Maybe 36 hours is not enough time to experience Toronto
This past Sunday, Toronto was the subject of The New York Times’ 36 Hours column—this is Hogtown’s second treatment in the series, in which a New York writer describes a weekend visit. Even though we hate to admit it, we lean in a little closer when the old grey lady whispers our city’s name. The eating and drinking establishments mentioned include El Convento Rico, The Communist’s Daughter, Sweaty Betty’s, Lai Wah Heen and—wait for it—College Street Bar. A paltry sample, but seeing as writer Denny Lee was here only for a weekend, we can’t be too hard on him. Perhaps he likes to party like it’s 2007. And to do so south of Bloor.
Still, we wonder how some spanking new hot spots fell through the cracks. What about Nota Bene, The Black Hoof and Pizzeria Libretto? Lee did a great job of staying current when it came to other spots. The remade AGO gets props, for example, but not Frank. Oddfellows and Nyood are mentioned. Susur Lee’s Madeline’s gets a passing nod (though we couldn’t help but notice the chef’s name misspelled as “Susar”).
Our conclusion: “A” for effort, but no matter how intrepid the visitor, maybe it takes more than 36 hours to fully appreciate Toronto.
78 thoughts on “Maybe 36 hours is not enough time to experience Toronto”
Living in New York, I personally believe 36 hours is way too much in Toronto – have you been to Manhattan? More solid establishments have closed here in the amount of time it takes to see all that is “interesting” in Toronto. I read the Times article this past weekend and I think most people filed it under “Places to see after Des Moines, Minneapolis, Albany, or any other third-tier city in the lower 48”.
wow, david. you’re an idiot.
you didn’t even file toronto in the right spot – it’s not in the ‘lower 48.’ it’s actually in another country. i’ve lived in manhattan, and jerks like you (those that are so puffed up about living where they do that they are incapable of appreciating another city) make manhattan insufferable.
i can’t tell you how happy i am that you’ll never come to toronto.
Hey yorker, I did not say that Toronto was in the lower 48, only that there are plenty of places in the lower 48 that are more interesting.
Nice to know your anger can make you mis-read things – didn’t expect that kind of passion from such a beige kind of place. Remember, revenge is a dish best served cold, so maybe you should ruminate on things a bit before your vitriolic response? But then again, it only takes a few seconds for things to get cold in Toronto.
Have you lived in Toronto, so that you can make a just comparison to your beloved Manhattan? What exactly makes you say it’s such a bland city? It would be helpful to provide us with some facts, or we might be tempted to think that you’re just a stuck-up pompous blowhard of the sort described so accurately by Yorker.
Oh – but please don’t misread that, David – I didn’t actually CALL you a pompous blowhard, I’m just thinking it.
Dictionary Definition: Insult (v)
…to create an enemy without actually saying anything meaningful in order to raise one’s own self esteem.
Dictionary Definition: Denigrate (v)
…to belittle an idea/individual without actually doing anything meaningful in order to raise one’s own self esteem.
Hey all – I am sorry if I’ve offended. I have been to Toronto, I do like it for what it is, and people there are exceedingly nice.
But I’m just being honest in that I have been to many places where the locals have a lot of passion for their own city and seem to think that if only someone went to club XYZ instead of club ABC, or this restaurant instead of that one, you’d see what a world class city we truly are. That kind of thinking is, to be blunt, naive.
The Toronto attitude is cute though – very much a roll-out the red carpet and take the plastic off the furniture kind of town with respect to the way it treats tourists. But the brutal truth is no one really cares, and I’m sorry if that hurts.
And to madcrossnelly’s question of what is so bland about Toronto, here’s a list:
-the clubs are decent, but is it really competitive with the best in NY, Miami, San Fran, LA? places seemed kind of empty to me.
-the museums are blah. kind of small actually, and if you don’t agree with that, you probably haven’t left Canada.
-the infrastructure is ridiculous. the subway “system” is this U-shaped toy train set.
-this is going back years now, but i liked Susur’s restaurant a lot. and i know there are probably a dozen more higher end places that are worth going to in toronto, but that’s a pretty limited number. plenty of cities out there with a dozen or more good restaurants.
-there’s nothing of any historical significance on a global scale in the city; no important monuments, no important buildings, no important anything that someone from, say, Paris would care to go back home and brag about seeing.
In short, Toronto is just a place on the map. A fine place, don’t get me wrong, but I think 36 hours more than captures it. It’s great that you’re proud of your city, but the thing I’ve found about most people is they tend to blindly feel their cities are under-rated no matter where they live. If the author of this article was actually objective, I don’t think he would be slamming a New York-based author for using a scalpel to find nothing but the “hottest” spots in Toronto. His or her claim is actually pretty funny to me.
Sorry – second to last sentence above should be “for NOT using a scalpel”
for someone with such a low opinion of toronto, david, you certainly seem to spend a good deal of time caring what its citizens think of you.
i think the author’s point was that the nyt reporter didn’t capture the city we know very well – and that maybe it’s a trait of new yorkers to be too rushed and/or myopic to see the value of places that aren’t new york. your comments here certainly support that theory. you are entitled to your opinion, of course, but it is hard to accept the criticism of someone so blindly condescending.
(you do have a point about the transit, though.)
and i guess my point is that one would need to spend more than 36 hours anywhere to fully appreciate it, but what compelling reason would anyone with the tourist dollars to allocate want to do that in toronto? even if you leave new york out of the argument, why not chicago, boston, los angeles, san francisco, minneapolis, philadelphia, cincinatti, memphis, new orleans, seattle, denver, etc.?
this is not a personal attack, and for the record i didn’t call anyone a “blowhard” or an “idiot”; i do care what torontonians think because the ones i’ve met are good people. it’s just frustrating that the author in the NYT went to a sampling of toronto estalishments and wrote up a nice article about it, only to be nit-picked for not finding the “hot” places that just opened. if you can’t find the humor in that, then maybe you take your city too seriously?
i’d definitely spend more than 36 hours in toronto for the kind folks there (other than some of the posters on this board), but certainly not for the “interesting” things to see and do. that’s the angle i would play at least, if i were trying to market your fair city. lonely planet guides are pretty objective (and not written exclusively by the nasty folks in manhattan), and last i checked the one for toronto is about the size of a brochure for summer camp. that should tell you something.
I have lived in Toronto all my life and agree to
“educate” you on all that we have to offer if you give me 36 hours but please do not put down my city.It is the best place to live in the world.
Thank you David,
your comments (although I disagree!) do now at least demonstrate a little familiarity with the topic rather than your previous “just sayin”-type post. Healthy debate is good but blithely stating an opinion without any back-up just smacks of hubris, so I appreciate your reply.
I agree that the Toronto Life article’s author did put too fine a point on the choice of “hottest” places; he IS right – those aren’t the hot spots any more, and haven’t been for ages but as you say, that’s not really the issue.
The population of Toronto (the GTA in fact) is closer to Houston or Chicago than any of LA/SFO/NYC so it’s not entirely fair for you to make those comparisons. But, if you read carefully, that’s not what either author was saying.
Both authors are saying that what makes Toronto great is, amongst many other things, the network of communities we have developed. The “nice” people you describe. And, exactly the things you don’t seem to like about it. We don’t care about celebrity; we’re not obsessed with showing off at high-end clubs.
Sure, our transit system could be improved, but it gets us around. No, we don’t have the Golden Gate Bridge or the Empire State Building, but we do have the good ol’ CN Tower, lots of interesting architecture, hundreds of amazing restaurants that don’t require us to go into debt and best of all, streets that are by and large safe enough to walk at any time of day or night. We don’t need to carry guns around, our murder rate is 2.0 victims / 100,000 (vs. NYC at 7.3 per 100,000) and unlike our neighbours to the south, we’re enjoying a relatively stable and successful economy right now.
So, in my mind, Toronto IS a world-class city – because those are the measurements that mean the most to me. I’m most certainly not trying to convince you to come here or to change your opinion. On the contrary, I think it’s just great that you love New York so much, and that you seem to love the other Big Famous American cities you have travelled to.
I too have been fortunate enough to travel to many great cities around the world, from Dubai to Buenos Aires, Copenhagen to Bombay, Paris to Vancouver. I loved many, many things about those cities, and disliked many too. But unlike you I don’t feel the need to insult their residents in order to make Toronto seem better or grander, nor would I denigrate them by saying I thought they were “cute”. I think they’re all great in their own way.
Finally, it might shock you to learn that although I’ve travelled the world, I have never been to New York. Truthfully it just doesn’t really appeal. I guess I’m just not a fan of hubris.
Sorry if that hurts.
I am not putting down Toronto, just putting it into perspective of reality. It’s great that you think it’s the best place to live in the world, but there are people in Oslo, Helsinki, Beijing, Kuala Lumpur, Des Moines, etc. that would respectfully disagree with you. Why is Toronto better than any of those places? The question sounds condescending and confrontational, but it’s not meant to be.
I would just be careful to not overrate the city you have lived in all of your life, and perhaps be a bit more objective before crowning Toronto the “best place to live in the world”?
Personally, I thought the article picked out an interesting selection of what’s current in Toronto.
But next time the Times does “36 Hours in New York”, I hope they don’t forget to mention what hopeless snobs the inhabitants are — it would be a shame for those of us from elsewhere not to know that they’re looking down their noses at us, simply because we have more elbow room in our clubs than they do.
Your comment about “thinking that if only someone went to club XYZ instead of club ABC, or this restaurant instead of that one, you’d see what a world class city we truly are” makes no sense. On my first trip to NYC I did not know where to go and I ate at some horrible restaurants and walked through areas that I only saw in the movies. You need to educate yourself on where to go and what to do in our fine city just like I educated myself where to eat and go in NYC on my second trip.
My spidey sense tells me that being from Manhattan is 99% of the cause of the intransigence directed my way, so let me be the first to say that we have really filthy sidewalks, non-stop noise pollution, an incredibly bad service sector, overpriced everything, a high crime rate (although the 5 basis points of extra murder rate versus toronto that madcrossnelly cites is probably worth the risk), a soul-draining lifestyle, and yes, insufferable snobs like me.
So, let me concede the following: Tim Horton’s is much better than Dunkin’ Donuts. And the huge underground bunker that you have downtown would make Ava Braun jealous.
I wonder if there’s a ‘Witchita Life’ site where the residents are equally spirited?
I think it’s time we Torontonians stopped caring about what other people (like David) think of a city WE love. While I like to treat visitors well, I try not to pay too much attention to what out-of-towners think (positively or negatively) about my home. If we want respect in this world, we’ve got to stop being so damn insecure.
Toronto is great, I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else and I don’t need to prove it to anyone else.
Hey Andrea – now that is the right attitude. Who cares that the NYT reporter went to the communist’s daughter instead of the black hoof, like anyone not from Toronto really cares, right?
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
I’ll tell Susur to send you a post card, just kidding, just kidding!
Interesting trail here. I’ve always felt that calling yourself a world class city is a bit of a waste rather than just being one (and we seem to spend a lot of time calling ourselves such). I live in Toronto and you do hear it a lot from us locals. But really we don’t like it when someone else says we aren’t and we don’t seem to believe we are up there unless it gets validated by other people from somewhere else. So, it’s a silly catch 22. Just carry on and get it done. I don’t know why we are taking so long to complete the waterfront and a host of other big city ideas. We can do better and bigger clearly. Be it in restaurants, museums or whatever else. But, I like it here. And obviously a whole bunch of other people do too. So, that’s good enough for me. If I really want to go to some big honking museum, I can travel. I don’t really care what “rank” we get in the end since it will be somewhat based on a host of cultural and other values. If I happen to share those values I might agree. It’s like a movie review in that sense. But, it sure makes for interesting discussions.
The Lee piece was kind of lame. Even worse was NYT’s Frugal Traveler “$500 Weekend” in May 08, who apparently spent most of his time on a park bench in Kensington Market.
These guys should do like Bourdain and hook up with a local for a more authentic experience of a city. Otherwise, they’re just window shopping, aren’t they?
David is not much different than most Yanks.All the world revolves around them and the rest of the world is second class.He says that we don’t have anything to see here-how about Chicago? I am going to start planning my vacation there soon to see the Sears Building. I say if you don’t want to come to Toronto stay in your US of A and leave us toenjoy what we know if one of the best cities in the world.
I must say I am impressed by the overflowing loyalty of Torontonians to their city.
Who wouldn’t stick up for their own city? Even people from Newark get edgy when a negative light is cast in their direction. But I think there is a point where it gets a bit out of hand and ironic. There seems to be a lot of negativity towards New Yorkers for our hubris, but really Toronto, are you much different?
This has been a very enlightening thread for me; granted this is probably a very limited subset of Torontonians, it has revealed a lot of the insecurities that seem to be broadly felt. Some of the posters are spot on in saying that Toronto shouldn’t care what others think of it; the reality is that it doesn’t register for most people in the global village, but why should Toronto care? You love your city and that makes you the same as everybody out there, but not special like you seem to believe.
The Canadian tourism board is running ads in the U.S. right now – you can find them in the tv’s in the back of cabs we have in NYC, and they’re also on billboards in various U.S. airports. Guess what they’re advertising? Glaciers, dog sleds, and what looks to be an outdoor patio in Quebec City, but they are playing up the European aspect of it. I am not making this up – google it for yourself Your own tourism board has neglected to show Toronto to us “yanks”. Interesting, isn’t it?
Hey whenever I tell an Amercian I am from Toronto they always ask about dog sleds,igloos,etc. again showing igorance for anything outside the US so I guess our tourism board is showing you want you already think of us.The City of Toronto’s population is made up over a million people of European descent so why do we need to play up Quebec City’s european influence?
And like our Canadian idols Bob and Doug Mackenize (you might want to google that David-it’s not Amercian) take off eh
The Black Hoof
The Parkdale Drink
Cock & Tail
Tattoo Rock Parlour
Maybe when I’m done all that I’ll have time to reply to David and the rest of you. Until then – ta!!!!!
cindy, i could just pinch your cheeks, that is so adorable.
Sorry folks, got to agree with David. Susur Lee our star chef could not beat Bobby Flay? He also had some pretty bad reviews in NYC for his new venture there. Got to tell you something.
how on earth did this turn into a “new york vs. toronto” debate!?
as far as I can see, David – you’re just blathering on trying to get the last word and somehow trounce us torontonians to make yourself feel important.
and pierre – are you kidding me?! Bobby Flay!?
Toronto is a wonderful city. So is new york. Neither is better, they are just very different.
Folks, let’s just be thankful for one thing: at least David doesn’t live HERE, hahahaha…
Sorry that you missed my point sweetpea….exactly….BOBBY FLAY!!
How good do you have to be to beat him. I have eaten at Flay’s restaurant and it was a huge letdown. GET MY POINT NOW?
Being that I am a New Yorker living in Toronto (originially from Cobble Hill, BKLYN), I can see both sides of the issue. I think David is right in the fact that as a tourist, Toronto does not have a lot to offer, if you hail from a major metropolitan area. On the other hand, I love living here for the reasons already stated. But let’s be honest, a tourist is not going to appreciate the fact there there’s low crime, lots of parks, etc. When most people visit Toronto, they are only coming for a weekend and if they are used to seeing famous landmarks and world class museums, they will be disappointed. As for the restaurants, there is good food here, but I’ve had better in other cities (and I’m not just talking about NYC. I’ve also lived in France, Miami, and Boston).
The way I look at it is that I would much rather live in a city that is great to live rather than “it’s a great city to visit, but there’s no way I could live here (i.e. NYC).
Sweetpea…I understand now why you missed my point. I should have been clear. I was referring to the Iron Chef showdown where Susur could not beat Flay. It ended in a tie. That episode was well published in the media. Thought everyone knew about it.
Elisabeth…. I could have not said it better myself.
Pierre you must remember that the Iron Chef show where Susur and Flay tied is an AMERCIAN show with AMERCIAN judges. I would like to see Flay up against Jamie Kennedy ,Ryan Gustafson,David Lee ,Mark McEwan to name a few.I am sure any of these guys could beat the pants off Flay in a fair enviroment.I also have been to Flay’s resturants several times and I would not return.
Sweetpea-you could not be more right about David trying to get the last word to make yourself feel important.
I’ve lived in Toronto all my life but I’d much rather live in NYC!
This has gotten a bit out of hand – not meant to be an NYC or even a U.S. vs. Toronto thing. I could be from Paris, Hong Kong, Tokyo, London, or any other alpha city of the world – let’s pretend for a moment. My initial issue was with the author saying how regrettable it was that the NYT author missed a huge swath of Toronto, when in fact it would not make a difference in his write-up. His statement that Mr. Lee must like to party “like it’s 2007” is funny, because for a citizen of world class city, no matter what they do in Toronto, it’s going to feel like 2007.
You guys have a tourist trap-type square by your big mall downtown, right? I think the locals call it your version of “TimesSquare”? Now, for anyone that’s been to the real TimesSquare before, which itself is a sucky place, and then compares it to your version of it…come on, I’m not trying to be a jerk or get the last word in, and if you want to demonize me I don’t care. But don’t knock anyone, least of all someone from the most venerable newspaper in the world, for not being sharp enough to enjoy your city. It is not doing you any favors.
Again, sorry if you find this very objective viewpoint so offensive. If I was trying to feel important about my city by “blathering”, I would probably aim a bit higher than Toronto.
“I could be from Paris, Hong Kong, Tokyo, London, or any other alpha city of the world”
No, David, you couldn’t. People from those cities wouldn’t bother trying as hard as you do to insist that our city is somehow inferior.
In any case, I have a difficult time believing that you have even been outside of the US because you’re living up to every stereotype of Americans there ever was.
But I do have to thank you – you’ve amply proved my point that you are blathering and trying to get the last word in.
For the record, we don’t call it Times Square – I’ve never heard such insufferable piddle. Get a life.
sweetpea, you are right. toronto is a great city, not inferior in any way, A-1, first class, really, one of the most amazing places ever. i don’t know where the new york times comes off visiting it, and not finding the latest place to sprout up to write about what a blast he had in one of the top five most sizzling places on earth.
you are the straw that stirs the drink, a cosmopolitan powerhouse, and anybody that goes to toronto and dares have their own opinion of it and has the temerity to express it should stay where they came from and suffer all the slings and arrows that are ironically as stereotypical as those that said person is supposedly hurling. so i will stay in the u.s., because no other resident of any major city from another country in the world would ever insist that toronto is anything but aces.
for the record, the locals that i spoke to did call it their “version” of times square, so that insufferable piddle comes from some of your own. unlike you though, sweetpea, they were good people.
David, you’ve totally missed my point yet again. If you really were a well-travelled person from a cosmopolitan city, you wouldn’t try as hard as you are doing to put us down.
If some NYC guy writes an article saying that he didn’t have an amazing time here, surely it’s understandable for the Toronto Life website to point out that he might have had a better time under different circumstances. Nobody has claimed that Toronto is on a par with LA or London (or even New York). As someone pointed out above, we’re tiny by comparison.
So why do you feel the need to repeatedly shove it down our throats that the circumstances would make no difference and that Toronto is simply a crappy, second-rate place?
It’s like you’re a schoolyard bully getting a smaller kid to say “uncle”. What, apart from making yourself feel big, could possibly be your goal in trying to get us to admit that we’re inferior?
Anyway I’m tired after having had a great (oops, sorry, crappy) time out in this crappy city of mine and I can’t be bothered with you any more. So, you can totally have the last word. In fact I look forward to your reply; you’re really quite entertaining in a petulant, childish kind of way.
Sweet Jesus, David: Put a sock in it.
Did you know the “venerable” NYT has a comment section?
Go ahead and use it.
I’m sure they’ll appreciate your “wisdom” a hell of a lot more over there.
For a guy who lives in such a great city with so much to do why the hell do you even care about Toronto.Get off the Toronto Life wbesite and like missdelite said so nicely hit the NYT comment section.And for you information it is called the Toronto Life Square-assuming you will allow us the use the word Square or are we copying that from your fair city? Let’s hope we fon’t see or hear from you again-Luv you David ta ta…try not to say anything…I bet you will !!!!
Ohhh…did we hurt your feelings David ? I guess the bully is taking his ball and going home.You must have thought you would make your smart ass comments and thought that we polite Canadians are supposed to take it.
Wow, was that ever entertaining. Thanks David from NYC! Your condescension and underdeveloped viewpoints really embolden the notion felt around the world that most New Yorkers are ignorant and pompous.
Take care now, hope to see you back here soon!
(… Oops! Was that sarcasm?)
Whenever I leave one of the great American cities (Boston, Chicago, NewYork, Washington, San Francisco) I leave with mixed emotions.
First there is the heady feeling one gets from the vibe and swagger of being in a great city, but as I get closer to the Canadian border, a new emotion kicks in – one of pity for the Americans I am leaving behind. Pity because although they may be surrounded by everything the American dream has to offer, they must also live with a great tapestry of lies.
The truth of the American foreign policy is breathtakingly vicious, responsible for the deaths of 100’s of thousands of civilian deaths. Their crimes have been systematic and remorseless, but most Americans no nothing of this. Americans believe their foreign policy is a force of universal good.
Americans, full of self love, cushion themselves with the amenities provided by their Dream, they suffocate their intelligence by ignoring the truths of what they do in other parts of the world, they embrace “born againism” so someone, anyone will forgive them for their sins.
It is quite wonderful to drink in the wealth and excitement of the great American cities, and I am guilty of not looking closely at the 40 million Americans living below the poverty line when I pass them by, but it is always a great relief when I cross the border back into Canada and find my way home to Toronto.
People, please realize that ‘David’ is a troll. He is more sophisticated than your typical Internet troll, but a troll nonetheless. Go back and read his first comment again — he is laughably transparent. It is clear that he came here to see how many people he could antagonize. He got what he wanted: the attention that trolls crave, and no doubt, a feeling of power.
Think of how sad this is, and pity him. This is a person who feels so powerless in his life that he gets a kick out of ‘playing’ people online!
I read the Time article the other day, and I was curious to read this comment thread and hear people’s impressions of it. I’m a 30-something who has lived in Toronto for two decades, and I love it for many of the reasons stated above. For me Toronto isn’t about tourist attractions. It is simply a vibrant, eclectic city with fantastic food, a great music scene, and much more. I love New York too, and sure, when it comes to certain things, like museums and theatre, we can’t compete. But give me food shopping in Kensington and St. Lawrence Market, cocktails on Queen or Ossington, a free outdoor concert by the lake, dinner at a cozy spot in Leslieville… and I’m a happy camper.
I think Toronto Life hired David to create such a ruckus. If they didn’t, NYC can’t be all that great… since he seems to have so much time on his hands. Buddy, go find a job will ya. The rest of us in Toronto are actively working, doing our part to compensate for the miserable mess NYC’s Wall Street created for the world. It would have been better for you to nurture better corporate citizens instead of so many fabulous things to see and do you…
It’s nice to see that a group of intelligent Canadians can still band together for a truly ‘important’ cause. Man, can we lot get our flannel knickers in a twist.
No wonder we are the “nice” people everyone is the world is starting to see as the smug know-it-alls we really are. Peter Ustinov said over 20 years ago that Toronto was like New York run by the Swiss. Is it still cleaner and more efficient – no, not by a long shot. We have the same lack of respect for other people riding the subway and the same rude waiters you find everywhere else.
David has every right to like or not like Toronto and really, I’m glad he set off such a firestorm, deliberate as it was.
Torontonians reviewing Toronto as a world-class city is like the federal government appointing an environment minister from Alberta’s tar sands area – we are not exactly the most impartial judges.
Thanks Kari for your objective comments.
Despite my repeated attempts to not turn this into a New York or U.S. versus Canada thing, there was/is an unfortunate gravitational pull in that direction. Words like villification and mob mentality come to mind here.
I am not “trolling” for an argument, but I must admit I find the spirited comments entertaining. In looking at my original post, I thought it might trigger some strong debate, but now recognize that it was more incendiary than I intended. So I sincerely apologize to anyone that is seriously offended.
If I was to state my initial posting again, it would be more like “36 hours is a lot of time to spend in most cities; locals will frequently state that more time is required to appreciate the charms of their cities, but oftentimes this is a misguided notion based on a behavioral flaw known to psychologists as ‘overconfidence’.”
To everyone who says that I should stay off the comments section, well I’m not sure what the comments section of any website would be for if only thoughts that are agreeable to the masses are included.
I appreciate the intelligent discourse throughout this thread, but I for one will ignore any postings with the theme of “yank go home” or “go canada go” or personal attacks. Comments like that belong on the Toronto Sun website, not Toronto Life.
took me more than 36 hours to keep up with this typical and expected back and forth banter. From someone who was born and raised in Toronto. It used to be Great. Now it is just Good. I definitely would recommend someone coming to Canada for the first time to visit other cities first. So how about everyone just cool their jets and go to a patio, have a beer and enjoy the nice weather. Ciao.
born & raised in toronto and having lived in new york, i can see both sides of the argument.
as much as i love toronto, new york has so much more to offer. whatever toronto has, nyc has in spades. toronto is, and always will home, but as old addage goes you can’t compare the big apple and oranges. living in nyc with two kids under two in tow (trying saying that 5 times), i found new yorkers extremely helpful and friendly. let’s face it -canadians (that’s some, folks, not all!) can be stand-offish and downright chilly sometimes.
“world-class”? who defines that, exactly? one can’t overlook the fact that toronto only recently got its first (and only) 5* hotel. by all accounts, you have to admit that’s pretty pathetic. i doubt any other world-class city could boast that. and how about that TTC!? a loop that takes you three (?) blocks over!? pathetic with a capital P.
critics aside folks, let’s call a spade a spade. toronto is great but we are worlds away from being world class. but who cares! home is where the heart is.
Thank you for restating your initial sentiments. The rewrite sounds much more intelligent and I tend to agree with you when your point is stated that way.
However, the fact remains; your initial posting was pompous (“have you been to Manhattan?”), condescending (“Sorry”), and insulting to Torontonians (“36 hours is way too much in Toronto”). Then you state that you’re not trolling for an argument nor that you intended to turn this into a New York versus Toronto thing? I mean, c’mon man! Are you seriously that ignorant to your own behaviour?
And yes, here it comes folks, that good ol’ Canadian pomp of my own. Behaviour is spelled with a ‘u’, David, and there is no such thing as “American” English.
Just to set the record straight – up front – I live in Toronto, and have for most of my life. I like it. It’s a nice place to live.
But puh-leese folks. Much as we all love “home” — face it, it is not the best, most wonderful, fantastic destination on earth. A nice, interesting place to live, yes. But on par with New York (or Paris, or London, or others)? Sorry. No.
I laughed when I read the comments here. It’s so ironic that we’re so “small town” and provincial in our thinking about our city. We oh-so-desperately want to be considered World Class. Many of the delusional among us put us on par with true world class cities. But, in the end, we’re just a nice hometown with some great restaurants and interesting culture. Not in the A League, and probably never will be. But a good place nontheless.
Let’s all please stop flaming New York. We’re not ‘them’, even though it seems many of us want to be.
Back to the original point of the discussion (the NYT article), it’s a bit laughable. It pulls out that out-dated cliche of Toronto being oh-so-clean. (It’s not. Step over the trash on Queen or Spadina as you enjoy soot- and graffiti-covered buildings. Then head to NYC. You’ll be surprised at who’s clean!) The article lauds our “like clockwork” streetcars. (Really?!??) And it trots out the tired old Torontoism of 416ers versus 905ers. All in all, it’s pretty bland travel journalism. (Oh well. At least he didn’t proclaim the Eaton Centre as being one of our primary attractions like so many others have.)
Essbee when was the last time you walked in NYC-clean? Take a walk 2 blocks from Times Sqaure on 9th Avenue and you would run back to Toronto praising the city. I agree that NYC has been cleaned up but only in the tourist area ( mainly Times Square)
Uhhh, about eight weeks ago. NYC was cleaner than here at home: SoHo, Greenwich, UES, UWS. Pretty much everywhere.
Sorry. I just cannot praise our city for cleanliness. That 70s and 80s cliche about TO being so clean has given many of us rose-coloured glasses. Our streets have blowing garbage. Our historic buildings (those few that survived being knocked down) are blackened from grime and soot. And we have gobs of graffiti.
NYC cleaned up the ugliness in Times Square — but that really was more noticable in the cruddy retail, bars and strip clubs. Times Square used to look like Yonge south of Bloor. It’s now much improved, while Yonge S of Bloor still looks like, well, Yonge S of Bloor.
Dirt and graffiti aside, we simply lack the aesthetic, architecture, history and/or nature of true world class destinations like London, San Fran, Paris, Vancouver, Chicago, Madrid, etc, etc
So eight weeks ago there was more blowing garbage,grime,soot and graffiti in Toronto than in NYC-give me a break.
I am glad you “like” our city considering you
the follwing comments you made in two emails:
1. it is not the best, most wonderful, fantastic destination on earth.
2.But on par with New York (or Paris, or London, or others no
3.we’re so “small town” and provincial in our thinking
4 oh-so-desperately want to be considered World Class.
5 not in the A League, and probably never will be.
6. Step over the trash on Queen or Spadina as you enjoy soot- and graffiti-covered buildings.
7. NYC was cleaner than here at home: SoHo, Greenwich, UES, UWS. Pretty much everywhere.
8 Sorry. I just cannot praise our city for cleanliness.
9 That 70s and 80s cliche about TO being so clean has given many of us rose-coloured glasses.
10 Our streets have blowing garbage. Our historic buildings (those few that survived being knocked down) are blackened from grime and soot. And we have gobs of graffiti.
11.we simply lack the aesthetic, architecture, history and/or nature of true world class destinations like London, San Fran, Paris, Vancouver, Chicago, Madrid, etc, etc
What exactly do you like about Toronto?
I can’t help it. I’ve been following the Champagne and Cupcakes scandal on this site and reading the comments.
The best thing about Toronto is that its people will stick up for what they believe is right, and will make sure the “little guy” is given a fair shake. And it becomes big news, even making the front section of one of your local papers. In this case, justice was served by a frenzied, but for the most part undivided view of what is right.
This backwoods provincialism is exactly what makes Toronto actually a cool place. This is your niche and you should be proud.
Zing! Burned again by David from too-cool NYC. Mind you the C&C scandal has made for some compelling reading. I happen to think that my T.O. is not world class but I love it all the same for what it is. No need to worry about what the rest of the world thinks of us — I mean really who cares?
Wow! Toronto is nice but NYC is 20x better!
I think it’s better to have a global perspective. Of course it’s good to be proud of our cities but no change will ever come in this world if we can’t break down the borders we create for ourselves.
this is certainly one of the most well argued comments I’ve ever come across
obviously I can’t leave without putting my 2 cents in.
First of all, I do fully agree with the remark about what someone who clearly looks down upon Toronto is doing on the Toronto life website. Isnt there some manhattan blog you can comment on?
Now as someone who has lived in huge metropolitians around the world, I’m deeply sad that one would only quote American cities on theirs list of places worth visiting. To be so condescending about the readers of this article for having never left Canada, one should try leaving the states. Really, what world class museum and monuments are in Denver?
And yes, toronto is no paris. But we’ve all got to start somewhere. For such a young city, its certainly doing pretty well. Sure, our museums arent as well stocked as the ones in London, but where else would you be able to fine such high quality, well priced foods from every ethnicity you can ever think of? Each city is unique in their own way. No need to judge them using the same parameters.
You wouldn’t appreciate someone coming on to a manhattan website and describing it as nothing more than an overpopulated island with a random park and overpriced rent sir, so instead of spending so much time trying to backtrack on your comments, I suggest you think before you speak next time.
He’s probably a Republican, and everyone knows they’re not fact-based.
“I do fully agree with the remark about what someone who clearly looks down upon Toronto is doing on the Toronto life website.”
So, Toronto would rather have any remark that is not a glowing review be made behind its back?
“Really, what world class museum and monuments are in Denver?”
Well, there’s some pretty interesting things that make Denver not just another man-made place on the map. Like the Rocky Mountains. Not really a monument, but certainly something that someone traveling from Munich would be proud telling people back home about. It’s no giant radio antennae ill designed for any other purpose located by an aging, empty sports dome, I realize, but I think most would agree the Rockies are pretty special.
“where else would you be able to fine such high quality, well priced foods from every ethnicity you can ever think of?”
Very few people would disagree with that, but that’s not exactly a great thing for a tourist. Tourists want smoked meat from Montreal, deep dish pizza from Chicago, steak tartare from Paris, pretzels and bagels in New York, hairy crab in Shanghai, etc. Toronto’s food identity is obtuse. To say “we have it all, and it’s cheap” is pretty desperate.
“You wouldn’t appreciate someone coming on to a manhattan website and describing it as nothing more than an overpopulated island with a random park and overpriced rent sir”
This is exactly what the locals think about Manhattan, so it really wouldn’t bother us. Except for the park, which is undeniably well planned and beautiful, and decidedly not random. But you are definitely entitled to an opinion, despite the rest of the world’s stellar review of Central Park.
Let’s try and not give David any attention… Clearly, the poor soul is probably one of the many in Manhattan to lose his job. Why else would he have the time to reply to each and every response?
Toronto is an amazingly cool city. I’ve been everywhere from NY to LA, Denver, Portland, Omaha, Chicago, Orlando, Austin, Las Vegas, San Francisco and Detroit. I would not choose any other city in North America to live.
Here is a “shout out” to HOG TOWN from COW TOWN….I have just wasted ten minutes reading this pissing contest and thanks for giving me a good laugh this early Monday morning. GOD BLESS AMAERICA for giving us this WORLD CLASS RECESSION and GOD BLESS THE CENTRE OF THE UNIVERSE for living up to your PENIS ENVY OF New York Ciy, Here is a hint, come West young men and women we do not have enough of your world class HUBRIS you keep mentioning.
According to Wikianswers.com ( located in NYC)
“Toronto is the most cosmopolitan and multi-ethnic city in the world. People from every country, all over the world, live in Toronto. At least 200 languages are spoken in Toronto.”
Who gives a rat’s butt about smoked meat from Montreal, deep dish pizza from Chicago, steak tartare from Paris, pretzels and bagels in New York, hairy crab in Shanghai
If those items are their claim to fame for these cities they can have it.Our claim to fame is we can have great food from every country in the world !!!
Wikianswers? Really? The site where anybody can answer any question that they themselves can pose?
If you look at who actually answered the question that you cite dp, which describes Toronto as the “most cosmopolitan and multi-ethnic city in the world”, it is one ‘Auldepharte69′, and I will list his/her bio that is included on the web-site:
“Single, straight, white male – born and raised in Toronto – a Crappycorn (December 30, 1944) – semi-retired, keeping mentally and physically active”
So once again, a Torontonian views Toronto as the most awesome place on earth, and posts it on WikiAnswers. Great.
I know you must love Toronto otherwise why the heck are you always on this website.I think this has gone too far so just enjoy your place to live and let us enjoy ours.
Bye David and I mean Bye.
Are you actually from Hamilton and just pulling our collective chains just for fun?
Why would you knock Chicago? I have been a chi-towner for 13 years and I have to say it’s a beautiful clean city. That’s the problem with these blogs, everyone has an idea of what Chicago is like. Stop slamming my city and it’s people. New York is congested and stuck up. Chicago is a real city!
Wow. In fact I do live in Toronto. Have been for all of my life.
I just like ruffling feathers and starting discussions. It’s become a pastime.
I honestly do love Toronto…..
You are a bad, bad boy for shaking up so many erstwhile Torontonians, Chi-Towners, Denverites, etc. However it has been a blast watching this exchange from the City that has just been named Number 1 in three categories. 1)Smarest, 2)Most Active, and last but not lesst, 3) Most Cultured….by McLeans Magazine, no less, go figure.
Do you work for McLeans and have committed a real Hew Haw across Canada?
So now I’ve got people posing as me (“David” at June 2 at 9:51) and people claiming Chicago has been dissed, when I’ve said great things about it.
I must be important to have people posing as me.
As Sonia said, Bye all, and I do mean Bye. I promise that I will not write in your comments section again and will leave you to love your awesome city in peace and ignorance.
Any posters claming to be “David” from this point on will be nothing but bootless imitators and I for one will be happily unaware of the ridiculous depths some will sink to copy New York. A microcosm of a macrocosm.
So to the “Smarest” city of them all, I bid you good day and good life.
David must be Canadian,there is no way any Amercian citizen would know that much about anything outside their country.
carlysimonsdaughter-Chicago is a nice city even though I do not like deep dish pizza which to David seems to think is what make Chicago famous.
David (Amercian guy who loves all that is NY)
Could it be there is more than one person named David and not that a person ” posing” as you? Do you think? Nah-it can’t be !!!
Are we in lowly Tronto allowed to have the same name as you in the great city of New York,pretty please could I use
name that my parents gave me-please pretty please?
Loved reading this and I think Elisabeth and EssBee summed things up logically. I’m an American living in Toronto, and I always tell people that there is a great quality of life here. But, as others stated, there’s a difference between a great place to live and a great destination.
I’ve lived in NYC, LA, London, Milan, Rome, Sydney, Brussels and Prague, and Toronto can be kind of boring sometimes. Sometimes I get back on a flight from NYC and it’s 10 pm on a Monday in February and I’d like to go out and have a great dinner and the city is dead. But sometimes I’m grateful that I don’t have all those temptations around me all the time – if I lived in London again, I’d probably be 20 pounds heavier, 50% poorer and my liver would be half of its functioning self. I love the diversity of Toronto and the fact that I can have a different kind of food here every night. And people here a great – if reserved. (Example of reserved: I can sit at a resto bar for hours and not one other patron will say a word to me – that would never happen in NYC or London!)
One thing that is rather telling is that although I’ve lived here over 7 years, NO ONE has ever come to visit me! Again, I guess it’s the difference between great place to live and destination.
This is ridiculous. I am a Torontonian who loves the city, but i agree with some of the points David and Essbee made. Every city has some quirks, so why can’t we just acknowledge that? These comments aren’t coming from people who have never been to Toronto before.
Toronto is a great city to LIVE in, but there’s a reason why it’s not a hot destination stop. Why is it that some Torontonians take pride in being a “smaller scale of New York” but get so insecure when an American doesn’t think Toronto is all that we make it out to be. I think most New Yorkers don’t feel compelled to visit our city, and opt to head over to Montreal/Quebec City because Toronto just feels like a smaller New York, with nicer people (and a transit system that doesn’t smell like pee). I visited a lot of big cities that i loved, but i wouldn’t want to live there.
I thought Denny’s review of Toronto was a good one that made me smile (a lot better than the one a few years ago). He was only there for 36 hours, after all.
Toronto’s population is 2.5 million versus NYC’s 8.2 million. How it is possible for us to have the amount of restaurants, museums, and other points of interest of a city more than three times our size. It just pisses me off that a jerk like David takes cheap shots at our city just because we not measure up to his. We could do the same about his city but why bother.
Oh but the way David (and I know you are still there) Denny Lee’s article describes Toronto “as one of the planet’s most diverse cities” not just ‘Auldepharte69′, the“ Single, straight, white male – born and raised in Toronto – a Crappycorn (December 30, 1944) – semi-retired, keeping mentally and physically active”
The last few comments (as well as Elisabeth’s) spoke most similar to my point of view on this most perennial of topics. Toronto is a great city to live in – shouldn’t that be enough? I mean, there’s nothing wrong with defending one’s hometown and displaying civic pride (Hello ‘I Heart NY’?!). It’s actually quite thrilling to hear Torontonians finally moving past their collective self-loathing and instead cheer for their town. It signifies a city that’s starting to come into its own. Yes, we have a laughable transportation system…no question there’s a dire lack of historical architecture (thanks to the Great Fire and a lack of vision and will on the part of past politicians)…indeed our cultural institutions cannot hold a burned-out wick next to the world’s greats…whatever. Like any other city or town, many of Toronto’s charms can only be experienced through living here. We’ll never be New York, and the sooner everyone gets over that, we’ll all be much happier. Before I was born, my father and grandparents lived in NYC for many years before settling in Toronto. They did so on their own accord and with no regrets. From where I’m standing, King David presented himself as a classless, smug douchebag. His comments, while obviously displaying some knowledge of the city and fair wit, were meant to hurt and offend. He’s clearly aware that Torontonians – and Canadians by and large – can be a very insecure lot (thanks to living next to the elephant), and he exploited that weakness. What kind of person does that make him? Also, by hurling condescending insults from behind only a name, he exploited the fatal flaw of the internet – anonymity. The only thing we can thank him for is instigating a three-week long therapy session.
I’m almost positive the writer is from Toronto, I know him.
we all know New York is not the best city but neither is Toronto.Toronto has very good food and some record breaking places but New York is more of a nightlife city where there is plenty to do. Ive been to new York and Nassau and Lisbon and plenty of other places and my favorite isn’t even Toronto or new York.i have to albufeira in the algarve region of Portugal is a great city with great food nightlife and beaches.
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