Toronto my home
I almost never write about the place I call home, even though I love this city and everything in it. Writing about foreign and exotic places just seems so much more interesting. But what if my home is exotic and foreign to others? That is when you realize that writing about the place you know and love becomes a no brainer. So why should you visit Toronto? Let me tell you.
With close to 3 million residents, Toronto took the top spot at the most multicultural city in the world according to BBC Radio. With half of the population born outside Canada, Torontonians speak over 140 different languages and represent over 200+ ethnic groups. Pretty cool, eh?
Toronto has an amazing culinary scene. From vegan to carnivore-happy diets and everything in between. From small mom-and-pop shops and high-end restaurants, to hipster joints and large international chains. There is an eclectic range of options for every budget. Remember all those ethnic groups that live here? They all bring with them dishes that are as authentic as the countries they hail from. You can eat different cuisine every night of the week and not run out of options. You want Thai? Indian? Italian? Hungarian? Jamaican? You name it and you will find it here.
End of each summer is marked with two weeks at the Canadian National Exhibition (better known as the CNE), where different food concoctions find their way into the hearts and stomachs of many visitors. One year it was the time of deep-fried Mars bars, another deep-fried butter. Can’t wait to see what 2017 will bring.
This year, Toronto found a new craze that took over the Instagram accounts of many – black ice cream made with activated charcoal.
In addition to a superb dining scene, there are numerous coffee shops, breweries and cideries to fill your heart’s content. Some even offer tours, which often come with ample samples. Win, win.
Best part? Many of these culinary delights can be enjoyed at the numerous patios that keep popping up all over the city. We do love our patios here.
Toronto is home to a number of sports teams, with various track records behind them. No matter how good or bad the team is, the fan base behind it is almost fanatical. We take our sports seriously here. We celebrate the victories and losses deeply, and usually through social media to let our collective feelings known.
Every four years, as the FIFA World Cup rolls around, this place goes nuts. If you are ever in Toronto during this time you will see flags representing participating countries everywhere. On cars, balconies, jerseys and anywhere you can attach one. With each victory there is a party. No matter who wins, there is always a place to celebrate and you can guarantee a street closure at some point. Definitely not to be missed.
Professional teams in Toronto
The city has many sport teams and as I started writing this, I realized that this part deserves its own blog. After all, as a Torontonian, I take my sports seriously. To give you a quick preview, here is a list of professional sports teams in Toronto.
- Toronto Argonauts (Canadian Football League) (est. 1873)
- Toronto Blue Jays (Major League Baseball) (est. 1977)
- Toronto FC (Major League Soccer) (est. 2006)
- Toronto Maple Leafs (National Hockey League) (est. 1917, current name since 1927)
- Toronto Marlies (American Hockey League) (est. 1978, in Toronto since 2005)
- Toronto Raptors (National Basketball Association) (est. 1995)
- Toronto Rock (National Lacrosse League) (est. 1998)
- Toronto Wolfpack (League 1) (est. 2017)
There seems to be no shortage of festivals in Toronto throughout the year. From annual staples to seasonal specialties, there is something to celebrate almost every weekend. From things like jazz festivals, multi-cultural celebrations, drink and food festivals, marathons, concerts, parades and various block parties, the hardest part is deciding where to go.
In addition, if you’re here for New Year’s or Canada Day, you can celebrate with the masses at many popular Toronto venues. The top 50 summer festivals in Toronto for 2017 article will give an idea of summer events happening this year.
Notable public spaces
Whatever the occasion, there are number of places in the city for crowds to gather and celebrate. They have become as iconic as the city itself and allow people to come together.
This is probably one of the most interesting places that has experienced a dramatic change over the years. I must admit, I remember it as a sleepy spot that didn’t really offer any excitement or a reason for going there. Fast forward couple of decades and today’s Dundas Square looks more like a mini Times Square with flashy billboards, restaurants and crowds. Here you will find a place for concerts, festivals, celebrations and when the times call for it, a spot for watching major events (mostly sports related).
Nathan Phillips Square
Located in front of the city hall, NPS is the home of the Toronto sign and features a pond in the summer and an ice rink in the winter. It is definitely a must on any tourist’s itinerary day or night. Summer offers concerts, festivals, fireworks and general good time. In winter, you can grab a pair of skates and circle around the frozen pond with others as you enjoy the city lights around you.
Canada Day or New Year’s guarantees fireworks, concerts and general good time.
There are many other wonderful places in Toronto that merit a mention, but this would make this blog a very long read.
Brining it together
Normally, I love writing about the places I’ve been to and recalling the adventures, experiences and things I learned. Those places are usually foreign to me and those around me, so I write about them to provide a glimpse of those wonderful places to people who don’t necessarily get a chance to go see them. It didn’t really occur to me to write about Toronto, because it’s my everyday life.
Hope you’ve enjoyed this small taste of what makes Toronto awesome to me. Have you been here? Let me know!