I tell people that I “just moved here” on a fairly regular basis. It’s my excuse when someone asks me for a club recommendation, or makes fun of me for wearing a scarf in the beginning of October (it’s fucking cold here guys). But truthfully, it’s been five months now – that’s almost half a year! – and Toronto really does feel like home. I’m happier here than I’ve ever been, and I think I’m finally starting to resemble a real Torontonian.
I grew up on Vancouver Island; I went to high school in a town of 8000 people, and then moved to Victoria when I started university. It was so beautiful, and it’s home – there’s no way I could ever really hate it. But… I didn’t exactly like it, either. Maybe it’s pretentious, or maybe it’s immature… but I never felt like I belonged. It just wasn’t the right ‘fit’. And, well, maybe it’s wishful thinking, but I’d like to think I DO ‘fit’ here.
Here are a list of things that make me feel like I Belong™ :
- listening to Drake (predictable)
- calling people ‘babe’ (but NOT ‘fam’. Stop trying to make ‘fam’ happen, Toronto)
- knowing whether I’m facing North/South/East/West
- that one time my coffee came in a mug with a huge crack in it and I asked for a different one (do you have any idea how much bacteria gets in there?? A lot. My friend Andrea literally looked at me and went “what, you think you’re a torontonian now?” – yes, yes I do)
- milk in a bag. I don’t drink milk, but if I did, I would drink it from a bag. Like a real Toronto person.
- buying fruit and veggies from cute little fruit and veggie stands (especially in Kensington Market – which, incidentally is where I am writing this from)
- ordering take out (take out options are very limited in a small town. Simple pleasures, guys.)
- kissing people on the cheek in greeting
- when people ask me for directions and I can actually help them
- walking through a crowd of hundreds of people and somehow managing to avoid eye contact with every single one
I wouldn’t say these are necessarily all positive developments… but honestly, at this point, I don’t even care.
Here’s the thing about Toronto… it’s alive. It’s glittery and it’s fast and maybe it’s a little bit snobby… but maybe I needed to learn a little bit of snobbery. Maybe I needed to learn that it’s okay to ask for a clean mug (politely, obviously) or tell a guy I don’t want to give him my number. It’s okay to wear lipstick to class and to accept favours and to take the last available seat on the bus. It’s okay to look out for yourself. Everyone else is doing it.
ANYWAY, this is my ode to Toronto. Where do you live – do you love it? And if you’ve ever been to Toronto, tell me – is it too pretentious, or just pretentious enough?