People say bad things about Toronto. Well, I heard bad things about it.
My two Quebecers roommates couldn’t stop telling me that Toronto was boring, it was not as cool as Montréal and so on. I am sure they took a bet on how long I would stay there! Anyways, I put their speech on the rivalry between the two cities. As known (or as Quebecers told me), Toronto and Montreal do not go along very well and it goes way back, not only because of the Hockey teams. In facts, before the referendum that took place in the mid 1900 to settle Quebec’s destiny about its independence, Montréal was the economic capital of Canada. But when the referendum happened, Ottawa (Canada’s capital) got afraid that they would get their independence and they transferred the economic power to Toronto.
On top of that, I had another roommate in Montreal (a Columbian) that moved to Toronto one month after coming to Canada because he didn’t speak a word of english (neither french for the matter) so he decided to first learn english. And one month (again) later, we learned that he was back in Montreal because he didn’t like Toronto! … That was two days before I left. My Quebecers roommate made fun of me twice harder. I talked about why he moved back with him and he told me that for students, Toronto was not as good as Montréal. I have to say that it is not difficult to believe because there are a lot of students in Montréal. Even if the students are changing every six months (it is mostly exchange students for a short period of time), there is always something to do for students, new people to meet and all. But anyways, I told myself that as I was not a student anymore, it was going to be ok.
With a friend of mine, we took the bus to Toronto ($23, you will hardly find cheaper! Well… We could have paid $13 but we took our tickets one week late that is why), and after a seven hour drive, we arrived. Yesterday, we could visit the city under a beautiful sun. It was cold though but not as cold as Montréal of course. We took a tour down to the lake, then at the bottom of the CN tower and then we finished in the Chinese district where my friend lives. We ended up the day in a very nice bar on Dundas called the Unlovable bar. It is a very small bar but very cute. We met people that were very nice to us.
The city seems very cool too and as safe as Montréal. For now, I don’t understand why people say such bad things about Toronto. YES, it is a big city, YES, there might not be as many students as in Montréal but it IS nice, you have the lake few blocks away, people are nice, you have everything you need at hand reach… I guess we will have to see on the long term what it is like (because it has only been one day) and if finding a job is easy or not but for what I have seen yesterday, I like Toronto.
For our second day, we decided to go to the Toronto Library where most students go to work because we wanted to work on our CV a bit. It was a big surprise because the Library is H-U-G-E. When you enter, you can only look up and it looks a bit like the Guggenheim museum. Stairs going up in a round-way and the upper floors opened in the middle on the ground floor. I have a picture but it won’t give it justice. A lot of people know how much I like libraries and books. This is my new heaven! It is the perfect place to go work and it is not that far from the place I am staying actually.
As my friend and I are new to the city, we decided to meet people by any means (or almost) and a group of people posted a going out idea for a bowling on the internet so we went. The bowling is a very cool place. It looked like a saloon in the decoration with a lot of wood everywhere. There is a floor for bowling and billard, and a floor for eating. There are a lot of TVs everywhere, which is a bit annoying but anyways, it was a cool place. (The Ballroom).
After that we found the ‘Entrepot’ of Toronto. The ‘Entrepot’ is a restaurant/bar in Montreal where all courses are at $5. Here it is called the Warehouse. It is pretty much the same, too loud music for a place to meet people but good music and good food for cheap.
My friend had one of her best friends that stayed in Toronto for few months last year, so he put her in contact with his friends and we were supposed to meet one of them on the same night after at a bar that is called Cameron House. This was the cutest bar in two days. It is a concert bar and when we arrived, a girl and her band were playing. It was amazing. I love bars like that. Unfortunately we couldn’t stay long but for sure I will go back there. Great place to discover music. In France, I have a friend with who we like to go places to see and hear music. It was cool to know that there were places like that in here too. We didn’t have a chance to tchat a lot with the guy we were supposed to meet but we met him later in the week and actually he became one of our best friends in Toronto. I wouldn’t have met such amazing spanish, french, mexican and canadian people without him and I am very grateful to him.
All in all, Toronto might seems a boring and ugly city when you visit it but when you live in it, it is pretty nice. Always something to do, somewhere to go, a new place to try. I think I might like living in Toronto more than living in Montréal actually. People are there to stay, there are much less french people and the one you meet will speak english with you because they are there to be integrated. It might be difficult to meet people there (I will add more details in another post), but try to go to meet ups and subscribe to Facebook Groups where you can find people with the same interests. People are very opened in Toronto and they won’t refuse to help you. It can take time, few weeks, but in the end, you’ll meet the best friends you can think of. If you have the choice to try a city to live in: try Toronto.