See the issue here.

People who live in cities think that people who don’t live in cities have city envy. They actually don’t. To some, the suburbs are sublime. Small towns are where it’s at. Cars are king, and Rob Ford is amazing.

Cities aren’t always what we want them to be. But whether you ride a fixed-gear bike or a car that runs on fried chicken grease, we all have some common ground when it comes to thinking about the place we live in, and the way we interact with it.

That’s what the final instalment of The Varsity Magazine is all about, and we’ve talked to some pretty cool people in the process. Assunta Alegiani joined Toronto artist Mike Parsons in his studio to get his thoughts on the metropolis through his iconic black-and-white artwork. Jade Colbert sat down with Commonwealth-winning author Rana Dasgupta to chat about Delhi as a model for the 21st-century city.

On the local end, we caught up with Degrassi actress Judy Jiao, the city’s expert in Solid Waste Management, Vincent Sferrazza, the famous Wanda (of Wanda’s Pie in the Sky fame), and Spacing magazine editor Shawn Micallef. And while our city tends to get a bad rap, these people all think Toronto is pretty great — maybe you should too.

We’ve also imparted some of our own wisdom and, inevitably, a dash of tomfoolery. Ankit Bhardwaj recounts the mishaps he’s had in his global quest to find places to pee in the street — and you’ll also learn of the evil sandwich-stealing squirrels of Washington, DC. Chongwong Shakur imparts the five best things she’s found on city sidewalks for free (hint: her list includes a penis-shaped water bottle).

On the more serious side, Angela Brock describes what it was like growing up on the now-gentrified King Street East, while Matthew D.H. Gray visits the Albertan boomtown of Fort McMurray, land of oil and high rent. Murad Hemmadi traces the effects of guerrilla marketing from his hometown of Bombay to the sidewalks of Yonge–Dundas square.

There’s a lot to say about cities, and we haven’t said it all. And while our perspectives are diverse, we’re certainly missing voices from the suburbs, from the small towns, or from the places that we as city snobs don’t even realize exist. (I’m writing this from my smartphone on my fixed-gear bike in Parkdale, with a cappuccino in hand.) (Not actually, at all.)

Happy reading,

Erene Stergiopoulos
Magazine Editor (2011–2012)

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