On March 6th, Toronto celebrates its Demisemiseptcentennial.
Or for people who don’t want to spend the afternoon sounding that syllabic mess out, Toronto turns 175.
To celebrate my home (and because I know a majority of readers live in Vancouver), here are the top ten things I love about Toronto:
- TTC: I can get most places in the city quickly and read a book instead of being stuck in gridlock.
- The Danforth: My neighbourhood. Full of great shops and restaurants, all within walking distance. If our families didn’t live outside of the city, we’d probably sell the car.
- High Park: The biggest park in Toronto, complete with a zoo, bike trails, historical sites, gardens and the home of Shakespeare in the Park.
- Music: Opera, classical, blues, rock, alternative, hip-hop, musicals and theatre (third largest centre for theater and musicals next to New York and London). If any band goes on a world tour, they will likely perform in Toronto. We have a thriving and vibrant music scene.
- Architecture: Casa Loma, City Hall (old and new), CN Tower (everyone loves a giant phallus in the center of the city!), the newly designed Art Gallery of Ontario, the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal at the Royal Ontario Museum, the University of Toronto, Victorian row houses in Cabbagetown, turn-of-the-century bank buildings, and none of the McMansions that define sprawling suburbs with their grotesque sameness.
- Multiculturalism: People from all over the world living in harmony in one big city. The distinct character of neighbourhoods like Greektown, Chinatown, Little India, Little Portugal, Little Italy, Little Korea, myriad ethnic communities along St Clair, a new mosque on the Danforth, one of the oldest synagogues in the Junction, the Polish community in Roncesvalles.
- More Neighbourhoods: Bloor West Village, Swansea, the Junction, High Park, Parkdale, the Annex, Christie Pits, Leslieville, Riverdale, Rosedale, the gay community around Church Street, Roncesvalles, Queen West, Forest Hill, Trinity-Bellwoods, Kensington, Corktown, Cabbagetown, Leaside, Mimico, Baby Point, the Beaches (I refuse to call it “the Beach”. There is more than one beach in the area), the Fashion District, the Entertainment District. Each neighbourhood has its own flavour, shops and active community groups.
- CBC: Headquarters to the only TV and radio stations I really watch/listen to.
- Absence of Conservative Members of Parliament or Progressive Conservative Members of Provincial Parliament: Hey, when these parties seldom have anything kind to say about Toronto and refer to us as effete, latte-sipping, bongo-playing, doob-smoking, elites, why do they think they would or could get elected in this city? The Liberals and the NDP know what makes Toronto tick, and they get rewarded at the polls. Also, our Mayor and many of his allies on council are aligned with (unofficially of course) the Liberals and the NDP (Miller ran for the federal NDP in 1993 and the provincial NDP in 1996)
- Toronto Islands: Hop on the ferry over to the Islands and you’re in the countryside – except you can still see Toronto. A place where many took vacations and had picnics before Torontonians bought cottages and now spend much of their summer weekends idling in traffic on the 400. My family grabs an early morning ferry, spends the day at Centre Island, goes for a long walk, catches a late-afternoon ferry and we make our way home. A perfect way to spend a summer day.