I lived outside of Toronto for most of my life. It’s only recently that I moved to the city and not long before that I lived in an even smaller city so I have a pretty fresh perspective on the differences between small, medium and big city life.
Many people outside Toronto talks about it with disdain. They say that people from Toronto are cold and rude. They say Toronto is stuck up. They say Torontonians think they are the center of the universe.
And here’s what the people of Toronto say about the rest of Canada… (cue crickets)
That’s right, the people of Toronto don’t seem to talk about or even really think about anywhere else. The disdain moves only in one direction. That’s why I’ve determined that Toronto is like the coolest kid in school.
Everybody knows the cool kid’s name because he’s popular but the cool kid probably can’t remember the names of every uncool kid out there. There are just too many of them. Similarly, the other kids sit around talking about what’s wrong with the cool kid: how he dresses, how he’s not that smart, how he didn’t invite them to his cool party. The cool kid has more money, fancier clothes, and a better car than the other kids. He throws the best parties, eats the best food, lives in the nicest house. And all the while, the other kids rightfully insist that none of these things make you a good person.
Most importantly, the other kids think the cool kid is mean because he doesn’t talk to them while he doesn’t think of himself as the coolest kid, he just thinks life is great, the food is tasty, and he’s enjoying it. Just as cool kids don’t identify themselves as such, Toronto doesn’t identify itself as the center of the universe.
I believe in giving credit where it’s due. There are annoyances that come with living in any large city. People tend to be pushier and less friendly, the air is foul, and the streetcar rattles my single-pane window all night. But Toronto, like the cool kid, just has more than smaller cities: more architecture, more restaurants, more theatres, more festivals, more cultures. It’s a product of population density that city-dwellers take advantage of. We in Toronto aren’t self-centered, we just know that Toronto’s filled with culture and art and hedonistic pleasures.
So to the people of Canada: Torontonians don’t think their city is the center of the universe, they were just too busy enjoying Toronto to think about your specific region and what it has to offer.
And to the people of Toronto: the streets are not so crowded that you can’t smile or say hello to people who pass by. Try to be a little nicer.