Actually my first impression is that its difficult to form a clear first impression. After spending much of the last year going round cities geared up for tourism, where its highlights were all nicely packaged for the flying visitor, Toronto just doesn’t have that sort of atmosphere. Possibly this is because January isn’t exactly tourist season here, possibly it’s just not a tourist town at all. So, I’m going to have to do leg work to discover its attractions, and use my own judgement to analyse it. It’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it.
Today was phase one, orienting myself.
Started off down to the harbour front. Lots of water (unsurprisingly) which is a plus, though I think you really need a bit of height to properly appreciate lakes. Reckon it probably looks better from the top of one of the many impressive skyscrapers behind me. The area was almost eerily deserted, even for a January weekday morning. But pretty cool. Then went through the commercial area, basically the same the world over. Think the city looks a bit like Oslo, but that may just be that my brain can’t get beyond the link between tall buildings and snow. Finally to Chinatown and then the Kensington street vintage shops. Think I’d spend some time and money here if I did become a permanent resident – not least because of the way I was shamelessly short-changed when I bought some gloves in Chinatown. It wasn’t the amount of money (about 75 cents) but the utterly obvious way it was done. Even though I have no idea what the individual Canadian coins look like it was clear that the combination I was getting was not the right amount, nor that she’d made an innocent mistake. It was too funny for me to bother complaining.
Already having some issues with Canadian sporting priorities. Everywhere is covered with advertising for Canada’s winter olympians, plus all the hockey stuff. And when I went passed an outdoor skating rink instead of people staggering about unsteadily and holding on to each other for support like you get at normal, British, outdoor rinks people were skating with control and skill. It’s all wrong, I tell you. If God had meant us to skate, He’d have given me basic co-ordination skills. My hopes did rise briefly when I heard cricket mentioned on the TV, but instead of being what you’d expect – an in depth analysis of Canada’s momentous win in the u19 World Cup over Zimbabwe – it was an advert for an internet service provider. One tries not to judge too harshly, but there has to be something fundamentally rotten in a society which has these priorities.
Tomorrow is phase 2 – actually talking to some Canadians.