My hometown turns 175 today and for all of its failings, I still love it and call it home.There are glitzier cities. More cosmopolitan ones. More quaint towns. More historic and more beautiful ones but Toronto always remains tops for me. As for most of us, home is where the heart is.
Toronto is like a mini-New York but take one turn on one of its main downtown streets and you will feel like you are in Italy, China, Portugal or downtown London.
I know most Canadian hate it, some of that is well deserved but for the most part, it is jealousy. For a lot small town Canada, Toronto can be a scary place. For other cities, Toronto has been the big brother they have wanted to beat up on. Montreal is incredible, Vancouver beautiful but Toronto is home for me.
Toronto does have its failings but that comes with growing up. Dangerous crime is on the rise. There are more disenfranchised people. The poor-rich divide grows. Its transit system is stretched and not world class. It has buried most of its history. Traffic is becoming a nightmare in some areas.
The potential for this city is so great. With its arts community, strong volunteer base, multicultural foundation, great food, financial centre and unique street communities and neighbourhoods, Toronto could be so much more, all it needs is civic leaders with vision and not always looking for handouts.
Rome, Barcelona, London, New York, Chicago, Paris. Amsterdam, Tokyo, Mexico City, Los Angeles etc, all are incredible cities with so much to offer and enjoy.
But, when my plane lands at Pearson, or when I drive across the border back on to Canadian soil, I know Toronto and its greatness is waiting for me, calling me home.