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I’m writing this as I watch the Rob Ford gong-show unfold live on TV. We’re awaiting an announcement from Mayor Ford himself (post his admission of using crack cocaine) and this unfortunate Toronto scandal is the top story on CNN. Not exactly the kind of media attention Torontonians hope for.
And so without further ado…I bring you 33 Reasons to Still Love Toronto:
- You can be almost anywhere in the world in just a quick trip on the streetcar. From our world-class Chinatown, to our own Little Italy, Little India and Greek-town, Toronto is one of the most diverse cities in the wold, and truly represents what a multi-cultural city can be.
- We have a festival for everyone. From the Toronto Beer Festival, to world-class jazz festivals, rib festivals and one of the biggest Pride parades in the world, there’s something for everyone (at least in the summer months).
- Omnomnom.….Authentic Mexican? Fancy shmancy date-night dining? Down-home comfort food? Cash-only no reservation hipster restaurants? We’ve got you covered.
- We’re a pretty-easy-going bunch. There’s a chicken coop behind my house (I live downtown) and no one bothers to report the neighbours. The day one of the chickens escaped? Just a fun thing to talk about with the neighbours. And although we don’t condone crack if you are running the city, smoking pot in public is generally greeted with blase indifference. By the police.
- Cottage-living within the city. From boating to kayaking to a campfire on the beach, Toronto Island allows us to get away from urban life in just a 10-minute ferry-ride.
- Toronto puppy-love. We’ve got indoor and outdoor dog parks and North America’s largest dog festival (Woofstock)…and we poop and scoop.
- There’s a white squirrel running around Trinity Bellwoods park. Awesome.
- The Toronto Film Festival. Need I say more?
- Toronto has a low crime rate–it was ranked as the safest large metropolitan area in North America. (Despite what’s been in the news this week – and technically, Ford is from Etobicoke, not Toronto).
- We’ve some great historical architecture (at least when we don’t tear it down). And while we possibly have too many glass towers (damn realtors), Toronto native Frank Gehry‘s AGO reno is only the first of his plans downtown.
- Despite letting us down year after year , you can’t find more loyal fans than the Toronto Maple Leaf fans. There’s nothing like the hockey optimism that takes over our city every fall.
- Our scandals sometimes revolve around the IKEA monkey and that’s way more representative of Toronto than a crack scandal.
- Honest Ed’s. Until it gets replaced by a condo (boo), Honest Ed’s is a fun way to spend an afternoon.
- Want some cultcha? Yea, we’ve got that. And not just during Nuit Blanche.
- Toronto’s City Hall was on Star Trek. Look it up.
- The annual Pumpkin parade at Sorauren Park, where 1,000 people line-up their pumpkins just for fun.
- We have North America’s first bacon restaurant (Rashers in Leslieville).
- …And we kind of took the poutine baton from Quebec and ran with it.
- You can eat dinner at 2 AM and it isn’t just McDonalds.
- Patio Season. The minute the thermometer moves past 10 degrees, we don our shorts (and hoodies) and hit the patio for a pint.
- We apologize to the squeegee kids when we have no change to give them.
- We’re generally kind to our cyclists (I once heard we have more cyclists per capita than Vancouver).
- The St Lawrence Market, (ranked the world’s best food market) serves the city’s best peameal bacon sandwich.
- Toronto is home to the longest street in the world (Yonge Street). Come on, you knew that had to make this list.
- Hollywood celebrities like us, and not just when they’re here filming movies and Toronto is masquerading for New York.
- Keiffer Sutherland has a house in Roncesvalles, Rachel MacAdams lives in the Annex, Prince has a house in the Bridle Path and Mark Walberg just bought a condo in Yorkville. And of course Drake just sold his condo and was spotted last week hanging out at open houses in Forest Hill.
- We’re musical: Robbie Robertson. Liona Boyd. Jim Cuddy. Joni Mitchell. Kim Mitchell. Glenn Gould. Geddy Lee. Drake. Feist. Maestro Fresh Wes. Choclair. Oh yeah, and Neil Young.
- We can act: Brendan Fraser (who our own Brendan went to high school with). Lisa Ray (Brendan’s fave). Keanu Reeves (probably Mel’s fave)….
- Insulin. Conrad Black. (OK, maybe not Conrad). Pablum. Marshall McLuhan. Margaret Atwood. David Cronenberg. Dennis Lee. Tom Thompson.
- We’re funny as sh&t: John Candy, Jim Carrey, Eugene Levy, Rick Moranis, Russell Peters, Lorne Michaels.
- Over 140 office buildings downtown are cooled with deep water pulled from Lake Ontario (including a brewery!)
- The Fairmont Hotel has over 300,000 bees living on the roof. The honey they produce is used in the hotel bar’s cocktails!
- The CN Tower. With a glass floor at 113 stories!
I had truly hoped when I set out to make this list a few hours ago, that my final reason to love Toronto would be because we were about to put the Rob Ford days behind us and move on. Alas, that day does not appear to be today.
Back to real estate and a double offer night….