Welcome to Toronto the Rude
We swear at each other from cars, bark at each other on the TTC and yell into our cellphones. How a supposedly livable city suddenly turned boorish
I got into a cat fight the other day at the Bolshoi ballet, one of those live satellite transmissions at my local Cineplex, where people arrive an hour early to get a good seat. The orchestra in Moscow hadn’t yet begun warming up when one balletomane barked at me for sitting in her territory, a 10-seat swath ambiguously marked with scattered scarves and hats. “You can’t sit there,” she said, with surprising nastiness. When I chose a seat farther down the row, she snapped, “That’s taken, too.” Steaming, I moved to a third spot and plunked my bag down on the seat beside me, not to save it for anyone, but to ensure zero human contact after being bullied by Lady Ten-Seat.
Rudeness is contagious. When another woman arrived a minute later and needed two seats, I set my jaw. “You’re not going to move your bag?” she asked, incredulous. “Nope,” I replied. We exchanged sharp words. “I’m tired of being pushed around by your friend,” I finally hissed, nodding at Lady Ten-Seat. It turned out not only did they not know one another, but my newfound adversary had just received the same rude treatment. “Now I’m totally edgy, too,” she confessed, suddenly extending her hand. “I’m Jane. Let’s be friends.” Mortified, I shook her hand, apologized and moved my coat. Then we all settled in to watch Giselle.
I wish such hostile encounters were rare, but it’s hard to navigate the city these days without experiencing friction. At least that’s my observation. Perhaps I’m just a magnet for trouble. Perhaps you, on the other hand, float through winter with people politely stepping into snowbanks to let you pass; perhaps you’ve never been held captive to a cellphone user’s inane conversation on a streetcar. But I say civility is on the decline, and the evidence is everywhere.
In the ongoing reality show that is Rob Ford’s city hall, Don Cherry set the uncivil tone with his Coach’s Corner–like rant during the mayor’s swearing-in ceremony. When anti-poverty protesters invaded a budget committee meeting in February—an intentionally rude gesture in itself—first brother Doug Ford grumbled, “Get a job!”
Meanwhile, new technology has given us all inventive ways to be bad-mannered. People check Twitter feeds while dining with friends. And thanks to cellphones, no one’s ever technically late because you can now text-message the poor sap waiting for you: “Hey, I’m five minutes away!”
This new standard of punctuality has infected other spheres. More and more people seem to arrive late for the theatre and concerts. Fortunately, the Toronto Symphony typically schedules a short introductory piece, so applause covers the sound of latecomers climbing over the legs and laps of others. At the end of the performance, some don’t even bother with a perfunctory acknowledgement of the artists, rushing for the exits before the orchestra has taken its first bow. (What is it with these patrons of the arts?)
In Canada’s biggest, most congested city, the rudeness epidemic is most obvious on our roads. Recently, while I was driving, a man in a car behind me honked his horn, and a nanosecond later the driver in front of me gave me the finger. Everyone is stressed out simply going to and from work; our average commuting time of 80 minutes a day—the equivalent of more than 40 work days a year—is among the worst in the world. No wonder drivers cut each other off or nearly mow down pedestrians. And no wonder pedestrians retaliate by crossing intersections at an aggravatingly slow, I’m-entitled-to-walk-like-I’m-93-years-old pace when a car is trying to make a turn. It makes you want to run them over.
This isn’t a joke. Studies show a correlation between giving the finger and traffic fatalities. John Helliwell, a professor emeritus of economics at UBC, lectures widely on the subject of well-being. He’s interested in interpersonal trust, as measured by traffic etiquette. He led me to a study by Matthew Nagler, a professor at the City College of New York, who looked at traffic-finger data and traffic fatalities across various states. Nagler found that in places where more people gave the finger, there were more traffic deaths. In the U.S., finger incidents rose nearly six per cent annually from 1997 to 2006.
Not surprisingly, men are more likely to give the traffic finger than women. Surprisingly, rich people are more likely to flip the bird than poor. According to Helliwell’s preliminary analysis, for every doubling of income, a person is five per cent likelier to have given another driver the finger. Indeed, the higher your socio-economic status, the more entitled you might feel and the ruder you might behave. Recent studies bear this out. In videotaped conversations between two strangers, those with lower socio-economic status were more likely to nod, make eye contact and laugh. Those with higher socio-economic status were more likely to doodle, self-groom or fidget. Psychologists theorize that rich people are ruder because they are less reliant on the good will of others to survive.
Of course, no single group has a monopoly on rudeness. An epidemic knows no socio-economic or ethnic bounds. And sometimes, perceived rudeness is merely the result of a multicultural misunderstanding—an inevitability in a city as diverse as Toronto. Helliwell says our high influx of immigrants creates confusion. “There’s a much more cacophonous set of signals going on. When you have an uneven set of social skills and someone taps their horn, another person will say, ‘What the hell are they doing that for?’ And then they get angry and lose empathy.”
Neil Bissoondath, the Trinidadian-born Canadian novelist, agrees. “When we get our signals crossed, it comes across as a kind of racism or rejection of another ethnic group,” he says. When he first arrived in Toronto, he remembers being surprised, for instance, to see queues. “In Trinidad, nobody lined up for anything. When a bus came, everyone rushed forward, but it wasn’t considered impolite.”
In a taxi the other day, I noticed that every time someone let the driver squeeze into a lane, he politely waved his thanks. So I was surprised when he honked at someone hogging the fast lane. The driver, a 35-year-old immigrant from India, explained it this way: “I tap the horn lightly, just once. That’s not rude. I just want to remind the person they’re going too slowly. A rude honk would be longer and louder.”
One person’s helpful nudge is another’s ill-mannered shove. What are manners anyway but a set of tribal customs? During a lunch I attended in Chinatown a few years back, a fellow journalist passed around a platter of jumbo shrimp and casually remarked, “Chinese don’t have etiquette, right?” As the only non-white at the table of 10, I felt compelled to note that no Chinese person would be so rude as he had been, just then, to take two jumbo shrimp when it was obvious there was only enough on the platter for each person to have one.
Mr. Two-Shrimp. Lady Ten-Seat. They both had a bloated sense of entitlement. I’ve since become friends with the woman who shook my hand at the Bolshoi ballet. Her name is Jane Gibson; she’s a writer and film director. We recently went to another ballet together, Don Quixote. We agreed that trying to eradicate friction in the city is like tilting at windmills.
89 thoughts on “Welcome to Toronto the Rude”
Agree with road rage but generally people in Toronto are much more polite and gracious than in the uk :)
What you have touched upon is a growing reality, only take it from a former Montrealer living in Toronto, it’s not Toronto. In general, Toronto, via its clean-cut image, has managed to attract the “considerates”. People wait in line, pedestrians cross only in designated areas, no one smokes where they’re not supposed to. It can actually be quite nauseating sometimes living around a bunch of goody two-shoes who always seem to be tsk-tsk’ing you if you cross the line.
In Montreal, people practically dare each other to say something. Everyone weaves in and out of traffic, there is no such thing as stopping traffic because someone decided to cross the street. They do so at their own peril, and it’s actually fun (until someone loses an eye). Never the less, as we approach our 40s and start a family, we begin to appreciate clean neighborhoods with safe schools (relatively speaking) and responsible, vigilant adults all around.
Toronto, you are the dorky class president of Canada, but sometimes, it’s “Hip to be square”.
Agree with Nic. Also, MUCH MUCH more gracious than in Kazakhstan. On my latest trip, I noticed that my car-driving aunt would not so much as pause for pedestrians, even though they have the right of way. Poor pedestrians have to make a crazy dash across the street on a green light, trying to dodge the extra fast cars. My aunt’s excuse is that everyone drives that way. Imagine that.
What a ridiculous article. The generalizations this magazine is willing to make for the sake of filling pages never cease to amaze me. Accept the fact, as I have, that Toronto is really not THAT important and that we do not have an identity, whether good or bad, as this article suggests. We are merely to New York or London what Winnipeg” or Jacksonville is to Toronto. And that’s ok.
Actually I agree with the article, not that Toronto is the worst city in the world in terms of civility, but it’s up there with NYC and other major cities. Perhaps people are too stressed out, or there are too many of us so it does not have the community feeling some other smaller cities/towns have.
Currently I live in Dublin, and compared to Toronto the Irish people’s friendliness is surprising. Perhaps us Torontonians can work on our manners, in hopes that it’ll catch on and the next article could perhaps be about Toronto’s niceness, not the other way around.
I agree that Toronto is changing.
People seem to be in such a rush to get somewhere that you can hear people sighing loudly, and see them glaring at you when you’re buying something. There doesn’t seem to be any kind of patience in Toronto. It seems that a minute or two to wait in line is way too much these days.
I’ve worked in customer service for many years (retail, restaurant, and call centre) and people can be real bullies. I feel I’ve been bullied by adults who are supposed to be “mature.” I’ve been sworn at, talked down to, dismissed, yelled at, and more for food, a t-shirt, and waiting for a table. Not worth it, but I needed the money.
People feel like they are entitled to everything because they are spending their money, and that the person behind the cash register is there to serve on bended knee for them.
I find it so sick that people can become so enraged by something that isn’t even the person’s fault. Even if there is a problem, why can’t someone be civil and mature about it? There really is no need to be rude, yell, and put the other person down. I’ve seen this happen and been the recipient of this bullying way too often.
I hope more people read this article. Toronto, take a step back, think about the person on the other side. They are a human being and have feelings too.
If I can quote the Golden Rule “do not treat people in a way you would not wish to be treated yourself.”
I agree with SK. Toronto has changed. This used to be a nicer city and now it’s becoming like NYC, a place I don’t like for I find it detached and if you stand still for too long, somebody is destined to walk over you in a rush. People are rude, their mp3 players on the TTC are terrible as I’m subjected to ear splitting music, not of my choice and the annoying “ping” on BBM. Nobody cares anymore. I came from a country with a deep sense of community and it’s not even present in any form here. Worse yet as an immigrant, it makes life even harder but that’s another story all together.
I work in retail and I see the sense of entitlement in customers who are upset with you even when the matter is beyond your control and it’s really a joy having a credit card thrown at you when at cash. Really polite.
Nobody cares anymore in Toronto.
In my experience this epidemic is less apparent in the annex. I’m sure the same is true of other neighbourhoods, but that is where I spend the bulk of my time and it is what I’ve noticed. Neighbours are friendly, passers-by smile, and people are generally pretty accepting and welcoming. Obviously I’ve encountered some uppity exceptions, but for the most part, people are lovely!
Shoppers at the Eaton Centre on the other hand…
yeah…. I don’t think this is just a Toronto issue. Ill mannered people seem to be everywhere these days. I deal with them by transcending it – as soon as someone is a jerk, you can just smile and know that something is making THEM miserable, but you don’t need to be.
Agreed, mike in parkdale. Serenity is the best solution.
Also good is accountability. I’ve taken to picking up litter and giving it back to the litterers, asking them to take responsibility for their things like an adult. Sometimes it works. If enough of us do it …
Oh, and the idea that Toronto is an especially rude place for a big city is simply ridiculous, as other commenters have noted. Try London or Vancouver, let alone NYC.
“This isn’t a joke. Studies show a correlation between giving the finger and traffic fatalities…. a study by Matthew Nagler, a professor at the City College of New York, who looked at traffic-finger data and traffic fatalities across various states. Nagler found that in places where more people gave the finger, there were more traffic deaths.”
This conclusion seems rather specious. The finger and the fatalities could simply be caused by the same variable: crazy traffic. To suggest some sort of causality between the finger and traffic deaths isn’t supported by a mere observational correlation. I imagine in places where people wear parkas, there are more snowmobile deaths, but it would be ridiculous to draw much from the correlation.
Also, be careful of your assumptions. “Not surprisingly, men are more likely to give the traffic finger than women. Surprisingly, rich people are more likely to flip the bird than poor.” Why exactly are these things surprising or not surprising? Rudeness is more likely to be found in one gender more than the other? Really? Even among drivers I don’t buy that for a second. And why would you assume rich people would be less rude?
Toronto The Rude, written by Jan Wong, one of the rudest writers in Toronto history.
and Toronto Life’s snarky behavior doesn’t help either.
In my opinion the rudeness has a lot to do with the fact that this City is over-crowded and in a few yrs will become even worse. I have seen pple be very pushy everywhere such as on Transit and in the Mall because they are having a hardt time getting around the crowds, yes there are pple who are still poilte and considerate but this issue will become even worse with time as the City becomes even more overcrowded! I wonder if this is among the main reasons that places like Britain and the U.S have elected to reduce immigration. This is something that seriously needs to be addressed now!!
@ Adam- I’ve often thought of handing dropped litter back to the lout, wiping my hand on the person who barged her way out from the bar, unnecessarily spilling my drink all over me, or even producing an air horn and honking right back at the impatient driver once removed who thinks I’m taking too long to cross and impeding his illegal turn. What stops me is not the fear of violent retaliation – as it might in the UK or US – but the shrinking anticipation of a barrage of eye-rolling, huffing and puffing, or barely audible uttered ‘fuck yous’. These passive aggressive behaviours are so mentally draining and SO Toronto. But, if you want to read a better deconstruction of this behaviour, read ‘Talk to the Hand’ by Lynn Truss.
What a ludicrous article. You are grumpy and argumentative. You blame the entire other city for your own appalling behaviour. You are bitchy, therefore the entire city has become bitchy. It is all about you and your bad mood.
Maybe you need a break, or something, but this is one of the stupidest articles I have read in a good many years.
I moved to TO 44 years ago and can’t wait to get out – soon. TTC, street, clerks, grocery shopping, parking lots, and on and on – rude arrogant and selfish. People used to take and PASS IT FORWARD – now it’s just TAKE TAKE TAKE with Arrogance!
When someone actually does a kind gesture – WOW !!- that made my day.
We are seeing the net effects of an ever expanding city where we live more densely together while the infrastructures to support our lives grows more slowly. This leads us to vie for spots on the road, the bus,the subway, the grocery store and it doesn’t help that we always have to be somewhere “five minutes ago.”
The perceived extended winter season also doesn’t seem to help as people tend to be a bit less confrontational during the summer days unless they are in life for ice cream. :)
I have lived in Toronto for all of my 46 years, and I have seen a huge change. I am constantly amazed by how inconsiderate people are – in their own neighbourhoods. I have lived in The Beach for 13 years and what used to be a fairly friendly area has turned into a neighbourhood filled with rude drivers, inconsiderate parkers, parents who think their giant strollers belong in tiny shops and restaurants, and dog owners/walkers who think that everybody likes their dogs and who do not feel that the dog should move out of the way of the people! Toronto is a very different city than it used to be.
I certainly had harsh words and gestures for the woman in the huge SUV who was so busy yapping on her cell that she nearly ran me over as she swerved from lane to lane. I will again, if I ever see her.
I do find that in my 20 years here Toronto has become ruder. It’s as though many people have a driving compulsion to prove their own importance by being pushy. Fail.
When I’m not frazzled myself, I try to counter this by being extra friendly to retail workers. It’s not the cashier’s fault that the person they’re trying to check out is screaming intimate details into their cell phone while trying to pay. Or that the yummy mummies will not give up the table they’ve occupied for four hours, despite a long line (and their strollers blocking the rest of the space). I smile and indicate sympathetic humor, understanding. Then, when it’s my turn, I am served by a cheerful worker, who appreciates that I get it.
Folks, let’s all make a special effort to be aware of the world around us and to make our own lives easier by working to slide effortlessly through life – if there’s a line for tables, don’t linger over coffee (take it to Timmy’s), If someone’s giving the cashier a hassle, either intervene politely or just be sympathetic to the cashier. Be aware of traffic/people around you and 1. don’t run over the motorcyclist, 2. make your goal to have an easy drive, not a fast one.
I don’t think this is a Toronto issue; I think this is an impatience issue brought about by technology. Maybe Toronto has changed, but many places likely have also. Consider the recent law: no hand-held devices while driving. Compare that with the rudeness/fatalities correlation. Furthermore, wouldn’t those in higher socio-economic classes have access to more of this technology? This story really needs to explore the technological aspect of this new-found rudeness.
Guess what? You can all kiss my ASS! :P
Are people ruder in Toronto, or just in general? The climate in Western society has become one of speed and instant gratification , which has resulted in a loss of patience.
People want things immediately, whether the medium be technology, transportation, service etc.
It’s led to a society in urban centres where if people aren’t rewarded with what they want they become petulant.
It wasn’t so long ago that it took a good minute for a web page to load top down on Netscape. At the time, it was such brilliant technology. Now if people have to wait for 5 seconds for a page to refresh or a text to be delivered, they get upset.
Same with transit and service. We’ve become a culture of Now Now Now……
It’s like we’ve taken an LP that should be played at 33 and turned up the speed because we can. But the speed doesn’t mean what is playing is what you want or need.
That being said, I don’t think Toronto is any worse off than other North American cities. People are just always in hurry everywhere now.
Yes, Toronto is getting to be one unpleasant city to live in.
People have no manners as we can see it on our subway.
People threw their free Metro newspapers,empty coffee cups(usually McDonalds or Tim Hortons)used Kleenex,candy wrappers,food containers everywhere on the subway floor.
People talked loud as if they were in their own living room not realizing I am not interested in listening to their unworthy gossips!
Oh,smacking their chewing gum loudy which appeared to be an acceptable manner for most people these days.
Then these folks horrible music leaking out of their cheap earbuds.
And putting their feet(with shoes on, of course) on the seat is their right cause they are tired!
I suppose rude people is a result of the standard of our entertainment world, school system and parents who are too busy to teach their children manners!
I HAD to move here from Ottawa due to personnal reasons. I have yet to encounter a city ruder or more self-centered anywhere in the WORLD!!!!
I must mention Dublin again, was just there for a visit and even though it’s a big city,everyone there seemed to have more patience, riders thanked the bus drivers as they stepped off, I was confused about what fare to pay and the driver was as gracious as could be–certainly the whole experience was entirely different from Toronto!
Very simple formula. Meanness/rudeness = Meanness/rudeness. The same goes for love and kindness. If only more people in the world were kind- oh what a place this would be!
I agree absolutely. There are many, many days when I’d rather not step out on to the sidewalk because I know something is bound to happen…and my pessimistic self is rarely disappointed! Like the time that jogger in Forest Hill pushed me in a mud puddle because I was taking too long trying to walk around it without falling in and I was in his way. Yeah…
Every little encounter like this lowers our personal, and by extension societal, threshold for rudeness. We are bound to become more explosive, and ruder. Who wants to live like that?
I agree with you, Jan. In Rob Ford’s Toronto, he will no longer walk in the Pride Parade, because he just doesn’t like those people. City Hall is in the process of redefining the Human Rights code for their objectives.
And in Harper’s Canada, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms just wasn’t applicable during the G20.
It is also not a surprise to me that SunTV is trying to applying for non-factual ‘truthiness’ for their newscasts to the CRTC.
All of these policies filter down to public behaviour, whether we are aware of their source or not.
Try running a small business in a live/work space with a sign on the door that lists your phone number, right above “by appointment.” Ten years ago, people respected my right to manage my time, maintain business hours and enjoy some privacy! Nowadays, people feel free to knock on my door any day/time that suits them, even though they have a cell phone glued to their head and could call…
Then there are the people who have booked time with me and don’t show up, or call, even
though they have a cell phone glued to their head…
Knock, knock, knock, I wonder who that is…
Like some others, I also find this article a little thin and unfounded. What evidence is there to support the claim that Toronto is “rude” and “boorish”? I don’t get it.
As a Newfoundlander living in Toronto, I can attest to this city’s coldness and prudishness. Before moving here, I had never even seen a lineup at a bus stop, or a person standing on a nearly deserted street corner waiting for the walk signal before crossing. Barowners keep patrons on the sidewalk while the venue is at half-capacity, and you can’t buy a bottle of wine at 6:30 pm on a Sunday night -ANYWHERE!
Uptight, yes. Boring, kinda. But rude? No.
The problem with Toronto is that people are so reserved and nestled within the parameters of their own “personal space” that interaction with others is kept to a strict minimum. I almost never see altercations in the street, and rarely do I even hear people speaking on the subways and streetcars. Even as an annoyingly dangerous cyclist, I have yet to garner so much as a nastly glance from a driver or pedestrian. Then again, I am pretty cute.
Anyway, the point is Toronto is too boring to be boorish, and people are too shy to be “rude”. If people actually stood up straight and LOOKED into another person’s eyes once in a while, this city could one day hope to be as cool as, well, Newfoundland.
I totally agree with this article. I found it Google-ing “Rude Toronto” because I was curious to see who else thinks this way. Apparently a LOT of people do. The people in the city are extremely rude and arrogant. Not everyone, of course, but too many of them to make Toronto enjoyable. I actually hate going out because I am bound to be disappointed in humanity again by the time I come back. I’ve been here for so long and it’s really been going downhill fast.
Toronto is a lot better now than before. I am a “visible minority” and I used to get racially abused every day of my life when i was a kid in the 80’s. I was like 7 and white people from aged 7 to 70 used to racially harass me constantly. That’s stopped completely now. The rude people these days, it’s no matter, just be rude right back. It’s actually kind of fun.
Toronto is not as rude as NYC — Toronto is more rude than NYC, by several notches.
The only thing Toronto outdoes NYC is being rude.
Don’t believe me? Go see for yourself. Try walking around Toronto. People are self-absorbed, malicious, down-right passive aggressive.
People in NYC may be rude, but much of it is unintentional due to the lack of time.
But in Toronto, the rudeness is filled with malice and an intent to punish.
I have to agree with the author. I just moved back after living overseas for many years. I don’t know what’s happened, but Toronto has become very unpleasant. I could write a book about all the experiences I have had where people were so rude… and that, sadly, is only over the last few months of being back. Is there some rule here that you need to be unfriendly to each other? Is there something wrong with being nice to one another? The customer service is another topic in itself… super terrible, or perhaps it is non-existent… but that is not a surprise if the norm is people being rude to one another. I want my friendly, kind, warm Canada back. Please!
I didn’t read through ALL the comments here but just wanted to point out that it’s probably not so much a Toronto thing but just that this is the way things are in a big, overly-populated/congested city such as this. We are known to work some of the longest hours and really, I dunno about you but the nightlife here sucks and besides food, there is little to keep me amused enough to undo any real stress sometimes OK getting laid is an option but even that wears off!
@SK, I don’t know if you noticed but there are some real idiots who don’t think twice about taking their sweet-ass time in line kicking up a fuss or striking up a conversation (which is nice but not always a good idea) with the clerk/cashier when the rest of us are trying to pay for our shit and get the hell back to the office or home or wherever. Sometimes it’s more about just being considerate and mindful of others as opposed to being bullied for extending niceties (ie, beyond pleasantries and politeness). I know when I hop into my car and see someone waiting to take my parking spot, I don’t even bother putting on my seatbelt, I jet the hell out of there so they can have it! I don’t sit there and put on my lipstick, call my friends..I might if no one were waiting, but not if it’s a full lot of people driving around looking for a place to leave their cars. I’m not rude but I am impatient, though I try not to be but those loud sighs are often warranted, I’ll vouch for that, I’ll be standing alongside the sigh’er, rolling my eyes and falring my nostrils and I’m sorry if that makes me a bully.
PS Why is everyone always hatin’ on NYers?? I have NEVER IN MY LIFE had any bad experiences with them. I find them SO friendly and helpful, I don’t get why some people think it’s such a rough place. Even the meanest looking people or those in seemingly unsavoury areas are willing to help if you need it, or will strike up a conversation and it’s not so they can rob your ass blind!
No, Toronto is not like NYC. I’m from NYC. People are actually much nicer in NYC. Sorry, Toronto. You are a real disappointment. Learn from Vancouver.
I am Toronto born but moved away when I was young. I came back four years ago and accomplished some good things personally. However over the last year I’ve moved from job to job and notice how rude and cold people are. I want to get along with people and always behave civilized. However the workplaces are filled with creepy middle managers who demand too much for nothing. It is more pronounced here than other places I’ve lived. Everything is so expensive and wages never go up. The odd compliant little monkey with their lips sown you know where gets a raise and the rest of us are stuck paying a grand or more for a one room apartment with continual rent increases. I guess they throw in the bedbugs and the mice as perks. This is so I can pay for somebody’s 1.5 million dollar home on Lakeshore Blvd or the Beaches. Where do these people get off. This is a sucker’s market. If they find one or two fools willing to pay highway robbery prices then nobody questions the legitimacy of the costs associated. Greed is going to make this a wasteland. My final straw was when I applied to one of our esteemed snob universities for a professional type program and was refused when 3 universities of equal ilk accepted me. I had tons of experience good grades and all but I think they are looking for someone with a harder skill set (business oriented) and someone more ethnic or of different sexual orientation based on the personal information survey I filled out at the end of the application. It’s a city of out of touch divas, cutthroats and metero-sexual phonies. I am moving by the way. Thank you Toronto for kicking one of your own to the curb.
In closing, I apologize if I sound racist or ignorant. It’s just I am really pro-people and Toronto in it’s over zealousness to prove that it is egalitarian has become more intolerable. When my parents came from Europe people came with a suitcase broad shoulders and sleeves rolled up. Lately though the people coming over are people with money from countries with undemocratic histories. They all concentrate in Toronto. Their attitude is I’ll own you so shut up and put me in a nice house. That is how I feel around here and I too am one generation removed from being from immigrant stock. It is so different> I want people to work and co-exist to have the same opportunities but based on merit not some bloody abused to death legal mumbo-jumbo.Please Toronto clean up your act work school your children pave your roads. Don’t kill the working man and woman with your greed. You will eat yourself. My parents and their generation didn’t bring their wars and jealousies to Canada they had no time. It’s this new greedy globalism that perhaps well-intentioned people have embraced that is killing us. With their money certain people are bringing their hatred, intolerance and lack of democratic spirit to Toronto. I like them because I like people I just hate their outlook on humanity. They need a glass of cold water in the face to wake them up every once in a while. Please don’t hate me for using freedom of speech. Did I mention I am Toronto born and would love to live fruitfully here but am finding it difficult. Thank you one and all.
What the bleep are you all blabbering about, with your Annnex and your bitchiness. People are RUDE and horrible and selfish and the author of this article is not bitchy and does not need a break, people need to grow up and not be pigs, but they will never do so. And I’m sorry, but the Bolshoi is a waste of time; discerning balletomanes go to performances of the Kirov!
I agree with the author. Toronto absolutely sucks nowadays, and it’s getting worse. More sneers, jeers, eye-rolls – rudeness purely for the sake of being rude. And long gone are the days when people said “please” and “thank you”, unless it’s said sarcastically. This city truly is depressing. And yes, I too have been to NY many times and like some of the other commentators here, I find it a far more courteous city.
It is totally unfair to compare Toronto to NYC.
The truth is that NYC is much, much friendlier than Toronto. This may come as a surprise, because the myth is that Canadians are nice while New Yorkers are rude.
And somehow, I don’t think the excessive rudeness in Toronto has to do with the crowdedness of a large city or the immigrants.
I have lived and worked in NYC for many years and have travelled to many large cities around the world. Yes, in large cities, people are often in a rush and have little time for one another — and invariably are rude, sometimes.
But in Toronto, the rudeness is totally at another level. It is also a different type of rudeness — it is the passive aggressive, creepy type of rudeness. Basically, people just give you the cold-shoulders and act condescending to you for no reason, even if you did absolutely nothing wrong.
Oh, and don’t get me started on the homeless problem. Homelessness in Toronto is a huge problem, and the homeless folks are not the harmless beggars asking for money like in the U.S. In Toronto, many of the countless homeless people roaming the city streets seem to have serious mental illness, and often harass and assault or spit on innocent pedestrians.
In short, if you want to live in a city with the unique combo of extreme rudeness, sky high price-gouging, dangerous homeless folks, you should come live in Toronto. It is just perfect for that purpose.
I don’t get it with some young male drivers (20 30’s) who are rude and inconsiderate. Today at the Leaside Plaza Starbucks a White Honda cut me off racing at 50 km in the parking lot to park illegally in front of the shop. When I asked him to please please pull up 2 feet to so I could negotiate past him, he told me to F off and back up – that is why there is reverse on cars and walked into the shop. He was blocking a line of traffic. I was riled and wished I could have done something to smack sense into him. I took his license number, but what good does that do. I wish I had a smart comeback. Is this rudeness the new norm or am I over reacting ?
I am at the stage of my life where I am trying to find inner peace and spirituality.
But whenever I step out of my apartment and venture into the streets of Toronto, I am instantly assaulted, yes, assaulted by this avalanche of rudeness. And then I would invariably feel depressed.
People tend to compare Toronto to New York City, but that is misleading, because having lived both cities for many years, and I can say with all honesty that New Yorkers are much friendlier and open than Torontonians. New Yorkers are not really rude; often, they only appear “rude” because they are in a hurry.
Whereas, in Toronto, the people are actually extremely rude, and go out of their way to purposely be rude to one another; it is rudeness for the sake of rudeness. As perverse and odd as this may sound, it is almost as if it is trendy to be rude in Toronto.
In Toronto, it seems that people are rude to others for no apparent reason, other than for the passive aggressive need to punish another for the sake of dishing out punishment. In psychological terms, it can be characterized as a subconscious or conscious impulse to release or externalize some deep-seated, pent-up issues.
One can understand and rationalize the passive aggressive dynamics in the context of husbands and wives; but the problem with the passive aggressiveness and rudeness in Toronto is that it occurs between strangers, for no apparent reason. This makes the problem in the context of Toronto impenetrable to rational analysis. And there is nothing that the innocent person can do about it, because the rudeness is not overt or articulated, it takes the form of passive aggression or passive rudeness.
You could be innocently going about and minding your own business, and BOOM, random rudeness flies at you from a stranger for no apparent reason, so palpable and jaw-droppingly shocking that it will ruin your whole day. Try hopping on the infamous TTC street car and see what happens. Rude and passive aggressive TTC driver, hostile and passive aggressive passengers. Whatever happened to being civil and nice to one another?
This whole thing about rudeness and passive aggressiveness in Toronto has really been a downer for me. I have yet to see anything like this anywhere else in the world; it is that shocking; and that says a lot, because I have a long catalogue of travel experiences across many large cities in the world.
Toronto is actually a nice place PHYSICALLY; it is the people in it and the social environment that is a major, major let-down.
I just wish people can have the decency to treat one another better and with more dignity.
“no Chinese person would be so rude… to take two jumbo shrimp when it was obvious there was only enough on the platter for each person” — that’s because Chinese people just want to save face — it has nothing to do with being considerate.
I agree with you. I’m a teacher who’s taught here in the GTA since 2002 and I’ve been trying to find a place up live in Toronto. People have put up a tone of barriers. One landlord even asked me to get a criminal record check done in order to rent a place that was only 700 bucks. Landlords I’ve rented from were very condescending to me. Maybe because they thought because they owned their Toronto properties that they thought they were better than me.
I was thinking of moving to Toronto, but I’ve faced a lot of barriers there renting. And the rent is through the roof when most of the places are infested with bugs.
This sums up toronto. I blame it on too many cultures trying to live together! Very rude place, people have attitudes. I think new york is more civil than toronto and new york has 23 million people!
or maybe the 30% unemployed youth contributes!
pretty rotten. Too many cultures creates this mentality….
Now the minorities treat whites this way!!
More of toronto the good leaving……….too sad. With 150 gangs who can blame you…..
Year dear i am a white canadian lady who is mixed white. I left toronto in 1996 it was turning bad then. What you now have there is extreme leftwing nutbars who want everything for free, think gangs are okay, and are hypocrites quite frankly.
Toronto is exceedingly RUDE relative to all the cities I’ve lived in (and I have lived in many other cities, including NYC, London, Munich, Tokyo, SF and Atlanta).
However, that said, it should be pointed out that the rudeness in Toronto (and also the GTA region and Canada generally) is somewhat different from rudeness in the rest of the world. The rudeness is the passive and silent type. It is kind of difficult to explain. I can’t really put it into words. It seems like many people are rude but they don’t want to say it out loud, so they let you experience their rudeness in a silent and passive way, such that you cannot call them out for it?
I don’t know how to describe it. But it is there. Very prevalent.
As usual. Racist Canadian. Most disgusting country I’ve been to and I’m American.
You have described a Canadian problem. Not a Toronto problem. Canada is a lot more provincial and smaller than many people realize. The whole country made up of bumpkins and bigots.
They channel their hatred to minorities by excluding them socially.
I disagree completely.
Toronto is not rude at all.
You are f-ing crazy.
No – it’s you.
People giving you the ‘cold shoulder’ and acting ‘passive agressive’ – this is wrong.
I know this because I don’t show a lot of visible emotion on my face – even when I’m happy. People often accuse me of being all sorts of things.
They read what they want into my lack of emotion.
You – and 99% of people are self-concious.
You interpret a lack of emotion or ‘coldness’ of others as though they have something against you.
They don’t. If anything, they are probably either a little nervous, or don’t think it’s appropriate to converse wit you.
New Yorkers are gregarious – expressive. That’s why they might seem more human.
By New Yorkers are more rude.
Torontonians are not rude, they are ‘prude’ :). Big difference.
You are confusing ‘rude’ with ‘cold’.
Canadians are a little prudish and keep to themselves.
‘Hello Kitty’ – you are probably a little self concious (most people are) and confusing lack of emotion / gregariousness for rudeness.
Toronto is far more polite than NYC, but they are also more cold and uptight.
NYC I find are loud and gregarious, but definitely more open.
“other than for the passive aggressive need to punish another for the sake of dishing out punishment”. >>>>>>>>> This is complete *bullshit*.
You cannot determine if someone is ‘passive aggressive’ because of how they look when they walk buy. ‘Passive aggressive’ is not even a real psychological thing.
*It’s YOU*. You are projecting infantile, imagined things onto people, who, because of their lack of expression, you interpret negatively.
The mere fact you would call people ‘passive aggressive’ is highly problematic.
People in Toronto (like you) suffer from a little bit of a lack of self esteem and I think this makes things harder for everyone.
You are an insecure a&&hole.
Torontonians are quiet and polite.
It’s *you* who interprets their behavior as ‘rude’ or ‘anti social’.
“yet they want to hurt you (for no apparent reason) with their rudeness in a silent and passive way,”
SERIOUSLY. YOU THINK THAT BECAUSE SOMEONE IS QUIET THEY WANT TO *HURT YOU*?
You are an insecure person, projecting your fears and anxieties onto others.
Uhm – you are the racist idiot.
Canadians are quiet and polite.
Because you’re an insecure loser, you project your insecurities onto other Canadians.
Back to your homeland.
My homeland is America. I’ve only been to Canada for one hour at the Niagara Falls when I walked across. Most boring loser sleepy piece of shit icebox I ever went. I was with a group of Dutch and they all laughed and said who gives a fuck about Canada. They spent two months in the USA and didn’t bother to include Canada at all except for that one hour when we walked across. Lol. Of course I went back to my homeland after one hour there. Most boring piece of loser shit lame ass wasteland we had ever seen. And with a small loser economy. Your GDP is less than 8% of ours. LOL.
By the way, your English is hilarious so don’t even try to pose as a native speaker. It is obvious you are not native born Canadian. Lol.
How can draw the conclusion that this is a ‘canadian problem’ from a one hour visit to the admittedly sleepy Niagara region? That doesn’t make sense. But I agree with you, for the most part. I’m a born canadian and I have always found the place small-minded, anti-intellectual and backward. Alas, the po-faced brit wannabees who made this place in their own image seem to like it that way.
Then come to America. We welcome many Canadian refugees who escape and seek to live permanently in the US every year.
I had to chuckle at you writing “Toronto is not rude at all -You are f-ing crazy.”! Not the best way of putting it and lol, a little rude BUT I agree with you 100%. I don’t think Toronto is “rude”, but rather cautious. We don’t just say “Pleased to meet you” – we say “How do you do?” because honestly, the attitude is a bit more “Actions speak”. I think in Toronto you have to earn people’s trust and respect, it is not freely given unconditionally.
I think it may come off as cool, but it’s more prudent.
Well toronto hates Canadian culture!
Sorry for their loss!
I agree T.O. is very rude.
But then, rudeness is just one of T.O.’s many, many problems, some of which are way more serious and problematic, including these two which in my opinion are the most serious:
(1) delusion, hypocrisy, anti-intellectualism and exclusion
Many of the folks suffer from a serious case of delusion and hypocrisy…..just look at the city’s official motto on its letter head and signs “Diversity is Our Strength”.
Come on, are you kidding me? Seriously?!
How can any honest city still claim to be tolerant towards diversity, and at the same time allow an alleged racist bigot from a white privileged and connected background to remain as mayor, despite allegedly being a hardcore drug user and despite him being allegedly heard spewing bigotry against the LGBT community and the nonwhite ethnic communities in the city, in addition to disrespecting women.
Note that tellingly, the old privileged white establishment ended up only pressuring and forcing him to apologize for the sexism and the drug use (which he did reportedly apologized for), but not the racism and the anti-gay intolerance (which, if my memory is up to date, he has yet to apologize for). And few people point out this glaring issue; it is almost as if racism and homophobia is okay even for a public official who heads the supposedly tolerant city.
And he is just the tip of the iceberg. Behind him seats an entire suburban population called Ford Nation that apparently deems his racist, bigoted and drug-related conduct somehow acceptable.
Come on…..what kind of a world class city that claims to tolerate diversity would tolerate an alleged racist, anti-gay and misogynistic mayor and continue to allow him to hold the title of Mayor? We are talking about an official whose salary and office are paid out of the public purse of the public generally…….including those he allegedly directed his hate and racism towards. He has a duty as mayor to look out for the city’s residents’ overall interest, rather than take a very skewed one-sided view that is not only narrow-minded, but racist and intolerant against vulnerable communities. Go figure.
If one walks around the city, one will see the horrific and shocking ways in which some locals treat “outsiders” or immigrants of non-white ethnicities. Funny that T.O. likes to compare itself to NYC and trash all things American. Seriously??? How can T.O. compare to NYC?? NY is civilized city although in a constant rush; people there are actually friendly. You certainly don’t see locals in NY giving “outsiders” or immigrants the silent treatment or the infamous Toronto cold stare or dirty look or talking to them condescendingly. And you don’t see so many foreigners who have been trained in top Western universities (doctors, lawyers, engineers, scientists, MBAs, PhDs, academics etc.) driving taxi cabs, waiting tables, cleaning restrooms or working graveyard security guard shifts in car parks and condos because local employers keep saying “sorry, Canadian Experience needed” (which arguably is a subtle and polite way of saying “we don’t hire nonwhite immigrants”).
To top it off, some self-centered folks in T.O. still have the audacity to claim that they are tolerant. It just reeks of hypocrisy.
(2) Crumbling infrastructure and inept politicians and bureaucracy
People in T.O. LOVE to claim that the city is a first world city and a world class city.
But what kind of world class city in the first world has such third world public infrastructure? T.O.’s infrastructure is lagging probably 50 years behind that of cities around the world of its size. Even if you compare T.O. to many of the cities in third world countries, you will see how many of the latter cities have better infrastructures than T.O.
If these problems aren’t fixed soon, T.O. will sink and sink. It’s already got its global reputation (if it even had one) destroyed and tainted with the Ford saga.
But some folks in T.O, just don’t care…..in fact….they probably enjoy letting the problems fester and fester, inflicting frustration and pain on their fellow Torontonians. It is cruelty in a passive silent sneaky mode.
One can go on and on……but seriously…..T.O. is broken.
Torontoians are degenerate scum. ‘Prude’? You mean cold heared narcassists? Then I would agree
Source:Used to live in toronto
Proof Torontoians are rude. Instead of challenging someones opinion to view another prospective, they insult and assault you. This is the example
I couldn’t agree with you more. I too have lived in different cities, traveled lots, and I have never seen such subtle arrogance in people, in my life. Both from men and women.
The women look like they hate everyone around them. They look SO angry! What is with that?! They stomp past you like youve done something wrong, and you haven’t. You’re just standing there, minding your own business. They have this pent up frustration that’s steming from I don’t know what.
And the men…. Well I think they’re just responding to the attitude of the women. Men by nature are friendly and flirty with women. Not in Toronto. They look right last you like you’re invisible. It’s just weird. You’ll be the only person walking past them on the sidewalk, and they’ll look right past you like you’re not even there. It’s not normal. But, I blame the women.
The whole male female dynamic in this city is so child-like it’s sickening frankly.
Whites are the only ones who I see with minorities. East indians, chinese etc do not mix, nor do moslems.
They are the ones who get government jobs!
Chinese will only help their own.
In terms of policy I actually thought the Ford brothers made some sense, but you’re right that the negative publicity of Ford’s office has probably hurt Toronto’s reputation internationally.
I think the media is in part to blame for that though. I’m sure lots of politicians have dark sides that are ignored. Ford was constantly put on TV to be publicly ridiculed and scrutinized. His job was to be mayor though, not to be a fashion model. At least he had the guts to say what he really felt about things.
Also I don’t see why him not going to the Pride Parade was such a big deal to everyone. It was his right not to go if he did not want to, and it was the people’s right to have a parade if they wanted to. No harm no foul.
Overall it seems like Toronto is dying. All the great things about it that made it a fun city to live when I was younger are disappearing. The weather sucks, the social culture sucks, everyone is isolated from each other, I’m told everyday that I’m a rapist, the wages are low, the real-estate is some of the most expensive in the world… There is just nothing really going for it anymore…
The comparison to New York doesn’t make sense IMO.
New York has so much to offer in so many different ways. And from the time I spent in New York it isn’t considered taboo to talk to strangers unlike TO.
The thing with TO is that without a healthy social culture, there aren’t enough other redeeming qualities.
Thank you! A Toronto woman that actually makes sense!
The real canadian classy women are outside of Toronto!
It was like this 30 years ago!
That is called the new generation attached to their smartphones. Everything is ‘check the computer”. But at times this can work to our advantage! My friend runs a nonprofit and the phone and internet bill is 212 a month. He received a bill from a major telephone company stating the monthly bill is $12.12 per month. He called and they even checked but they dont bother to look into previous activities, so he said I want to pay this bill for one year! So he did! He paid $12.12 x 12 months how stupid are they people!!! lol
I think some of the women there are gay and you cant tell, this is why they are so aggressive.Most of the minorities have attitude, but I think the whites, italians, greeks and native girls are sweethearts, and some of the european girls of course.
That is untrue. I had friends from all races growing out, race was not pointed out then, we were ALL EQUAL.
No its from the ‘entitlement’ people…..that multiculturalism has created…
Did anyone ever hear this saying” Be part of the solution not part of the problem.”
If your only view of Canada is Toronto no wonder you feel this way…
I heard federally (or maybe provincially) they want to rewrite the Charter and exclude French and natives is this true? English are already excluded you might as well say because we are not allowed to apply for government jobs. We are not one of the ‘quotas’.
We went to withemore farm on Friday we have seen all white people in park where there is an entry fee of $8 per head. I couldn’t see any outside people other then whites . The way they were looking at us was a strange. So I realize latter that it is a matter of racism. When my son was playing, other white parents use to go away with their kids. In fact my son is with fair complex and handsome too. Yes there is still racism devil in people’s minds even they are teaching the same thing to their kids. I think government needs to be more strong on this there must be a huge panelty on this even with a slight behaviour. it is not that government should take immigration money and boost the economy by bringing more and more people. Please if any government official is reading this and has official power please take it seriously. Otherwise stop immigration.
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