Photo: Desizned/Shutterstock

How to Piss Off Someone From Toronto

by Rebecca Burton Apr 6, 2015

Outsiders claiming they’re Torontonians.

I’m looking at you 905-ers.

Randomly approach us on the street.

No matter where you walk to in Toronto, you’ll get approached at least once. It could be someone trying to sell you a Tootsie Roll for “fundraising” purposes, a religious advocate spreading the word, or a local artist selling their mix tape. Call us rude but to navigate the chaos of Toronto, we throw on headphones as a ‘screw off’ sign and barrel our way through the city. The last thing we want is a tap on the shoulder – that’s human contact gone too far.

Say Vancouver is better than Toronto.

There’s a definite rivalry. Vancouverites think Torontonians are cold, stuck-up, workaholics who never leave the city. Torontonians throw it back saying the West Coasters are hippie, granola-types that start work at noon. Then throw in the sports rivalry – Canucks vs. Leafs – and you’ve got a real battle.

Talk loudly on the TTC.

OMG, Chrissy did whaaaat?! No one cares. Rush hour on the TTC is already painful. It’s either early in the morning and you’re already jammed into someone’s armpit or you’ve just finished a long day and you barely even made it on this streetcar. The last thing a Torontonian needs is a recap of the daily drama between two friends or a dramatic monologue from someone talking on the phone. The most interaction you should see on the subway is when two people awkwardly catch eyes across the aisle.

Point out the way we say ‘Toronto.’

No one from Toronto pronounces the second ‘t.’ It comes out sounding more like: Traw-na, Tuh-ra-no, Toronno, or Ta-raw-no. One guy on Reddit even pointed out that Don Cherry says it as ‘taranna.’ But we don’t notice it. That is, until someone else points it out. After I started traveling, dozens of people started to mimic the way I said Toronto, making me self-conscious to say my own city’s name. I started to say “I’m from Tor-on-toe” even though I know that’s a dead giveaway you’re not from the city. It’s similar to being asked as a Canadian to repeat ‘aboot’ a dozen times. To you, it gets funnier, to us; it’s a pain in the ass.

Insult our sports teams.

It’s an embarrassment to cheer on losing teams year after year, especially in a country that includes hockey in its national identity. To have the ESPN dub us the “Worst Sports City in North America” for our poor performance record only added to our downtrodden attitudes. Yet despite it all, we continue to tell ourselves, “this is our year.” Then as the season drags on, we start telling ourselves “next year – we’ve got this.” It’s probably one of the reasons our fans have still managed to make the Maple Leafs the most valuable franchise in the NHL for nine years running.

Say to a Torontonian, “You seem like you’re from a small town.”

There is a certain naivety associated with small towns. In the city, there is a lot more going on, places to see and a faster pace. This city is cut throat and competitive and you won’t be embraced immediately because networks are large and most Torontonians have already chosen who they want to spend time with. So telling someone they seem like an outsider is like saying they don’t have what it takes to make it here.

Don’t pay attention to where you’re going.

One of the worst things you can do is get lost in a daydream and airily step off the streetcar into oncoming traffic. Next thing you know you’re in a six-bike pileup, getting sworn at from all sides and the TTC driver has already driven off.  Or maybe you’ve been entranced by the bright lights of Yonge-Dundas and you stop suddenly to take a picture. You’ll be shoved out of the way before you can press click.

Call us unfriendly.

It takes a hard shell to make it in this city. Penetrating that shell is like chipping away at ice – it takes some persistent effort. But at the core, we’re not unfriendly, we’re just proud. We’re proud to live here. I mean, we have a citywide capture the flag night and an axe-throwing league, what else do you need?

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