Friday, September 14, 2012

(Or how I learned to stop worrying and love Toronto)

College Street in Little Italy. Empty.
No one to ask the girl in glasses
-- "She must know!" -- for directions.
The Toronto International Film Festival, International Festival of Authors, Nuit Blanche, sweaters in the stores and in colours inspired by wine, the end of allergy season, the windows of my place finally getting cleaned (thank you condo board, you disorganized thugs)… This is the time of year when I fall back in love with Toronto.

I wanted to run away from this city for most of the summer. It was too hot and too small, every single tourist was asking my glasses for directions, the AC vent by my subway stop was every day blowing a harassing wind up my skirt, and I was dreaming such beautiful dreams about Broadway, Barter Books and the ocean. But fall is coming, my favourite season out of the four, and I’m feeling my heart grow two sizes bigger for the city I was just itching to get the hell out of. And it was an animal itch, let me tell you, the kind that makes bears rub themselves raw on trees.

The energy here this time of year always wins me back. There’s a real pride about the place and about the culture pouring out of the buildings downtown. (And the laptops, oh my, they are taking over the cafes. They are covered in coffee and ideas.) So for now, I’ve stopped looking for a way out and I’m noticing the good things. That there’s Thai food on every corner. Gluten-free vegan pizza pockets. Writers and readers and artists. Free TVOntario (if you’ve an antenna that’s clever enough to catch it).

So the bear inside me has stopped itching and clawing. He’s in a hibernation of sorts, happy, for now, in his heavily mortgaged cave. Although I can still hear whispers from New York, LA, London and Paris, I’m going to rest now and hope this feeling gets me through the winter.

The teenaged cast of the film Foxfire. The world
premiere at TIFF. They were the happiest of prom queens. 

5 comments:

  1. I have to say, I really love Toronto. In fact, two of my favorite cities in North America are Toronto + Montréal for totally different reasons. I really loved people watching in Eton Place + walking around the warehouse district + Kensington Market is great. And there's so much Thai food it's amazing--you're totally right. Also, it's clean + safe + the people are so friendly. I even like the trolley. It's a great city. Glad to see you embracing it.

    Peace, Blessings,

    -j1b

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    1. Yeah, it's a very liveable, cool city. I just forget that every now and then. I love that you called our streetcars "trolleys," by the way. In Toronto they're usually referred to as the "where-the-#^€#!-is-the-fu%#ing-goddamn streetcar(s)???"

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    2. Oh, yeah, that's right. Streetcar. That's a long nickname for a streetcar! It may sound strange, but ever since I first visited Toronto, Montréal + Québec city back in 1994, I've pretty much loved Canada. I STILL harbor dreams about living in Toronto, teaching creative writing at U of T (which I applied to for a M.A program, by the way) + taking the train to Québec city + speaking French for days on end (même si le français que je parle n'est pas très québecois, ni parisien non plus!).

      Canadian daydream #2: Living in Montréal + teaching CW at McGill. Someday, man. By the way, have you listened to Stars new album, "The North?" They're one of my favorite bands out of Montréal. If you don't know them, definitely check them out. The album makes several references to how damn cold Canada is, but also, how hard it is to leave as well.

      Be well.

      Peace, Blessings,

      -j1b

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    3. I LOVE Stars! One of my country's best bands in my opinion. Glad to see they've crossed the border. You should definitely come to Toronto again soon. We could do an apartment swap or something. I'll probably be sick of Toronto again in a month or so...

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    4. Yes, totally! I remember telling one of my friend's boyfriends that two of the best bands in the whole world are from Montréal (though technically, Stars is from Toronto before they moved), Stars + Arcade Fire + he just gave me blank look.

      Actually, LB + I saw stars in LA live at the Wiltern, which was like 5 blocks away from our apartment + they were so damn good. They gave like an hour and 1/2 concert, pushing almost two hours. Ha, you're more than welcome to kick it with us in Chicago anytime. I remember being in Toronto in March of 2006 + it was fucking freezing! But at least the air (+ the city) was clean, the people were cool + I felt healthy. LA has great light, but you can actually start feeling the pollution in your lungs after a week. Not good. Give me a sleazy block on St. Dénis street or fresh garlic Naan breed in the Kensington Market any day of the week, man!

      -j1b

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