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City On My Back Archives » [The Fine Print] Toronto Vs. Canada

[The Fine Print] Toronto Vs. Canada

hyperadmin | The Fine Print | Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

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By Jonathon “Bizz” Brown

I recently returned from the Busta Rhymes tour and my first experience with western Canada. We got as far as Calgary and then came back east, stopping in Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon and Winnipeg before returning to Toronto and then Barrie, Ontario. And after such a whirlwind trip, I came to a conclusion that seems, at first glance quite obvious, yet holds much more weight when confirmed by conversations with young people across this great country: there’s Canada and then there’s Toronto.

In my time, I’ve heard opinions about the relationship: Torontonians live in a bubble consisting of the GTA, the rest of Canada looks at Toronto with disdain, the media focuses too heavily on Toronto-centric issues, etc. It seemed the underlying consequence in all of them was Canada’s negative disconnect between Toronto’s opinion of itself and Canada’s perception of Toronto and it’s self involvement. But this was not the case, at least in my experiences.

At every stop, I was the talker. I reached out and greeted dozens of people at every venue, old and young, male and female, white and black, die hard and passive fans a like. And in every city, they asked me where I was from. When I told them I lived in Toronto, their eyes lit up with excitement as if the mere mention of Hogtown brought fantastical images of good times and opportunity to their imaginations. I asked one woman in Edmonton how she liked it there. And somehow, in the midst of over 1,000 amped Busta fans, she shrugged and said she wished she could go to Toronto. I told a beautiful young lady in Saskatoon where I was from and she immediately started a rant about how little there was to do in her town. She also wished she could be in Toronto. It turned into a trend and I started wondering why these people held so little pride in their hometowns. The air was clean, the roads were well kept, in some cases the transportation infrastructure was great, the people were welcoming and overall the communities seemed worthy of praise. But nope, Toronto was the intended destination. Toronto was the place where they could go to live the life they wished they were living already.  And I realized more than I ever had before that Toronto is by all accounts its own entity opposite an entire country.

The overriding attitude didn’t convey prejudice, disdain or any negative sentiments towards Toronto. Instead it revealed an almost utopian view of The City as I came to refer to it. The volume of it all seemed the main attraction: the lights, the parties, the clubs, the food, the busyness of it all had these 20-somethings enthralled at the prospect of making the leap to The City. And even as someone who routinely puts the great qualities of his hometown on a platter for all to consume, I found out the rest of the country actually does have room to appreciate it too – if for no other reason than because it’s simply very different than anything else in Canada.

That’s The Fine Print.

No Comments »

  1. Well said.

    http://www.myspace.com/burdandkeyz

    Comment by Burd — September 11, 2009 @ 9:54 am

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