5 Things I Miss About Toronto
Last week, North Nomad and I were having a discussion about things we missed about the Western world.
Having an oven came in close to the top for both of us.
Living in extreme heat and humidity without the ocean in front of us was also a shared gripe.
Not being able to leave our apartment without being sexually harassed by songthaew drivers hanging around the mall was my biggie. North Nomad has missed buying a simple sandwich easily.
This made me realise that as much as there is 9 months of winter (replete with 6 months of snow and minus 40-ish degrees, thank you very much) in Toronto, there is a lot I miss about it.
1. The Snow and The Winter
Never, ever, ever would I have thought I would miss this. The abovementioned winters were bloody brutal.
But there is something beautiful about 6 feet of snow rising to meet you, and feeling the wind chill on your face.
I used to love looking at the iced over Lake Ontario. I loved those days where there was no snow on the harbourfront beaches. On a sunny day, you could take a photo, and if you didn’t know it was minus 35 degrees, you’d be mistaken for asking if it was 35 degrees.
I also miss feeling cold, and recognising seasons. Right now it’s hot and dry – in a few months, it will be hot and wet. I miss the change of leaves and trees and flowers.
Canadians can do booze as well as the Europeans or Aussies.
I miss Toronto’s microbreweries.
I miss walking past Steam Whistle every day and watching the streams of adults pour in and out of the alcoholic Willie Wonka’s factory. I miss the Pumpkin Spice Ale at Mill St Brewery. I miss going into the LCBO and having an entire aisle devoted to Australian wine at prices cheaper than they sell for in Australia.
I miss being able to email owners and getting a friendly, enthusiastic reply telling me which of their drops is vegan friendly and which I’d enjoy.
It took me ages to get the hang of vegetarian and vegan food in Canada. I felt like it was hiding from me.
But once I got into the swing of Toronto, and discovered Spadina Avenue, Queen Street West, and Kensington Market, I realised it was a mecca for good plant-based food.
I miss the burgers and bowls at Fresh, I miss the greasy spoon food at Sadie’s Diner. I miss the raw salads from Live Organic, I miss the tofu sandwiches and cupcakes from Urban Herbivore, and I miss the tacos at Hot Beans. I also miss the simple pleasures of Chipotle!
It may be cold for 9 months of the year, but the food alone is one reason to live in Toronto.
4. The Animals
I had never seen a Newfoundland Retriever before I lived in Canada. These beautiful beasts are enormous and fluffy.
Have you seen Despicable Me, where Grue wins Agnes a toy and she squeezes it tightly with gritted teeth yelling SO FLUFFY!!! with excitement? That is basically me around these dogs.
The first time I saw one in the flesh was during New Year’s Eve at Niagara Falls. It was the coldest I’ve ever been in my life. We were next to the falls in the snow at an outdoor music festival. My beer froze over from the cold and my nose ran until I got snotsicles.
On our walk back to our room, we passed one of these dogs, who couldn’t be happier to be outside in the snow. His very patient owner let me pat him… along with about 20 other women who wanted to pat him.
Aside from these awesome dogs, being an Australian, squirrels are also pretty exciting. These wily little things go from being cute and curious, to little pests who want to steal anything you happen to eat in front of them.
Chipmunks? Possibly even cuter than squirrels. Check this little guy out on our hike up at Lake Louise…
5. The Canadians
Probably the most important one on the list, given North Nomad is Canadian!
I don’t know if there is a country in this world where the people are as pleasant, polite, and friendly as the Canadians. I’ve had one incident – ONE – where I had a Torontonian be rude to me.
I’ve never been to a city before where people apologise for bumping into you at a major train station, rather than telling you to eff off (hello Sydney, Melbourne, LA, New York, London, I’m looking at you!).
If you’re lost, you’ll be approached by people trying to help you. Happen to be in a restaurant that doesn’t cater towards your food? They’ll offer to sort that out and make you something you’d really like to eat.
Do you have any old hometowns you miss? What do you miss about them?