It’s been two months since I moved to Toronto and this city has become my home exactly how fast I thought it would be. I love that things move as quickly as they do, that it’s always busy, and the sheer size of this city. There’s so much I love about this city, but I thought I’d try and narrow it down to exactly five things:
- Seeing the CN Tower from any part of the city
The CN Tower is a clear symbol of the city and before I moved I’d heard that you could see the CN Tower from any part of the city–a claim I obviously didn’t believe. Now that I’m here I verify that it’s true–you really can see the CN Tower from any part of the city. I can even see it from my teeny tiny studio if you look out the window at a very awkward angle. Even though there’s skyscrapers all around downtown, and large busy buildings even on the periphery of the downtown core you can easily see the CN Tower from anywhere.
- All the street art
While I was in Lisbon over the summer I was so taken aback by all the street art all over the city–the municipal government of Lisbon commissions artists to create murals and pieces all over the city as a way of combatting illicit graffiti, and the result is a beautiful and colourful cityscape. Toronto’s municipal government doesn’t commission artists to nearly the same extent but there are some programs: the stART Program provides support for artists and not-for-profit organizations that engage communities though street art and the stART Underpass Program is open to “mid-career and established artists” with the aim of improving selected underpasses with enhanced lighting, improved sidewalks and walking conditions, pigeon proofing and the removal of weeds” often catalyzed by the installation of artwork and murals. Alleyways, underpasses, and expanses of wall all across the city have been painted, and it’s a wonderful feeling to be surrounded by artwork all around the city.
- There’s always something to do
This one was really important to me. Living in Calgary then Vancouver I felt like there wasn’t enough going on. I wanted to be in a really busy city with people doing lots of different things, and where there was always something to do. Toronto has exactly that. There’s always a new art show, various musicians and comedians coming to the city. For example, in December there have been at least four Christmas markets around the city, the two I went to were free to roam around in and you could buy food and drinks as you like which is great for twenty-somethings who don’t have much extra cash.
- The variety of food
In a three block radius of my apartment there’s a ramen place, a Jamaican Jerk chicken place, a Korean fried chicken restaurant, an Italian restaurant, a pierogi place, Syrian flatbread place, two chain restaurants (that I could do without), an Italian restaurant, and two non-chain coffee shops. I’m probably forgetting a couple restaurants too, which speaks volumes to all the variety available in this neighbourhood. I love food, and even more than that I love being able to choose from so many options.
- The diversity of people
Canada’s clearly known for being a very diverse country. But having lived in two other Canadian cities, Toronto is easily the most diverse of them all. There’s all different colours and ethnicities of people all over the city and I absolutely love being able to walk outside and hear so many different languages and accents around me. There are large Caribbean, Indian, Portuguese, Italian populations in the city and also neighbourhoods like Corso Italia, Little Italy, Koreatown, Chinatown, Little Jamaica, Little Portugal, and Little Jamaica. There’s been a Chinatown in each city I’ve lived in, but it’s nice to live in a city with such a large, proper Chinatown with so many different options for chow mein and ginger beef (and yes, I’m aware that ginger beef isn’t authentic Chinese food)