When East Meets West


So I’ve successfully survived my first weekend in Toronto and am preparing to celebrate my one-week anniversary of being in the city. It’s been an interesting experience, but overall- things are going better than I ever could have hoped for.

When the transfer first came through and I started telling friends that I was moving, I was frequently met with reactions such as “Toronto? But…. WHY?!”, a simple “Eww” or, my favorite: “OMG. You’re going to hate it.” Thankfully, I can say that my first week here in the city has shown that I am definitely not going to hate it, and, while I will be the first to admit that it’s not anywhere near as beautiful as Vancouver, the city is definitely not without its charms.

Now, I’m definitely not saying that my 6 days here thus far are enough to form a complete opinion, but I’m definitely off to a great start. Here are a few of my initial findings.

  • People in Toronto are actually every bit as friendly as those in Vancouver.I don’t say this lightly, and it’s entirely possible that I’ve just gotten extremely lucky… but so far I’ve been so impressed with the friendliness of the people here. For instance, I stopped by the bank the other day to ask a question related to my move, and while I would expect the Teller to be friendly (which she was), I also received a completely random compliment from they lady standing at the window next to me. This then led to a conversation between her, the Teller and myself that went on for a few minutes. I also got cat called the other night as I walked down Church Street… but I don’t think that really counts.
  • The lack of mountains REALLY messes me up.I have never lived in a flat city. Salt Lake City is completely surrounded by majestic and beautiful mountains, and Vancouver’s got some pretty spectacular peaks itself. The absence of mountains here in Toronto is really throwing me for a loop and I’m usually pretty lost in terms of what direction I’m traveling. I know that the water is to the South, but unfortunately that doesn’t really do a lot for me since you can’t see it if you’re on the street and not actually near it. I’m still working on how to figure this out.
  • Toronto nightlight kicks Vancouver’s ass.I’ve always been aware that Vancouver has very little to offer in terms of gay nightlife… but being here in Toronto put it even more into perspective. Thus far I went to Fly on Friday night and Buddies on Saturday night. Both were awesome times with great music, lots of people and great atmospheres, and there are still handful more to check out!
  • I’ve gotten extremely lucky to meet some awesome people early in the game.When I moved to Vancouver, I basically didn’t have any gay friends for about 9 months. It’s not that I didn’t meet people – but for some reason, nobody seemed to actually want to form a friendship. By comparison, I’ve been in Toronto for 6 days and have already met some really awesome guys and added 5 or 6 new Facebook friends! This is in large part due to my friend Jeff, who has been gracious enough to introduce me to his friends and make sure I got out to enjoy the city this weekend- so, THANKS JEFF!!
  • Toronto has a LOT to offer.Tonight, I just got back from seeing the Pet Shop Boys in concert as part of Toronto’s Virgin Music Festival. We walked quite a ways across the city from my apartment to the show venue and I was thrilled to realize how much Toronto really has to offer in the music, theatre, shows, etc… department. In addition, as I was wondering by myself around the city Saturday afternoon, I randomly walked into a street fair! It was blocked off for blocks and was packed with people, food vendors, local artisans and street performers. It was brilliant. Oh, and I almost forgot- I saw Nico Archambault & Wynn from Pinup Saints at the Virgin Festival!

So that’s my first update and impression about my new home. I miss Vancouver, and I miss my friends a ton- but I’m actually excited about what this period of my life is going to bring. And to everyone who said I would hate Toronto, or reacted with some other form of heinous reaction… Suck on that! =)

  • Dan

    Wow..really reaching for some positives on the East coast, hey Kev! 😉

    I will give you the nightlife aspect, Toronto definitely trumps VanCity!

  • Allan

    I was already excited for my move (in 2 days!) but this article just totally made my day!

  • Jonny

    We certainly miss you out here! Toronto is still sometimes (as I call it) part of “my hood”. Hope I can visit soon!!

  • Great to hear it’s going so well! So excited for you / miss you! Patty

  • Let us know when you plan to partake in the BEST BUTT competition at Woody’s. We’ll all fly out!

  • bruin

    after your 9 months of independence how did you eventually meet & get to know all the wonderful Vancouver people you know today?

  • Blake

    You can also keep in mind that wherever you are, the CN Tower is always south as well. A little easier to pick out than the water …
    It took me to a while to get my bearings after moving here, but soon you’ll know all your subway stops and where to find the best shawarma and you’ll be doing the walk of shame from Parkdale to the Village like a pro!