Toronto vs. Chicago: mayors, ballparks and nicknames edition
After hearing that Chicago is crazy jealous of Toronto’s annual Luminato festival—and the international tourists it attracts—we got to wondering how Hogtown really stacks up against its similarly sized cousin. We looked at everything from restaurants named Acadia to notable rich guys to talk show hosts extraordinaire (and a whole bunch of other admittedly arbitrary categories). Here’s how the two cities compare in matters civic.
1. Mayor: Rob Ford vs. Rahm Emanuel
Emanuel served as an advisor to both Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, has a Hollywood uber-agent for a brother and won a scholarship to the prestigious Joffrey Ballet. Not to be outdone, Ford also boasts a robust pre-mayoral political career, a pretty sweet brother and some proven ballet chops—and his ongoing hijinks ensure Toronto politics are never dull. Winner: Toronto
2. Baseball stadium: Rogers Centre vs. Wrigley Field
Wrigley is historic and intimate, it has charm courtesy of a hand-turned scoreboard and a famed ivy wall and it’s supposedly the site of Babe Ruth’s famous called shot. Unfortunately, the Rogers Centre can feel cavernous and, according to some, is not very good-looking. Winner: Chicago
3. Airport: Pearson vs. O’Hare
Neither airport is much good particularly well-loved. O’Hare, the second busiest airport in the U.S. (after Atlanta), was voted America’s worst because of its reputation for slow security, delayed flights and poor amenities. Pearson took the corresponding title in Canada because of its reputation for slow security, bad customer service and terrible food. Winner: Tie.
4. Richest dude: David Thomson vs. Sam Zell
Toronto’s resident rich guy, David Thomson, is worth $17.5 billion (including his family), easily trumping real estate and Equity magnate Sam Zell’s piddling $4.9 billion. Not to mention the fact that Thomson’s foray into sports ownership with the Winnipeg Jets has gone much more smoothly than Zell’s disastrous tenure as owner of the Cubs. Winner: Toronto
5. Nicknames: “The Big Smoke” vs. “The Windy City”
“The Big Smoke” has a badass ring that “The Windy City” can’t touch, and “Hogtown” and “Toronto the Good” are both more evocative than “Second City” or “Chi-Town.” (Although we will cede that, in referring to surrounding suburban regions, “Chicagoland” far surpasses “the 905.”) Winner: Toronto
6. Architecture: skyscrapers vs. condo towers
No contest: Chicago is an architectural paradise and is largely considered to be the birthplace of the skyscraper (boasting any number of stunning examples), while Toronto is quickly becoming known more for glass and steel condo towers than architectural prowess. Then there’s the fact that Chicago was home to world-renowned architects like Daniel Burnham, Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright, who each left their mark on the city. Try to name some Toronto designers of a similar calibre (nope, Frank Gehry doesn’t count because he left when he was a teenager). Winner: Chicago