No one lives in Toronto.
Let me rephrase that.
No one enjoys life in Toronto. Toronto is a city that takes fresh-faced, wide eyed wannabes and turns them into jaded crones in a matter of months. Anyone who has moved here from a different city and thinks otherwise is either lying to themselves or has their parents paying their rent. Because unless someone else is shelling out minimum 800$ a month for you to live here, it’s very difficult to work full time, pay an exorbitant amount of money in lodging fees and also live life to its fullest. If somehow you’ve managed to do all that…please come find me, I want to learn all your secrets to the world, the universe, and everything.
It’s true, life in the GTA is no longer an adventure. I moved here exactly 2 years ago in order to attend pastry school and become The Greatest Pastry Chef ever. Well, that was the dream at least. You can read all about the reality in my new series “Tips from a Cynical Industry Pro: If you’re getting paid, that makes you a professional”.
The reality is that Toronto is my home now. I may have left my family in Montreal and my heart in Amsterdam (I’m moving there one day, it’s happening…maybe…), but my life is in Toronto. It’s no longer a whirlwind of frantically searching for apartments and saving enough money to pay rent, or feeling sad and lonely and desperate for friends and community. I live here, I breathe here and, somehow, I enjoy life here.
Don’t get me wrong, I still think Toronto lacks culture and sophistication. But I can deal with that. For now. The shoes are still terrible, the fashion still leaves something to be desired, and everything is too expensive, but Toronto is the face of the new Big Dream. This is where you’ll meet people from all walks of life just trying to carve out a better existence for themselves. Where businesses come and go like the change of seasons but at least people tried achieving their dreams. Where there’s a decent cup of coffee five minutes from your house, no matter where you live.
So here I sit, outside an espresso bar that opened two months ago in my neighbourhood, an unassuming neighbourhood that caters exclusively to the people who live here. No one goes to Wallace Emerson for any particular reason, and that’s what makes it so great. We are a community that sustains itself through the people who work and live around here. I have no idea how long this espresso bar will (the last one was here less than 8 months) but it’s here now and I’m celebrating my second year of independence with a pretty good brew of Hale Roastery beans and a healthy dose of sunshine.
Stay with me readers. Even though the adventure that was discovering Toronto is over, life is still happening. And life in the industry of food and service and hospitality is always a hell of an adventure…