The province of Toronto

Some people in rural Ontario feel that Toronto is a noisy and crowded pit of depravity populated by spoiled elitists selfishly hogging hard-earned government resources.

This week, the editor of Elmvale’s free local paper claimed that if Toronto were to secede, the rest of the province would rejoice.

The editorial from Springwater News

Despite slight factual incongruities (Michael don’t you know Torontonians leave the city as often as possible?), this piece made me grin.

I would add that some Torontonians think of places like Elmvale as quaint little backwaters filled with gun-toting, simple-minded, conservative rednecks. That is, if they even bother thinking of rural Ontario as anything more than a hodge podge of ski hills, cottages, and cute little downtown shopping areas.

What’s important is that in both cases, “some” means a minority — hopefully. Both stereotypes carry a grain of truth. And as a citry girl, I’m delighted to be able to laugh at both the big smog and the boonies.

(Missing) The big smog

My country bumpkin family often refers to Toronto as “the big smog.” I usually do it in a teasing, almost loving way, like I’m poking fun at an old friend. Besides, it’s only fair. We get “the sticks,” “the boonies” and “the backwater.”

But today — as I chewed some particularly sad and rubbery wakame salad at Midland’s one sushi restaurant — I found myself pining over some of Toronto’s finer points. So I wrote a list of things I miss about the city:

  • JF
  • People — friends, colleagues, my fellow Cantores choristers, and the Rebelo family
  • Matt Galloway
  • Good sushi
  • Good Any Indian food
  • The plethora of job postings with decent wages
  • Diversity
  • Solomon’s seal tea (Yishey, why did you get me hooked on that shit?)
  • The Toronto Blue Jays
  • The St. Lawrence Market
  • Pride
  • Regularly discovering new corners and nooks
  • Driving through yellow lights
  • The Grid
  • Anonymity
  • Properly stocked LCBOs
  • Social media that actually keeps up with local news
  • Concerts
  • Starbucks
I think I took this at Nuit Blanche 2012.

I think I took this at Nuit Blanche 2012.

Then, I promptly built a list of things I don’t miss a mite:

  • Looking nice all the time
  • Congestion
  • The TTC
  • Noise
  • Warmer temperatures, with sticky air and half-assed breezes
  • The smell of garbage day
  • The pace of everything (but driving and social media)
  • Crowds
  • Feeling totally disconnected from the people around me
  • Biking accidents
  • Yorkdale mall
  • House prices
  • Eating at restaurants almost daily
  • Rob Ford
  • Parking downtown
  • The Toronto Maple Leafs
  • Crazy rent prices
  • Getting lost in the PATH
  • The cost of food at farmer’s markets

Don’t worry, I’m not second guessing my choice. Just re-acquainting myself with what I’ve consciously decided to leave behind. A bittersweet exercise.