I was surprised at first when they told me Toronto is considered to be, sort of , a Canadian “mini” version of New York. I mean, I’ve never been to New York, but I am pretty sure it is more chaos than the word itself. However, after spending many minutes, hours, days, weeks in this jungle, I agree. I know, I can’t agree, because I’ve never been to New York, but I agree anyways, because, Toronto is as close to chaos as a city can get. I am also scared to even think how big New York actually is, if the world considers Toronto a “mini” version of it… But okay.
Mini or not, whoever dares to walk the streets of TO, better prepare themselves to see it all. The thing with myself and my emotions towards this city fits into one word: complicated. After a while passes and I remember I haven’t been in the city for some time, I miss it. But then, I step out of the bus on Dundas Street, at the Bay Bus Station, and put my feet into a dirty saliva, next to old pink gum and dirty cigarette stub and all feelings fade away. The smog showers my nostrils and my lungs start to die,slow and painful death, the people suffocate me with their smelly, disgusting odorous and weird sense for fashion, or no sense for fashion at all (?). You start questioning your existence and why do we reproduce without no control??? The loudness of the streets picks up and I’m deaf in a matter of seconds. I mean, it’s shocking. Honestly, it’s too much- all at once. And no matter how many times you go there, that first impression never leaves. One minute you are looking at the beautiful lake Ontario and green trees around it and the next minute you are stuck in traffic and the only view is the skyscrapers made of glass; no trees, no water, no sky. Yay, Toronto!
A few times I found myself in TO without any idea what to do or where do go. Those few times were the times of endless circling around the Dundas Square, trying to survive in the crowds of faces and exhaust pipes. Don’t go to Toronto if you don’t know what you are doing. It’s just not worth the worn soles. Not to mention the fact that all blocks in TO end up looking the same, with only the change of graffitis on the walls. Square, glass, old, dirty and over-populated. Ads on ads, lights on lights and there you are, tiny little heart beating, eyes hurting and a confused little Spongebob, with bags under eyes, running around your brain, opening all the drawers and trying to comprehend the math behind chaos of Toronto streets.
There’s also the trill of subways at rush hours. Although, I am wondering…, when is is not a rush hour?! Prepare yourself for endless feet stomping and pushing you, as you stand like a sardine in a laden subway, that for some reason still moves, with all that chaos inside of it. You have a box and sardines pressed onto each other, and it’s all taking place underground. I don’t think it can get anymore claustrophobic than that? Or chaotic, for that matter.
Buses are no better story, only there’s windows and you can see the sky, in case you suddenly feel the urge to scream and fly away, away from the chaos of the concrete jungle, as people keep coming and coming, with their bags and bags and more bags and more stuff and tired, sad faces and creepy looks… when does it stop, you start to wonder, when it’s at the point where you feel like passing out. It’s fun, they say, the city life gives opportunities, they say… Opportunity to die from suffocation in a box-like machine that moves underground and makes your legs feel unnecessary.
The Shopping Malls are the scariest to me. The chaos of the streets parallels the chaos of the mall streets, closed within yet another box. I feel like there’s the unwritten rule of grab-and-run-for -your-life sale or no sale. Endless and endless and endless and more endless consumerist things with numbers and numbers and numbers and then more numbers in red, which are apparently on sale. Paper cups and plastic cups and weird colour drinks in hands browsing around the serene stores, touching everything, wanting everything, but needing nothing. It’s supposed to be fun, hanging out in the mall, if you’re wondering why everyone goes there. I think of it as the place where outsiders are sent to when they want to know what that beautiful, grand, amazing Capitalism is.
The thing about Toronto streets is the fact that if you walk them you will see barefoot- dirty-toes, some second-hand-unknown-brand snickers with a really out-of-style design, then some everybody-is-wearing-them classics, like Nike air max, Uggs, Birkenstock, some white Converse, a couple of less-popular-because-of-the-price, like designer shoes, Marc Jacobs and similar ( I don’t know, I got no money for those) and then some $600 handmade leather boots and ankle-hipster-rich-guys-must-have shoes. They all mingle between each other, avoiding crashes. It’s an ugly game; the barefoot hide in corners, the everybody-has-them walk over them, because they think they deserve more space than the barefoot, and then the rich-guys-must-have exits cars and taxis in a hurry to get to the building, without having to be for a long time on the same street as all those who-have-no-money. Ah, I’ve used a stereotype to describe the Toronto streets. What the heck, the stereotypes are true and you know it. Go on, walk those streets, give it a look. If you connect the shoes with the faces wearing them, it will make even more sense. I walk over the barefoot, thinking I’m better in my white converse. Am I? Are you, in your rich-guys-must-have shoes?
There’s more than enough in a shoe, to tell you who you are dealing with. All those shoes walk around thinking they are mysterious and abstract, that they are special in this 3 million humans city, all chasing money and time. Some stop at the red light, others are in a hurry. Some cut in front of the cars, others get by in a car with black windows. Most of them keep looking down at their shoes, maybe admiring them, maybe hiding from the streets? But all of them believe they belong there and that their shoes are far more better than yours. You know, because they probably got them first and you are just a copy-cat.
Spring, summer, fall or winter, the chaos of Toronto streets remains the same no matter the season…
I mean, it sounds horrible, right? Yet, more and more are joining the masses on the street and more and more are coming to see. Yet, I keep returning. Why?
Wait for my next diary entry to tell you all about that.
Thanks for sticking with me to the end. I hope you had a good time reading this. Feel free to leave me comments and positive vibes. Stay tuned for more escapades, you never know where I might end up next.
And remember- venture to adventure,