A triumphant return…?

It has been entirely too long since I’ve posted something here. Lo! The creative urge has returned to me!
I have decided that this blog should be about more than food, as there are so many ideas whirling around in this brain of mine. Topics could be anything from living in Toronto, leaving Toronto, complaining about Toronto, to loving Toronto.
Let’s start with living in Toronto. Perhaps a list of pros and cons will break it down for those of you who are just dying to know:
Pros:
Visibly non-homogenized – on a recent trip to the west coast (Victoria in particular) I really noticed how…well…white everyone was, and realised how much I appreciate Toronto’s muti-cultural population.
Obviously, a plethora of restaurants – there are almost too many to choose from, in every possible cuisine. I have grown particularly fond of Lebanese food. SOOOOOO GOOD. Sadly, I have yet to find a favourite brunch spot, but this could be due to my apparent reluctance to roam beyond my own neighbourhood on weekend mornings.
Farmer’s Markets – The city hosts a variety of markets throughout the week in different neighbourhoods. My favourite right now is the one that takes place Wednesdays at Nathan Phillips Square, as it is about 5 minutes from my work and I can go shopping during my lunch break. Now, as long as I go to the Wednesday market and the Saturday market at St. Lawrence, I can easily obtain fresh local produce throughout the summer without ever going to Bobloblaws. Ontario seems to be a general utopia for farmer’s markets, which I really appreciate.
The shopping – beyond the standard mall stores at the Eaton Centre which is conveniently en-route from work to home, there are so many little boutique-style stores that offer interesting and/or budget friendly and still unique fashions. A recently discovered favourite is Frock on Roncesvalles. And bookstores! Love ’em! Unfortunately, the pasttime of shopping at interesting stores is not exactly wallet friendly, and I must strive to keep it to a minimum.
The architecture – Okay, I’ve admitted it, I’m a huge nerd and like to look at buildings. Honestly, I love the skyline of Toronto from any direction. Its really quite beautiful. I love looking down Bay street from Queen in the morning when you can see clear to the lake and there’s all these looming glass towers, and tiny businessmen walking along their sidewalks. I love walking on King street when I’m wearing heels because the sidewalks there are not your standard concrete, but rather they mirror whatever materials the current building is made of, so it’s not unusual to find myself trotting along on marble or granite that is swept and polished. The PATH network (an underground network of passageways that connect shopping centres) is a lifesaver in the wintertime when it’s too cold to be walking outside.
My apartment – Not to brag, but our building is incredible. There’s a 2 storey waterfall in the lobby. A 24 hour concierge. A 2 storey gym open 24 hours. An indoor hot tub and sauna. A rooftop patio with BBQs free to use any time, an outdoor hot tub and gardens with lounge-type areas. A coffee lounge. A billiards room with pool table. A library. Secured underground parking. The apartment itself is small but cosy, with new floors and a decent view of a park and some skyline. A convenience store that rents DVDs, and where the owner is an adorable Chinese woman who we’ve coined “Chinese mom” because we are sometimes endearingly chided for purchasing only soda and ice cream and renting scary movies, and receive comments on recent haircuts and new shoes.
Navigational ease – Toronto is ridiculously easy to find your way around in. There’s the lake – that’s South. Anything else is North, and divided East or West by Yonge Street, the main North/Sounth artery. Everything else falls into a grid pattern. Addresses are referenced not by the street they are on, but the nearest large intersection. And there’s none of those hokey numbered streets. The transit system is okay in theory, but its always so crowded and dirty that I avoid it at all costs.

Now for some cons:

Stinky – pollution is gross. This includes noise and light pollution. Why do the sirens on firetrucks here sound like air-raid sirens? Why do they leave the sodium lights on at the park if no one is playing baseball? The snuffle-upagus street cleaners are a constant annoyance.

Too big for its own good – I mean, come on! It takes 3 hours to walk across downtown alone. It would be nice to get out of town once in a while, but it can be difficult when everyone else wants to get out of town and it takes 2 hours to get away from CITY)

Too many people – While I like the multiculturalism, I regret that there are so many damn people everywhere. I mean, there’s a pedestrian rush hour as well as a traffic one. Try walking North on Bay street just after 5 pm, and you will literally be pushed onto the street by the wall of people walking South to union station to commute on the GO train to one of the horrendous suburbs. Don’t even get me started on Yonge and Dundas, which is a veritable clusterfuck of goggling, too-slow-walking tourists and people with jobs who need to walk fast to get where they’re going, along with the gratuitous people-trying-to-sell-you-something-or-get-you-convert-your-religion-or-donate-to-some-cause. As a matter of fact, I DON’T have a moment for Greenpeace or Sick Kids or Doctors Without Borders, and I would appreciate it if you would stop asking me thrice daily when I’m trying to get places I gotta go, then making me feel guilty when you suggest I have a great day, anyway. (Am I a bad person? Is it wrong to be reluctant to write a cheque or give my credit card number to a complete stranger on the street? I mean, it’s basically pan-handling, which I don’t support either).

The weather – It can never just be a nice day in Toronto. Winter is unreasonably cold, has too much snow and therefore too much salt all over the sidewalks and road. The biting wind whistling through corridors made by highrises does not help. Spring takes so long to come. Summer is humid, and instead of hot sunny days there are hot cloudy days, which are occasionally punctuated by downpours and thunderstorms. Such as right now, I’m looking outside and it’s gloomy and cloudy and grey, but once I go out thereI will be hit by a wall of muggy heat that is inescapable save for air-conditioned interiors. No blue sky or sun to speak of. The weather here is a real asshole.

I have run out of steam now, and alas, my real works calls me back to the present.

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Categories: Ramblings

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One Comment on “A triumphant return…?”

  1. January 2, 2010 at 6:02 pm #

    Hey nice post about toronto soph. You guys should come spend some of your vacation time out here in Portland 🙂

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