Toronto is a city of millions. It is Canada’s only international-grade metropolitan. It is also the home of Drake’s mom, so it’s important to understand Toronto on a deeper, more intimate level. Here is a roundup of the most essential Toronto-specific sentiments.
Modern and post-modern designs comprise the landscape of the city with many renowned architects, like Frank Gehry, contributing to its eclectic look.
Everyone outside of Toronto hates Toronto. You’ve probably heard people refer to Torontonians as ‘stuffy’ or ‘pretentious’ but that’s because Toronto prides itself on being decidedly cosmopolitan and modern. It’s the economic capital of Canada and receives international praise for its progressive attitude; sorry, not sorry.
Toronto is congested. When attempting to maneuver Toronto, one must anticipate some sort of travel delay. The saying goes: ‘There are two seasons in Toronto: winter and construction.’ The Don Valley Parkway has been lovingly dubbed the Don Valley Parking Lot; the TTC won’t be finished fitting streetcar tracks until October, and the streets will get a lot more narrow with the installation of more bike lanes.
The subway leaves terminal stations for the last time each night around 1:30 am. Commuters will get to know what it’s like to aggressively monitor your time, living and dying by the subway schedule. Thank God for friends who live downtown, hookups that let you stay the night, and Uber, always Uber.
We have all the sports. The Blue Jays, the Raptors, and the Maple Leafs all have their homes here, along with the Toronto FC, Argonauts, and Rock. Sure, we don’t always win, but with the recent playoff performances of the Jays and the Raptors, the spotlight is shifting to our hearty teams and their loyal fans.
All the cool people live in Montreal. If you’ve ever been to Montreal, you may have been visiting a friend at McGill or Concordia, going to Osheaga, or going out drinking before turning 19. You might have noticed that many of the young people in Montreal are from Toronto. That’s because Montreal is a chill place. It fosters a thriving alternative art and music scene, has great food, and is cheap to live in. It also has tons of strip clubs. You do you, Montreal.
The Island is nice, you should go. A short ferry ride away, this oasis features a gallery, an artists’ colony, a day camp, and several beaches, including one that is clothing-optional. There is also an airport, bike and kayak rentals, restaurants, and an amusement park. The list goes on. The best part? Fresh, clean, glorious air with a killer view of the city skyline.
Toronto boosts a wide spectrum of cultures and backgrounds; the rest of Canada can be seen as homogeneous in comparison. It should be noted that Toronto’s diversity has recently come under fire though. It has been accused of being mostly for show, as it ignores the underlying racial tensions many people of colour experience.
Everything is overpriced. And it doesn’t help that our dollar is at its lowest in over four years. An egg sandwich at Metro is $4.50. You would be hard-pressed to find decent living accommodations for $800 per month and even that’s optimistic. Despite the high cost of living, last year The Economist ranked Toronto as best city in the world to live in.
Don’t talk to strangers. Not because they are going to kidnap you, but because you will startle them. Unsolicited, overly-friendly advances are not usually welcome in Toronto. It’s a big city and saying hello to everyone you walk by is not a social custom here. Don’t take it personally; it’s more of a close-knit community or American mid-west thing.
There is no signature food. Montreal has bagels, Chicago has deep-dish pizza, New York has everything, even Thunder Bay has the Persian roll. Toronto is its own all-you-can-eat buffet, an amalgamation of different cultural cuisines.
A few important people went to U of T: Dionne Brand, Lorne Michaels, current Toronto Mayor John Tory, various Prime Ministers. Margaret Atwood is still so emotionally — and financially — invested in her alma mater that she once tweeted her outrage over the installation of artificial turf on Back Campus, even threatening to write the school out of her will. They went ahead anyway.
Toronto is the Canadian Zürich. Located in Switzerland, Zürich is a city that is largely non-descript. It’s nice and located in a beautiful country, but when planning a vacation no one ever says, “Let’s go to Zürich!”
Which is why neither Toronto nor Zurich are especially remarkable, but neither are unremarkable either. When celebrities visit Toronto, they usually comment that it’s a great place to shop. Perhaps this goes to show the mediocrity that makes up Toronto, or perhaps it means it just has really great malls.