Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Now THIS is Coronation Street!

So, it's Canada Day, and once again I find myself far from home. Last year I spent it in a torrential downpour in Ghana, and today the only thing that's pouring is the sweat down my face from the heatwave that's been suffocating Manchester over the last couple of days. Many of my pals are lovin' this warm weather. I, on the other hand, am over it!

Anyway, there's not a lot of Canadiana here in Manchester, but I still wanted to make the day special. So, I thought to myself, what is the most Canadian thing to do in Manchester? Well, I racked my brain, and only came up with one thing - a set tour of Coronation Street!

Yep, that's a backstage pass! Ha!
As may recall, my arrival here brought about a bit of disappointment, as I was certain that the long-standing TV drama was an accurate depiction (despite a certain Acadia professor's instance that it wasn't) of everyday life in Manchester. But ever since I arrived I have been wanting to take a tour (which ends with this year!). My friend, Sarah, was a willing participant and agreed to tag along. Now, I make it sound like she may have been resistant, but she was actually pretty game for it when I mentioned it in December.

I will admit, I had trouble sleeping last night! I was pretty pumped about this decision. It was also 20° and a full moon, but whatcha gonna do? Well, I tossed and turned, but I'm digressing now...

Finally, the time arrived to make my way to the set. I took another of the free buses and was dropped off in front of the Museum of Science and Industry. From there it was about a 3-5 minute walk to the entrance of the Official Coronation Street Tour. We had a reservation for 2:10, and as I arrived I quickly began to feel young... Perfection.

To give a little background, Coronation Street is the longest running television show... ever. It also happens to be the number one soap opera in Canada (hence my rationale for it being an appropriate Canada Day activity!). The set switched studios last year, and ever since they've been allowing Corrie fans from all over the world to take a tour of the famous "street." The tours are offered until the end of this year - although judging from its popularity, I wouldn't be surprised if they extended it!

Okay, so it was 2:05, which meant it was time to make our way to the tour's starting point. We were greeted by our guide, Paulette, and about 10 other participants. The group that went ahead of us was fully booked, and was massive! Our little group was the perfect size!

At the start of the tour you are told the safety rules and 'dos and don'ts' for the day. Then you are taken all throughout the studio. This includes dressing rooms, wardrobe and make-up, production, and various interior sets. It also includes a chance to pour a pint at the Rovers (which of course we opted to do - and Cillian I think I'm ready for that pub job now!), and a 5-mintute video capturing the highs and lows and all of the drama over the past 50+ years that the show has been airing!

The Green Room
(Photo credit:
The Quiet Room - where the actors would read over their lines
(Photo credit:
(Photo credit:
Carla's flat
(Photo credit:
The Platt house!
Fun fact: Since the stairs go nowhere, if an actor was required to walk up them in the middle of a scene, they had to tuck themselves away at the top and wait until the scene ended!
(Photo credit:
Some of the old props!
(Photo credit:
Sarah and I takin' control of the Rovers!
After the guided part of the tour is over, one lucky participant gets to press a button which plays the theme song as you exit the inside studio, and before you know it, you're on the actual cobbles of Coronation Street! This part of the tour is on your own, where photographs are allowed to be taken, and you're free to wander as long as you want (within operational hours, of course!).

Nick's Bistro - and how you enter the street from the inside studio
Dev's Corner Shop
The Kabin, Webster's Garage, and Underworld
The Platt's
The backyard behind the Platt's 

Moi, waiting patiently for the Rovers to open!
The backside exterior of the Rovers!

Awaiting the bus... it never came. 
The kebab shop, Roy's Rolls, and Ashley's butcher shop!

Victoria Gardens
The Clinic - also known as the gift shop! 
The back alleyway. 
I have to say, it was pretty surreal to be standing on the street. I have been watching this show off and on since I was a small child. When my brother and I were really little, we would always watch it on Sunday mornings with our father (which we hated!). But, as I got older, I began to enjoy the simplicity and charm of the show, including the meowing cat in the opening! I was quite surprised by how emotional it all was! And, in a really weird way, it was like coming home after being away for a really long time. It's a definite must-do, even if you're only slightly familiar with the show! Really neat experience!

When we left the set, Sarah and I parted ways. I intended on tracking down a restaurant that I learned serves a sandwich called the Nova Scotian. But, unfortunately when I arrived they were closing up*! So, I made my way back to my flat in the 30° temperature...

But my Canada Day celebrations did not end here! Remember how excited I was around Chinese New Year, when I found a piece of home tucked away behind the Arndale Mall? Well, a couple of my friends and I trekked back into the city centre for a late night fill of Canadiana at the Second Cup. Since it was really hot out still (28° at 8:30pm), we opted for a cold drink. I had a frozen maple hot chocolate, which, my friends, is about as Canadian as you get! We stayed until they closed, and then made our way back to campus.

Overall it was a pretty good celebration of the place I call 'home'! Happy Canada Day, fellow Canadians!

-the Orange Canadian

*It's a cafĂ©, so they close earlier than most restaurants...we were not at Coronation Street until the wee hours of the night! 

UPDATED: Sarah kindly brought me a Canada Day treat...which I should have mentioned earlier, and I must apologize for not doing so. She searched for something maple, but found this instead. BUT what's really great about this, is that it came with a TRADING CARD filled with fun facts! Probably the best Canada Day present ever! Thanks, Sarah!

 A perfect dissertation avoidance snack!


  1. frozen maple hot chocolate= ick.
    But the tour sounds nice!
    We had a hot sunny day here, until supper time and then the rain and fog rolled in! Typical NS!

    1. It was about the same here, Amanda. We had a wicked thunderstorm around 10:00pm last night!