Toronto (a.k.a. Accordion City)

Fifty Reasons to Love Accordion City



For years, I’ve been singing the praises of Accordion City, which some of you like to refer to it by its nickname, “Toronto”. Yes, it’s a little short on the kind of attractions that make it a big tourist destination, but as my friend Cory Doctorow says: “It may be short on things that make it a great tourism spot, but it makes up for it with things that make it a great place to live.”

And he’s right. Things like solid, stable banks, the fact that everyone bikes, same-sex marriages, the salmagundi of ethnicities, cultures and cuisines, contributions to medicine, community-mindedness, quirky locals and the fact that our film festival saved Slumdog Millionaire from direct-to-DVD purgatory are hardly the stuff of breathless tourism pamphlets and travelogues. But if you’re planning to stay here for a stretch longer than the typical vacation, you’ll soon discover that this city is North America’s unrealized gem, one of the world’s best places to live, work and play.

I plan to write more about this great city in an upcoming series of guides for people coming to town to attend the FutureRuby conference, but in the meantime, Toronto Life is picking up the slack with the cover story of their current issue, titled 50 Reasons to Love Toronto Right Now. If you don’t feel like shelling out ducats for the dead-tree edition, you’re in luck – the article also appears online.


5 replies on “Fifty Reasons to Love Accordion City”

Its true Joey about the huge difference in live vs. visit in Toronto. Someone I knew used to say, “Toronto, great place to live, wouldn’t want to visit.

The cover lede kind of blows, though. Same-old same-old “Toronto sucked before, but now it’s amazing!” attitude from lazy J-school types who don’t know their history. “50 Reason to Love Toronto Now”? Half of those reasons have been present for years.

Banks are safe and solvent? Thank the Bank Act, 1991.
Russell Peters makes fun of his own ethnicity? He’s been doing that since 1989.
We do lung transplants? Been doing it since 1983.
Same-sex marriage? Thank the Civil Marriage Act, 2005.
We have musicians at the centre of the current musical zeitgeist? Always have. Teresa Stratas, Moe Koffman, Glenn Gould, Neil Young, Rush, etc.

I love this city, but I friggin’ hate the local media’s case of ADD. Every couple years we get treated to a “Look how non-boring our city is now!” article or TV show or segment on the nightly news. Put away the “Toronto is boring” strawman. Wars were fought here. History was made here. It has never been a boring joint, not from the day it was founded in 1793. It only appears boring if you’re looking at a little slice of time (say 5 years), and don’t know about anything else that happened here before.

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