Faith Can Move Mountains... But Dynamite Works Better

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Why Canadians Hate Toronto

And lo, there came a day when an accursed city rose up on the north shore of a great lake in the realm of the great white north... and it would be forever infested by insecure city boosters, self absorbed media airheads, and professional sports teams that underperformed. And this accursed city would be called Toronto.

~ from the World According To Keogh

Before I get started, I might as well say that the city of Toronto isn't going to appreciate the following blog. Nor will fans of the Maple Leafs. Well, to all of them, I merely say....

Nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah!

One of the things that binds most Canadians (with the exception of the city of Toronto, of course, unless certain citizens have a self-loathing thing going on) is a mutual disdain for Toronto itself. It's in our blood, in our national character. Some of us develop such a loathing for the city that we go into politics, join the Conservative Party, do everything possible to damage and destroy it, and then go fishing for votes in the remains. I'm looking at you, Mr. Harper.

Full disclosure, first off. I grew up west of Toronto, in the countryside of north Halton region. I could see the glow of the city each night on the eastern horizon. I developed a dislike for the city fairly early on. Maybe it was the general sense of arrogance and self-absorbed shallowness I picked up from the local television stations, or the grating boosterism from city officials. At any rate, I decided on some subconcious level early on that I'd never stay in that area, that as an adult, my life would be elsewhere. And so it was.

I've mentioned the arrogance, the shallow self absorbed media, and the boosterism. These are some of the reasons we as Canadians dislike Toronto. For a long time, there was this irritating habit on the part of media or city boosters to label Toronto as not only a world class city, but the best city in the world. Hell, some of the media liked to claim Toronto was the center of the universe (CityTV, I'm looking at you, you morons)...


Lesson the first, people: truly world class cities don't have to persistantly make the claim that they are world class cities. People know they are. New York, Chicago, London, Paris, Sydney, Tokyo, Berlin.... do these cities have boosters constantly running about proclaiming this to anyone who will pay attention? No. They don't need to.

I tend to think Toronto is a city with a self esteem problem, and so labelling itself a world class city or the best city in the world is a coping mechanism. And ramming that down everyone elses' throats all the time is annoying.

Next thing, and it's something I promised I'd bring up in a previous blog. Here in Ontario we've got a "provincial" network labelling itself Global Television. It's based out of Toronto, of course, and is widespread throughout the province. I put provincial in quotes because I find that claim to be dubious. Why? Because its ideas of the province seem to begin and end around Toronto itself. Its news programming reflects this. Unlike a local station such as CityTV (if this was a person instead of a television entity, it would be the biggest wanker in the room), Global pretends to be more then it is, a mere local television station.

Memo to Global Television: no one in Windsor, Ottawa, Thunder Bay, Sudbury, or Owen Sound gives a damn about a bank robbery in Etobicoke. So why do you lead your news programming with this Toronto-centric nonsense? Because like every other local news station (which you are), you delude yourself to thinking that Toronto is the center of the bloody universe. If you're going to be a provincial network, actually cover the whole province.

You can see, dear readers, that this whole center of the universe kind of thinking would get on the nerves of the rest of us Canucks.

I must be fair, and admit here that there are the odd things about the city that I have appreciated. The Royal Ontario Museum for instance, which as a child caught my interest (I had a fondness for archaeology that persists to this day). It's been a few years since I last stepped inside, and in that time, the apparently insane board members and the city itself hired a drugged out architect to add this monstrosity onto a century old building.

The architect, the board, and everyone else involved in that decision ought to be horsewhipped. Repeatedly.

Moving on to another reason we dislike Toronto: professional sports teams.

In Toronto, there are four professional sports franchises. Five, if you include soccer, which as we all know isn't a real sport.

Baseball has the Blue Jays. Basketball has the Raptors. Football has the Argonauts. And of course the centerpiece of it all is the long history of the Toronto Maple Leafs franchise, the sad sack bad luck story of the National Hockey League. It's been since 1967 since they last won a Stanley Cup, and each year they trot out the team yet again. Each year in the fall the fans proclaim "this is the year! It's coming home!" And each year by December the Leafs see their chances blow up in their faces.

It's been years since the Leafs last made the playoffs, let alone advanced a round or two. They're hopeless, and the fans who actually believe in them are deluded, pathetic, and probably more then a little crazy. And mutual loathing of the Maple Leafs is yet another reason why we dislike Toronto.

Each year, certain things in Canada will happen. The winter will be long (so much the better). The mosquitos will come out in the summer. People will race to their cottages each weekend. Traffic jams will make the trip an ordeal lasting hours. And the Maple Leafs will be playing golf by the end of April.

Well, this time around, since some of our teams didn't make the playoffs or are already eliminated, hockey fans find themselves compelled to root for the last remaining national team in the running, the Vancouver Canucks. It's a bit of a hard thing to do....
The Toronto-Montreal rivalry starts early, as you can clearly see.
Divine intervention won't help, Your Holiness. God's not a Leafs fan.

To bring it to a close, I'll finish with the political problem. Some years ago a man was elected to the mayorship of Toronto. A hobbit by the name of Mel Lastman. This was a salesman without scruples, the sort of guy who'd sell his mother's grave if he thought he could make a profit. This was also a guy without sense or dignity. He'd shake hands with Hells Angels members if he thought it would get him in the papers. He'd call out the Army to save the city from a snowstorm that any other municipality could handle on its own (which made Toronto the butt of jokes for many, many years since). And he's the one who, before an Olympics bid that required a visit to Africa, came up with the classic
line about Africans being cannibals and wondering if he'd end up in a  stewing pot.

That thing I said about him not being a dignified man? Compared to the knuckledragging neanderthal now in the mayor's office, Mel is the most gentlemanly person you could ask for.

Last fall, people inexplicably voted in a bigoted, alcoholic, bullying right wing thug named Rob Ford into the office. And they wonder why we shake our heads in disbelief.

Ford, also known as Fat Bastard and Mussolini, has come into office promising to clean things up. The mess he's making doing so will only get worse as he goes along. Oh, and he really does resemble Il Duce, by the way...

On his first day, he was "introduced" by the Donald Trump of Canada, Don Cherry, a loud mouthed, fashion challenged bigot hockey announcer (he reminds me of my idiot ex-brother-in-law) who seems to think the whole country revolves around him.

It's going to be a long four years for the citizens of Toronto. Well, less then that. Considering his size and the fact that he really doesn't take care of himself, I'd figure Robbie's going to keel over of a massive heart attack or stroke during a council meeting. Will he be missed? No, not really...

I'm fully aware that there are those in the city who might be upset by the above remarks. Maybe you're in the chamber of commerce. Perhaps you're a season ticket holder for the Leafs (did you suffer from brain damage as a child?). Maybe your name is Moses Znaimer and you think you're the center of the universe.

At any rate, I can only offer you these two words:

Bite me.

Oh, and if you are Znaimer, cut off that damned ponytail. You're well past seventy, you've lost most of your hair, and you look like a prat. And you're not this visionary that you seem to think you are.


  1. Interesting. I see a lot of anti-comments about Toronto on the internet. Well, your blog made it clear why.

  2. Well.... I did not know Canucks felt this way about YYZ. (airline code for Toronto) Interesting. Maybe if they came up with a better name than Maple Leafs, the hockey team would play better. lol.
    BTW your comment on my blog yesterday made me snort. Funny stuff. ;)

  3. Gee, I'm seeing a trend here...LOL

    Although I live close to the city but in a small town just east of it, I've never been a Toronto girl. Yes, I've cheered for the ill-fated Blue Jays (never been to a game) and also for the loser Maple Leafs...but, I was young and foolish back then.

    And, although I don't hold the same disdain for the city that you do, there really isn't that much I can say about it either. I've never been to the ROM (although I would like to one day), and also to Castleloma, it's not on my bucket list.

    So, I guess you could say that I'm sort of in agreement with you. It's not all that it's hyped up to be...

  4. Hmm...very interesting.
    Having been to Toronto and many other places in Canada, I would agree with you that it would be my least favorite. (Favorite so far? Vancouver)

    My little boy wants SO badly to be "Kid Canada" for a day on the CBC network cartoon program, but alas, we live in Michigan. I don't know how to break the news to him...

  5. I tried to comment earlier from my Android, but made a stupid error that lost the whole post.

    You're right...Bob Ford is going to get you those cement shoes. But then, your disdain for Toronto isn't exactly a secret. I've known about it almost as long as I've known you. A long time.

  6. What the hell is that thing on the front of the Royal Ontario Museum supposed to be? Unbelievable, that they would deface a historic building with a giant cow catcher.

  7. Scathing. I'm glad I'm not from Toronto. I think my feelings would be hurt.


  8. I agree with some of your qualms but don't think you can speak for all Canadians. I know many people who love Toronto. Having grown up in the country, I'm not a fan of any city, really. I like visiting Toronto because near me, it's the only place to go for certain things (rock concerts being one), but the drive there is ALWAYS a pain and I'd never want to live even in the GTA - it's overpriced and there is definitely an elitist attitude. I get that vibe at my workplace, too, which is in Burlington and having driven all over the GTA over the past couple of months, I'm content to not live in TO.

  9. I wish I had your talent with words... so enjoyed this post and I don't know who your talking about !

    cheers, parsnip

  10. And there I was thinking it was the French-Canadians that the rest of Canada disliked! Well, I'm glad to see the finger pointed elsewhere for once lol

  11. @Eve: yes, getting that off my chest does feel good.

    @Donna: they've got it coming.

    @PK: I could have mentioned the Hope Diamond heist, but we're waiting for the heat to die down.

    @Beth: you actually rooted for the Leafs? Were you dropped on your head as a child?

    @Betsy: there's a Kid Canada? Obviously I'm not watching CBC in the morning...

  12. @Norma: #1 way to get Ford off your tail: toss Mussollini a slice of pizza.

    @Karla: it is awful. The last time I was in Toronto, there it was, just defacing the facade of the museum like something out of a bad sci-fi film.

    @Natalie: Maybe the separatists in Quebec, those we have issues with....

    In my experience, the best city in the country is Quebec City.

  13. Okay, I can't get enough of your writing style-you are freaking funny! Great post.

  14. So, Canadians hate Toronto much like Americans hate New Jersey.

  15. As a New Yorker, Mike's comment made Canadian's feelings about Toronto clear :)

  16. Well I learned something new today,Ken. When I come to Canada it will be to Vancouver where my son now lives. Unless he moves to Toronto...I had better warn him, as a Brit he might not know he is supposed to hate the place if he wants to stay. ;0. Oh, and please do not tell DH soccer is not a sport. It is his life support machine, the only thing that gets his heart pumping nowadays. LOL


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