Monday, April 7, 2014

Canadian Cities Most and Least Likely to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse

Last week I found this blog post, which ranks the US states based on how likely they are to survive a zombie apocalypse. As the post mentions, seeing as the zombie apocalypse is clearly unavoidable, it's important to plan ahead and learn where to be when it hits.

Canadian provinces are way too huge and there aren't quite enough of them to do quite the same sort of analysis north of the border. On the other hand, Canada still has plenty of cities, and seeing as two thirds of the country live in one of the 20 biggest cities, that could be a pretty good way of looking at things.

Instead of looking at 11 factors (ranging from number of veterans to number of triathletes), I looked at the following 6 factors:

Distance to Closest Military Base: Let's face it, when zombies come to get ya, you'll be hoping the military is close-by to help take care of things. Fortunately Canada has a ton of army, navy, and air force bases dotted around the country, but the cities closest to the bases are definitely more likely to handle their undead uprising.

Average Temperature: I'm not an expert, but I imagine if you're dead and frozen solid, you're less likely to be a threat than if you're dead and flexible. Fortunately, Canadian cities have fairly low average daily high temperatures!

Population Density: Zombie math is pretty simple: too many people + too small a space = brains. If you're trapped and surrounded by a lot of future-zombies you've got way worse chances than if you've got some space around ya.

Obesity Rate: This one's pretty straightforward - obese people make easy zombie targets. It's related to (though strangely not strongly correlated to):

Physical Activity: Rule #1 in Zombieland is "Cardio" for a good reason. More people who can escape zombies make for fewer zombies, which really is just better for everyone else.

Gun Ownership: Zombies don't like guns for exactly the same reason zombie apocalypse survivors love guns. Gun ownership data is unfortunately only available on a province-by-province basis, but it's hard to argue that the more guns that are around in a province the better equipped people are to handle the undead. [Edit: I had previously presented this number as guns per population - I actually used licenses per population.]

With all that said, here's the ranking of the best and worst Canadian cities to be in during a zombie apocalypse (overall score is out of 1.0):



Moral of the story:

  • Don't live in southern Ontario - it's a zombie playground. Ontarians don't have a lot of guns, southern Ontario is relatively warm, and there's really nothing special going on in terms of physical activity and obesity.
  • Do live in a provincial capital. They tend to have military bases, and more often than not are large with relatively low density (suburbia is way better for zombie defense than downtown, of course).
  • I'm proud of Edmonton. Good job, us.
  • Newfoundland has a lot of guns. This is probably worth following up on.
[Edit #2: Updated Toronto temperature data - I mistakenly used daily mean instead of daily high for Toronto.]

134 comments:

Kayla Kozan said...

Cool piece!

Recently made the move from Regina to Toronto.. may have to reconsider.

Unknown said...

Nicely done! That said, I had a neat Facebook conversation with a friend regarding the temperature factor: Would colder temperatures freeze zombies completely solid or would it just preserve their undead bodies for that much longer in comparison to hotter cities where zombie decay may be more of a consideration? How cold would a zombie have to be to be frozen solid?

Anonymous said...

You consider average temperature in your analysis, which I would consider a long term issue, but you don't consider what I would think is at least as big a long term factor; the ability to be self sustaining, specifically as it pertains to food, water and shelter.

Ryan Menchion said...

14,295 guns per 1000 people in Newfoundland?
That number is probably still a bit low, god knows people have hidden their hunting guns away since the Long-gun registry. I owned 6 hunting rifles myself - At a single time.

Although odds are if you want to survive a zombie outbreak get the hell out of St. John's. Go to a small outport, preferably on Fogo island or along the South Coast where a ferry is required to access these little towns of 200.

Michael Ross said...

@Ryan: Thanks for pointing that out - the statistic is actually 14,295 licenses per 100,000 people, but I used the wrong header on the table. I've edited it now!

Anonymous said...

some questions..
1. can zombies walk under water to get to little islands? they don't need breathing right?
2. if a zombie bites a shark are we in worse trouble with zombie sharks?
3. what if zombies learn to use guns against us?

Anonymous said...

Just a note that there is a large military base (although technically a detachment) just 41km south of Saskatoon. I think it would qualify especially in your matrix because it houses a Canadian Forces Ammo Depot and large Military Police unit.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CFAD_Dundurn

Anonymous said...

good point 'toonie! that base should help you 'tooners bump up the list - you need all the help you can get to catch Regina. haha

Anonymous said...

I hate to skew your data, but Saskatoon has a CFAD (Canadian Forces Ammunition Depot 40 km south of it in Dundurn, SK. This would probably move it up in the rankings.

Michael Ross said...

Hi Saskatoon people!

Thanks for pointing out CFAD Dundurn. I was originally using CFB locations to be consistent and simplify things, but if we include CFAD Dundurn in the equation then Saskatoon jumps to second place and narrowly beats Regina.

Jesse Robertson said...

Great post, except the age-old zombie movie twist is that people with guns end up killing more humans than the zombies do, so I'm not sure if gun ownership is a great measure of survival odds.

(But that might just be the urban liberal in me talking.)

Whatever said...

Freezing and ice do irreperable damage to tissues. Far from preserving, it outright destroys them.

Assuming that zombies cannot spread to animals Canada's birds would handle the vast majority of Zombies in both winter and summer.

Why do you think in Zombie movies they drive to Canada? Because cold kills and the density is low.

Anonymous said...

I think you need to re-evaluate Saskatoon's ranking.... You've got the nearest CFB base as being over 200km away, but CFB Dundurn is only about 40km south of the city. I've seen artillery training there, so I know they've got the goods for some good zombie defending.

Anonymous said...

I think you need to include some kind of score for physical geography and ability to fortify a place. The whole island of PEI, for example, could easily be sealed off and purged of zombies. Same with Montreal, as seen in the movie Warm Bodies.

parker12c said...

I assume Regina's barracks was obviously taken into account - but does the Moose Jaw Air Force base compliment it further being within such short distance?

Debbie Elicksen said...

Awesome post.

Anonymous said...

Calgary does have a base still...it's been down sized and is mostly reserves with a small number of reg forces but its still better than nothing!

Anonymous said...

might need to double check your temperature data. according to environment canada (http://climate.weather.gc.ca/climate_normals/index_e.html) regina has an average annual temperature of 3.1C while st. john's is 5.0C. i didn't check them all, but i'm skeptical of some of the other temperature figures you have posted too.

Michael Ross said...

Sorry to the most recent comment -I used the average daily *high* temperatures, which I clarified in the first paragraph about temperature but shortened in the table.

Jon Liedtke said...

I like the piece.
Looking to reach out to you for a media story that I'd like to write about this.

jon@urbanitenews.com

Crafty Mama said...

If the zombie outbreak is on the mainland, St. John's would be #1 with like some +'s and stuff, because they wouldn't even be able to get over here to the Island to get at us.

Natalia Crocker said...

Hahaha of course us newfies would survive, eh bys come on over if ya can make it across the Atlantic well take yas in and throw yas a gun or two. Good luck.

Chris said...

Canadians as a whole have more protective gear in their homes than their American neighbours...much easier to fight off a Zombie attack in full hockey gear and a couple of old, broken hockey sticks. No contest!

Anonymous said...

You definitely need to re-evaluate Winnipeg's distance to the military it is in no way 206km away, the base is right in the city itself

Richard Macdonald said...

Not bad. There are a couple things you should consider however. Prince Edward Island(Charlottetown, Summerside), and Cape Breton Island(Sydney)as well as Montreal and Newfoundland. All detached from the main land masses. Blow up a couple bridges and no way to cross over without flying(swimming wouldn't work). While no major military bases exist on PEI and Cape Breton. There are small military compounds dotted throughout both places. Small communications compounds and such. Also Coast Guard bases and compound. Charlottetown having an overly large coast guard compound.As well as the former existence of CFB summerside. Many of the old buildings still exist, and while they are now part of the commercial and residential parts of summerside...they still are formerly military buildings. Not to mention fortress louisbourg. While it is now just a tourist attraction when it was constructed in the 1700s it was built as fortress(i know kind of stating the obvious) and is maintained in its original state and could be used as a stronghold against zombies.

Anonymous said...

Cape Breton is safe, it's already zombified.

Mallory said...

I am disheartened to see Fredericton not even on this list, not even one city here. The gun ownership hear probably equals St. John's as I have a hearty helping of weapons, between, rifles, cross bows, compound bows etc.
AND a CFB not even 20kms away. The biggest help is that a lot of us are rural and country folk. Most of our population can't even see their neighbours. Wouldn't you think the hunters in yes would benefit this?

Andrea Murphy said...

Winnipeg is built around 17 Wing CFB Winnipeg. It's right smack in the middle of the city, not 206km away.

Even as such, I'm heading home to Newfoundland and heading out around the bay if the zombies attack. Just sayin'

Anonymous said...

Two thing's I noticed not sure if mentioned I did notice the Winnipeg one, CFB Winnipeg from town center is about 11 Km. and there is no CFB St.John's closes Base would be CFB Gander 338 km away. Not to argue Newfoundland would be one of the safest places to be.

Scott said...

One tidbit about Saskatoon: It isn't that far from Canadian Forces Ammunition Depot Dundurn (the CF's largest Ammo depot and a detachment of 17 Wing [Winnipeg]) So Saskatoon's proximity to a military base isn't 200+ km, but 40 km from the countries largest stockpile of bullets, rockets, etc.

Anonymous said...

Not sure if anyone has already mentioned this but hunting is HUGE in Newfoundland, hence the guns.

Emil LeBlanc said...

Please note saskatoon is only 30km or so from cgb det dundurn (rcaf/nato air weapons storage facility and army training grounds) also only around 5 mins for cf18s from cfb cokd lake to make it down...

Reg Robson said...

No academic study of zombie outbreaks in Canada is complete without mentioning this paper: http://mysite.science.uottawa.ca/rsmith43/Zombies.pdf

Mark said...

The only way to truly know is to see if there is a stay dead simulation in your area. Www.staydeadevents.com Working with local government and Canadian uniformed public services, stay dead us the most realistic, hardcore apocalypse simulation in the world. Facebook.com/staydeadevents

Conrad Tiedeman said...

I've noticed you have completely left out the three territorial capitals.

Tyson Sommerville said...

WOOOOH! I'm a non-obese gun toting Edmontonian... you're welcome, rest of Edmonton. But seriously this is pretty cool. Also, as a fellow blogger I'd love to hear your thoughts on my blog and/or your calculations of my personal chances in a zombie apocalypse.

http://tysongoesoutside.blogspot.ca/

patman023 said...

Umm... Edmonton borders on Edmonton Garrison Lands, and the latter is accessible right off of 195 St just north of the Anthony Henday TUC. Unless you're looking at distance from where Google Maps marks the city (Downtown)...

Anonymous said...

Pretty sure your Toronto temperature is off. There's no way it's colder than Calgary. I checked the govt link and it was 12.9.

http://climate.weather.gc.ca/climate_normals/results_1981_2010_e.html?stnID=5051&lang=e&dCode=0&StationName=TORONTO&SearchType=Contains&province=ALL&provBut=&month1=0&month2=12

Anonymous said...

I'm curious if you took places like the RCMP training centre in Regina into account.

Anonymous said...

If being in a colder place is better, I think I'll stay in Newfoundland. But where do the territories come into this. I would think head north.

Anonymous said...

Nfld for the win, once all the zombies are killed, there is no way for more to get on here. They would be swept away in the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Anonymous said...

sMichael,
Totally fun piece. I live in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador with a military base right in town. Guess we'd fair even better than St. John's.
I work with CBC Radio and can be reached at john.gaudi@cbc.ca
Would you pop me a message when you have a sec? Thanks!

Mackenzie Kara said...

Michael,

I'm a reporter at the Telegram, the daily newspaper in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador. I'd love to chat about this piece at your earliest convenience. I can be reached at (709) 364-2323 and at mackenzie.scrimshaw@thetelegram.com.

Cheers,
Mackenzie Scrimshaw

Anonymous said...

Hey Michael,

Another reporter coming to bug you for a story. I write for the CBC's website in Hamilton. Think you could spare a couple of minutes to chat? adam.carter@cbc.ca

Konra Mueller said...

Are the zombies able to stand upright in 100km/h southern Alberta winds?

Also, do these zombies infect animals or are animals safe? If livestock are not affected, we have a huge long-term food supply.

Although there is no way to measure, I believe Canadians own a high proportion of other weapons - bows and arrows, hunting knives, etc - and know how to use them. Can you look at hunting licenses as opposed to gun licenses?

Jonathan Pinto / CBC said...

Hi Michael!

I'm a reporter from CBC's morning show in the last-ranked city, Windsor. Would you be willing to contact me, too?

jonathan.pinto@cbc.ca

Cheers!
Jonathan

Anonymous said...

I demand a recount! Winnipegs ranking is decent but it should be higher. I know a few mentioned 17wing which is also the Norad HQ, but there is also the former Kapayong Barracks with its prime real estate is still very much in tact. And to go off the board a bit, there is the virology lab here which we all know is where they would find out that Zombies only attack the healthy and if we infect ourselves with Ebola we would be camouflage.

random Shane said...

I don't want to be that guy and much of what I'll say should be taken with a grain (or pound) of salt

Guns aren't really a good thing in a zombie outbreak. Not all people are crack shots and with limited ammo, would be best to get a weapon that is safer and doesn't need ammo or much skill - I would recommend the The Stanley FatMax Xtreme 55-120 FuBar III (found at most hardware stores)

Also, can't really agree on the military base concept as most zombie movies have shown the military of being trigger happy insane types OR hazmat suit wearing clean up crews who don't stop to look at uninfected vs infected.

The climate is very important and an excellent thing to think of, though no farming was mentioned (that I saw) and farm land is going to be a huge important factor. Canned goods won't last long, farm land, that can be protected AND you have your food. Same with woodlands, lots of trees means lots of fuel to keep us warm!

Population and health is a good stat to look at, though are we talking fast or slow zombies? Health won't matter if they the shambling type, hell, health won't do much if they're the fast type. No matter how in shape you are, zombies never ever need to pause to catch their breath.

I do like the article, had to throw some ideas around :)

Anonymous said...

St. John's for the win!!!!!!!!!!!

Katherine Owen said...

Ummm saskatoon is very close to a canadain forces base tho lol that should bump us up some!!

Nate said...

I am sorry to say that this article is flawed to an extent... Dundurn and Saskatoon should be first and second respectively. CFB is the munitions base for Canada, therefore we have a much better chance of surviving over the rest of Canada.

D said...

I'm a bit confused by Ottawa's rating. Not only do we have many reserve units here, we have the National Defence Headquarters, as well as Startop (the headquarters for all current overseas action) and CFB uplands, which is basically a range. So all in all a tonne of CF people here!

I'd be curious about survival rates in Fredericton since CFB gagetown is huge.

Anonymous said...

And CFB Dundurn is a NATO storage facility for THOUSANDS of expired explosive rounds. We can blow up every stinking zombie that comes within 50KM...

And we can trade surplus explosives to other communities. Saskatoon wins. Period.

Anonymous said...

Interesting, but kind of flawed to only consider average temperature, rather than the coldest temperatures during the winter. For example, Victoria and Vancouver have high average temperatures, but it's because it stays very mild all year round and would be unlikely to have winters cold enough to freeze zombies. Toronto has a high average only because its summers are so hot comparatively, while its winters can be dreadfully cold and would easily freeze a corpse solid.
Fun piece. Thankfully zombies are a biological and physical impossibility.

Shawn Knox said...

Hey Michael

Great blog post I work for Global News and I’m wondering if you could contact me at shawn.knox@globalnews.ca to talk about the post.

Anonymous said...

There is CFB Dundurn which is about 35 kilometres from Saskatoon. It should be moved up the list.

Dara Squires said...

The issue with St. John's, which wasn't calculated, is food supply. Ferries get stopped for a week and our grocery stores are devoid of fresh food. We only have a food supply to last 30 days with rationing on the island. I think it will take longer to exterminate the zombies and re-establish the trade route and consumable goods infrastructures...so despite our guns and our moose population we'll likely kill all the zombies and then starve to death.
Same supply issues apply to ammunition for said guns and gasoline.

Anonymous said...

In the wake of an Apocalypse, all production of consumable goods and ammunition would cease. So communities everywhere would experience the same shortage, not just islands without ferry access.

In fact, cities with a higher population might consume the bulk of their stores quicker, especially if they're used to a faster turnover of delivered goods, and have generally less stock on hand.

Anonymous said...

sort of missing there northern cities...i.e...Yellowknife, Whitehorse, and Iqaluit? which should all fair better than anything in the south..

Anonymous said...

Why is Yellowknife, NT not on here? We would dominate.

Joel Sopp said...

If I may interject, 15 Wing Moose Jaw (http://www.rcaf-arc.forces.gc.ca/en/15-wing/index.page)is mostly a training base, with Tudor Jets for the Snowbird program. There are very few troops or weapons.

However, 17 Wing Dundurn (http://www.cg.cfpsa.ca/cg-pc/dundurn/EN/Pages/default.aspx)has both troops and weapons, approx 45 kms South of Saskatoon and approx 180 kms North of Regina.

just sayin'...

Mike Kozushyna said...

Would you be willing to see where Kingston, Ontario ranks? I'd be very curious based on the CFB, correctional facilities, not very dense, etc.. thx!

Anonymous said...

Mike another media guy looking to chat...for my radio talk show here in Hamilton.

email matt@900chml.com

cheers

Anonymous said...

I think there's more factors that need to be considered here. For starters, the average snowfall should be a factor - socked in by a blizzard with little or no public system running plows would really put a damper on making food/supply runs.

St.John's is concerning for reasons already mentioned (reliance on the mainland for petrol, etc) but there is a lot of FOG there. Nothing worst than a supply run where you need to watch for zombies in low visibility conditions.

Population density can work two ways - in the near term it can be deadly, but in the longer term it is worth considering access to the supplies/stores of a wider population (those suburbs you mention) - so population within a 100km radius might be worth considering.



Anonymous said...

Why is there no New Brunswick cities? I need to know if I need to move??

Anonymous said...

Did anyone take into account the number of ninjas in each of the cities at all? Or even martial artists? Pretty sure ninjas can be considered a plus being as their strengths lie in taking care of threats in the area.

Anonymous said...

wstI believe Toronto is highly underrated as a zombie safe zone. Key points that were missed:

1)Toronto has multiple military bases within the city and though some may have abandoned it can still be used as a great shelter.

2)The thousand islands right by the city, takes 10-20 min by boat to reach.

3) Largest police force within Canada, which means lots of guns.

Anonymous said...

Looking at your study I noticed you haven’t included anyone with zombie killing experience. I know a group of guys including myself who regularly put ourselves in harm’s way to keep the world save from zombie attack (PS3 style). Experience, nonetheless.

Anonymous said...

That's right....keep laughing at the newfies....until the zombies come and your all trying to catch a boat!

Anonymous said...

It doesn't seem ot me that cold weather would affect zombies that much. They don't rely on their blood to stay alive.

Anonymous said...

Of course Winnipeg has 17 Wing, Canadian Air Force base which is not counted. Also, with Kapyong Barracks still empty, I'm sure the army personnel at CFD Shiloh would rush back and occupy at the first sign of trouble.
Not to mention, on this flat prairie land, we'll see them coming for three days.
You love to hate us but Winnipeg is basically the best city on the list.

Anonymous said...

In terms of military bases you are disregarding reserve garrisons. The only two I can truly comment on are Edmonton and Vancouver but both cities have multiple, fullt equipped reserve armouries within city limits. Jefferson armoury in Edmonton is just north of Downtown, about a block away from NAIT and Kingsway Mall, and it's one of several. Vancouver also has multiple armouries, including Jericho which is massive, fully fenced, and also within walking distance of basically everywhere in Kitsilano/the west side of vancouver. Vancouver also has HMS Discovery, the Naval reserve base, which is on an island just off of Stanley Park, again right downtown. Might be worth changing your military base figures to accommodate these.

BlueFairyCafe said...

If the zombies take on NL, just get to Belle Island. Even the zombies would be like: f that mess. Hahaha

greg sullivan said...

No one is taking into account the fact that when someone dies they turn into a zombie regardless (considering we are using The Walking Dead as the reference). Being on an island won't help you much. It will probably hurt you as you get cornered.

A fellow Newfie living in Zombieland.. Atlanta..

Greg

Journo said...

Michael, I'm a reporter at London Free Press, and I'm hoping to interview you about your zombie analysis of Canadian cities.
Is there a number I can reach you at?

Leo Williamson said...

Not only does Winnipeg have !7Wing and Kapyong Barracks, We also have several Reserve Units which are well armed with assault rifles and some heavy weapons, there are many unliscensed gun owners in the surrounding area, not to mention Cabela's canadian depot full of guns and ammo. we can also turn the east side of winnipeg into a defensible island by destroying bridges and filling the floodway from the red river.

Anonymous said...

CFB dundurn is 33 km south of saskatoon. It holds the majority of ammo for all of the western Canadian units. They have many explosives and expired munitions but it doesn't mean they are gonna let anyone in to use them nor would they use expired or obsolete munitions as weapons lol.

Anonymous said...

Saskatoon has CFD 40 kms south of it in Dundurn and the HMCS Naval Reserve in the city. Our rating is off!! I'll stick here, could work out well!!

Anonymous said...

I'm curious if you took into account military reserves as well. Some places (such as Calgary) have several highly active army and naval reserve forces within the city limits... the regular service military is not the only military resource available.

AvsJoe said...

Woo! Windsor is the worst city in Canada for yet another reason! Pollution, unemployment, zombie playground... what's not to love? I am so proud of my hometown!

Chris Murphy said...

You're unaware that Fredericton is a provincial capital?

Maple said...

Wow glad to see they don't even know that Charlottetown exists.

Dan Zen said...

Fun - but I think it is a good thing to live with obese people because you can more easily outrun obese zombies. So Hamilton's score should go up. Also we have a mountain and Zombies might not be able to climb up it - and certainly they will fall off it if they do.

Anonymous said...

well, this place wasn't mentioned as its not overly huge, but I live in Cold Lake...aka CFB cold Lake. Yes we have a military/air force base right in our town and we are not overly huge and have lots of room to move. I think i'm safe! And while I don't have a gun, we have knives which is better because zombies are attracted to sound....

Logan de Bruijn said...

For Saskatoon, there is a CFB detachment about 30 km outside of the city... Just saying...

Anonymous said...

All this talk about temperature being deadly to zombies clearly indicates that there are no fans of Game of Thrones here because those whitewalkers are clearly just winter zombies. Solution here is obviously to build a wall to the north. Yukon, NW Territories, Nunavut and Alaska, take one for the team.

Anonymous said...

St Catharines should be higher...weve been fighting off Thorold Southers for years, we are experienced with zombies :P

Anonymous said...

Edmonton has tanks !
Multiple atmored vehicles ...
Army base is just off the main highway ... I dunno, just saying

Z

Reis said...

I don't know if anyone mentioned it, but Regina has the rcmp barracks where every RCMP officer in Canada goes to train, and a large armoury. We also have a military armoury right in the city as well. We also have the global transportation hub. where hundreds of trucks carrying food and anything you can think of pass through every day.

Anonymous said...

I think clubs used by sealers would make a good lobo (zombie killing weapon in world war z book), making newfoundland even higher on the list (along with their love of hunting rifles).

Anonymous said...

Wow, lots of love for little old CFAD Dundurn here, I thought it was Saskatchewan's dirty little secret. I disagree with the poster who claimed that Winnipeg should be credited with 17 Wing, though, for the simple reason that RCAF types can tend to skew the stats for obesity way up and physical activity way down, and it is hard to kill Zombies by hitting them with a (probably grounded) Hercules transport aircraft. Better stick with CFB Shilo as the closest actual CF Base in Winnipeg's case.

Steve French said...

Um, Ottawa? Home of National Defense Head Quarters (not the most helpful in an Outbreak, I know, and probably contributes to our higher than average Obesity %), but home to more than 5,000 full and part time soldiers and and the strategic command centre which will ensure that Ottawa is protected first in order to coordinate the effort. Also home to about 8 reserve units, a massive ammo depot, and DHTC, home of Canada's Special Forces. I think that merits a little better than the 169km drive to CFB Petawawa. Low # of gun licenses yes, but the military doesn't need a gun license.

Otherwise, good work!

Brad said...

Great Article, I like how you took a statistical analytics approach to it. haha. Terrain has a big impact as well, The mountains of BC, and the flat lands of the prairies has a big impact of rate of spread of infection.

Anonymous said...

I agree! The 3 Territorial Capitals should get a chance on here (Iqaluit, Yellowknife, Whitehorse)! They've got low population density, cold average temperatures and hunting is very popular...

Bigbigtimeboy said...

This is a nice little analysis.

I would like to see diversity of population (for more diverse ideas) and proximity to schools/hospitals/prison-type facilities added in there.

Listened to you on CBC Radio this AM - you earned my follow! Peace.

Geoff said...

Hi Michael,

I'm a reporter for The Oshawa Express. Wanted to talk about our city's poor prospects in surviving the apocalypse.

If interested, could you send me an email at gzochodne@oshawaexpress.ca ?

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Technically, while it would not change the score much, Hamilton has two military bases/recruiting centre within the city limits, the john Foote armoury, while old and dated, still able to be fortified, and hmcs star, a naval reserve base which also houses a service battalion, with both having access to weapons and munitions.

Anonymous said...

According to the books, all you really need to deal with a zombie outbreak is a blind samurai with a good sword!

Great piece all the same!

John Blundon said...

As a newfie, I'd head straight for my dad's place which is packed with guns, Off Road Vehicles and enough meat and fish to last a few years :)

Plus he lives on a island with only one bridge. Blow that sucker up and your sitting pretty :)

Anonymous said...

Excellent piece!!!
Good Job!
I live outside a small village an hour and a half from Qu├ębec city. Don't own gun but I have a large hunting bow and a mean pitchfork... I have a big organic garden, two large dogs and a horse. We should make it!!!
Thanks for the fun!!!

Katie Firth said...

My husbands in the military...im safe

Spencer Whipple said...

I like this, but it's predicated on one potentially safe assumption, that being near the military is a good thing. I'm not booing our armed forces guys so please don't jump on me here, but an awful lot of zombie stories have a point where the military is actually in charge of quarantine, and begin shooting civilians on sight... Less than awesome for the survival of civvies. In a scenario where the military remains public-friendly your stats are all well and good but I'd want to get some distance from population centers before quarantine is declared. I'm in Sherbrooke, and I'll take my chances in the surrounding hills, thanks very much :)

And guns are great until the bullets run out. Have youself a nice ax with a long handle for after that :)

Spencer Whipple said...

Er... UNsafe assumption

Anonymous said...

Not to slam St. John's, but that's not much of a military base. Practically no one there. Gander is the closest real base. Meanwhile you miss that Winnipeg has a base right in town (though it is an Air Force base). Best scores for bases should go to Edmonton and Quebec City respectively as they have full Regular Force Army brigades located there.

Anonymous said...

not bad! but I think you need to take into account hunters and their other hunting weapons. for instance almost everyone in nfld owns a hakipik or gaff, sealers right, and we know how to use them too. also geography should be assessed to give you a more accurate reading. bottom line though is, if you live in any city, your gonna have one hell of a fight on your hands.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand how Edmonton ranks higher than Halifax. Are the slightly higher temperatures in Halifax more important than the significantly higher population density and lower gun ownership in Edmonton?

Anonymous said...

Old Quebec is surrounded by fortifications. We shut the gates and it's on!

Randy Hockin said...

In World War Z (the book) the good folks from Manitoba (and a few American refugees) started to eat each other.

I now its a random factor but I wonder how it would affect Manitoba's score.

Anonymous said...

Born and raised in KW
Looks like I'm screwed.
Time to power up the PS3 and get practicing again i guess

Anonymous said...

Lol love this. Being from Saskatoon I'm feeling pretty safe....wondering why the number of Costcos per capita wasn't used in the calculations....LOL. Lots to eat and lots of entertainment while waiting for the zombies to be obliterated :).

Chris Marsden said...

I’m finding it hard to figure out if you mean the survival of the city as a whole or an individual that happens to be in the city when the outbreak occurs. But continuing on, I disagree with the factors you’ve used and/or the way you’re using them to determine survivability.

Distance to Military Bases: the outbreak will be a shock and it will take time to figure out what’s going. So what a base needs is time in order to figure things out and get organized. Zombies spread like wildfire and the more trees there are, the faster and larger it spreads (ie the more people there are, the faster and bigger the zombie infection will spread). I would argue that it is more beneficial for the base to be further away from a city. The distance reduces the exposure of the base to zombies. This will give it time to organize and get a plan together and then chip away at the perimeter of the city and rescue people as they're fleeing the city. This is in contrast to a military base in the middle of the city (ie closest proximity to a city as can be) which will be immediately swarmed and infiltrated.

Average Temperature: I’m assuming you used annual average temperature. By doing this you haven’t taken into account what season it is. Even in winter it just sometimes goes below zero in Vancouver. Winter will have a negligible effect on zombies in Vancouver. But Windsor, which has (nearly) the same average temperature as Vancouver has much colder winters that has many more days/weeks where it goes below zero. So winter in Windsor is much colder and hence more survivable than Vancouver but both will receive the same amount of survivability points because they have the same average temperature. This is not right.

Population Density: I agree with this one. In fact, in my opinion, it’s the single deciding factor. It’s related to my argument that it’s better for the military base to be further away from major population centres than close to it.

Obesity Rate and Physical Activity: for the people that are in-shape, it’s better for their survival that the city have a high obesity rate and poor cardio. When running away, the zombies will catch and start eating the obese and out-of-shape people allowing the in-shape people to get away.

Gun Ownership: being convenient, I agree that having a firearm could help, but it is not a necessity for survival. Although efficient, firearms do require ammunition which will eventually run out and shooting them off will attract more zombies. I would argue that a cool-headed and determined person with a crowbar and sturdy knife who does not have a firearm is not necessarily at a disadvantage compared to a person that does.

As mentioned above I believe population density is the deciding factor because a lower density means a lower exposure and that gives you time in which to think, plan and act. In general, places (towns, villages, etc) far away from major metropolitan areas have much higher probability for survival.
Come to think of it, your whole exercise is moot. All those cities with an airport, train station, ferry terminal or a freeway/major highway going through it are all equally screwed.

Anonymous said...

I thought this was a pretty good read, but there are some flaws in your criteria... but only considering this is a hypothetical situation. Should the Zombie Apocalypse actually happen, the holes in your analysis helped to leave out one city that meets and exceeds many of your criteria, though the flawed assumptions kept us from making the list... which means the population won't flock here when the perverbial S**T hits the fan, thus protecting us even further.

Good luck Southern Ontario, we will miss you!

Anonymous said...

not to be nit picky, but here in halifax we haveone RCAF base at shearwater whitch is 23 km driving from downtown at its shortest (just across the harbour, plus we have the military dockyards of stad which is basically just outside the down town core, not to mention we have windsor park which is roughly 3 km outside the down town core, plus we have the magazine (munition storeage) again just on the other side of the harbour, not to mention the military buildings that are fenced, gated, and armed that are spread throughout the city (even the citidal has operational firearms within) but we have 14 wing greenwood only 130ish km away, and the definbunker (nuclear fallout shelter) located at debert about 100 km away

Rob said...

To be fair, Windsor is very close to a US military base (and I'm sure they would help). Also, the population density numbers used are pretty much useless since some cities incorporate vast amounts of rural areas in their borders whereas others don't.

Anonymous said...

Guns attract Zombies with noise. For every zombie you shoot, you will attract three. Arborist tools are key and we have lots of them here tending to our lush and wide spread urban canopy. Your math is off and your scientitians need more sciencing practice.
Oh and lots of green spaces in the city means the ability to scavenge foods as well as a waterfront loaded with boats where people can float away from the mayhem. Zombies don't swim.

Bob said...

Ottawa already has a large indigenous Zombie population. Elected as well as appointed.

James said...

Awesome piece!

Sable Aradia said...

Hi there! You know, it's funny how many people seem to think that BC stops and starts in Vancouver, which is one city on the coastline. You included St. John's, which according to the 2006 census, has a population of 100,645, but you did not include Kelowna, which according to the 2006 census has a population of 106,710. This is becoming a bit of a pet peeve of mine (I'm sorry); for some reason the rest of Canada seems to think it's the '60s and we're still a little town out here. Since I live in Vernon (40 minutes north of Kelowna with a military base, and we have 58,584 that *aren't* included in the Kelowna stats) I'd like to know how we'd fare!

Jim Kearse said...

Temperature would be the most important factor. Consider what happens to meat that has been frozen, thawed, then refrozen and thawed - it rots. If a zombie were outside at -15 to -20, when the spring arrived, it would rot quickly. Without muscles, sinews, tendons, etc. the creatures would become immobile. Bones would take longer to rot away, but a pile of bones has no locomotion, so walk on past! Survive the first winter and you've a good chance.

Jamie Friesen said...

As I said above - awesome post. I did something similar while researching the topic for a writing project. However, after looking at it, I did find a small flaw in your analysis.

I agree with most of your methodology, but all military bases are NOT created equal.

If a couple thousand zombies are chasing me, I'd rather rely on the 5000 or so soldiers based CFB Edmonton, Petawawa or Valcartier, not the 400 or so sailors stationed at CFS St. John's. I have no doubt the swabbies would give it their all, but I'd prefer to rely on troops equipped with tanks, APCs and other heavy weapons, not ones equipped with jeeps and zodiac boats. Only two of Canada's three naval bases (Esquimalt and Halifax) are really major bases - Canadian Forces STATION St. John's is a relatively minor installation compared to the other two.

Same goes for air bases like CFB Moose Jaw and CFB Winnipeg - these are air bases that are mainly home to support units; training, transport, etc, not combat units like CFB Bagotville and CFB Cold Lake.

As such, you might want to add weighting/ranking to some of the bases on your list to reflect the vast differences in combat power at bases around the country.

DND.ca had a great dynamic map of bases, which told you the units and numbers of CF personnel were stationed at each base. I looked for it to include here, but I can't seem to find it, sorry. Still, Wikipedia is pretty accurate and could be used if DND took it down/you can't find it.

Finally, almost every major city in the country (say 100,000+) is home to Army/Air/Navy Reserve units. For example, Calgary, Montreal and Toronto are home to hundreds of Army reservists based in those cities. As such, despite not having regular force units based nearby, they are not totally defenceless.

Anonymous said...

Since firearms are only effective with ammunition, you could make this more accurate by calculating proximity to nearest gun stores. In Toronto (where I'm from), your pretty much outta luck. There is only one that I'm aware of on Dufferin. Besides that, you'll need to leave the city -- by car, to get to one. Kitchener-Waterloo on the other hand have several large stores that could easily supply a small militia. This solves a second source of error in these numbers when compared to the states, which is many Americans have large stockpiles of ammunition on hand, whereas in Canada such practices are discouraged in the Criminal Code, so many firearms license owners, will only have a few boxes of ammo on hand.

Anonymous said...

Wolfe Island Ontario would be the place to go - 1500 residents on a 26 x 7 km island. Able to be completely isolated from the mainland - currently accessible by boat only. Defended on the mainland by CFB Kingston which is visible from the island. Every house on the island has firearms. And it's all farmland and livestock for long term sustainability. And long, cold, windy winters. Definitely should rank number 1 on this list.

Melanie and Sondra said...

Pretty cool!
But CFB Trenton is only about 118km from Oshawa, doesn't that count?

Anonymous said...

my additional point would be is a city like Winnipeg that has a LONG way to go to the next city VS southern Ontario where US cities are close by
Winnipeg would have lower chance of "Foreign" horde making it to the city + open flat lands would make air plane based attacks easier

Ready Set DIE said...

COME ON ONTARIO!

Rule #1 Cardio!

Get your butts in shape and test yourself at Ready, Set, DIE! (www.ReadySetDIE.com) a 5K obstacle course with ZombieFest an outdoor ComicCon music festival!

www.ReadySetDIE.com

Jim Bo said...

Hey All, also want to point out that no one tends to include the #1 Canadian weapon vs Zombies = Snowplow. Canadian cities with snowclearing equipment will be able to combat the horde with better efficiency than say, Vancouver with it's 3 snowplows . . .
MCpl. Russell, Canadian Military Engineers.
Newfoundland = lots of guns and snowplows per person.

Doug Bolger said...

LOVE your research. We think you are getting Canadians talking about important topics. We run ReadySetDIE.com which is Zombie infested obstacle course. We are training people to survive the zombie apocalypse on May 31st! Come and see if you would survive. We might have to look at which city has the most survivors (we are running in 7 cities).

Way awesome!
Doug

Anonymous said...

I Would also like to point out that St.Catharines Ontario is home to the Canadian Armed Forces Lincoln and welland regiment, and their barracks is just about Downtown, their weapons are also stored on site.

Anonymous said...

This post had to be compact, but if you want more info let me know. First I’d like to congrats all that are prepping for zombies, will it ever happen? Maybe, or maybe not. Fact is zombies can be replaced by invading armies, civil unrest, and worldwide collapse. Since the beginning of time we depend on Food, water, shelter, protection, (extra resources). These can be affected by various forces. North America has many faults but more advantages. The USA has the biggest outside effect, being population and a target bigger than the Roman Empire on their backs. Canada has the most resources, 70% of the world combined but less than 2% of the world population. So where in Canada? Well much state St.Johns is the safest. Why? To me an island limits your escape if infection where to arise. East Canada’s population and East USA, New York is not far from there, 50 million+. An Island cannot sustain this inflow. Fresh water, farm land, livestock, etc. Surrounded by the ocean is another threat. Water rises, Tsunami’s, storms. So where is safest?
Well most of you are bang on about Saskatchewan. Food=they have enough agriculture to feed the world alone. They have enough livestock domestic & wild to sustain western Canada a lifetime over.
Water= rivers are abundant; aquifer is achievable in 2-4meters in some cases. Snow is freshest and safest source than anything in the world, can never be contaminated and replenishes! Shelter= forestry is very vast for lumber, homes are built to survive past -75f/-60c, wind chill considered. Protection= weather is also a form of protection. Armies in the past were restricted to advance due to this. Protection/Guns= the detachment in Dundurn is Canada’s depot. What you don’t know is that it is not just Canada’s. Various countries stock pile arsenal and weapons there to train. Weapons & ammo per Sask’s population is likely equal to China & Russia supplying itself 15x over. Only 1million resides in that province. The RCMP and police are highest per capita. (Extra resources) this is too vast but depending on gas to fuel vehicles (2nd to Alberta for oil,), hospitals to heal, technology to advance; Saskatoon is home to the Uof S, medical, agriculture, chemical, bio, synchrotron (etc). More hunters per capita, more people know how to handle guns safely.
To sum it up, (and believe me this is short). The province of Saskatchewan beats out any province; Alberta is a far 2nd for other reasons. Regina lacks safe water system and military base and its closer to the south. The TransCanada highway runs there and more prone to inflow. Saskatoon is perhaps the safest spot in NA (and yes I can go on why). Believe me the military will move its forces there and if you think gangs or small militias, bikers, or posses can go and thrive; they are dead wrong (and they will be) because the military wipes out any threats first. Remember your chances to survive increases with more people( good people). But to sustain ourselves and our future generation is the key. Stay on your toes everyone. Remember, “Peace is only a time to prepare for War”. Call me Kain, thanks for reading.

Mary Lou said...

Toronto is going to counter this poll and show everyone our survival skills May 22nd at Pecaut Square! For all of those Torontonian's commenting, join us with your zombie slaying friends and help Toronto reach #1.

My survival contact information is provided below if you have any questions.

michellehoovs@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

I have over 45 guns registered and that is just the registered ones. And I live about as far south in Ontario as you can get.

Anonymous said...

I don't want to be the one to think that their home is the best, but Cape Breton Island is a perfect place for surviving a zombie apocalypse. There are lots of guns, lots of farms and lots of gardens. We have a little military base. Relatively low population. And the trump card, the Canso causeway, the only thing connecting us to the mainland. We could have it manned, or we could remove it.

Anonymous said...

Newfoundland! I'd head up to the northern peninsula. Easy access to labrador if there was need to leave the island for supplies. We would have the zombies wiped out in no time without a doubt. Or one could head on over to the Avalon and block off access to it. Bring it you brain eating fu(Ker$!

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