Everyday when I head to work I get to drive by the CN Tower via the Gardiner “Held-Up-By-Popsicle-Sticks-But-Whatever” Expressway. In the mornings, the Tower looks really impressive – especially when there is like, wicked-cool fog, or a sweet sunrise or something like that. Every morning, when I drive by and see that iconic, globally-recognizable phallic symbol of Toronto, I feel proud and happy and, you know, like this is the best place in the world.
This week in the morning when I drove by and looked at the tower, I actually felt shitty. For the first time ever, I thought to myself “Uggggggghhh I’m so embarrassed…”.
Unless you are living in a cave under a rock with your fingers in your ears and and a garbage bag over your head, you know that this was not a great week for Toronto. The mayor has solicited global attention – attention that highlights the worst of the city and its people.
So – I felt embarrassed. And I hated myself for feeling embarrassed. Because this city is fucking awesome. Yes, our mayor is a laughingstock and makes us look bad. But Jesus on wheels, Toronto fucking rules – DESPITE Rob Ford.
So yesterday I started thinking about this and started listing in my head all the things that makes Toronto great, and it literally started flowing out of me – why I love living here and why I love the people here and the businesses and the art and the parks and the families and the culture… and really, me loving Toronto has nothing to do with the mayor.
Now, I’m not naive… I know that the person in office has the power to make things easier or harder for certain groups of people… but Toronto is going to be Toronto. Sorry. It’ll happen. Because it’s not really the mayor who defines that shit. It has to do with the amazing people who have taken that shit upon themselves to make their communities bad-ass-awesome. They are the people who have slowly crystallized their network of buildings and stores and parks into fucking amazing communities.
Yes. Toronto has its flaws. The traffic is fucking brutal. The infrastructure is growing at about half the pace of the population. We need a good place to have sandwiches in Parkdale. But still, I love it.
So Toronto, here is a small selection of reasons why I Love You…
- My friends can work hard and grow their own businesses, be their own boss, do something totally unique and personal, and Toronto will embrace them.
- There are times when I ride the subway and I don’t hear a single word of English. We have so many different countries, cultures, and communities represented here, it’s so bad-ass. It makes my heart warm.
- I can buy fucking amazing Indian food from a family-owned restaurant then walk next door to a hipster bar where they play grunge rap and the waitresses wear bra-tops with embroidered cats on them then walk next door to that and buy artisan flowers that were grown on some chick’s balcony then walk next door to that and have homemade cocktails with like, bacon in them then walk next door and buy a 100 dollar jar of fucking imported body oil from Iceland or some shit like that then walk outside and buy a cool native necklace off a street vendor. THAT’S JUST NORMAL ‘ROUND HERE.
- My house is over 100 years old and was part of Canada’s history. I’m pretty sure someone cool and important lived there at one point (other than me).
- You want to get together with like-minded people and do something frekkky-weird and awesome? Go for it. Have a nude bike ride/zombie walk/disco bike ride/mob pillow fight. Whateves.
- People in Toronto care about fucking Toronto. Anytime there is a street changed, a building bought, a tree that gets cut down… PEOPLE GIVE A SHIT. They may be arguing for different sides, but they will definitely have an opinion. They are PART of the discussion.
- We have C-U-L-T-U-R-E. Art galleries up the wazoo. You want to see the David Bowie exhibit that is only coming to like 5 cities in the whole world? YEAH, COME TO TORONTO. You want to see art? Dinosaur bones? Some old chamber pot that some important guy took a dump in 200 years ago? COME TO TORONTO. You want to see up and coming artists? You want to see international musicians? Up and coming musicians? You want to see that guy who juggles chainsaws while eating nails (probably), COME TO TORONTO.
- In my hood there are recovering meth addicts living next to new families living next to hipster renters living next to elderly people who have had their house since the 60’s. Just damn humans co-existing. It’s fucking amazing.
Anyways. Just felt the need to proclaim my love in the midst of this shit. Toronto, don’t let it get you down. You’re still tops in my books.