Toronto has been under a lot of heat lately, all thanks to a certain mayor, but there are awesome things about Toronto that make the city a beautiful place. I’m not just saying this because I’m from Canada’s largest city, but because there are so many times when my friends and I have just sat down and talked about how lucky we are to be from this great city. So without further ado, here are 11 awesome things about Toronto that you should know about.
Toronto is the proud home to many a worldwide talent, and one of the awesome things about Toronto is that we’ve spawned some pretty amazing individuals. There’s the list of musicians: Drake, Metric, Deadmau5, Walk The Earth, K’Naan (and for those keeping track, I could site Bieber as being from Startford, about 6 hours away from Toronto). There are the models: Coco Rocha and Jessica Stam. The actors: Rachel McAdams, Ryan Gosling (shall I repeat that again? Ryan Gosling), Neve Campbell, and Malin Ackerman; really I could go on and on, but you get the gist.
Pride Week is just one of the many awesome things about Toronto that you should know about. Not only is this the largest of its kind in the world that solely focuses on celebrating diversity and the LGBTQ community, it was one of the first events in North America simply because the rest of the world just hadn’t caught up yet in this cultural revolution. Toronto’s Pride Week is now over 30 years old, which in the grand scheme of things, is pretty admirable. Plus, Canada as a whole was the first country outside Europe to legalize gay marriage, Ontario being the first province to do so, and Toronto being where the first gay marriage happened. High five Toronto!
If you Google ‘the most multicultural city in the world’ Toronto is the first one that comes up. One of the most awesome things about Toronto, at least from my point of view, is that you can walk around downtown, and never know who’s a resident and who’s a tourist – that is unless they have a map held up in front of their faces with a giant camera strapped around their neck! Let’s just get real and look at the numbers here for a second. With over 2.79 million people in the city, there are over 140 dialects that are spoken. That’s insane! If there’s ever a place you need to go to feel like you’re at home, Toronto is it.
TIFF is the largest film festival in the world, and now one of the most prestigious in the industry. The films, stars, and stories that come out of this week and half long event is astounding. Some of the biggest movies in the world have premiered at TIFF, and gone on to win some of the top honours at the Oscars. Take this for instance: Silver Linings Playbook, The King’s Speech, Crash, and Argo all premiered here, and each one of those films walked away with at least one Oscar. Not only that, but it’s also the largest publically attended festival of the world, meaning it’s not just closed off to celebrities and media - anyone who has a ticket can watch a film. That’s how I ended up watching The Kings Speech with Rachel McAdams in the same room, and encounters such as this is just one of the awesome things about Toronto that the world should know about!
Now take this with a grain of salt, because we all know every city, especially when it comes to sports, pledges an undying loyalty to their teams. What makes Toronto fans stick out is just how steadfastly they support their teams. Be it the Leafs, the Raptors or the Blue Jays, I cannot tell you how many times the city gets so excited about how close they are to the quarter finals, the playoffs, to anything, and we just somehow always seem to miss it. I love my city, and I love my sports teams, but it never ceases to amaze me that one of the most awesome things about Toronto is how no matter what, our fans will continually support their team, even if they get made fun of it, constantly.
Through my college years, my friends and I have concluded one thing – in order to truly love Toronto, you need to have lived there. There are so many places and buildings that are completely discreet, but come alive the second you walk through doors. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve walked past a building during the day, only to try to locate it during the night, and finally arrive there going – oh, this is what’s behind these walls! One of the awesome things about Toronto is that in order to truly experience all the city has to offer, you need to be willing to explore. You never know what adventures may be waiting for you!
It’s no secret that Torontonians love to eat. So much so that the city has created hundreds of events dedicated to just that. The two main ones are Summerlicious and Winterlicious, two food festivals that run during the start of July and February, respectively. All these two events do is allow people to go out to those fancy high-end restaurants that we only ogle at as we walk by, and eat their delicious food for a super discounted price. This happens with hundreds of restaurants across the city, and it’s a magical, magical time for foodies. Especially since Toronto is steadily becoming one of the gourmet food capitals of the world. Anything food related in my eyes, counts as one of the most awesome things about Toronto.
It’s widely said that Canada is home to some of the nicest people in the world. Being from Canada I don’t know how much I can attest to that, seeing as I haven’t been everywhere in the world yet, but I suppose as people go, we’re not a bad bunch! Toronto is the melting pot of the country, and you will meet some of the most amazing people here. The stories you’ll here from them, the places they have seen, and they all come together in this city somehow and share their experiences and wealth of knowledge with us. Culturally, one of the awesome things about Toronto is just how much people grow and learn, just by talking to one another.
Go ahead, try it - no luck? Just say ‘Strombo.’ George Stroumboulopoulos is a local icon, and if you’re a true Torontonian, you’ll have absolutely no problem pronouncing this ridiculously long, strange-looking last name. Perhaps one of the most ridiculously awesome things about Toronto is that we grew up exposed to all kinds of cool people and crazy last names. Strombo was a former Much Music VJ, and now hosts his own show, George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight, and any time you want, if a show is taping you can get tickets online – they’re free – and just drop in and be a part of the audience. I went there with a friend once when he interviewed Pink, and yes, it was super, super cool.
That’s right, one of the things on the list of 11 awesome things about Toronto is that we have the Toronto Islands, this lovely, offshore escape that takes people from the edge of the city to a little island that boasts one of the most beautiful cityscape shorelines you will ever see. You get ferried across, then you can go tandem biking, park your boat somewhere, take a walk, or if you squint really, really hard, look south to find the little lumps in the distance that is New York. It’s really one of the best escapes from the city when you just want to be a little far from home, but not more than a short ferry-ride away.
Okay, so maybe ‘love’ is a bit too strong a word, but in 2003 Toronto was hit with a blackout that wiped all power throughout the city, and every person who was here during that time will have an awesome story to tell you about it. Why? Because when the blackout hit, instead of panicking, Toronto did the opposite – we partied. That’s right, we found any kind of light source we had, gathered up with friends, strangers, whoever, and just chilled out. That’s one of the awesome things about Toronto, we’ll take situations like a city-wide power cut and make it one of the best nights ever, in the most positive way. If you know a better way to react to a blackout, let us know! Chances are we’d join you if we could!
Every city has its own great points, and despite Toronto getting world-wide attention for something that isn’t the most positive, this city is so much more than a few antics of a single individual. Anyone who has been to this city can tell you just how much they love it here, and what they loved most. Of all my friends who came here from another country, be it to study, settle down in, or start a new life have said one thing – Toronto is wonderful. So tell me, did I miss any other awesome things about Toronto?
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