Sunday, September 30, 2007

Let's All Hate Toronto

People outside of Canada can be excused for not having heard of, or caring about, Canadians' hate-hate relationship with Toronto. The 'world-class city' that never tires of telling you that it's a world-class city, Toronto inspires a particular sort of animosity from Canucks who find the residents to be overbearing, rude, loud, and arrogant. 'Let's All Hate Toronto' is a documentary that explores this phenomenon to hilarious effect, judging by the trailer.

As an American who lived in T.O. for a year, I find the claim that Torontonians are loud and obnoxious to be laughable- this is a city where the only thing you hear on the subway is people nervously saying 'Oh, excuse me'. Canadians, in general, are way too polite. Torontonians aren't rude; they're just not particularly polite. Trust me- live in an American city and you'll understand the difference.

However, it's true that people in Toronto can be fairly self-important. There are too many hipsters there; I love looking at their clothes, but they tend to behave in a very affected way: noses in the air, an expression like they smell something bad everywhere, and a walk that looks as if they have a gold doubloon between their buttocks and are afraid of dropping it. It's a lot like Manhattan actually! Visiting Toronto bars can be much like being in High School again, with insufferable twits giving you their well-rehearsed 'withering' stare while you try to avoid them. On the other hand, I've sort of developed an immunity to pomposity as I've gotten older; just remember: that 'hottie' who is trying to convey that she's 'out of your league' when you're really just trying to get by her to go to the bathroom? Well, that's pretty much all she's got.

So, I think that you need to ignore the 30-something High School kids and love Toronto for what it is- an extremely diverse city with a thriving cultural scene. For Claire and I, who live in a less-thriving city, it's sort of like going to Disneyland. I had a blast last night. Toronto residents could stand to be reminded daily that the greatest city in Canada- and the one that all of you 'foreigners' need to see when you come here- is Montreal. And they could definitely stand to visit Paris and Manhattan more often, to see actual 'world-class' cities. But, in the end, there's a hell of a lot to love in Toronto, and little reason to actually hate it.

Note: I took the photo from the roof of our friends' apartment. From the ground, it's not so obvious how tall the CN Tower is: In fact, I barely noticed the thing until my parents visited and wanted to visit it!


gregvw said...

My only encounter with Toronto was on a family vacation when I was relatively young (say mid cretaceous era). I don't recall it being particularly hateful and it was, at the time, a good deal cleaner than any U.S. city of comparable size.

Rufus said...

Yeah, Torontonians are only rude by Canadian standards; when they accidentally bump into you on the sidewalk, they fail to take you home and make you pancakes.

It definitely is a clean city. However, when I lived there, I did get tired of people from the city asking me if I had noticed how clean it is. After a while, I started wanting to litter.