Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Toronto

I grew up learning that Toronto was 'the centre of the universe' and that I should hate it. Then, in 2004 after I graduated from high school, I hopped on a Greyhound to explore a bit more of my country for myself with Toronto as the first stop. It took 3 days to get there but after I showered off 72+ hours of bus ride, I fell in love with the city.

Vancouver is a big city but it is a bit deceiving. Our downtown is fairly small and we're only around 600,000 people which puts us as the 8th biggest municipality in Canada - behind Mississauga and Winnipeg.

Toronto, on the other hand, feels like a big city because it is. It sprawls practically unhindered in all directions, except with water to one side. It felt like being in a city from the movies - somehow more real than the one I was used to at home: bright lights and the world's tallest free-standing structure. It's safe to say I was hooked. This past summer, I went back for my third time.
This time around, I got to explore a bit more than I have in the past. I walked around the Trinity Bellwood's area and Little Italy. Trinity Bellwood's park was one of my favourite places to lay about  and people watch. I even got my hair cut at Garrison's By the Park (they give you free beer which is something I doubt you can do in Vancouver with our restrictive liquor laws). I also enjoyed many a coffee on College street (The Green Grind Cafe).
Toronto City Hall and Nathan Phillips Square are one of my favourite places. It's a true gathering and civic space that we in Vancouver don't have. Our city hall, the gorgeous art deco beauty that she is, is not in our downtown core and this can't serve the same purpose as Nathan Phillips Square. This summer while I was there, there was always something going on. 



Recently, they transformed the roof of city hall into a garden/green space. I put my nerd hat on (when isn't it?) and just gushed over how nice it was. They even planted edible plants (chives, I think).




Another space that was on my radar while I was there was Sugar Beach. It's part of an overall plan to revitalize Toronto's waterfront which is fairly disconnected from the City (thanks to an elevated highway) and that it's still fairly industrial. The design is fun and pretty. People seemed to enjoy it as a place to sun bathe as you can't actually swim in the water as the 'beach' is elevated. There's a small water feature but I wouldn't mind seeing some more places to cool off.




My observations here aren't anything special, just some stuff I'd like to share. Some last thoughts: Toronto will endure it's current political leadership. That is to say, Rob Ford, is one man and while he is the city's mayor, there is far too many good and engaged people in the city to let him run amok without a fight.
Until next time, Toronto.

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