When trying to explain Toronto to non-Torontonians, I find myself saying “it’s like the New York City of Canada.” Recently, I’ve realized that is all a LIE! If anything, New York City is actually the Toronto of the United States. With all its diverse neighbourhoods, Toronto has a personality too big for the five boroughs to handle.
We’ve got the views
And I’m not talking about Toronto-born, Drake‘s album. The CN Tower adds to one of the most recognizable skylines in the world and boasts unparalleled views as one of the world’s tallest buildings, standing at more than half a kilometer high. We even have our own islands (take that, Staten Island!) where you have not only beautiful beaches and green spaces, but the best view of the Toronto skyline!
Yonge-Dundas Square is totally better than Times Square
Toronto’s Yonge-Dundas Square rivals Times Square, except it consumes less energy and has less people haggling you to take photos. You can stand and bask in the lights of Yonge-Dundas Square without anyone bothering you or trying to scam you, making Yonge-Dundas Square much more enjoyable. Ryerson is only one block away from this living, breathing intersection, giving our students bragging rights to say they go to university in the most vibrant centre of Canada. Film crews often use Toronto as a stand-in location for New York City because Toronto is a more affordable city, so bonus points to us for being cool AND affordable!
We’re greener than NYC, London, AND Paris
Don’t let a Canadian winter deceive you. Toronto has more tree cover than some of the most famous cities, ranking fifth in terms of greenness behind Vancouver, Geneva, Seattle, and Sacramento. This means a beautiful spring bloom, lush summer greenery, and breathtaking warm fall colours. High Park has been compared to Central Park, but with a lake that hosts fishing derbies, a zoo, yoga meet-ups, several cafes, cherry blossoms, immaculate landscaping, and a ravine you can hike through, High Park definitely takes the cake.
Bay Street > Wall Street
In Toronto’s Financial District, the buildings reach for the sky as symbols of capitalistic progress in North America’s greatest city. Men and women bustle around the unbelievably clean streets in power suits, talking on phones and swinging briefcases, where CEOs watch from the 72th floor of First Canadian Place, one of North America’s tallest skyscrapers. On the corner of Bay and Dundas you will find the Ted Rogers School of Management, home to Ryerson’s business students, all a few blocks away from the heart of the financial district and their future careers!
Toronto LOVES food
As a vegetarian I’m always surprised by how not veg-friendly the Big Apple is. I don’t have that problem in Toronto, as even our hotdog stands boast veggie dogs, Halal dogs, Polish sausage, AND the classic hotdog!! Toronto has hundreds of food festivals a year with many new ones popping up each year (a Mac ‘n Cheese festival to name one), some of which draw huge crowds like North America’s largest vegetarian fest. Multiethnic neighbourhoods like Little India, Chinatown, Greektown, Little Italy, Koreatown, and many more ensure that any sort of food craving you are having, Toronto can satisfy.
toronto stands with standing rock!!! #noDAPL This is an issue with colonial roots of exploiting the land and lives of indigenous people. It happens in Canada too, as many of our indigenous communities do not have access to clean drinking water, a problem that has been continually ignored by politicians.
Last time I was in New York City (only $15 away via bus!!) I told someone I was from Toronto. “Oh, Toronto,” he said. “That’s like New York City but without all the pee.” And there you have it.