Sometimes my husband dreams of living on a remote island far away where we would live on an isolated beach and have access to high-speed Internet. I can see the appeal. I've had a longing for quiet and beauty, Justin & I really enjoy each other's company, and I can entertain myself working on project after project after project - yum! But anytime I think about moving away from Toronto, I can't imagine it. I feel rather spoiled by this city and all it has to offer.
I love that it's one of the most multicultural cities in the world. Everywhere you go, you can hear a different language spoken. There are little pockets of the city where you can enjoy the sounds and flavours of Italy, Portugal, China, India, Poland, the West Indies and more. I love the access to culture. You can go to the opera, the ballet, the theatre, galleries, all on a grand or an independent scale. We have festivals that range from storytelling to the Fringe to fFida to the Toronto International Film Festival. I love that you can walk in a really residential neighbourhood and down the street find a hip coffee shop, clothing stores, restaurants and bookstores. I love that you can get to all of this without a car. There are parks and gardens, the beaches and the island. There are 3 universities (4 if you count OCAD) and numerous colleges. Anything you want to learn, there will be classes and not just academically. You can study Nia or Capoeira, Tango or tap, cooking or clowning, dowsing or photography. There's way more to this city than I've come close to exploring, and I've lived here a long time.
Now, there are some to living in Toronto. The smog is getting worse and worse, and our streets sure aren't as clean as they used to be. It's a big city, and it can be impersonal (and that's not always a bad thing). We have social issues to resolve: homelessness, poverty, growing gun violence. It's expensive to live here, almost impossibly so if you're a single person wanting to live on their own.
Despite all this, I can't think of anywhere else I'd like to be. Other places may surpass Toronto in a particular area, but I can't think of a place that has as much of what I want. A city may be less expensive but not have the freedom of extensive public transit. It may have more green space, but no cultural scene. And I don't think I'd consider moving away from Canada. For the Olympics, Roots reframed some of the words to our national anthem that made me hear them in a new way, "Canada: true, strong, free" and I thought, yeah, that's it. Without question another plus about Toronto is it's a Canadian city, and Canada feels like home.
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