Toronto: That’s a Wrap

I love Toronto.

Toronto is the best city I have ever been to (as of August 2012). In fact, I’ve been so impressed by my time here that I’ve half-jokingly told others that I made a mistake in choosing Toronto as my first stop in my adventure—it’s set the bar too high for all the other cities on my list!

Between visiting the myriad of parks, cycling through the city, and sampling international cuisine from Little India to Greektown to Chinatown, eight days in Toronto was, surprisingly, much too short of a stay.

The city lays claim to the title of most multicultural city in the world, and justifiably so. I can get on a subway and see people of all backgrounds, donning different types of dress, and speaking all kinds of languages. And the food here is awesome. Restaurants can unabashedly list their respective country’s most exotic dishes without fear that the Toronto locals will turn up their noses. I went to Chinatown as a skeptic and left as a believer once a friend and I stumbled upon a random Sichuan restaurant on Spadina—not only was it deliciously authentic, but they didn’t even bother with a separate menu that caters to Americanized Chinese tastes;  jellyfish, stewed duck neck, and pig intestines were standard fare.

Public transportation is another big winner in my book. I was spoiled by the city’s public transit infrastructure: bike lanes, the waterfront trails, cute red streetcars, timely subway trains, as well as the ubiquitous and affordable Bixi bike sharing system. You do not need a car in Toronto and in fact, driving would likely be more trouble than it’s worth.

My love for Toronto’s green space should be obvious from my numerous posts and photographs, but to reiterate: they are amazing. Most sites I visited were reclamation sites that served multiple functions besides recreation, such as stormwater management and habitat creation. And I’ve also fallen in love with Toronto’s other “green” space: Lake Ontario. Coming from Baltimore City, I’ve grown up near a waterfront. But Lake Ontario is a completely different experience. As one of the great lakes, Lake Ontario is huge. Look out onto the water and all you can see is a huge expanse of blue, glittering water following the earth’s curvature. The lake even has beaches, both man-made and natural.

And I want to point out that Toronto did more than meet me halfway to cultivate my newfound love for the city. In the eight days that I’ve spent there, the city’s blessed me with beautiful weather for most of those days—sunny and breezy blue skies with wispy white clouds.

If this love letter isn’t enough indication, I’ll definitely be returning to Toronto in the future. I still haven’t eaten my fill of the city nor managed to go to all the places I wanted to see—for example, I didn’t give High Park the time it deserved. And though Toronto isn’t without its flaws–it’s an increasingly expensive place to live on top of a 12% sales tax–its title as one of the most livable cities in the world is well deserved.

Check out what sites I visited on my map: Landscape Architecture Travel Map

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