By Zoe Shapiro

I’ve had what must be a uniquely Toronto experience. I was hauling containers of soup (curried butternut, French onion and a tomato and peanut) homewards, and when the streetcar turfed me out, in heels, I lazily hailed a cab.

Before I knew what was what, I was being offered a chance to negate my fare if I could answer geoggers questions correctly…and I couldn’t (shameSHAME!). When asked to name Africa’s three kingdoms I could only come up with Lesotho. And as a second attempt, when the driver requested the five countries bordering Switzerland, I forgot about poor little Lichtenstein. I was happy to hand over the six quid I owed him having enjoyed a bit of trivia on the side of my taxi ride. But as we arrived at my flat and pulled over, I realized this wasn’t just a bored cabbie’s lark. I had encountered Mr. Geography. This dude has memorized the atlas (!!!) and ferries Torontonians while reminding us we should’ve paid more attention in 10th grade Geo. He proudly showed me a copy of the Globe and Mail article about him, his commendation from the House of Commons and regaled me with stories of his trip to Conan ‘dearly departed’ O’Brien’s show where he shared a stage with Snoop Dog (“When in Toronto, Mr. Dogg is going to ride around in Mr. Geography’s cab instead of limousines”).

Toronto’s not the only town with eccentric taxi institutions. There’s an urban legend in Glasgow, Scotland, of DiscoTaxi. DiscoTaxi comes equipped with strobe lighting and disco ball should you be a worthy enough fare to have it turned on for you. He’ll even let you eat your post-club pakora in his car, a privilege not entertained by most drivers. But in my five years in Glasgvegas, which is considerably smaller than Toronto, never did I catch a whiff of said DiscoTaxi despite frequent and fervent 3 am wishes. SO you better believe I feel privileged to have accidentally been chauffeured by the elusive and enthusiastic Mr. Geography. I plan on brushing up in case we cross paths again….

So girlies, learn the capitals of South America and keep your eyes peeled for this unique taxi, a fabulous little Toronto footnote.