An Open Letter To The People Of Toronto

Photo credit: Kayla Rocca
Photo credit: Kayla Rocca

I’ve lived a lot of places in my life, but none feel more like home than Toronto. I am who I am for the time I spent there. It’s where I was able to define myself from as much of a corporate and professional perspective, as I was from a social and personal perspective. It’s where I developed the notion of the person I want to be, the reputation I want associated with me, and the life I want to live.

Yes, there were douchebags around every corner. Yes, the commute on the streetcar each morning was irritating and often colder than humans should ever endure. Yes, I was generally overwhelmed with seemingly un-surmountable constraints standing in the way of my goals. But these were all personal challenges and physical irritations that exist in every city that’s worth living in. Toronto is what we all make of it. It’s a blank canvas that’s full of art, great people, creative expression and inspiration.

People that don’t live there rave about it; they go on and on about how open-minded it is and how friendly of a city it is and how much potential it has. People that live there on the other hand can’t seem find enough wrong with it. They opine that it’s not friendly and not conducive to meeting new people and how it’s impossible to have any sort of creative thoughts realized to their fullest potential. To everyone that’s caught themselves in one of these city-critical rants, the only thing I can say is that you’re probably just not that good at life.

Perhaps that’s harsh. I just have zero patience for people that live in a city that offers as much as Toronto does and can’t figure out how to extract something meaningful from it. My entire life I’ve talked about wanting to live in New York, but I will never have an influence or impact on New York as a city. Toronto is so fucking rad because interesting people with interesting ideas can still have an impact on how the city’s cultural ethos is defined. It is sitting on the brink of it’s own cultural renaissance, waiting for good, intelligent, creative people to realize it’s potential.

This is certainly not discounting the efforts put forth by the many forward thinkers and inspirational characters that have completely transformed how people think about the now re-imagined areas and culturally defining events. This is rather an open criticism of all those people living in Toronto (or any city for that matter) that hate on it. If you’re going to stake an opinion, stake an opinion of pride. Don’t just live there because you grew up there, or because your friends are there, or because you can make good money there; live there because you love it, or don’t live there at all.

Cities are intense. They are all full of ambitious, neurotic, crazy, purposeful people that are all trying to leave their mark on whatever profession, trade, or craft that they participate in. It’s this craziness and intensity that defines the culture of cities though. The issue is when people aren’t aligned towards a common goal of making things better, and instead just end up hating on their home because it’s easier to complain than act. Stop complaining and start defining. Think about what is in front of you and what you have the potential to change for the better. Don’t bitch and complain about how we’ll never be as big as New York, or how we’ll never strike the life-balance of Vancouver (#resentment) and instead join the conversation about how we’re going to continue making things better, rather than just projecting your own insecurities on a city that the rest of us are trying to rally behind.*

…..from the Desk of Dickie

*albeit, from my hammock in Nicaragua Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Matt “Dickie” Dickinson is a Toronto native who four years ago traded his business suit for board shorts and moved to Nicaragua in search of fresh ideas, new experiences, and a lifestyle that better fit with his personality and personal ambitions. He now spends his time surfing, thinking and entertaining, while serving as co-founder and Creative Director of the boutique resort Maderas Village and lifestyle outfitter Maderas Collective. Dickie writes social commentary inspired by conversations from the nightly dinner parties he hosts at the Maderas Village, where he lives with his cat Chester.

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