Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Leaving Toronto

I can't remember a time when Toronto wasn't home. Sure, I didn't live here full-time until fairly recently, but throughout my early life it was a place I visited frequently and, as a consequence, a place that has always been familiar. For the years I lived in Barrie, it was always the goal; the Big City where Things Happen, where the nights are electric and the days filled with every kind of possibility - Rush's "Subdivisions," in other words. I've never really given that view up, either, which is one reason why I'm dismayed that so much of the current mayoral campaign seems to accept the meme of "Toronto in decline" at face value. This is still a great city.

Yet, even so, I'm leaving. Leaving it and everything I've ever really known, moving four thousand kilometers to a strange land full of people who seem to drink coffee like it's water, and things will continue on here without me. I'll watch the remainder of the election from afar and hope that whenever I may next find myself on the shores of Lake Ontario, the water from which I've never lived more than a hundred and fifty kilometers away, I'll find it better than it was before. Pessimism can't be allowed to win.

Still, this is a difficult time for us all. We all have different ideas of what "better" means. For myself, I think that - for now, at least - things will be better on the West Coast. Isn't the search for a better life the reason why anyone goes anywhere to stay?

There are things I'll miss. The regularity of snow in winter, no matter who or what is clearing it from the streets. Streetcars rumbling by just outside the window, heedless of so many people in so many cities who said that they were obsolete and their time was over, only to keep on rolling for a hundred and forty-nine years now. The comfort of not being far away from the people I care about, the people I grew up knowing. The stability of familiar surroundings.

At least I can still keep in touch with the internet - but from now on, Toronto's just one more part of the world, outside my direct perspective. I'm going to have to get used to a new landscape. I think it'll be worth it.

I won't miss the summers, though. I hate humid continental summers.

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