I never really learned what a city was, until I moved to Toronto. Unless you count Charlottetown. City, please! Barley even a town with the population of only 35,000. Now I walk past more people than that in one day. Look at me copping an attitude. Ha! (Snapping my fingers in the formation of a Z) Don’t get me wrong, I love it. Such an awesome place to visit.I recommend it to everyone. The night life is great. Pubs, clubs and restaurants galore.
Stepping off the train at Union station in downtown Toronto when I was just 18. All the different smells, people and languages all around me. What do you call this? Ah yes, culture.Then, to walk outside on Front Street and see The CN Tower, Rogers Centre (a.k.a. The SkyDome) and all sorts of other tall buildings scraping the sky (skyscrapers). I was awesafied, amazed and scared all at the same time. Shittin’ my pants to be exact. Mostly English- and French-speaking people where I come from and I didn’t hear much of that. No large condos or skyscrapers, no big ball parks, no underground trains, and way less people. I’m not even sure that we have “street meat” vendors in P.E.I. Mmmmm… That’s hot dogs for those of you that don’t know.
My college residence wasn’t in downtown though. It was a little more north. But still, the difference was there. Standing on the corner of Bathurst and Steeles and hearing all these different languages being spoken and not having a clue what people were saying. This was definitely not what I was used to. How was I going to communicate with people here?
I’ve since grown accustomed to this. I guess you could say I got some culture. City culture to be precise.
The subway, the Red Rocket, the T.T.C. That was pretty neat, gnarly, swell, (insert your own favourite adjective) as a first-time rider. I had heard lots about subways, but had never been on one. What a quick and safe way to get downtown. Back then, it was $1.75 per ride. That’s pretty cheap. All the way downtown for less than 2 dollars. It’s close to three bucks now. I was excited and a little nervous. Coming from a sheltered life, all I knew, or thought I knew, was graffiti, gang muggings, stabbings and murders taking place on subways or in their stations. I was so skittish about getting mugged or stabbed that the first few times walking through the stations I would constantly keep looking over my shoulder to see who or what was behind and around me. Every little unrecognizable noise would make me jump or almost pee my pants. I also would walk very quickly (a brisk walk I would say), just to get the hell outta there. I look back and think how silly all that was, and what an ultra-maroon I was. Not totally my fault. I was conditioned to believe this all my life about big cities. It’s like New York. People only know what New York is like from the movies. I don’t know about you, but I trust and believe everything I see in the movies and on T.V. Ha! How naive. Maybe now I’m desensitized or just aware of what to stay away from. Sketchy characters and such, and believe me, there are lots. However, in my opinion, my expert opinion, the T.T.C. is fast, safe and reliable. Even at $3, it still remains cheaper than parking. Wow! That’s a damn good advertisement for T.T.C. Ya, I’m on the take.
The new slogan – “Take the T.T.C. it’s still cheaper than parking.”
I just made a hundred-thou… I wish.
I’ve taken the T.T.C. to all sorts of events – sports, concerts and festivals. Along with thousands of other people from this great city of ours, and I haven’t been mugged, murdered or stabbed. Go figure, knock on wood…