Why we love Toronto


Spacing asks why people love Toronto from Spacing Magazine.

WARNING: Watching this video may provoke uncontrollable fits of anger. Watch at your own risk.

UPDATE (March 20): For those who don’t get it, I’m joking. We actually don’t hate Toronto that much. It’s a nice city and I enjoy visiting it and gorging on your street meat. Don’t take it so seriously.

But the Leafs still suck. Sorry.

23 thoughts on “Why we love Toronto

  1. Mr. Robertson

    Yikes… They all have extremely annoying whiny-sounding voices. I noticed a lot of what they said applies to Montreal as well though.

    Reply
  2. Jen

    You know — nobody in Toronto ever gets upset when Montreal people talk about how great Montreal is, and how much they love it. Nobody ever. People in Toronto like Montreal.

    Reply
  3. Stan

    I love your site Fagstein, but why on earth do you have a problem with people liking Toronto? Especially the people who gave yor city Spacing Montreal? They love the city they live in. Shouldn’t you be happy about that? Someone above said we should pity them. Really?!?! They seem to like the city for all the right reasons, and as someone said above for similar reasons why people love Montreal.

    Montreal’s arrogance towards Toronto is just silly. As Jen above says, people in Toronto have zero complex about Montreal, while Montrealers seems to live to bash Toronto. I’m back in TO after 7 years at McGill. I loved Montreal but I also love Toronto. It has its problems, much like Montreal does, but I don’t buy into the TOR vs. MTL mentality. Perpetuating it, Mr Fagstein, shows your shallowness.

    And jeez, THEIR FUCKING MAYOR was in the video. They had the city’s top social media guru in there, and one of the city’s best graffiti artists. This attitude displayed in the video is what helped create Spacing, which has one of the best, if not the best, blogs in Montreal nowadays. Instead of wasting your time bashing Toronto, go out on your own and tell us why you and your peeps love Montreal. Nothing is more cynical than dismissing something but having no answer to it.

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  4. Eric Gagne

    Because it is not Ottawa or Quebec City… As a student I worked two summers in Toronto and it was great. I wouldn’t mind go back, if only, you could live well in Toronto with an average salary.

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  5. Amanda

    Actually, I’m quite shocked to see that T.O. actually has some residents who seem as passionate about their city as I am about Montreal! Who knew? I thought everyone in Toronto knowingly sold their soul…but maybe that just applies to ex-Montrealers. :-P

    Then again, judging by their homogenous speech patterns and accents, no one in that video hailed from anywhere near these parts. I suspect if someone did an alternate take comprised of ONLY the ex-Montrealer contingent, you’d get a more complex and perhaps less starry-eyed mix of responses…

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  6. M.B

    I don’t care where you’re from (and you shouldn’t care where I am from) but I was hoping for something more than “Oh, like, there’s art and stuff here” or “I like taking walks.” Ignoring the shallowly boastful tone of the video, (I say shallow since a number of those likable points are things *anybody* from *any* city say they like, or are vague enough that it doesn’t matter), the video–read: not Toronto, hold your cries–favors STYLE over SUBSTANCE. This type of mediocrity can cause fits of anger for some, regardless of where it comes from.

    If you are going to be long-winded, give me something new, and not just a list from a tourism pamphlet read by hipsters at a party. I would have been interested to see, for example, one or more short vignettes rather than “Here is five seconds: say you like the greenery or something.”

    I’m not really sure why people are bringing up the tired MTL/T.O. rivalry. Other than the fact that Steve is a Montrealer, I didn’t notice anything linking the two cities in this post. Those comments attempting to turn it into that invariably come off as unnecessarily defensive.

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  7. Jean Naimard

    What I like in Toronto.

    I like being “downtown”, and walking 3-4 blocks east (or west) and then, wham! bang! you’re in a residential neighbourhood.

    Hopping on a streetcar and riding it in town really makes my day.

    I like the exotic swanky neighbourhoods, my fave being Rosedale.

    The ravines. Oh, the ravines. You walk in the city, then, wham! bang! you’re on a bridge overlooking a dense forest.

    Looking ahead on the track from a subway train is also very nice, and makes up for the bland architecture.

    The lake. It’s just incredible to be in the city, and then look at that infinite expanse of water.

    The Kensington market area.

    Walking on Bloor; you can go forever and never fail to be surprised.

    The huge chinatown.

    But, most important, I like going there 2-3 times a year, knowing that I will be back in Montréal afterwards…

    Reply
  8. Horonymous

    Toronto has been my home since 1986 prior to that I live in Montreal for 23 years. I love both cities. As a bilingual anglophe in the Toronto area, living in the language of Shakespeare and working in la langue de Molière

    Things I miss about Montreal.

    St Catherine Street

    Superior public transit, only Toronto Go transit beat out Montreals for trains and regional service.

    A sense of history and the abundance of histoprical buildings from the 18th & 19th and early 20th century.

    Mount Royal

    Housing prices

    Less traffic.

    Steamies, pouitne, smoked meat and Montreal style sous-marins.

    Old Montreal

    My old friends

    Slower pace

    The Plateau

    In Montreal everything is only 5 minutes away

    Many great places to eat after 3:00 a.m.

    Need a bottle of wine? Off to the dépanneur

    Things I don’t miss about Montreal

    Radio is terrible in Montreal especially Tommy Tommy Schnurmacher at CJAD and CHOM playlist stuck in the 70’s

    The Gazette

    Quebec taxes

    Language argy bargy

    One Chinatown

    L’hiver

    Many more smokers in Montreal

    Things I like about Toronto

    Broadway caliber theater

    Awesome food from all over the world

    More vibrant local music scene

    Many huge parks

    Multiple China towns Spadina, Gerrard and Broadview, Agincourt, Markham & Mississauga

    Milder winter

    The beer store has a huge selection of beers from all over the world.

    The lake

    Everybody in Toronto loves Montreal, except the Canadiens

    More chance of winning 6/49

    Thing I don’t like about Toronto

    A feeling that it has something to prove.

    Traffic

    Housing prices

    You need to know where to go to have a good time. In Montreal it lands in you lap.

    Our Mayor is a goof

    Too much political correctness

    Younge street between the lake and Bloor just doesn’t work.

    People here drive poorly especially when it snows.

    Too many hipsters trying to be cool and avante garde

    With so many Italians in this city why is pizza so crappy in this city?

    Streetcars

    No Laurentians

    Hotter, more humid and longer summer

    In Toronto everything is 25 minutes away

    Leaf fans

    Both cities are great let’s stop the hate.

    Reply
  9. François Coupal

    Well, one thing I like about Toronto is that it is not caugth with a horrendously inefficient and costly hydra-monster of agglomerated cities with 5 (or more) times the actual number of elected officials needed.

    And they got the Fantasia festival too, for which I give lots of points! (Even though I’ll still watch it in Montréal…)

    Reply
  10. MichaelS

    “Uncontrollable fits of anger”? Uncontrollable fits of insecurity, maybe.

    I’ve lived in every province from from Quebec westward, and although this absurd anti-Toronto sentiment seems to be present everywhere, nowhere is the flow of this dreck more constant than from Montreal.

    When I was in Montreal, a lifelong Torontonian visiting me there found herself in a torrent of Toronto-bashing at a party (amazingly, many Montrealers seem to that this is a worthwhile topic — maybe one was Fagstein!) and had no reply except to ask her inquisitors if they thought they would be greeted the same way in Toronto (they wouldn’t). It seems as if people who genuinely like where they are have better things to do than dump on other places; not once since I moved to Toronto have I been subjected to a similar boring conversation about how bad some other city is. In fact, most Torontonians I know love Montreal and will say so (often at great length).

    Words to the effect of ‘Torontonians think their city is better than ours’ are simply projection, and may as well be translated as ‘I’m afraid that Toronto is better than our city.’ So, while Torontonians are making video odes to a place they love, it seems that Montrealers like Fagstein (not all Montrealers, of course) are happy to conduct the same old chorus about someplace else.

    Reply
  11. Torontonian

    There’s a joke that we had the CN Tower built so that
    visiting Montrealers could still look down their noses at us.

    Reply
  12. Todd

    Hmm.. I grew up in Southern Ontario and lived in Toronto for 7 years. When I first moved there I tried to love it. After the first couple of years I gave up on ever loving it and simply tried to like it. After two more years I finally decided that I couldn’t stand it any longer and had to get out. I gave one year notice to my girlfriend, boss, landlord and I left.

    I’ve since lived from Halifax to Vancouver in Canada as well as in the U.S., Scotland and Australia and I must say that the more I’ve moved around, the less I’ve liked Toronto. It’s just such a disappointment as Canada’s so-called ‘number 1’ city. Anal-retentive liquor laws, a regulate everything to death mentality, the endless “Do you think we’re more like New York or Chicago?” debate, World Classaholicism, the butt-ugly subway that barely covers downtown, a streetscape that looks like utter shite (messy urbanism I believe is the latest catch-phrase), the disasterous Condofront, that ‘thing’ named Dundas Square or Toronto Life Square or whatever-I call it Ad Nauseum Square, the lack of passion, the lack of style-I mean, you’d think that after 175 years, Toronto would have something named after it-a food, an architectural style, a SOMETHING!

    I’ve lived in Montréal for less than 3 years and I have finally found a city that I can LIVE in. The casual attitude towards just about everything here is such a breath of fresh air. This city moves to the beat of its own drum and doesn’t try to be like anywhere else, and nowhere else is anything like Montréal. I spent my first St. Jean at Parc Maisonneuve and as I stood there with a giant beer in one hand and a spliff which someone had handed me in the other, 2 cops approached me. Immediately, the guy-raised-in-Ontario reflex kicked in and I thought “OH SHIT! COPS!!”. Fortunately though, it was too late to initiate the Ontario response (ditch beer, joint and run) because as they strolled by, the super-cute female cop wished me “bonne fête!”. If that had of been Toronto, I’d probably be writing this from my cell.

    It has taken me 2 years to feel at home here. Montréal demands a certain commitment from a unilingual anglophone: learn french, but it’s a commitment that’s so worthwhile. I’ve discovered a world of film, music, literature and television that I never knew existed. Toronto makes films posing as anywhere USA because not even Torontonians will watch a Toronto movie. Ditto television shows. Montréal is often used as a stand-in as well, yet it also makes scores of it’s own movies and TV shows that the majority of people here actually watch. Torontonians freak out if they recognise themselves in some US schlockbuster and you just had to be there when Conan O’Brien pulled into town! “What did Conan say? Does he like us? Did he say anything bad?”. It was truly embarrassing. Montréal has also been immortilised in print and in song in both english and french. Toronto? Something notable would have to occur there in order for books or songs to be written.

    Don’t bother hating Toronto, there’s not much there for Montréal to envy. Most of the things that Toronto covets; massive events such as the Olympics, World Fair, Jazz Festival, Just for Laughs; innovative things like bike lanes, bike share, pubic daycare, art in the metro, buried highways, pedestrian streets, public squares.. Montréal has. Even more mundane things such as weekly garbage pickup, sidewalk/bike lane snow clearance, 311 service, affordable museums, beer/wine in corner stores.. just dreams in Toronto. And they’ll never have a Vieux-Montréal, Vieux-Port, Mont Royal, Parc Jean-Drapeau..

    Leave them to suffer with their lack of identity, beer stores and anal anti-fun laws!

    And next time you’re there, check out their third-world wooden telegraph poles. Magnificently ugly!

    Reply
    1. Nigel Turner

      Todd, I feel quite sorry for you because you sound so bitterly miserably, in fact so much so that I find it quite hard to believe that you are actually happy in Montreal, a city were English speakers are second class citizens that will never find a job paying more then minimum wage. I found this blog because I have just returned from Montreal, a city where the population is so angry that they feel the need to attack every and anyone that they cross paths with, including elbowing and shouldering others while walking on the sidewalk, playing cat and mouse with pedestrians at crosswalks, being rude and obnoxious with any other peoples that are not from Quebec, particularly Americans and people from Toronto. I also witnessed extreme racism in Montreal and the sort of abuse of different kinds of peoples that is only perpetuated by the most uptight xenophobic narrow-minded insecure people imaginable.

      I also have traveled extensively but my experience and indeed the experience of most people seems to be that of a better appreciation of where one comes from. If you are from Southern Ontario then in fact you are from somewhere in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, the sub region and commuter belt surrounding Toronto that makes up all of Southern Ontario, an area of 10,513,138 people. Due you really condemn all of those people and your own hometown because it’s all very similar to Toronto it’s anchor city. You sound like a self-hater, so of course aggressively enforced unilingual Montreal will hatefully embrace and belittle you as an English speaker from Southern Ontario (Toronto to them). I’m afraid that you have a very rude awakening coming, I hope that all those words that you’ll be eating don’t go down to harshly.

      Reply
  13. Jack Spratt

    Some people like to eat tomatoes, other people like to throw ’em, and even a few like to do both.

    That’s how I feel with Toronto.

    I love it – especially nowadays, it has become much more dynamic than before. The city is alive in so many areas, whereas in Montreal, I feel we are still relegated to the whole st-catherine, plateau scene. It’s a very international city, but it still does lack its own style.

    I love Montreal – the city is so festive in the summer, every day, whereas Toronto doesn’t have as strong a summer scene. We have a great cultural identity here, but it is a bit regional and doesn’t embrace the international enough.

    I like how Todd mentioned the cops thing. Try the same situation but replace you and your buddy with people of colour, or latin americans, or any of the other groups that the Montreal police tend to target (or shoot dead).

    Whatever the case, when you don’t like a place, you will find everything that is wrong with it. But if you like a place, you will find everything that is great with it.

    Reply
  14. paul

    What happened Todd … couldn’t get laid in the Tdot (lol). My, how we prattle. I’ve never seen anyone go on is such length about his contempt for a city. I, like, you have traveled the globe. I was born in Toronto and, yes, I love my city. I love Montreal too. But I don’t think I’ve ever lived or visited a place where I didn’t find something that I liked. A restaurant, a neighborhood, a small shop. You seem like an unhappy child. so inward gazing … little Todd must be satisfied at all costs. Listen up … I love Montreal but it’s yesterday’s city, and that scares the hell out of the people who live there. You can go on and on with your analysis, but its all hollow talk. Torontonians are outward looking. Montrealers live in the past. Yes, there was a time when the city was the tops, Expo, Worlds Fair, European flair blah, blah, blah. It’s still a great city but, come on, it has slipped. Admit it. The economic power in Toronto has left Montreal in the dust … on all levels. You people grasp this romantic notion that your city is the cultural centre of Canada, better restaurants, better nightlife, better people better everything. And that’s all it is …. a romantic notion. Christ …the city can’t even hold onto a baseball team. The amount of Toronto bashing by Montrealers is pitiful …just like little Todd. As I said, Montreal is a great city, but I sure don’t put it on a podium anymore Toronto just has so much more to offer … again. on all levels. (By the way … loved the video).

    Reply
  15. Mario

    I was born and raised in TO, and am now pursuing graduate studies in Montreal.
    I love both cities and I think there are ups and downs to both. Here are some of my ideas if I HAD to complain:

    – Montreal is condensed and smaller. Because of this, the main areas where there is stuff to do is limited to these areas. For the tourist, a wonderland, but for the resident, repetitive.
    – Toronto is more spread out and has more options for “areas” to go to (not debating which areas in each city are more fun, just that there is physically more, in TO)
    – Amazing food in both cities. More ethnic food in TO, hands down.
    – Montreal is more pedestrian friendly. Cyclists own the roads in MTL and TO drivers smash into cyclists with every chance they get.
    – If you make the effort to speak French and have an open mind, Montreal will open up to you with big arms.
    – People in TO don’t give a shit where you’re from or if you’re a tourist. Actually, people in TO don’t really give a shit about anything.
    – Montrealers have pride in their culture and identity, while Torontonians are looking for it. By default people from TO cling to their ethnic heritage rather than being proud “Canadians”.
    – the Anglo-Saxon powers at be in TO aren’t letting the city freagin’ breath! So much potential for greatness in this city but it’s being stifled, stunted, and crapped on.
    – TO can be impersonal and indifferent and the outsider will have to try hard to make the most of the city.
    – Montreal has a local culture and more “European” attitude which reflects in their joie de vivre and in their laws.
    – Racism and xenophobia in TO is a joke. If you have this mentality in this city you won’t survive a week. Not saying that is doesn’t exist, but usually these “people” move the f*ck out and isolate themselves very quickly.
    – In MTL racism and xenophobia are realities (tons of stories to draw from).
    – Old Montreal yes!, Old Toronto? nope!
    – In Montreal you can buy booze almost anywhere =)
    – Girls are hot in both cities. Multiculturalism in each city=guaranteed hotness. French, sounds sexier than English tho :p However, females from different countries living in TO with their unique accents is super sexy too.

    Hard to compare! Both cities are wonderful.

    Reply

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