Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Together We Stand, Divided We Fall

I've seen an article that's being shared a lot online, where someone defends Toronto against the usual complaints and attacks on the city. There's always a few of those going around, and as I read them I have the same reaction - I go back and forth between wanting to defend the city I live in, and agreeing with all the negatives about it.

I have a love/hate relationship with Toronto.

The Good - High Park (I took this recently)

Now, before all my fellow Torontonians start calling me names, my feelings don't actually say much about the city itself. It's more about me. Toronto is an awesome place. I love our different neighbourhoods, as each has its own style and distinctive feel to it. I love the opportunities, I love that start-up culture is celebrated, and I love that you can pretty much do anything here. Seriously. Anything. We have cultural diversity, fantastic businesses, art, entertainment, sports (don't laugh - Leafs are winning), and one of my favourite parts - great bands playing everywhere, on any given night.

But, Toronto isn't for everyone. Some days it can be a very cold and impersonal place, a sea of anonymous faces in a concrete jungle. (Can you tell that I like to avoid the downtown area?) It's overwhelming. There are off-putting things about this city that I can't quite put my finger on - something besides the traffic, the high cost of living, and the notion some people have that Toronto is better than everywhere. We'll chalk it up to a random feeling.

The Bad - Rob Ford
So I love it. But I also hate some of  it. As Masuka, who recently fled the city, says: "it's a soul-sucking place". For now, I deal with that by living in a neighbourhood that I absolutely adore; that feels like a small town (nature! families! quiet!) while still technically part of this huge city. I consider it the best of both worlds. But eventually, when I own a car again, there's no telling where I'll end up - part of me wants a home in the country and an office in the city. I'm constantly torn between the two types of living. How do I balance a simple way of life with the business opportunities I need? It's tricky. And it may one day change.

All that said, I tend to be somewhat defensive of where I live and also where I come from. I was born & raised in St. Catharines, after all. And since moving here, I've gotten mixed reactions when people have asked where I hail from. One such reaction includes the "Oh. Sorry to hear it". And that's when my defensive wrath kicks in. Yes, I left the place. But it's my hometown. It's where my family and friends are, and where I still go to escape this city. And if anyone wants to trash it (even when certain points offer definite validity - it's a college/university town, after all), I am liable to yell & demand that you take back any negative words about one of my cities. It's a personal thing.

The Ugly - The Gardiner falling apart (via thegridto.com)
As it stands, I'm currently in Toronto and fine with that. By deciding that I have no strict ties to any location and the future can involve anywhere I see fit, it helps me to breathe easier. Things change. So do people. There was a time I would've never wanted to live here, and yet another time that I thought it was the only place I could ever thrive. Both times I was right. Now I like knowing that I have options once I decide to start a family someday. Or join a convent, whichever comes first. See? Options!

Since I started it, let's further pry open the proverbial can of worms here - Toronto: love it? Hate it? Indifferent to it?

And why?




5 comments:

Nick said...

Ah Toronto. I love PARTS of it.


Love cars, hate how car-centric it is.


Love the people, hate how impersonal it is.


Love nature, hate how grey it is.


Love convenience, hate how busy it is.


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Leah McNulty said...

Love the energy of the city. Hate driving in it.

Kris Goetz said...

All true.

Kris Goetz said...

Same, but I hate TTC-ing in it as well. I'd prefer teleportation, as we know.

steve e said...

Born and raised in a different Toronto that is here today. I have moved my family to the outskirts of Peterborough for a good reason. My kids growing up in an innocent environment. But I still support T.Dot. It's that friend you dont need to see every day. Signed. Steve E

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