See, I will never understand why so many Canadians hate Toronto. Really. I’ve heard so many possible reasons—”They’re jealous,” “They’re right and Toronto truly sucks,” “It’s a country-vs.-city thing,” etc. Of course Toronto has many and various real problems, what with homelessness, the income gap, the cost of living, and the odious Ford brothers; Toronto has beauty and charm I have never seen elsewhere, and that’s the truth.
Toronto welcomed Lisa and me as visitors now many years ago; we first saw it as a getaway place, not too far from Bowling Green, Ohio but in cultural terms light years away. At a certain point we realized we wanted to live here; even seven months after Lisa died I haven’t changed my mind. When you consider the bureaucratic nightmare involved with staying here after the death of a spouse, it’s really pretty much a Catch-22.
Still, when I open the window I can hear the sounds of the West End, the trucks, buses, pedestrian talk. People heading toward the Keele station or planning what to do after the semester ends. It’s lovely, to be honest. Maybe I’ll change my mind at some point, but for now I want to stay right here.
I’d hate to break up with Toronto. We’ve been together a long time now, in total, and to end it now just seems a waste. OK, recently I had a brief little fling with California but as always I came home to Toronto. Life feels different here—a bit like England, occasionally a bit like France, and depending on the neighborhood you might swear you’re in any number of countries. Yet Toronto at its heart is like none of those places. By turns shy and quite serious, generous and pragmatic, sometimes harsh, at other times gentle and sweet, Toronto has its own identity. Sure, these streets could look like New York City, let’s say, but those of us who live here always know better: “Oh, that’s the Silver Dollar, that’s—”
We’ll see what happens re: immigration, but I do love this place; that’s why I stay.