Saturday, April 14, 2012

Why I like my city

Let's get this out of the way first - Toronto doesn't have the best of anything in particular. Pick any random thing and you can probably easily find some other city that has a better version of that thing. But we have a little bit of everything and chances are it's all close to where you live. Consider:

  • We are pocket-sized with big city things! I'm lazy and only like to wander within a 30 minute walking radius but that gives me access to pretty much all of our fun city stuff. Expand that to an hour's walk and I think that would cover all of our fun city stuff.
  • We have so much food! In terms of variety and cost I haven't found anywhere else in the world quite as satisfying. My biggest constant complaints are that there aren't any Taiwanese restaurants downtown and that I haven't found a place that serves samosas at 2am.
  • We have music! Most bands will drift through at some point and it's generally pretty easy to get tickets to stuff.
  • We have movies! Over 70 film festivals each year on top of the normal movie theatres and the rep theatres. Not to mention the gigantor which is the annual Toronto International Film Festival.
  • Actually, we have all sorts of arty things! Musicals, plays, art galleries, museum parties, opera, ballet, symphony, literary festivals. There's plenty of things to keep you entertained without being overwhelmed!
  • Our weather is less terrible than you think! Downtown Toronto doesn't actually get much precipitation - rain or snow - and summers here can get suprisingly hot (30+C / 90+F)
  • You can easily leave! If you're bored or want a more awesome version of something we have here, just leave for a while. We're Canada's main transporation hub so it's easy to escape!
  • Brunch is a critical part of our lives! Toronto's pretty food-obsessed in general; the battle to have more varities of street food is as big a political issue as public transporation. And we have two weekly event listings devoted to food. Yeah it's kind of weird but we are a simple people.
  • Our public transportation is ok! Yeah, it's not particularly good. But choose the right location and there's a good chance you'll rarely use it. So I don't mind that it's kind of crappy because riding transit is basically just a novelty for me.
  • Cross-border shopping! Our prices are too high, but the border is right there so you have easy access to what is overall the best shopping in the world just by popping down to the U.S.
  • We won't hurt you! Probably! It's pretty safe downtown, biggest issue I've had is avoiding drunk clubbers.
When I travel, I wind up slipping into semi-residential life for the place I'm visiting and I've found that Toronto holds up pretty well in comparison. The key here is ease of living. I'm not sure we have "world class" anything (although National Geographic would beg to differ) but I'd rather have a decent version of everything than have two world class things and a pile of crap. For "world class" whatever, I'll just travel to the source - but for daily life I want as many conveniences as close as possible and for that, I haven't found any place with easier living than Toronto.


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