Toronto, you’ve felt like home since I first saw you when I was five years old - I thought your CN tower looked like Shanghai’s Pearl Tower (but even taller and thus better). I didn’t yet know the love of learning a city, its streets, its ways, but you felt like home from that first moment.
My friends ask, “Do you actually love Toronto or just the idea of Toronto? What do you love so much?” Am I just romanticizing you? Is it the idea of you, the idea of home? What is it exactly that I love about you? I don’t know - it’s everything. It’s that feeling that fills the moments when I walk down those familiar streets and alleyways, when I look out a little airplane window and find your skyline: “well that’s where I belong”. It’s everything from the first time I saw you until the last time I left.
I remember being in high school and the excitement of ~going downtown~ with my friends to the ROM. We didn’t know how the subways worked - we got off at Spadina (the north/south exit) and walked all the way down to Bloor St, instead of getting off at St. George.
I remember moving out on my own for the first time - moving into the dorms at U of T and seeing a girl tying her shoes.
I remember wandering your streets, late at night - sometimes with friends, sometimes on my own. I was so damn lonely but you were there for me. Your city lights watched over me and your shoreline calmed me.
I remembering moving into a tiny shoebox basement apartment with my best friend.
I remember moving into a beautiful jank crooked house with my best friends and coming home to the smell of fresh baked bread and the sounds of my favourite people listening to their old folk elevator music.
It’s both your clear blues on summer days & moody greys in the winter, the idiosyncrasies of your neighbourhoods and the pride of your personalities. You’re polite yet standoffish, warm yet cool, familiar yet new. It’s your skyline full of stars - or bedroom lights from condo units towering above me as I drive in on the Gardiner. It’s the way you feel like home.
Toronto, I promise I’m coming back for you.