I was born in Etobicoke, Ontario and later on spent a few miserable years living in Brampton, Ontario. Not exactly thriving epicentres of culture, they unsurprisingly left little to no impression on me.
Having since returned to Toronto, about once a year, and having the fortune of staying with dead friends in stellar locations, I have come to really look forward to my visits.
I love Montreal, and in reality could probably never leave, despite me only ever functioning within a 20 square block of it! I have my roots here, and that’s very important for me.
BUT Toronto has this thriving scene that I see grow every time I return. There are hipster shops beyond hipster shops. I counted 8 boutique flower shops, 1 urban bee keeping shop, about 35 cute vintage shops, 3 independent breweries, boutique pastry shops as far as the can see. And I’m not even venturing into the restaurant scene… That would deserve a whole blog unto itself.
Now take all those businesses, multiply them by 50 and concentrate them on all the East/West streets from Jean Talon down to St-Jacques, Westminster to Decarie.
Now imagine there was no highway in the middle of the city, and no mountain either.
And there, with all the awesomeness of the Mile End on metaemphetamines, you would have a small part of Western Toronto (Parkdale, Roncesvalles, Little Portugal, Ossington Village).
Get the picture?
So if you haven’t been, or have the impression that TO has not much happening, I dare you to stay at the Drake or the Gladstone and not come back completely charmed!