Honestly, Craig’s List. I’ve always wanted a job that involved speaking to people. So when I happened upon the listing on Craig’s List, I pounced. Also, who wouldn’t want to ride a Segway?
What kinds of tours do you offer?
We offer a 30-minute historical Segway tour, a 60-minute historical Segway tour, a 45-minute ghost Segway tour and a one-hour walking tour. All the tours focus on the Distillery District here in Toronto.
What’s your favourite tour?
Favourite tour is the hour-long historical Segway tour because it combines the best of everything. You get a whole hour on the Segway, and because it is longer, us guides can really give you some great history. Not to mention beer and chocolate afterward!
Describe a typical day at work.
If it’s summer, a typical day involves three to four tours for me. If it’s a weekend we’ll be totally booked up, meaning that we’ll have three or four guides doing three or four tours a day. Certainly gets a little hectic when you’ve got eight people learning to ride Segways, but hey, that’s the job.
I’d say everyone has their own style of guiding. Mine is definitely more comedic than most, but definitely not to the point of sacrificing the history. I’ve always thought you have to put the tourist first. Ask yourself what they want out of the tour and cater more heavily to that. It doesn’t mean you can’t add your flair to your tour — just make sure their interests are first.
What’s the best part of your job?
I get to ride a Segway for most of the day. But I also get to meet people from all walks of life, from all over the world. Learn about their cultures and what strikes them as odd in Canada. I’m trying to learn how to say turn left and turn right in as many languages as possible!
What’s the most bizarre thing that has happened on a tour?
It’s not necessarily one thing, but the Distillery District is famous for wedding photography. So it’s probably pretty bizarre that I am in dozens and dozens of people’s professional wedding photos. In the background. On a Segway.
Is fun an answer? Honestly, they are much more fun than walking. Not only that, they give another aspect to the tour that other tour companies can’t offer. The history plus Segway really makes for an interesting tour.
What are the benefits of hiring a guide in the Distillery District?
The Distillery District has a ridiculous amount of history behind it, interesting history. Without a guide, you’ll only get the Distillery today: the shops, the food. I mean, it’s still great, but without a guide, I can’t stress enough how much you’ll only be scratching the surface.
What makes a good tour guide?
In my experience? Adaptability trumps all. You can be the funniest guide in the world, but you’re out of luck if your group that day doesn’t feel like laughing. The ability to gauge your audience and then cater to what they want is the most important quality. Again, you can be a wealth of historical knowledge, but if your group is restless, you won’t be heard. As a guide, you need to be ready for any kind of person. I like to think everyone at Segway of Ontario is always ready.