Photo: William Perugini/Shutterstock

How to Piss Off a Torontonian

by Alyssa James Aug 12, 2015

Say, “I hate Toronto.”

No you don’t. You’re jealous. You had to move to one of the softer cities because Toronto smells bad / the people are fake and boring / the Leafs suck / or any other excuse you tell yourself to help you sleep at night.

Because the truth is: You just couldn’t hack it here.

Toronto is a big city, especially when compared to the majority of other Canadian towns. It can be impersonal, competitive, and there are absolutely people ready to step on you to get ahead. This is a symptom of living in a place where there are boundless opportunities; we are passionate about what we do and every day are witness to what we can make of ourselves with hard work and tenacity.

Endless opportunities also mean you make your own fun. Seek and you shall find. If you’re into LARPing, would like to play pickup dodgeball, or want to discuss shamanic practice, there’s a group, club, or community for you. If something truly is lacking, start it yourself. I’m sure you’ll find someone else who is interested in competitive toe wrestling.

Sit right next to me on the TTC when there are plenty of empty seats.

We don’t like things out of the ordinary, and it’s not normal to invade a Torontonian’s personal space without need or invite. We don’t like close face-talkers. And we definitely don’t like when there’s an empty bus, subway, or streetcar and someone we don’t know chooses to sit right next to us. There’s no desire for that on public transportation.

Blame it on the fact that we already have close-knit friend groups, or that we fear becoming a statistic, but we stay away from strangers. Making eye contact or chatting with a stranger in Toronto is seen as a sign of mental instability, so even if we are friendly, it’s just so that you don’t follow me home to eat my liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.

Believe that Drake is the best thing out of Toronto ever.

He sells a lot of albums and we are all happy for him. But Aubrey Graham will always be Jimmy from Degrassi to me, and no amount of tattoos and dating Rihanna will change that. Besides, knowing that the average home in Forest Hill where he grew up goes for $4.32 million kind of ruins that whole “Started from the Bottom” thing.

Walk slowly.

Get out of my way. I really do have somewhere to be. Before my stint in the Caribbean, I could send an email from my Blackberry with gloved hands while drinking coffee and still overtake people on the sidewalk. We get it: You want to take in the sights and sounds of the city. Great. But do it in the slow lane, not the middle of the sidewalk. Baby, it’s cold outside and I’ve got happy hour drinking to do.

Oh yeah, and give a girl a warning if you’re stopping. That’s a 10-latte pileup waiting to happen.

Tell people you’re from Toronto when you’re not.

I remember when the boroughs of Toronto were amalgamated into the Greater Toronto Area. I heard it on the radio while cruising with my mom in the car. If you are from Pickering, Mississauga, or Brampton, then you are from the GTA. You come in from your boring boroughs, do the “wild and crazy weekend” thing and give us, the classy urbanites, a bad name. Not to mention, we probably wouldn’t be seen at that club you went to, and at the very least we wouldn’t have had to spend $400 on bottle service for the privilege.

East Gwillimbury is part of the GTA — would you consider residents of this town Torontonians? No. So neither are you.

Ask me if I voted for Rob Ford.

I did not. No one I know admits to having voted for Rob Ford. I laugh at his antics and occasionally respect him for doing what he wants and not being influenced by popular opinion. But of course, that is his downfall. Put that in your crack pipe and smoke it.

Ignore how awesome it is here.

People often say that Toronto is like New York, but without all the famous stuff. Or that it’s a wannabe New York. First of all, oh, no you didn’t! Secondly, that is shallow. Comments like that say you haven’t spent enough time in Toronto, in New York, or both.

Toronto does have famous stuff, but that’s beside the point. Toronto is the people, who come from every corner of the world and bring their music, celebrations, and cuisine. Toronto is celebrity sightings but no crazy paparazzi. Toronto is the worst metropolitan transit system in world, but home to the longest surface route line in North America (501 Queen Streetcar). Toronto is cultural and historical neighbourhoods, museums, theatres, beautiful parks, and unique annual festivals.

If you can’t see that, then we don’t want you anyway.

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