This is What the Toronto Subway Tastes Like According to a Guy with Synaesthesia

Thanks to James Wannerton, we now know what the Toronto Subway tastes like.

James was born with a rare and fascinating neurological condition called Synaesthesia, in which hearing and reading words can trigger tastes and textures in his mouth.

Synaestasia can take on different forms in different people. Some people are able to see colours when listening to different musical notes, or in association with different numbers.

Basically, it comes down to one sense being stimulated, leading to an automatic, involuntary experience of another sense.

While it sounds kind of fun to phantom taste things all day long, not everything that comes up tastes good.

The 55-year-old Londoner decided to make a map of the things he tasted in association with the London Underground back in 2013.

Kilbur High Road station gives him the taste and texture of rancid meat – not something you’d want to be dealing with on your daily commute.

He visited Toronto for a conference in 2013 and decided to put a map together for our city as well. He was pleasantly surprised by the mild, pleasant flavours each station made him taste.

Apparently, a nice tasting station can make up for a run down, scary looking station.

You may not want to spend much time in Lansdowne station, but if you tasted meat and potato pie every time you’re there, you probably wouldn’t mind it as much.

Of course, we wouldn’t want to spend much time at Kipling Station if it meant tasting chlorine the whole time.

A trip down the University line sounds pleasant though – especially if you have a sweet tooth. Spadina tastes like lemon curd, Museum like a Mars Bar, Queen’s Park like Carnation Milk, St. Patrick like a Crunchie bar, and Osgoode like warm custard.

If there was a way to bottle and sell this no-calorie tasting experience, weight loss companies would be all over it.

He notes that most of the tastes seem to relate back to comforting foods he ate as child growing up in London.

While it can affect his social life and ability to read, he would never give it up. 

“Theres no way I’d have it taken away, even though it is distracting… I just couldn’t imagine life without it. It’s a bit like saying, ‘well, some of the things I smell are awful, so I want my entire sense of smell taken away.’ You just wouldn’t do it, would you? You’d just put up with the bad bits. That’s probably why I can put up with it,” he told Spacing Toronto.

And we’re glad he does.


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