I grew up in Newmarket, a suburb of Toronto about 45 minutes north of “the big city”. With the Greater Toronto Area making up roughly 10% of Canada’s population, its 3 million residents make it the biggest city in the country.
From 2006-2011, Ligeia and I called Toronto home, easily walking anywhere within its downtown core. Although I will always refer to Toronto as where I’m from, we now live elsewhere and I find myself thinking about all the things that I miss about Ontario’s capital.
1. The Food
First and foremost, I long for the varied cuisines of Toronto’s restaurants. In one day, I could enjoy a typical Guatemalan breakfast, grab a lunch special in Little India, and feast on authentic Ethiopian fare for dinner. It’s amazing how criss-crossing the city can give you the feeling of traveling the world. From Chinatown to Little Tibet, and from Greek Town to Little Italy, Toronto serves up bona fide dishes from every corner of the globe.
2. Easy Being Gay
I miss how easy it is to be open and out of the closet as a married, lesbian couple. Toronto’s City Hall has our official marriage record filed somewhere and the knowledge that the government recognizes my marriage fills me with pride and confidence. Perhaps others feel similarly, as the LGBT community is strong and broad. I miss playing softball in the summer with Notso Amazon league and hockey in the winter at Moss Park. Heck! I even learned some dance steps with Ligeia with Rainbow Ballroom.
We lived two blocks east of Toronto’s gay village on Church St. and we celebrated Pride Week each year we were there. After traveling to places where being a lesbian is criminal and/or unsafe, I definitely miss the ease of simply being me in Toronto.
3. Our Balcony
I miss our apartment’s balcony. For the entire time we lived in Toronto, we rented the same apartment on the top floor of a 15-story building. Our west-facing unit afforded us views of gorgeous sunsets. At night, I miss the unique skyline of the city, dominated by the ever-changing LED colors of the CN Tower. I miss the breeze that balcony constantly provided, regardless of how high the temperature climbed. I’m glad I didn’t take that balcony for granted those 5 years, and I most certainly miss that today.
4. Toronto Maple Leafs
I miss watching the Toronto Maple Leafs, with my fingers perpetually crossed for a win but never surprised with a loss. Without a championship win since 1967, despite having a fan base that has sold out every seat for every home game thereafter, I miss the culture of commiserating with fellow Leafs’ fans. There’s a permanent understanding between Ligeia and me: if the Leafs make it to the Stanley Cup finals, it doesn’t matter where in the world we’re living, I’m allowed to return home and either celebrate or further mourn my beloved Toronto Maple Leafs.
5. High Park
I miss going to High Park, the 400-acre green space on the western edge of Toronto. Seeing the cherry blossoms in full bloom in the early Spring was beautiful, even with the throngs of other like-minded photographers. In the Autumn, I miss witnessing the trees changing their rich, green summer wardrobe for their bright yellow and red one. I miss the fun winter activities in the park, like skating, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. It’s a great place for a picnic or to watch the geese in Grenadier Pond. In any season, I miss High Park in Toronto.
These are the five big things that I miss about Toronto. I could continue with locations like the Leslie St. Spit or Allan Gardens. I miss the Scarborough Bluffs and the vintage look of the electric-powered streetcars. I miss going to an afternoon Blue Jays game, sitting way up in the upper deck directly above home plate. I miss the lively Harbourfront festivals during the summer and taking a ferry across to one of Toronto’s three islands. I miss being able to walk from one end of downtown to the other completely underground, and safe from wintry weather, through the PATH.
Next time you’re in Toronto, please say hello for me.
19 thoughts on “Things I Miss About Toronto”
I like the diversified population. I will say hello for you.
I definitely agree! It’s another way to feel as though you’re traveling the world, when you’re able to meet people who have moved to Toronto from all over it 🙂
“I miss being able to walk from one end of downtown to the other completely underground, and safe from wintry weather, through the PATH.”
You could do that? I always become immediately disoriented in the PATH – all those diagonal halls! I stay up top where I may be cold, but at least I know where I am 🙂
Nathalie and Mateo
We love you both and miss you both so much, hope our letter has made it to you 🙂 Over the next couple of weeks we are going to work on a surprise for you both. Stay tuned and the sea bands have made Mateo’s life so much better on the TTC!
hugs and kisses from us both
We miss both of you, too! I’m thrilled that Mateo’s life with motion sickness has improved, just like mine, with the Sea Bands! We’re excited for the surprise!!! 🙂
We miss you guy’s!! But hope your having an amazing adventure of a lifetime!!! Hope to see ya soon!!!
Hey! Thanks for checking in! 🙂 Hope you’re planning a fun-filled summer at the Beaver Lodge! Looking forward to seeing pics 🙂
We only visited for Toronto 3 days last summer. What a mistake. We should’ve/could’ve stayed 2-3 more weeks and not touched most of the city.
Toronto is definitely a multi-faceted city. Sometimes it’s nice to leave a place with things still left on the to-do list, so that you have an excuse to visit again. 🙂
Toronto seems very lovely, based on all the reasons you stated here. Diverse population, good food, lots of good places to see and things to do…what else could you ask for? 🙂
Hi Freya! Perhaps a little bit of warmer weather throughout the winter. I certainly don’t miss the slushy mess the streets become! 🙂
Giselle and Cody
Ahhhh Hogtown, we love you! Speaking of Hogtown, we are very excited to visit Hogtown Vegan while we’re in Toronto. You have to love the variety of food there.
We’re also looking forward to pride week! Our friends that we met in Goa, India are coming to stay with us for the week and we’ll be celebrating pride with them.
We haven’t spent much time in High Park (or on your balcony), but we’re sure they are both beautiful.
As for the Leafs. There’s always next year 🙂
Hogtown Vegan – we’ve never been. Granted, we weren’t vegan when we lived in Toronto. The next time we visit (perhaps next year when the Leafs make the Stanley Cup finals!) we’ll see the city through new eyes! Can’t wait to try all these wonderful new restaurants. Enjoy!
I have visited Toronto, but many years ago and I was with my daughter, so we focused on child-things, like Centreville. Haven’t seen nearly enough of the city. With the ethnic diversity and all the fabulous cuisines, I have a feeling it’s similar to Melbourne.
We haven’t been to Australia… yet! When we go, Melbourne will most certainly be on our itinerary. My fingers are crossed that Melbourne has an Ethiopian restaurant 🙂
I’ve lived in Toronto for 4 of the best years of my life. I’m Canadian and I shipped out to the US early. They say Chicago (where I live) is comparable to Toronto. I live in the suburbs, and every day I miss Toronto even more. You can walk places, bike places, take the streetcar, subway, or bus, there’s lots of green space and great architecture. Toronto is a big city with a smaller city feel in some cases and a small city with a big city feel. I feel like life was just more happier in Toronto and less rushed. Sigh.
I will alway consider TO as my home, the city I love and it is a difficult decision to move to Victoria after living there for over 30 yrs. I miss walking around different neighbourhoods, Cabbagetown, Greek town, Little Italy, Queen west, Leslieville, High park…….so much to do in that city.
I will definitely move back there one day after I get tired of this wet and rainy weather here:(((((!
I too miss Toronto so so much for all the same reasons posted by the author. Very well said, my dear.
I was banished to Ottawa while I get my law degree. Debt abound. Let go of my rental apartment that I had before the rental crisis. My god, my century old 2 bdrm flat at Bloor and Ossignton is almost 250% more than when I left. Long liver The Walker Block.
I wonder if I will ever be able to live in The City of ever again.
Advice to anyone thinking about leaving for a while, for whatever reason: LEASE ASSIGNMENT.