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Torrid and sordid: my love affair with Toronto

July 13, 2010
He loves it when we call him Big Papi

He loves it when we call him Big Papi

Toronto can make a girl do crazy crazy things.

Like consider going back to another Blue Jays game, even though she is a Red Sox fan and hates is filled with disdain for the Jays… to cheer for Toronto.

She is evil, that city.

Montreal is my home and I am very safe and happy here. My friends are here, my Habs are here, parts of my family are here. I love that Montreal is so beautiful, so bilingual and so laid back. Montreal happily wraps me up in its arms whenever I come back from my many adventures, and even though I have had periods of incredible unhappiness while living here, life in this city is what has always made things right again.

Habs playoffs 2010

And how am I supposed to leave my Habs, exactly?

Like any Montrealer (or non-Torontonian, really), I have been programmed to hate all things Toronto. The sports teams, the city, the people, their attitude towards work, all the things they have and we don’t, and whoever came up with the ridiculous idea that bars should close by 2 am. When my good friend Liz and I met back in university, I told her the long and winding story of where I was from.

“I’m from Toronto,” she replied. “But I’m not like that,” she added quickly.

“Okay, cool. Then we can be friends,” I decided.

(It’s hard to explain what “like that” means, but it’s not a good thing and we preemptively apply it to pretty much everybody who hails from the GTA.)

A funny thing has happened over the last couple of years, though. I have slowly and unwittingly fallen desperately in love with Toronto (I told you she was evil). My visits are becoming more and more frequent and it seems like I no longer need excuses to climb (yes, climb, shut up) into my car and book it down the 401. When I’m here, all I think about is the next time I’m going to go. When I’m there, I don’t want to leave.

Hiding in the quad

Hiding away on one of my recent visits

It’s like I’m having an affair with one city behind another city’s back. Toronto really messes with my head, too, because every time I leave I feel terribly sad… and slightly guilty. Like I’ve been cheating.

Each time I go I promise myself I’m going to do touristy things and then I don’t. I haven’t been to the Hockey Hall of Fame yet (I know). I haven’t been to the Bata Shoe Museum yet (I KNOW). I haven’t gone to the ROM, although I did go to the Ontario Science Centre a couple of months ago. It took me almost five years to get around to going to a baseball game, although in fairness I had wanted my first MLB game to be at Fenway Park or Wrigley Field or Yankee Stadium (*spits*) and have not been able to make it happen.

So what do I do, if I’m not being a tourist?

Watching the World Cup Final

Caught the World Cup Final before we headed back.

I just kind of… hang out. And nothing makes me happier. Whether I’m with family or old (and new) friends, I just really, really enjoy being there. So much so that I have been thinking of moving there. For a while now. Not that seriously, though. I don’t know if I’d be able to live in a city so full of Toronto Maple Leafs fans. Not to mention the actual Toronto Maple Leafs.

Plus I just got this new job that I love, and all these friends and family members I don’t want to leave behind, and I also hate the idea that I wouldn’t be getting last-minute calls saying, “I have two extra tickets to the Centennial Game get your ass downtown NOW.”

On my previous visit to Toronto, I successfully managed to be drunk or at least buzzed the entire time and hung out with old friends (Habs fans, mostly). This last time, I was sober for the entire trip, and met pretty much entirely new people (Leafs fans, mostly). And I had an equally amazing time. It’s gotta be the city.

Part of hanging out with a revolving door of awesome (yes, including some Leafs and Sens fans): Julie and I were really lucky, as we got to spend some time with Joe, who was also in town with some friends of his.

Joe and Julie

The lovely and talented Joe and Julie

And, as it turns out, bars closing so early isn’t so terrible, after all, because you can always take your drunkface to a 24-hour diner and get some breakfast food with some Leafs-loving miscreants.

Leafs fan dudes

Quiz time: would you call these guys a) degenerates b) deviants c) miscreants or d) all of the above

I am not ready to leave the current love of my life for someone new and exciting, but I think I will eventually end up in Toronto for one reason or another. And I will go to Blue Jays games (if they are still around then) even though I will stay a Red Sox fan. And I will go to Toronto FC games, if I can get tickets, because I hear that’s a party and a half. And I will sell my soul and go to the ACC… and bring the house down cheering for my Montreal Canadiens.

One day.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. July 13, 2010 9:07 am


  2. July 13, 2010 9:15 am

    Jesus. I look obliterated. That must be the second most shocking picture with me in it you could have posted.

    • theactivestick permalink*
      July 13, 2010 6:25 pm

      The other one was more shocking, but less flattering, aesthetically speaking. It would have been a shameless ratings grab. And I ain’t ESPN, and you ain’t LeBron.

  3. July 13, 2010 9:19 am

    Also PS: A 1:45am last call is HORRIBLE.

    Vive Montréal.

  4. July 13, 2010 11:03 am

    To get to Toronto, you have to go past my neck of the woods, and if I find out you’re moving there, I’m going to make you run me over in order to get it done. Or I’ll blow all the bridges. We’re keeping you. Learn to accept it!

    I’m glad you had fun though; my aunt keeps hassling me to come down for Jays games, but I hate them so much that I can’t stomach supporting them, even if I sat on my hands for the whole game.

    • theactivestick permalink*
      July 13, 2010 6:21 pm

      Aww Kyle. That is the sweetest and most disturbing comment I have publicly received on my blog.

  5. July 13, 2010 11:24 am

    glad y’all had fun. if i can speak for the rest of my compatriots, it was a pleasure to host ya in our fair Center of the Universe. come on back when the hockey’s back.

  6. IcE ColD permalink
    July 13, 2010 1:50 pm

    Heretic, HERETIC!!

    That is all I’m going to say for now. I need some recovery time after reading all the horrible stuff you’ve written in that blog. Ugh.

  7. July 14, 2010 6:51 pm

    How bout being an American, gone to Montreal to be programmed to hate all things Toronto. I’m perpetually biased and I don’t even have a Canadian passport!

    What I find even weirder though, Canadians loving the Red Sox. I always thought it was just people south of the border and east of the Connecticut River who liked them…

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