Introducing the best of Toronto, Canada

Being that I am grounded with no immediate travel plans in the foreseeable future, I’ve decided that it’s time to redirect this blog to perhaps focus in a little more the concept of a staycation, and explore sights and activities within my home city. I recently achieved a milestone of 100 posts on I’ve Bean Travelling and noticed that I have only written one entry about Toronto in all this time!

I was also reviewing my WordPress stats and was amazed to see that the readership of this blog is incredibly international, so there’s a decent probability that many people who visit the site have little idea of where Toronto is or what you can find here.

From the United States to Brunei, the international readership of I’ve Bean Travelling

Therefore, this new section of the blog will now serve as my civic duty to promote the best of my home city: Toronto, Canada. Here are a few fun tidbits to start us off.

Toronto is the largest city in Canada, but it’s not the capital.

With 2.9 million people in the city centre and 6.3 million in the surrounding region, Toronto is the most populous city in Canada. It is the capital of the province of Ontario, but for those of you not as well versed on Canadian geopolitics, it is actually not the capital of the country. That designation goes to Ottawa, where I lived for a couple years. Ottawa is a classic government town where everything closes by 5 pm so that people can rush home to the suburbs and take their medications, whereas Toronto is much more lively with its night life and entertainment scene.

Big crowds at the 2019 Raptors championship parade. (Source)
Toronto is legitimately one of the most multicultural cities in the world.

Toronto’s diversity is one of its top points of pride. Over 50% of its residents are classified as visible minorities, and more than 200 ethnic groups are represented by the city’s inhabitants. I truly appreciated the multiculturalism of Toronto when I moved away for four years to live at the other end of the country in Vancouver, British Columbia, a city that markets itself as a world class multicultural destination but is in fact far from it (with a lot more aggressive racism than I expected). The diversity of Toronto is reflected in its multiple ethnic enclaves and neighbourhoods, and especially in its food! Several years ago, my work colleagues started a summer tradition of trying out a different ethnic cuisine every week and never fell short on ideas for restaurants to visit. Mr. Chuckles and I have discovered many great spots ourselves, which I’ll have to write about in another post.

Diversity is our strength. (Source)
Toronto has been given many nicknames, but please don’t ever call it “The 6ix”.

T.O./T-Dot. The Big Smoke. 416. Hogtown. Those are but a few of the many nicknames that have been bestowed on this city. For many years, Canadian rapper Drake (also forever known as Wheelchair Jimmy from Degrassi) has attempted to popularize “The 6ix” as a nickname to reflect Toronto’s six boroughs. If you are a real Torontonian or simply want to avoid sounding like a doofus, never – and I mean never – refer to Toronto by this moniker. The only people I’ve ever heard using the term are bro dudes from the suburbs located nowhere near Toronto proper. Don’t be like them!

Please, no. (Source)
Many native Torontonians have never visited the city’s most iconic landmark, the CN Tower.

I can see it from my home, I’ve photographed it, and I’ve even walked past it many times, but I have never gone up the CN Tower. This is the tallest freestanding structure in North America and was tallest in the world until 2007 when it was surpassed by Burj Khalifa in the United Arab Emirates and subsequently Canton Tower in Guangzhou, China. It is an iconic landmark in Toronto, but I personally do not know any native Torontonian who has gone up there. We never even had school field trips there. 🤷🏻‍♀️ It may actually be worth a visit at least once though, and if I ever make it up I will be sure to let you all in on my experience.

Not my view of the CN Tower. (Source)
It may pale in comparison to other major cities around the world, but Toronto is one of the most livable.

There was a sitcom once where a character proclaimed that Toronto is “just like New York, but without all the stuff!” When I compare my home to other mega urban centres I’ve visited around the world, I do have to admit that it is relatively humble. It is certainly no New York City or Tokyo. However, I am happy to live here, in a city that has a low crime rate, that is clean, and where I have access to publicly funded healthcare. We have plenty of nice green space including a beautiful waterfront, and when we are not in the midst of a pandemic lockdown, there is a lot to do and see that keeps us well entertained. The people here may be known for being a bit cold, but they are generally polite and the population is big and diverse enough that there is somewhere for most people to fit in. 😉

Toronto. (Source)

12 thoughts on “Introducing the best of Toronto, Canada

  1. Love this post, I have been to Toronto a couple times and I learned to appreciate different aspects each time I went. My first time I was with a couple friends so we did the touristy stuff, and man CN tower was packed. Appreciated the great public transportation system you guys have. I went again at the end of 2018 and was able to do a lot of stuff without public transit because my airbnb location was kind of far from everything, so walked or took lyft. Would definitely go back. Also thanks for warning me about not calling Toronto the 6ix, I thought it was common and use to tag it that…oops, now I know better.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They’ve tried to push the “6ix” nickname for years but it has never caught on with the real locals. It’s kind of like how people from San Francisco apparently never refer to their city as “San Fran” despite all the tourists using the term.

      Like

      1. I just call it SF. I used to call it Bay Area too but thats a generic term. I just hate how it seems like California is only two cities, SF and LA. I live in Sacramento and I have to pretty much say its 2 hours from SF. I’ll just call it Toronto or TO from here on out. I think I only referred to it as the 6ix on instagram.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Great read, I’ve only heard good things about Toronto so it’s definitely on my list to visit in the near future. I’ll be sure to avoid calling it the 6ix too!

    Also, I think not doing the big tourist thing is quite common in places you live. You can theoretically go up the CN tower anytime so consequently it’s always something for tomorrow and never happens haha.

    Liked by 1 person

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