No baseball, no blogging, right? That’s how it works?
It’s fall here in Toronto now, full-on fall. My street is covered in golden leaves–not many of my neighbours have seen fit to rake yet, and so walks home from the coffee shop strip usually see me dragging my feet gleefully through the piles. I’ve been in Toronto for five years now (five years!) and fall always reminds me of my first experiences here.
I lived at York University for the first two years of my undergrad, and would go home for the summers, mid-April through August, so I didn’t have to deal with the hellish humidity of an Ontario summer beyond a few weeks in September. Most of my favourite early memories of the city involve me walking about downtown and the west end in a chilly wind, wrapped in a scarf, drinking in the urban sights and sounds. I was usually carrying an instrument–often two. I started exploring the city early, skipping frosh events to take the subway downtown and get joyfully lost somewhere.
My first favourite neighbourhood was Little Italy. For a long time, most of the rehearsals I was going to and all the places I thought were cool were in that general vicinity: College Street was my haunt, and the intersection of College & Clinton was pretty much the center of my universe. I have fond memories of taking the College streetcar through that neighbourhood at night in the winter, Christmas lights flickering, bars hopping, listening to Elliott Brood pipe through my headphones. As a wide-eyed teenager I wanted to live there, right in the thick of things, in the “party all the time” atmosphere and the constant hustle and bustle; I grew up in the quiet suburbs of Calgary, and wasn’t used to the size of Toronto, the different spirit of it. It still feels “downtown” to me. For a kid like me anything reasonably urban-feeling is classified as downtown, and when I first got here I thought everything from Eglinton south, Dufferin to the Don Valley was it; after five years I’m still not sure what Torontonians officially call downtown at all.
I’d still live in Little Italy now, probably not on College itself (I’d probably go insane every weekend) but it still holds a bit of a special place in my heart.
Five years seems a surprisingly long time to me now. It’s a nice round number to look back on. After this long I’ve gotten a degree — an honours BFA, magna cum laude — and a postgrad certificate with honours in a completely different field. I’m on eleven officially released records and three more that aren’t out yet, and my first gig was on MTV Live (downhill from there?). I’ve interned at a neat startup and now have a job doing amazingly fun stuff with extremely interesting people.
It’s been a pretty cool five years, Toronto. Happy fall.