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Tossing Pebbles in the Stream

This blog is my place to sit and toss pebbles into the stream. The stream of Life relentlessly passing before us. We can affect it little. For the most part I just watch it passing and follow the flow. Occasionally, I need to comment on its passing, tossing a pebble at it to enjoy the ripple affect upon Life's surface.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Toronto: An Civilized City

Toronto is the Canadian city that I know best. I grew up near it and saw it develop from a stuffy British puritanical city to the vibrant, multicultural , culturally rich and progressive city it is today. I have always liked the best that Toronto has to offer. When I was young their were few cultural venues to enjoy. I used to go to the Crest theatre, one of the few professional theatre companies at the time. Other than that there was Maple Leaf Gardens for hockey, wrestling, and concerts , or so it seemed to me. I do know, you could do nothing on a Sunday, as the city was locked down. Now there is a multitude of cultural institutions , as well as venues for opera, ballet and large theatre productions.

I will not sing Toronto's praise but I encourage you to read this article by an American visitor that is embarassingly glowing, although quite accurate. Toronto as a city reflects in it's lifestyle many Canadian values including multiculturalism and civility. The author of this piece obviously has in her mind the contrast with the US cultural values and its cities .

Enough said. For those who do not know Toronto or Canada well you would finds this article informative.

Toronto is not the best city in Canada. It is in fact the city the rest of Canada loved to hate. Vancouver usually ranks among the best cities in the World. Montreal is also a liveable, culturally rich and vibrant city. If I were looking for a Canadian city to live in it would be Ottawa, our National Capital which is smaller with the wonderful country side close at hand. It is not only the center of government but is disproportionately culturally rich with may of our National cultural institutions there. If I were fluent in French , I think Quebec city with it old world French charm (celebrating 400 years of settlement this year.) would be a lovely place to live. There are others, Halifax, Calagary Edmonton and Victoria. (Sorry if I left your city out). They all share Canadian values of civility based on the Canadian historic commitment to "peace, order and good government."

(click on photo to enlarge)

Here is Toronto's skyline with it's phallic CN Tower and the womb like sports venue next door, which on a summer day slowly opens its roof to everone's pleasure . These are very visible symbols fo Toronto's vitality. If you click on the photo and enlarge it your will see a low building with a half round green copper roof, in front of the black towers in the middle. This is the grand old hotel, The Royal York, when I was young it was still the tallest building in the British Empire. Most of the tall buildings in behind are bank buildings and other financial institutions. How time has moved on.

One of the nicest things about Toronto is life on the Harbour. The Toronto Islands are a pleasant refuge from the hubbub of the city, easily accessible by a short ferry ride. It is Toronto's playground, site of many cultural summer events, and places for everyone from a nude beach to sailing clubs to the family small scale amusement park, Centreville.

If I were considering urban life it would be to live in the heart of a city where you would not need an automobile and could easily access the culturally rich offerings of city life on good public transit. Toronto is such a city.

I offer a couple of more web sites I found interesting which you might enjoy. This is a portal site to literature that has used Toronto as part of its story line. What an interesting was to get to know a city: how it was preceived by writer with both its warts and glories over the years. This is a photographic site which has a series of photographs of Torontonians describing what they like about living in their city.

I hope you linger long on the hyperlinked sites in this piece and get to know Toronto and Canada a little better.


At 6:55 p.m., Blogger Neva said...

I was in Toronto 32 years ago and we loved it....unfortunately, we haven't made it back to Canada ....that was when we lived in Detroit....just across the river from Windsor....but we will be coming to Montreal in July for a family wedding....can't wait to see how we like that city!

At 9:53 p.m., Blogger Tee said...

Toronto seems like a great city. I enjoyed reading about it here. I learned a lot.

Why do Canadians love to hate it?

At 3:39 a.m., Blogger Gattina said...

Very interesting post ! I have never been really in Canada only at the Niagara Falls on the Canadian side, but I know quite a few of Belgians who work for the moment in Montreal. My son wants to spend his summer holidays around Vancouver and drive down to Seattle where he has a friend.
Today we celebrate The Three Kings day in Belgium, so come over and have a slice of the "Galette" !
BTW if you want to read a little more about Belgium you should try my "Countries & Cities" Blog.I just made an index to allow people to find the posts more easy.

At 9:50 a.m., Blogger Rhea said...

I grew up in New Jersey but nearly every summer my family vacationed in Canada. I love Toronto for its multicultural-ness and the great neighborhoods but I don't find it very pretty. I have always wanted to see Vancouver. I feel as if I will love it when I do get there! Interesting to read about Ottawa. I was there as a kid but can't remember it well.

At 10:26 a.m., Blogger Anvilcloud said...

I moved to Toronto, actually Cooksville, from Montreal in 1962. It was a difficult move for me at that age, and I had a lot of negative feelings back then. But that was then. Still, I prefer living where i do.

At 1:16 a.m., Blogger Alyssa said...

Toronto sounds really interesting and the Islands must be so nice as a get-away. What a neat city. Maybe I'll be able to visit it someday. Very informative post.

At 5:43 p.m., Blogger Gretchen said...

We love visiting Toronto. We were last there for the 2000 Canadian Olympic gymnastics' trials. (I was the only foreign photographer approved for credentials!!!)

We love the city. The food is incredible and the people were very friendly.

At 9:42 a.m., Blogger possum said...

The few times we have been in Ontario, we have always bypassed Toronto. I hate cities, basically, but we LOVED Ottawa! I have been to many cities all around the world, and I have to say Ottawa was definitely the cleanest and nicest place to visit of all. I still have to hand it to Istanbul for being the most interesting, tho.
I had to read your blog, leave it, go to someone else's and then come back to yours in order to get the comment section to come up. You are right, the music interfers with people leaving comments. A couple of my friends have tried to access your comment page and have just given up. So, you probably have a number of readers who don't ever comment. Most of mine email me - they say it is just easier. Go figure!

At 10:17 a.m., Blogger Julie said...

I love learning about Canada from you... thanks!

At 7:34 p.m., Blogger Mary said...


I am not a person for big cities and don't go to Toronto often. However, it is rich in culture.

I am just a small town girl who would enjoy living in an even smaller city than I do today. Country living is for me and I love news of your home on the edge of Temagami.


At 11:47 a.m., Anonymous casey said...

LOL...the canadians who hate it are jealous methinks. I am Canadian....born and raised in a small northern community. I have been to every major Canadian city, and Toronto and Halifax are my favourites.

Toronto is lovely summer and winter. I cannot wait to go back and visit in the summer.


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