The Toronto Portraits - Sibille Wallois
Welcome to the Toronto Portraits. Every Friday we're going to profiles young, dynamic Torontonians, and each week we're photographing them in a different Toronto neighbourhood.
Sibille Wallois, 27 years old. The Annex.
Have you ever met a beautiful, young French woman with a Masters in Art History and wondered...what are you doing in Toronto?
Maybe I've just been jaded by T.O bashing in the media recently, but every time I meet someone exciting from Europe, the States or beyond I wonder how they found their spot on our concrete carousel. I decided to interview Sibille because I wanted to hear a visitors perspective on things.
Sibille Wallois was born on a farm in the French countryside. When she turned eighteen she packed her Louis Vuitton suitcases (I'd like to think everyone has them there) and got her degree in the northern city of Amiens. She began traveling the world soon after.
"China, Singapore, across Europe...I stayed in Morocco for a while before I came to Canada. At first I went to Montreal; the partying was great and of course it's a French speaking city. People warned me about coming here; they said it was a city of heavy traffic and business people."
Undaunted, Sibille moved to Toronto anyway to improve her English. She got her first impression of the city on a stroll through Kensington Market in the Autumn.
"I was so impressed; I forgot all the stereotypes immediately. I was here for that celebration...you know, the one with the big chicken..."
"Turkey? Thanksgiving?" I offer.
She nods. "I was staying with a local family. They were very welcoming to me."
At first she thought she'd return to Montreal in a couple months, but the local arts and culture scene began to fascinate her. She lives in a shared house on Ossington, surrounded by young musicians, filmmakers, painters...
"I've met so many young people working on art projects, it just seems like part of the lifestyle here. I can feel a shift coming on in this city; with so many cultures living together I feel like Toronto artists are developing a really unique voice. This place is only going to get more interesting"
She pauses, smiles. Her dark blue eyes study the empty mocha coffee cup sitting in front of her. I have a feeling Sibille is holding off telling me anything negative about the city; she doesn't want to slander my hometown.
Or maybe it's an overall philosophy of hers that any town can be your town, that life is too short to tear places down.
"Of course at the end of the day it's the people you know that make a city what it is. If you have friends, if you know the right spots, you can have a good time anywhere."
Photos by Mr. Robin Sharp