I’ve spent the last four days in Toronto. It struck me more than ever, that even though I was born there, I don’t belong there.
Toronto is an amazing city, but like with any large city, there is the good, the bad and the ugly.
Toronto the good
Stunning skyscrapers, lakefront paths and parks, festivals and events, fine dining and shopping, and people of every faith, race, culture living for the most part in respectful harmony.
Toronto the bad
Relentless traffic, air pollution, soaring housing prices, long commutes and endangered greenspace from concrete sprawl.
Toronto the ugly
Poverty, homelessness, and indifference. Both days, walking the few blocks to my course in the financial district, I walked past at least a dozen people sleeping on the street. One man was lying in the middle of the sidewalk sideways and was so still, he could have been dead. Everyone, EVERYONE including me stepped around him and walked by. I’m still ashamed.
This week’s #HappyAct is know where you belong. United Ways across the country are kicking off their campaigns. Get involved, give and help change lives locally where you belong.
4 thoughts on “Know where you belong”
So interesting to see we have such different impressions of Toronto. Of course downtown can do that to you. Get a little outside the core and it’s a whole different world. Or more accurately, dozens of different ones. Where I live, a 30 minute ride by transit (20 by bike, 15 by car) from the area you were, I’m surrounded by wooded ravines (which, by law, can never be developed) and pay 60% of the rent I paid for our space in the Distillery – just a few blocks from where you were.
I encourage you to come back and experience more of the city sometime. You might find you like it more than your one visit downtown led you to think. Here are some of my own experiences here that form my impression:
Thanks so much for all those great suggestions, Todd, and don’t get me wrong, there are areas of Toronto I do love….High Park, the Beach (which will always be The Beaches to me), Harbourfront, old Kensington area. My husband used to work at York Cemetery and Mount Pleasant Cemetery and they are often forgotten gems in the heart of the city.
I love all those places.
Coincidentally last weekend I went near where you were – downtown Yonge Street area between King and College and saw everything you talked about. It really showed me how this is less a city and more a massive collection of neighborhoods. So many different ones.
The funny thing is, when you get to the place where you belong you know it automatically! I feel that is what life experience teaches you. For example, after my first rehearsal with the Oakville Symphony I came home and announced to Gary “I am with my people “. It just felt so natural and comfortable.