Toronto is what a wildly optimistic and naive grandmother might imagine New York City was like.
It’s fun, but not too much fun. It’s big, but spread out, a “huh” amount of beautiful greenery poking up around buildings. There’s hamburgers, and Mexican food, and it’s open late and has cool looking buildings. It’s a contradiction of sorts, a mild, toned down international hub. Don’t get it twisted: a watered down shadow of New York City has a few advantages over the original. For example, I got the feeling that Toronto is probably one of the greatest cities you could ever raise a child in. For comparison, it should be illegal to make children grow up in New York, which is essentially a garbage-prison made of madness and wealth, stirred into a frenzy of ambition.
Toronto isn’t lame, either. Okay, mostly not, but it’s endearing. Tattooed, smoking posses of teens will still push past you late at night, piercings jangling in the night, but they will mutter “sorry” as they do. There’s something wildly endearing in that.
Here’s what else Toronto has going for it:
*Cold enough to give you a well earned swagger of survival.
*You get to pay in Monopoly money which makes everything feel cheaper than it is.
*Comforting knowledge that, as an American, you are allowed one (1) felony that the government has to hush up.
*Can communicate psychically with Drake
And there’s more, of course. It’s an adventure that you can wrap up, a flexible city that can be used for parties, for visiting friends, or even for clearing your head in a beautiful country that just seems to have its priorities better than you do.
Take Porter airlines if you can. They serve free cookies, free chips, free alcohol and they have a lounge with a “help yourself” bar of drinks. I’m drinking coffee, nibbling almonds, and it’s free. That’s all well and good but it speaks of a country-wide appreciation for the little things that just make sense. Canada is less eager to bleed you for the sake of its own possibility. There’s water you can drink, and the implication is that charging $3 for a bottle of water would have cost them in other currencies, mainly dignity and kindness, which they seem to value here.
What else? Based on my incredibly short stay in Toronto, I can vouch for a few more advantages to this Northern city.
*Everything is also in French, in case you’re trying to accidentally learn another language for no real reason.
*Poutine is a thing you can get here
*If you need an excuse to drink at brunch, and also to have multiple brunches, remember that you’re in another country and you have to get the full experience.
*Slightly higher chance Drake will recognize you here.
So come on up and give it a shot. Bring your passport and tell everyone you’re going on an international trip to clear your head. Pack a sarcastic amount of warm clothing because you’re going to need it. Drink slightly different beers and eat fantastic food and walk around a new city, a new country, and recalibrate what your life could be.
Also, ice your American passport out like a diamond necklace and swing it around. Might as well, right?