Somehow, I always seem to end up with the world’s chattiest taxi drivers, Uber drivers, seat mates on the subway, seat mates on an airplane, seat mates on the train…you get the picture. Often a bit of a weirdo magnet or just a sympathetic ear, I’ve heard a little bit of everyone’s story over the years…usually not by choice. One lesson that I have learned though, is that everyone has a story, and you may be surprised, so take the time to listen whether you feel like it or not.
Today, as always, I ended up having a deep, meaningful conversation with a cabbie. I knew the second that I opened the door, that this man was going to talk my ear off. I got in, shut the door, sighed once in my inside voice, once in my outside voice and settled in to hear all about his likes and dislikes. Proving that you can be inspired by just about anything, this blog all started with a simple statement/question from my fair driver…”I LOVE Toronto…Miss, do you love Toronto?” Being nauseatingly politically correct, I automatically answered yes, very much. I knew that I gave the right answer from the huge smile on his face, after which I got to hear about every one of the other things that he loves. He did, get me thinking, do I really love Toronto, or am I just waiting for something better to come along? Everyone takes the city that they live in for granted, but I started to think about all of the things that I’ve experienced in this very city, this very year and all of the little accidental things that I’ve stumbled across. For instance:
- Theatre – Toronto has a great theatre scene. It rivals any major city in the world. We have fancy, schmancy theatres like the Ed Mirvish Theatre, and some that need a little love, but have a ton of character like the Lower Ossington. This year, I’ve seen some really great musicals including Mary Poppins (for the first time – I’ve never even seen the movie), Matilda (loved), and best of all, Thank You for Being A Friend – a must see for Golden Girl Fans. If you don’t love The Golden Girls, please find another blog to read because that’s sacrilege in my book
- Events – I went to the Gourmet Food and Wine Expo. Pretty fun, but the same thing always happens when I taste wine – I try something that’s not from New Zealand, make a face, says it’s too sweet or too oak-y, toss it into the garbage, pout a little, and try a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and proclaim it the best wine ever. I also sit through a boring cooking demo, try what they make, lie to them and say it’s the best thing ever, and then complain to whoever I’m with that so and so can make it better. Aw tradition! I also got to enjoy the King Street Festival for TIFF – my friend and I strolled along, and it was nice to see people just enjoying the city. Oh, and I got to meet Michael Fassbender earlier in the day – bonus!
- Live (and inspiring events) – Seeing Deepak Chopra, yes, my guru was a highlight, but meeting him? Priceless. My friend got us tickets to see him live at Roy Thomson Hall and we were number 2 and 3 in the line up to meet him. An even bigger, if it’s possible moment, was lining up at Indigo at Bay and Bloor to meet ANDERSON COOPER THE SILVER FOX!!!!!! Yes, I had to be there at 7:30 in the morning and wait for 4 hours, but it was fun, and worth it. If you don’t want to buy books (shudders) or pay for ticketed events, you can always go to Indigo and hear your favourite authors speak. If you don’t read, maybe you should make 2017 the year that you crack open a book?
- Museums – I always seem to forget that we have museums in TO. This year, I noticed that the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) was doing a Mystical Landscapes exhibit and it looked like it had real art! Like stuff that I’d recognize. Seriously! I always poke fun of the AGO because although it has Monets, Manets, Van Goghs, etc., they are always the sad, sloppy seconds that no other gallery would touch – you know, the ones nobody has ever heard of. This exhibit was great though. I dragged my trusty friend and off we went to get ourselves cultured up. They had a symphony first, so after walking an exhausting block, we plunked ourselves down for a half hour rest and listened. I’ll be honest, about 50 seconds in, I got bored and tried not to fall asleep. I love classical music, but spoken word…PLEASE…and opera? EWWWWW. I understand torture when I listen to opera, mostly because my ears feel tortured. The art though was perfect. They had the best of the best of the best and I discovered Wenzel Hablik – a really different kind of artist who I really loved. I’m not going to go out and buy one of his paintings, mostly because I can’t afford to, but they were different from anything that I’ve ever seen before
- World Class Shopping – I could write a book on how much I love the Eaton Centre. It has a Nordstrom, need I say more? Plus they went back to having a HUGE (using my Donald Trump voice) Christmas Tree that’s beautiful
- The CN Tower – Yes, it’s tacky to admit, but I love the CN Tower. You couldn’t pay me to go there, unless I had visitors in town, but just to see it’s alien looking frame or see it lit up, makes me know that I’m home
- Unexpected beauty – the Manulife Building on Bloor Street somehow always looks perfect, no matter what time of year. They also celebrate holidays better than any other place in the city. Don’t believe me, check out the photo from Remembrance Day in the collage below – it’s small, but it’s in the right hand corner. The little things that look like confetti were row after row of Canadian flags
I guess I have my answer, maybe, just maybe I’m falling back in love with Toronto. My challenge to myself for 2017? Keep looking for things to admire about my fair city and see what all of those people on our Hop On, Hop Off tours are oohing and ahhhing about. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.