I didn't realize I missed Toronto's 175th birthday. The city itself has existed much longer than that, first as a native settlement, then a French trading post, then as a British town. But on March 6, 1834, the Town of York officially became the City of Toronto.
The more I get to know Toronto, the more I like it. It's vibrant, incredibly diverse, friendly (yes, it is!) and manageable. There's great food, parks, art, universities, culture, sports, activism and everything else that makes a city interesting. Toronto struggles with the same problems as all modern urban environments, where real estate development is king and profit takes priority over people. But the city itself, the people and the energy they create, has so much going for it.
Canadians love to put down Toronto, but the complaints usually fall under two categories: people who hate cities generally, and people who have never been to Toronto, or were here once 30 years ago for two days.
Some people claim Toronto is an "Americanized" city, not truly Canadian. I question what those people know about US cities. I recently heard a Canadian complaining about Toronto: the congestion, the traffic, the high rents, homeless people, blight. His preference? Boston. Yeah. Complain about congestion, traffic and slums, and praise Boston? Only a strictly tourist perspective on Boston could come up with that.
Another commonly heard perspective is, "Toronto used to be a good city, but it's changed so much." It's changed. That's what happens. Would you like to live someplace that never changes? Does such a place exist?
I wish Torontonians would adopt the attitude New Yorkers take towards USians dissing their city. New Yorkers enjoy the hatred. They eat it for breakfast. When people say, "New York's a great place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there," New Yorkers say, "Good, who needs you."
Happy Birthday, Toronto!