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When a highway sign reads “Toronto 70 km,” is that 70 kilometres to the city limits, City Hall or the city centre?

Dear Urban Decoder: When a highway sign reads “Toronto 70 km,” is that 70 kilometres to the city limits, City Hall or the city centre?—Alfred Rudin, Deer Park

“How many miles to Babylon?” the old nursery rhyme runs. “Three score and ten. Can I get there by candlelight? Aye, and back again.” It’s intriguing how your question echoes the children’s rhyme. The three score and 10 kilometres you mention indicates the distance to City Hall. You wouldn’t feel “there” yet if the distance to the city limits were specified on the sign. And a municipality’s geographic centre is also often arbitrary; Toronto’s centre, for instance, appears to lie in Sunnybrook Park.

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