why I love TO

Last Saturday I had a terrific day, and it made me realise all over again how much I love living in Toronto.

Now, if you live in Toronto yourself, or follow Toronto news, you may be wondering what was so special about last Saturday. The municipal workers' strike is still on, after all, and ever single public garbage receptacle in the city long passed the "overflowing" designation. Last Saturday was the first Saturday after Pages Bookstore announced it was closing after thirty amazing years of business. We still haven't had a real heat wave this summer.

On a personal note: I went into the office and worked half a day on Saturday.

If it's starting to sound like I'm either a bitter cynic or a book-hating, union-loving (yet salaried) workaholic, consider this:
  • I went to the library and picked up a book I had requested. The library system has twenty-three copies of this book, and all of them were borrowed when I requested it. I live in a city where people read.

  • At the library, I found out that I can get free passes to various art galleries and museums throughout TO. The passes are good for general admission for two adults and two kids. All I needed to get one of these passes was a library card. I also found out that some Toronto Public Library branches have free wireless access to the internet. You don't even have to buy a cappuccino.

  • I know the summer has been "cold" to a lot of people, but this is a classic Toronto summer to me. It's called "the lake effect", people — breezes, sunny skies, beautiful fluffy clouds, rain every four days or so. It's perfectly warm enough to walk around in a t-shirt, but not so warm that the city has to announce smog alerts and ask those without their own air conditioning to go to a public building that has it so they won't wind up sick or dead. The mild summer is making the city happy — it's cool enough people can sleep at night.

  • After I finished my half-day stint at work, I went to Pages for what may be the last time (okay, that was very sad — but the good news is we had it for thirty years), then wandered over to the Eaton Centre on my way home because I needed to pick up some new socks. Along the way, I met group after group of tourists, all happily taking photos of the old and new city halls, arranging to take downtown bus tours, and asking directions from locals. The garbage strike didn't seem to be getting any of them down.

  • And yeah, about the strike — I'm glad I live somewhere that people have the right to strike. Yes, the strike hasn't been entirely peaceful, but it hasn't been riots and tear gas either.
Look around, Toronto. You're as beautiful as you want to be.