It’s always been fashionable put Toronto down. Rural and suburban Ontario, French Quebec, Atlantic Canada, The West, all like bashing Toronto. Then there’s the whole inner suburbs versus downtown divide. I guess all the hate Downtown Toronto gets makes sense from a certain point of view. The city wields a lot of power and it’s a natural scapegoat. One thing I don’t get is why Torontonians like to be so harsh about themselves. I get that Canadians are supposedly inoffensive but there’s no need for false modesty.
Toronto has its flaws but no one’s going to stop pointing them out just because we’re so self effacing. Let’s have a little back bone about our city. New Yorkers are famous for criticizing their city while being the first to stick up for it if anyone criticizes it. Maybe we ought to take a lesson from NYC. I’m not saying we should let town pride blind us to our faults. We’re not Boston. We know we’ve got it good here and frankly, we might at least respect ourselves more if we start admitting it.
For starters, we could change the way we think about the TTC. We love to complain about it. Yeah, it’s annoying when a bus takes a long time to arrive but at least we have a bus system that’s pretty well laid out. Some places are so spread out they can’t even support any public transit at all. And hey, our subways are actually pretty clean too. We’re not in a movie about 70’s New York here. I think we ought to start looking at the TTC for what it and not what we wish it would be. Looking at it that way it’s not so hard to see why it was voted the best public transit system in North America.
A Great Place for Residents
Another thing I hear is that Toronto’s a great place to live but a bad place to visit. Ok but we could be a bad place to do both. If I had to choose between making a city for tourists and a city for residents, I’d pick residents every time. Vacations are nice but it’s everyday life that really makes up life. Toronto’s got a lot of little things that add up to make it a nice place. I like our tree lined streets and turn of the century houses. The city’s actually pretty clean when you compare it somewhere like LA. You can walk to bars and restaurants, meet people and enjoy yourself. It’s not boring. What’s wrong with appreciating a nice place to live?
If I could say one negative thing it’s that I don’t think we have a very strong sense of identity. I think that’s because we don’t really know our local history and we don’t really think of ourselves as worth thinking about. Yeah, we’re not Paris or London but we could be something. Being something starts with having a little pride.