac is projecting a rainier-than-average spring for Canada's largest province. A rainy April and May could give way to a scorching hot June, though; Ontarians will just have to survive a blustery start to spring first.

When our Sierra Riley relocated from Ontario to B.C., she didn't expect that shopping for groceries would be a very different experience in her new home. For one... how come Vancouver isn't up on the bagged milk trend? Even for someone who doesn't drink milk, the dearth of bagged dairy products was just one of several surprises that caught Sierra off guard.

One funny thing about the latest Scooby-Doo reboot is that the titular dog is nowhere to be found. Instead, the focus shifts to the studious Velma, whose voice is provided by series co-creator Mindy Kaling of The Office fame. Unfortunately for the show, South Asian TV watchers appear to have grown tired of Kaling's shtick. Sameen Chaudhry puts the blowback into perspective.

For a listing price of $12 million, this 15-room stone mansion estate in Senneville, Quebec, weirdly leaves a lot to be desired. As MTL Blog's Willa Holt points out, while the property itself boasts seven acres of forested land plus a nearby lake, the interiors need some major work before being move-in ready. You're going to have to see for yourself here.

WWE star Becky Lynch turns 36 years old today. Rapper and actor Kid Cudi is 39. That '70s Show's Wilmer Valderrama is 43. The ever-youthful sketch comic Andy Milonakis is 47. With a pair of Oscars between them, Christian Bale and Olivia Colman are both 49 today. Former Michigan "Fab Five" point guard Jalen Rose hits the half-century mark. You can hear him celebrating in the air tonight; Genesis frontman Phil Collins is 72. Chess grandmaster Boris Spassky and actor Vanessa Redgrave are both 86. The wonderfully gruff Gene Hackman is 93.

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Thanks for reading Narcity's Canada Morning Brief — and remember: you don't need to construct a modern-day Xanadu to be a media baron (but having a stately pleasure dome doesn't hurt).

Have a question or comment about today's edition? Let me know at or hit me up on Twitter if you'd prefer at @andrewjoepotter.

Have a great day and I will see you back here tomorrow!

Andrew Joe Potter
Features Editor
Andrew Joe Potter was a Features Editor for Narcity Media Group based in Toronto, Ontario.