Toronto: Onterrible or Onterriffic?

Why Canada Hates Toronto

Let’s put the bias front and centre: I hate Toronto.

Like most Canadians my disdain for Tdot is deeply rooted in jealousy. Yes, Torontario is the most populous region in Canada, but in a land so vast and culturally diverse as ours it’s disappointing that so much of our media and business decisions are carved on the canyons of Bay, Yonge, and Bloor.

Hockey Night In Canada is the home of the Toronto Maple Leafs. TSN will lead with anything Toronto. The Globe and Mail‘s pages are filled with ads for the arts and culture scene on Queen St. The CBC broadcasts the national news from the shadow of the CN Tower.

Those who are from or live in Toronto love it. The media landscape of the country speaks to them and their interests, they don’t see anything wrong. Step outside the golden horseshoe, however and the voices of variety are silenced.

So we’re jealous. Plain and simple. Toronto is Marsha Brady, the rest of Canada is Jan and we’re sick of Marsha! Marsha! Marsha!

I spent the past 2 weekends in the centre of the universe and while part of my opinion was solidfied, the edges were softened. I spend far too much time on Yonge St when in Toronto. It’s a dirty, ugly, strip of cement in the heart of the city. However, step 2 blocks west of it and you’ll discover beautiful oases, like Oriole Park.

Oriole Park Playground

I took a Gray Line sightseeing tour of the city – one of those cheesy double decker buses and discovered more unique neighborhoods lurking in each corner. Casa Loma, The Distillery, St Lawrence Market, Yorkville, The U of T .. they’re all great little corners to spend a day and forget you’re in a megatropolis.

St Lawrence Market

Then there’s the waterfront, it may be beautiful, but good luck getting to it when you’re downtown.

20110813 toronto - 25South of the Gardiner Expressway, Toronto’s lakefront is undergoing the same metamorphosis Vancouver’s Expo lands have been experiencing the past 15 years. Glass condos are replacing industrial warehouses, shops and boardwalks line the shore – but it’s a 20 minute walk from the heart of the city. The freeway acts as a choker, cutting Toronto’s downtown from the beauty of the water – and it’s a shame, because it’s gorgeous down there.

I left the city liking Toronto a little more, but not hating it any less.

Now I know where to go to escape the feeling of being in Toronto, but I’ll still describe my favorite NHL team as “whoever is playing the Toronto Maple Leafs.”

What do you think? Is Toronto the capital of Onterrible or Onterrific?

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Buzz Bishop

Dad. Broadcaster. Writer. Media Disruptor. Two time Guinness World Record Holder. I run marathons for Team Diabetes.

20 Comments

  1. I went to University just outside the GTA (in the Golden Horseshoe, in Hamilton) and in many ways the attitude transcends just the GTA. I had people ask me in my first ever class in school how many people lived in Calgary and I got incredulous responses when I said about a million. Apparently they had all assumed that a city with an NHL hockey team had about 50,000 inhabitants (evidently anywhere outside of Ontario is a sparsely populated, rural wasteland…). Many of the people I encountered (but not all) knew nothing about the rest of the country and barely knew we were in a different time zone let alone the regional nuances and differences. Explaining why we don’t have PST and why few people in Western Canada like the Liberals (try explaining the NEP to Trudeau’s biggest fans…) was a test of patience, indeed!

    However, people in Hamilton HATE Toronto with a burning passion. They are like the younger, uglier sister and despise being so. Only an hour and a half a way from the Center of the Universe is a tough place to be, especially when you are known as Steel Town and everyone assumes your city is a dirty hole in the ground (which, I can assure you, it is not. Hamilton certainly has its underbelly – everywhere does – but it sits on the banks of Lake Ontario, on a beautiful escarpment with lovely parks. It’s also about an hour from some of the best wine country in the world). I found the two attitudes rather entertaining, and enjoyed the Western Canadian ribbing I got (because you better believe I gave it back to them at every opportunity).

  2. My inlaws are in Hamilton. Found the drive south quaint through wine country to Niagara. Still hot as hell in the summer, cold as hell in the winter and damn ugly steel mills belching into the lake… but it was quaint. ;)

  3. Well, as a Torontonian, I think it’s the capital of Onterrific. Ahem. The central waterfront is a testament to the governmental attitude of do-nothing in TO. Your experience should’ve been a thing of the past. But to the east are these big beaches a short walk from a popular neighbourhood and the Queen streetcar.

    I don’t think we love having media focus on us, we just don’t think about it. I’ve travelled all over Canada and enjoyed reading local papers. Now I got Twitter!

  4. It’s not as cold as Calgary, I find. I mean, it’s a different kind of cold. It’s wet and in your bones cold. We have a dry cold…just depends what you’re used to! Rarely did it get below -10 or -15 when I was there (and if it ever did they were big whimps about it too!) One thing I will say is their transit and snow removal systems put ours to shame! Theirs actually work!

    And perhaps my love of Hamilton comes from the fact that I spent 90% of my time on campus (or in neighborhoods directly adjacent to it). McMaster’s campus is beautiful and one of the best parts of Hamilton, for sure!

  5. Onterrific! I’m a Torontonian living in Vancouver & receive a constant barrage of anti-Toronto jokes every time its mentioned where I’m originally from. I think people hate Toronto just the sake of hating and to be that mob mentality bandwagon. Half of the time, when I ask, they’ve never even BEEN to Toronto. Ontario a great province (cottage countries, Niagara Falls, Great Lake areas). Just like the rest of Canada, every place has its pros and cons. Toronto has just been a big city longer than most Canada cities, so it will naturally be larger in population and have more home / national offices where decisions are made. When I visit, I always appreciate the population diversity and the variety of available sights, restaurants & activites. Enough with the hate people. Its so cliche.

  6. We hate Toronto because of the media concentration. It’s the ONLY place where big media headquarters are found. At least the US has some in Washington, NY, LA and Atlanta. Here? Toronto and maybe Ottawa. Yay. Also the fact Torontario has so much influence when it comes to federal election seats makes us all a little jealous.

  7. Toronto is one of the best cities in the World. I admire the fact that its very multicultural and fast-paced. Toronto has awesome night life and culture. Toronto can really get noisy with everybody honking, buses, streetcars, subways and airplanes moving. It’s just very busy. I am thinking about moving to Toronto for good from boring Calgary.

  8. Before I write anything about Toronto, I should point out that I lived there for 10 years. Here are the reasons why I hate this city:

    1. Transit is inefficient, overpriced and dirty…no more explanation required.
    2. There is no control on condo development or the waterfront…I suspect there is a waterfront but no one can actually see it unless you live on the waterfront. The city planners need to stop playing with themselves and actually look at what other cities are doing. Chicago, as an example, has a great waterfront.
    3. Torontonians are, by and large, rude, arrogant, self-absorbed and pretentiious. I have never been in a city this size or larger, in which people are more offensive. Here’s a though: maybe put down the latte, and the cell phone, and stop fighting with your kid who hates you, and learn that there are other vehicles on the road besides your monstrous SUV. You might consider public transit, but your’re clearly unwilling to address point #1.

    I’ve travelled a fair amount and can honestly say the claim to Toronto being a ‘world class’ city is a joke.. The city is at the very best somewhat liveable, but is not anything to which people should aspire.

  9. Toronto women are the worst! man, i could be over 6’0 ft tall, toned muscular body, leading a healthy lifestyle, and extremely educated, with good head on my shoulders (oh wait i am all that! no e-brag), and women will not even move their eye balls an inch to look at you.

    They are extremely superficial, arrogant, entitled princesses, and what’s even worse is that even the ugly fat chicks behave that way too.

    Have you seen the so called “Toronto Nightlife”? lol its a fucking joke. Checkout any place Downtown Toronto after 11pm, you’ll notice a 10:1 (guy:girl) ratio.
    Girls go out only to interact with their friends, dance with them in a circle with their backs towards everyone else, and pretty much get wasted.

    Its sickening. In fact, their attitude is starting to reflect negatively on Toronto men. These women go out at night, dance, get drunk, act like princesses, then in a drunk state, complain to the taxi driver about how “men ignored/were assholes” to them the whole night, and end up having sex with the taxi driver in the back seat (True story).

    Thank god i’m getting the hell outta here, and i recommend this option to any sane heterosexual man in Toronto with dignity and self-respect to do the same.

  10. Toronto is the business hub, the financial, cultural capital of Canada. Yes we have problems. But if you have to compare it , do not compare it with Hamilton, for God’s sake,(that is a rural village compared to Torono), or even Calgary or Vancouver. It is the 5th largest city in N America. It should be compared with cities like Chicago, LA, Atlanta, DC, Miami, Montreal, and even NYC( since Toronto is the NYC of USA). As for how dirty the city, please visit New York someday, and see what poverty and dirt is. As for women being superficial that is the attitude of big city girls. At least these girls are not racist. Go to London, UK, I have been there, I am not white, and some people treat us brown like shhhit. Toronto is the best.

  11. Toronto stinks. That’s not figurative – it literally stinks. The smog is awful. In the winter, it is grey and wet and ugly. And the Leafs. Good God, they practically run the league, they have Canada’s media cheer leading for them and more money than God. Despite those advantages, they are perpetually awful.

  12. I have lived in Toronto forever five years and have to admit I am so glad to move away from th cess pit of a place. People are rude, everything is overpriced, homelessness is everywhere. Summer garbage stinks to high heaven and winter is not much better being miserable.

    It is nothing special except to be a highly populated area where the unis and corporate office jobs are. I am glad to had the opportunity to leave this city behind

  13. I’m with Anna on this..I live uptown close to Thorn hill in North York and it’s trying to creep up here..the pollution, drugs, dirt, cockroaches, homeless and nasty people and idiots are rampant in Toronto. The more North you go, past Richmond Hill the better the attitude of people gets and the better vibe and cleanliness..I can’t stand toronto..if I didn’t live here and have my parents here I would live anywhere else outside of Toronto

  14. I lived in toronto for several years. I found that the people were friendly and that the orgies were good, although often located in the suburbs and hard to get to. Some of the people also smelled of sweat and bum. The city is improving architecturally, although some more progress needs to be made on the rules that govern public masturbation. Overall, I’d say its about the same as Calgary for hramm.

  15. I’ve lived in Toronto for for over 18 years and have live in multiple cities across the world including New York, London, San Francisco, Hong Kong, and Tokyo and it is the biggest piece of shit hole I never regret leaving. Torontoians are ignorant, self-absorbed, selfish, extremely pretentious, and their so called “social skills” is nothing but more trying to pretend to be living a wonderful life and being more important than they really are when the reality is they are living in a place which has no life to talk about from the beginning. Adding to the insult is there is absolutely nothing in the world that Toronto is known for – a mediocre financial centre, mediocre sport teams, mediocre bar, zero night life, one thing it is well known for – some of the worst weather in the whole world.

    The cost of living is 15% higher than New York and is just slightly cheaper than London – expensive housing, expensive gas price, the most expensive internet and cell phone cost in the world, you cannot survive without a car which cost you $10000 a year, and most importantly the fucking marginal tax rate is at 45%+ in additional to another 13% of sales tax. Just these expenses add up to $50000+ a year and I don’t know many people who earns more than $60000-$70000 in Toronto.

    A large number of girls in Toronto have zero respect whatsoever for anyone but themselves and are extremely disrespectful towards men in general. For any men who even have a tiny bit of self respect I suggest you to either ignore the bitches outright or just get the hell out of the city and never look back.

  16. Toronto is a rotten city for an educated white woman. No one will hire you due to discrimination with affirmative action quotas. Some woman from india who just landed has to be hired before someone here 400 years like myself, even though the company owner is white. Same goes for alot of the retail, private companies etc. For this very reason they do not get the most qualified person in alot of fields, particularly in my line of work. Its also very costly to live in toronto, the crime is getting bad with all the ethnic gangs that the liberals turn a blind eye from which means for most women once your h ome you l ock your doors and dont go out at night. This is not the way toronto USED to be when I lived there from 1989-1996.

  17. OKAY so i’ve been meaning to say this for quite some time now.
    Toronto is NOT a great city! I’ve been to many places and far greater cities than Toronto. It is by and large the
    ONLY place on this entire continent that disgusts the living hell out of me. It lacks any substance and drive
    whatsoever! Keep in mind that wherever you go there will always be aspects to places which one may not be too fond of. But block by block Toronto has little if ANY character! IT IS NOT NYC AS MUCH AS PEOPLE THINK IT IS!!!!! NYC BLOWS IT WAY OUTTA THE UNIVERSE! TDOT IS JUST A SHITTY CITY WITH WANNABE NEW YORKERS!!!!!

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