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15 things you have to explain to visitors about Toronto

Posted by Chris Bateman / August 1, 2014

things about torontoToronto can be a confusing place for the newcomer: strict liquor laws, a sometimes bewildering set of transit rules, and, among its denizens, a puzzling and intense affection for weekend brunch.

According to Statistics Canada, 2.5 million people living in the Greater Toronto Area were born overseas. At the same time, many Canadian-born Toronto residents are from somewhere else: a small town, another province. Just about every Torontonian knows what it's like to field the questions from visiting friends and family.

With that thought in mind, welcome to Toronto, dear guests. Here are a few things you should know.

We love craft beer and local wine, but the LCBO thinks it's 1927
Want to grab a beer to take home after work on a Sunday? Forget about it. LCBO opening hours are designed to catch you out, or so it seems. Supermarkets and corner stores are, for reasons too complex and infuriating to list, dry. The Beer Store has a definite article for a reason.

Toronto exported so much peameal bacon it earned a nickname
Hogtown used to be a pejorative term other cities levied at Toronto, mainly because of the excess amount of resources and attention the city commanded in the late 1800s. The name became a term of endearment when the William Davies Company, a large waterfront stockyard, made peameal bacon an international delicacy.

things about torontoEverything is under construction
Sometimes moving around than city feels something like taking a tour of a live-in construction site. No-one remembers the last time the streetcar and bus lines were last free of diversions.

The CN Tower is the best compass
Travel writer Bill Bryson was talking about the Sydney Harbour Bridge when he wrote: "you can see it from every corner of the city, creeping into frame from the oddest angles, like an uncle who wants to get into every snapshot," but the observation is also be true of Toronto's most famous landmark, which has marked downtown since 1976.

It's pronounced "Young"
But everyone has their own way of pronouncing Roncesvalles. Stick with Roncey and you will sound like a local.

We stole poutine from Quebec and we're not sorry
Fries, gravy and melty cheese curds are ours now, too. We do it quite well.

Cars won't stop at pedestrian crossings unless you hit the button
Some signs tell you to point, but it's really not necessary if everyone has already stopped.

No-one is safe from the dreaded short turn
The TTC says short turns--the practice of kicking everyone off the bus, streetcar, or subway train so the driver can turn around--are a necessary evil, a way of benefiting many by inconveniencing a few, but that's scant consolation.

Main Street station isn't downtown and Royal York isn't near the hotel
Painful and sometimes costly mistakes to make.

things about torontoThere's really only one practical way to get to the island
The bucolic idyll of the Toronto Island might be just a few metres from the mainland in places, but for complex historical reasons the city still operates a number of ferry services instead of just building a bridge. In Summer, the ride is in equal measures spectacular, claustrophobic, and time consuming.

Nudity is strictly limited to the Hanlan's Point Beach
Those clothes had better be back on by the time you step off the sand. City council spent several months in the early 2000s wringing its collective hands over the consequences of allowing too much skin at Hanlan's Point. Officially the bathing area "clothing optional," so there's no pressure to bare all.

But the city has other, excellent places to catch a tan
The Beach neighbourhood has spectacular sand that would be worthy of a city with a more fortunate oceanside position. And let's not forget Bluffer's Park.

Raccoons rule the city after dark
This city is home to anywhere between 100,000 and 200,000 raccoons, depending on the source. After dark, Toronto becomes Raccoon City, a giant playground for dextrous critters to forage, fight, and err... procreate.

things about torontoNo, you can't afford to see the Toronto Maple Leafs
Things have been disappointing around Maple Leaf Gardens and the Air Canada Centre the last 47 years or so anyway. Blue Jays tickets, however, start at $11.65 and they've won a championship in the last 30 years.

We're sensitive--tell us we're world class
No world class city spends more time worrying about what other people think as much as Toronto. Please, be nice to us.

What would you add to this list? Add your suggestions to the comments.

Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman. Photos by bigdaddyhame, syncros, JPanda and chewie2008 in the blogTO Flickr pool.



Bustah / August 1, 2014 at 01:36 pm
I'd explain to tourists that they must be very careful of complimenting the city within earshot of a local, or they will be challenged. Torontonians take a fierce pride in maintaining their pecking order below that of other Canadian cities.
the lemur / August 1, 2014 at 01:41 pm
#16: (the) 'Toronto Island' is actually several islands, none of them called Toronto. There are three ferries, each with a different destination, but you can walk from one to the other once you get there and take a different ferry back.
Roncies / August 1, 2014 at 01:44 pm
Locals call Roncesvalles, "Roncies" not "Roncey" (unless these 'locals' moved in the last 5 years, in which case they might be a bit confused...).
Nick / August 1, 2014 at 01:52 pm
The LCBO is something you'd have to explain to Ontario visitors, I wouldn't call that specific to Toronto since it's the same from Windsor to Ottawa to Thunder Bay. Shouldn't something Toronto specific be at the first one listed?
tnt replying to a comment from Roncies / August 1, 2014 at 01:58 pm
I've lived in that area off and on for the last 50 yrs and have never heard "Roncies"....either it's called Roncesvalles in it's entirety, or the popular name it's adapted over the last 20 yrs "Roncey"
Brent / August 1, 2014 at 01:58 pm
Don't pronounce the last "T".

Don't pass a streetcar with its doors open.
Chris replying to a comment from Bustah / August 1, 2014 at 01:59 pm
If you believe that, then you're not from here.....
Doug / August 1, 2014 at 02:03 pm
Yes, Toronto actually did elect Rob Ford as mayor 4 years ago. Who knew he had a questionable reputation?
Roncies replying to a comment from tnt / August 1, 2014 at 02:07 pm
I've lived in the neighbourhood since 1993 and everyone I grew up with calls it Roncies or Roncesvalles. Roncey is only used by the newer arrivals.
Downtown Toronto Personal Trainer / August 1, 2014 at 02:07 pm
Funny and true post! Moved into liberty/parkdale in February and the raccoons are running the show.
Dude / August 1, 2014 at 02:09 pm
Sorry, but poutine in toronto is still pretty terrible in comparison
Todd Toronto replying to a comment from the lemur / August 1, 2014 at 02:25 pm
Well, since we're being nitpicky, it'll always be "The BeachES" to me.
linden / August 1, 2014 at 02:31 pm
I am just curious what is so special about Roncesvalles that the tourists would interested to visit or learn about it. It looks like many other Toronto streets - Bloor west, Qeen West....
toronto replying to a comment from Roncies / August 1, 2014 at 02:37 pm
no one cares
toronto replying to a comment from Bustah / August 1, 2014 at 02:38 pm
you definitely aren't from here.
Laura420 / August 1, 2014 at 02:42 pm
We have 7 openly operating cannabis lounges, which are totally illegal, and nobody gives a fuck. But screw you if you want to buy liquor at a store after 10.
Anastasia / August 1, 2014 at 02:43 pm
No matter what you are doing on the TTC, take a transfer!
Jen C / August 1, 2014 at 02:44 pm
Most of the poutine in Toronto is in fact, pretty terrible. The curds should be fresh enough to squeak (which they rarely are) and don't get me started on the gravy...
junk shin replying to a comment from Roncies / August 1, 2014 at 02:46 pm
there are two establishments on roncy with "roncy" in the name (sushi on roncy, roncy public) -- like it or not (i don't, particularly), that's the name.
Carol / August 1, 2014 at 03:10 pm
The "underground city" is not *literally* an underground city! I'm impressed at how many tourist are here for a couple of days and "visiting the underground city" is one of their top items, alongside Casa Loma and the CN Tower. They are inevitably disappointed.
hop / August 1, 2014 at 03:18 pm
The "Collectors" isn't a toll highway. My uncle from Montreal has been driving to he city since the 70s and only discovered this (after I told him) in the early 2000s.
Steve replying to a comment from Jen C / August 1, 2014 at 03:19 pm
You and Dude obviously haven't had poutine anywhere in the city besides McDonalds... There's plenty of good poutine here.
Timmy / August 1, 2014 at 03:19 pm
Let's not forget in the future we'll need to explain to tourists why the Sam the Record man sign is in Dundas square for a store that doesn't exist and went bankrupt.
the lemur / August 1, 2014 at 03:39 pm
The city is full of exiles from other cities in Canada (Montreal, Vancouver, etc.) who go on and on about all the things that are better back home - bagels, poutine, weather, outdoor things to do - and who are really fucking boring.

Also, you should know that Torontonians will try to tell you all kinds of inaccurate stuff about their own city, like how the Christie water tower is full of Oreo icing, how the second T in Toronto is supposedly silent (both pronunciations are valid), how 'Avenue Road' came from some lame joke, etc. Ignore them.
Skye / August 1, 2014 at 03:49 pm
The Rogers Centre is still called "The Dome" by almost everyone.

And raccoons truly *do* rule the city, to the point where they'll stalk you like the world's cutest bunch of gangsters if you're carrying takeout after dark.
Jack replying to a comment from Timmy / August 1, 2014 at 03:58 pm
Now that the Sam the Record Man sign sits way atop a building, it looks like a pair of giant boobs. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
The Clever Pup replying to a comment from Roncies / August 1, 2014 at 04:08 pm
Been here in the thick of it for 17 years. No one I know calls it Roncies, unless in the possessive form. Then you'd need an apostrophe.
Chris replying to a comment from the lemur / August 1, 2014 at 04:09 pm
"The city is full of exiles from other cities in Canada (Montreal, Vancouver, etc.) who go on and on about all the things that are better back home - bagels, poutine, weather, outdoor things to do - and who are really fucking boring."

And yet whenever you ask one of them when they plan on moving back, you're usually met with silence.
The Clever Pup replying to a comment from junk shin / August 1, 2014 at 04:11 pm
and Roncey's Bean, and they are using an apostrophe.
Dan / August 1, 2014 at 04:11 pm
I've lived here 10 months now and I've only seen one raccoon. Disappointed!
W. K. Lis / August 1, 2014 at 04:12 pm
To become mayor or councillor in the City of Toronto, the candidate does not need to get a majority of 50% + 1. They can still win with even a third of the votes cast, just by having the highest number of votes than the others.
The Clever Pup replying to a comment from junk shin / August 1, 2014 at 04:12 pm
Not a biggie but Etobicoke rhymes with Mimico.
Rich W replying to a comment from Jen C / August 1, 2014 at 04:44 pm
Amen to that, I rather drive back to Montreal then eat poutine in Toronto. They have a long way to go before they can get close to anything like Quebec poutine.
christopher / August 1, 2014 at 05:19 pm
Cardinal Rule at Queen West and Roncesvalles has a special every so often. Butter Chicken Poutine. Absolutely amazing. And yes Cardinal Rule has great fries to begin with. You can't have great poutine without great fries!
Cass / August 1, 2014 at 05:21 pm
I have yet to find good poutine in Toronto. Simple dishes are often the most difficult to achieve perfection - no hiding behind fancy ingredients like pulled pork or curry spice. Good fries, good gravy, good curds. That's it. I have to save up my poutine craving for when I go to Quebec.

Local tip: sometimes people line up at a bus stop, sometimes they don't. Don't fret if you're waiting for the bus in a disorganized crowd - everyone politely files on, letting people who have been waiting longer than themselves get on first.
Bettie / August 1, 2014 at 05:38 pm
If they know NYC, warn them that if they're in Toronto and see a sign underground saying 'PATH', it is not the way to the Port Authority train. Some ignorant nitwit in Toronto must have seen the sign in NYC and, not knowing what it really meant, decided to use it for the name of Toronto's underground walkway. (Such an embarrassingly small town error.)
Bizoune / August 1, 2014 at 05:46 pm
Haha... so true but I never had one single decent poutine in Toronto in all of the 18 years I lived there... They never believe me until they come to visit in Montreal... Then they understand what I meant.
Bizoune replying to a comment from Dude / August 1, 2014 at 05:47 pm
I couldn't agree more!!
Bizoune replying to a comment from Steve / August 1, 2014 at 05:50 pm
you won't have a clue what poutine really is until you have one in Montreal. Squeaky cheese just doesn't exist in TO. It's very different than what you think it is!!
Bizoune replying to a comment from Jen C / August 1, 2014 at 05:51 pm
So true!!
Bizoune replying to a comment from Rich W / August 1, 2014 at 05:54 pm
lolol... they just don't get it!!
Noddy / August 1, 2014 at 06:17 pm
Milk sold in bags is another weird thing about this place!
Not Bizoune replying to a comment from Bizoune / August 1, 2014 at 06:18 pm
Hey, I'm commenting on one of your comments on another person's comment! lolol
Francesco / August 1, 2014 at 06:33 pm
Rule #1: there is absolutely nothing to do except going into the vast forest parks outside of the downtown core and beach areas. No decent bars, traditional local restaurants, nothing!!!
SillyToronto / August 1, 2014 at 06:41 pm
With respect to this poutine "debate"- SHUT THE FUCK UP ALREADY!
Nobody / August 1, 2014 at 06:45 pm
You have to explain how the escalators work. Literally no one knows that if you want to stand riding the escalator you stay on the right so people can pass you on the left. (Plus who stands on a escalator?)
W. K. Lis replying to a comment from Nobody / August 1, 2014 at 06:49 pm
Hello 911? I need the fire department. My kids and I were standing on this escalator going up, when suddenly it stopping. I'm stuck here on this escalator with my kids, and one of them needs to go to the washroom. Oh, woe is me.
David / August 1, 2014 at 06:54 pm
It's not just the last t that is silent. The first o is silent and the second and last o's are pronounced aw. The full name is Trawnaw. Also, everybody in the rest of Canada hates Toronto, and nobody in Toronto acknowledges that the rest of Canada exists.
bzine / August 1, 2014 at 07:01 pm
About 90 percent of the time, if you're walking on a downwards slope that means your heading south.
toronto replying to a comment from SillyToronto / August 1, 2014 at 07:39 pm
thank you. the worst....
MH replying to a comment from Bustah / August 1, 2014 at 07:57 pm
That is a great comment. Incredibly pathetic...but true.
Cabbagetowner / August 1, 2014 at 08:39 pm
Add: nobody calls it Yonge-Dundas Square. It's just Dundas Square.
rob replying to a comment from Roncies / August 1, 2014 at 09:04 pm
true locals call roncesvalles roncesvalles. not roncey, not roncies.

milk comes in bags in many places not just toronto...

while peameal may be very toronto, the sandwich version seems very much based on the english bacon barm.

pearlD. / August 1, 2014 at 09:06 pm
We have the most amazing variety of places to eat from corner 'mom & pops' to very, very high end trendy and also costly places and cuisine that geographically covers every part of the world, some better than others but the options are staggering....
Anonymous / August 1, 2014 at 09:59 pm
Having grown up in Toronto and having lived in many parts of the "GTA" and now live in the countryside because of what Toronto has become (hey, it's not for me, maybe it is for you), this is a poorly written article. Most of the things stated, no one would ever explain to a tourist and barely make the highlight of the city. Who cares what Roncesvalles or however you spell it is...who cares about poutine, seriously? Sounds like a 1987 baby wrote this article, or even worse, 1990s baby.
CaligulaJones / August 1, 2014 at 10:00 pm
No, you can't drive to Vancouver in a day...
David replying to a comment from Jen C / August 1, 2014 at 11:18 pm
I grew up in Quebec and never heard of poutine until I moved to Toronto.
sensrock_leafswalk / August 1, 2014 at 11:22 pm
Just come to a sens game, leafs never know what hit them. Cross the bridge into Quebec , buy all the booze you want all night long at the corner store and get the best poutine ever!!!! Great living in Ottawa.
Ummm I forgot my point -420? / August 1, 2014 at 11:34 pm
Laura420 but we have thousands of bars open and selling alcohol until 2am which are completly legal. How many cannibas lounges are you comparing that to? Seven? And yes you can buy alcohol 24 hrs a day with the right connections just like pot. Whats you point?
Duhhh Ottawa / August 1, 2014 at 11:38 pm
Wow Ottawa sounds like an alcoholics dream. I'll be sure and let any alcoholics I cross paths with that Ottawa gives a great lifestyle as long as you go to Quebec to get it...
Who cares about poutine / August 1, 2014 at 11:41 pm
Who cares about poutine that much? Its greasy fries, covered in two layers of fat,cheese curds and gravy.

Most clients I work with that come to Canada think its a fat disgusting mess.
Duckers replying to a comment from christopher / August 2, 2014 at 01:34 am
Yes, and the Butter Chicken Roti at Gandhi's!

There are some decent places to get poutine.. ok Poutini's is def hipster but I've rarely been disappointed.

One of the best highlights of 'Torana' is obv the food. You cant get authentic food from all over the globe here.
visitor / August 2, 2014 at 05:45 am
With all the poutine complaints, no one has mentioned their favorites! Where do you guys go for your poutine? I'd like to try when I visit
Nisha replying to a comment from David / August 2, 2014 at 06:07 am
I've lived in Toronto all my life and I have never heard it pronounced "Trawnaw". Maybe if someone was imitating a Toronto accent really poorly. The only way I've ever heard it pronounced by people who live in Toronto is "Turonno".
BIG MIKE replying to a comment from Todd Toronto / August 2, 2014 at 08:04 am
THE BEACH VILLAGE is the name of the area. Not The Beach, not The Beaches.
Judy / August 2, 2014 at 09:47 am
IMHO Toronto and Calgary are the best two cities in the country. Very different but both great places to eat, sleep, drink and generally have a good time! Calgary is extremely active in terms of physical...gyms, running, skiing, hiking, golfing etc
Poo-Tzynn addicts / August 2, 2014 at 09:50 am
To all the people (like Jen) here whose lives seem to revolve around poutine, get a real life. Who gives a f*** about that greasy hot muck, anyway? It seems to be some status symbol for montrealers living here to complain about this white trash junk food. Go to montreal if you think it is better there. And then stay there. I'll bet you are all the size of Ford if you eat that crap.
@sensrock_leafswalk / August 2, 2014 at 09:57 am
I don't expect much from anyone who is actually a fan of the Ottawa Senior Citizens and actually brags about living in the City that Fun Forgot, but let me clear things up for you. If you think you can buy 'booze' all night long in dépanneurs, you've obviously not crossed that bridge over to Hell very often. They sell beer and undrinkable cheap plonk until 11pm at night. I suppose that is "all night" for a city where they roll up the sidewalks at 6pm. Those of us who think of "booze" as Scotch or Vodka can't buy hard liquor in Quebec anywhere other than the SAQ, which is practically identical to Ontario's LCBO, and various other Government liquor monopolies across the country.
Anyhow, enjoy your Crybaby Sens this winter; no one else gives a crap about them or even really considers them to be a real hockey team. They are the perfect artificial team for a beige government town.
First timer / August 2, 2014 at 11:21 am
I'm visiting from the US, and like it when people clue me into these differences here from Stateside. It has a lot better vibe here than Montreal where I was last week. I will come back to Toronto for sure, maybe in the fall.
Jeff B. / August 2, 2014 at 11:53 am
One missing from the list is 'walk left, stand right', when using escalators. The TTC used to have signs indicating this, but removed them. Even since then, this is a known unstated rule to Torontonians, but would escape tourists.
banjo / August 2, 2014 at 12:27 pm
you have to explain that Toronto is the only city in the world where you step off public transport in the middle of the road into oncoming traffic.
strum your banjo / August 2, 2014 at 12:50 pm
Yup. The only city in the world, banjo. Except all the other cities in the world that have streetcars/trams. Toronto just happens to be the only city in North America that kept a substantial part of its old streetcar routes. San Francisco kept one or two lines with toy antique streetcars for the tourists to ride.
Malcolm / August 2, 2014 at 01:50 pm
I've lived in Montreal and Ottawa and while I would've agreed with the poutine naysayers 5 years ago, Toronto has seriously upped it's game over the last 2-3 years. The variety and quality of restaurants/eateries is currently amazing and many have unique takes on the dish.
Yolo / August 2, 2014 at 02:30 pm
Its an age thing. Montreal is in my parent's generation, not mine. They remember something that is not there now. When I went with friends my age we were so bored. It was like wtf? Kinda sketchy and ghetto too. The scene there is stuck in the past sort of old school and Jersey Shore mixed together. Who would go there when NYC is so easy to get to by Porter?
Martyn replying to a comment from BIG MIKE / August 2, 2014 at 03:21 pm
Never called 'Beach Village'. Don't even think realtors would dare try that. Mainly "Beaches ". "The Beach" has become accepted with time...
FrancesMC replying to a comment from BIG MIKE / August 2, 2014 at 04:39 pm
It's the BEACHES. Witness the name of the local public library which has been there since the 30s, at least. And it's what I knew when I was growing up and I'm no spring chicken. It makes sense when you realize that there are several named beaches in the area, not just one, as The BEACH implies.
cat / August 2, 2014 at 07:41 pm
I remember going to the Islands and all you needed was a TTC ticket to board! Many, many years ago.
KJ replying to a comment from David / August 2, 2014 at 08:07 pm
"It's not just the last t that is silent. The first o is silent and the second and last o's are pronounced aw. The full name is Trawnaw. Also, everybody in the rest of Canada hates Toronto, and nobody in Toronto acknowledges that the rest of Canada exists."

No. Just... No. The first o gets dropped sometimes and the second T is dropped by anyone who grew up there. But the "aw" sound is SUPER annoying. No one says that unless they're making fun of how Torontonians pronounce "Trrono" (when said quickly) or "Toronno" (pronounced for people from elsewhere). Or, you know, are my dad making a terrible dad joke.

And we remember the rest of Canada exists. We just eye roll when they think that having a significant portion of the COUNTRY'S population (not just of Ontarios, but of the entire country. it's like 1/6 of Canada) is meaningless. My numbers alone our votes have a bigger impact. Get over it.
Joey replying to a comment from David / August 2, 2014 at 09:07 pm
LMAO, no one says "Trawnaw" here David. Nice try though! Have a safe drive back to Oshawa!
Awesome replying to a comment from @sensrock_leafswalk / August 2, 2014 at 11:41 pm
Yours is the best blogTO comment ever. Seriously, you made my day! :-)
Awesome Julio replying to a comment from Awesome / August 3, 2014 at 12:22 am
You should see some of my comments. I've laid down a pretty sweet track record.
I've podium'd a few times for Best comment of the day.
gina / August 3, 2014 at 02:37 am
How to properly pronounce Spadina.
To look right when exiting the streetcar.
Last call is at 2am, and you can't drink in public.
Guest-In-Your-Country / August 3, 2014 at 03:21 am
It takes a bit of time to wrap your head around Avenue Road. And if you don't like that name, don't worry, it has several others.
S.R / August 3, 2014 at 06:41 am
We like to think were a world class city but with very poor infrastructure, extremely high taxes due to a crumbling municipal economy, short sightedness of local politicians to just a allow for nothing but condo development, were nowhere close in my opinion. We just have a population of a world class city. And don't get me wrong, I love this city! That's why it frustrates me so much. Where are the subways, where's the waterfront project that has so much potential and what are we doing to preserve the little history this city has? Every old building we have has either been turned into a loblaws or a bank. Scared to find out what happens to the Honest Ed building
terry / August 3, 2014 at 10:22 am
The worst transportation. It never comes the right time and street cars are so slow
stopitman replying to a comment from Roncies / August 3, 2014 at 01:18 pm
Roncesvalles is called Roncey, not Roncies. Just like the Beaches will always be the Beaches and not "the Beach", like the pricks that live there think it should be. While I'm on my rant - Spadina Road is "Spa-deen-ah Rd" unlike it's southern section "Spa-dine-ah Ave".

There are too many noobs in this city screwing up pronunciations and names.
Rocies Roncy controversy replying to a comment from Roncies / August 3, 2014 at 01:46 pm
I used to have a practice space in Rocesvalles. You'd hear either "RonceSvalles" or "ReceZvalles", and Roncies as a nickname. Roncy came later, but it's more common by far now.
Beaches - beach replying to a comment from stopitman / August 3, 2014 at 01:47 pm
Whatever we'd like to believe, many locals call it "the Beach" now. Nomatter how aggravated that makes me.
Bloor replying to a comment from stopitman / August 3, 2014 at 01:48 pm
Bloor rhymes with Door.
Bloor replying to a comment from strum your banjo / August 3, 2014 at 01:49 pm
Even that's not true. Loads of cities kept their old/original tram/streetcar routes.
Toronto Native replying to a comment from Francesco / August 3, 2014 at 01:51 pm
Agreed. It's hard to explain to other Toronto Natives who haven't traveled to literally any other "world class" city, but Toronto is really dull, and the food here is terrible. Our best restaurants aren't as good as street vendors in some other cities. Toronto is a big mediocre dump.
LOL @ "Toronto Native" / August 3, 2014 at 02:16 pm
Toronto Native, who the fuck do think you are? This isn't 1901; people travel frequently and far nowadays. Half the population of Toronto was born outside of Canada. Thinking you are the only one simply makes you look ridiculous. Just because others have a life and moved on after their vacations and therefore couldn't be bothered to brag about it doesn't mean no one has ever travelled. "Toronto Native" is the same troll who routinely drops in to poetically call Toronto a "dump" every week. He clearly doesn't even live here but seems to hold a grudge against the city. My best advice is GFY.
SillyToronto / August 3, 2014 at 03:07 pm
Did you all not hear me when I said SHUT THE FUCK UP ABOUT THE POUTINE??!!
Honestly now.... / August 3, 2014 at 03:17 pm
Who on Earth gives two rats about frickin' poutine? Those in other countries who have actually heard about it all think it sounds disgusting. Really. It's not a selling point for coming to Canada. Those who haven't heard of it when you explain it to them for the first time will feign interest at best. In their heads, they are thinking, "This is why North Americans are so unbelievably fat".

The fact that it uses curds instead of cheese shreds is not a selling point.
poutinistes / August 3, 2014 at 04:26 pm
Montrealers have so little to brag about these days that when they move here (and I ask:"Why us"?) all they do is complain that the poutine doesn't taste as delicious as the hot slimy mess of fat and fried potatoes back home. Oh, and also the bars stay open one hour longer there for them to drown their sorrows. Anything else? OH YES! You can buy Bleu in a convenience store.

Enough already! We KNOW. We get it. You can all shut the fuck up about it now because you have gone beyond boring and into the realm of fucking annoying. Why the Hell move here if it is so much better back in Montreal with its deserted bars and near-empty sidewalks with a few welfare drunks stumbling around? Sorry you don't get the exact junk food you like here. Deal with it or go back home, please. There are enough of us fed up with your collective complaining that you will not be missed.
Spike replying to a comment from Honestly now.... / August 3, 2014 at 08:39 pm
Many Europeans have just as fattening food as we do-please stop pushing this meme about an obesity plague, as it's most likely a sham to begin with.

And Montrealers, I second what poutinistes said above; please put up with what we have here, or shut the fuck up and go live someplace else. And STOP STOP STOP expecting everybody elsewhere in Canad to have restaurants that serve poutine. Nobody outside Quebec gives a shit.
Pat / August 3, 2014 at 10:36 pm
No no, Toronto Native is totally right. But the comment was a bit harsh because really, to approach Toronto (and this IS something you have to explain to visitors) you have to have a mindset that Toronto naturally was and is supposed to be a town (see the history and even the design of the old parts) or a medium-sized city maximum. It was never to be up there with the NYCs of North America or the developed world, but just a simple place. The only reason why it is attempted to be put up there, is just because of its too high population, and the nearby cities by it (905) have gone way past what they were meant to handle. The natural state and CULTURE of Toronto was disrespected. It should be a grander Cleveland or a humble Boston-type city, if left naturally. So the bottom line is: lower your expectations when approaching Toronto. Also: it's "Toronno" and a complete "Roncesvalles" is what is said and used, not just by most people but by locals (late 20s and over), either born-and-bred Torontonians or the immigrants during the 1950s-early 80s wave. This is also something you must explain to visitors about Toronto, that due to too many people (immigration foreign and domestic) here the past 25 years, visitors must not assume anything but really look closely (the aura) and actually ask/speak with people to find out if they are true locals. You can tell who is who this way, with any place.
Steve replying to a comment from Carol / August 3, 2014 at 11:57 pm
The underground city might be The Path which is the largest underground shopping centre in the world and is also attached to several residences and office buildings.
Stuff it, Pat. Where the sun don't shine / August 4, 2014 at 12:31 am
Pat, I've never heard such a crock of shit in my life. Nice try at attempting to undermine Toronto and push it down, but you are a major Fail. Sorry to be the one to tell you. But then, no one really listens to demented types who try and deny reality so why I've even bothered to read your sad drivel is beyond me.
Carol replying to a comment from Steve / August 4, 2014 at 08:36 am
Steve, yes, I mean the Path. I know what it is. :)
What I mean is that many tourists come with these Canada or Toronto Guides that list the Path as one of the world's wonders, for reasons I can't understand. The Path is very useful, of course. But when visitors end up there and ask "So, where is the underground city thing?", I say "This is it" and they get that disappointed look. I don't know what they expect, but it has happened quite a few times.
Pat is Shirley! (Ed.-Shurely Not!) / August 4, 2014 at 10:11 am
Maybe, maybe not. Then it's Dave...or Moneesha...or Irwin "Ford's Bastard" Mimico! Any of "The Stupids".
The Path / August 4, 2014 at 12:43 pm
Believe it or not, The Path is a major tourist draw and for some unfathomable reason the British are especially intrigued. They are under the impression that it turns into the Arctic here in winter and that foot travel above ground is impossible. I've never met one of them disappointed with it. To me it is just a big underground mall.
Brits replying to a comment from The Path / August 4, 2014 at 01:23 pm
Your comment about Brits and The PATH is spot on.

Also, when I lived in the UK, I once told a few English people at a pub in Leeds that I was from Toronto, and they said, "That's in Mexico, mate?" I thought they were pulling my leg and that they were better educated than that. But I couldn't be sure, so I just went with it. I talked about how I miss the great Mexican dishes from back home, and they said they knew "a decent taco place" on the High Street. They asked if I went to an English school because I did't seem to have a Mexican accent. At that point, I educated them that Toronto is in Canada. They were very apologetic. Then one of them asked why I don't have a French accent.

Go PATH replying to a comment from The Path / August 4, 2014 at 04:58 pm
In Britain, most houses don't even have basements / cellars.

While they are accustomed to underground transportation (at least in London and Liverpool), they tend to find the idea of people walking around and shopping underneath the ground to be fascinating.

In the UK, there are plenty of museums, art galleries, funky cafes, and history. It is things like the CN Tower and PATH --- things that we don't really care about as Torontonians --- that actually sparks their interest when visiting.
Pat / August 4, 2014 at 09:06 pm
Small-town thinking! You think a site like is only 20 people or a part of a neighbourhood only being the ones visiting here and commenting? And you also think that EVERYONE, even Toronto-born people would be always positive and say cliche things about their own city? No! Many people, and a growing number, are outspoken and realistic these days about what's going on with the city. Many are well-travelled, but even if not, they just know when something is not right and what is supposed to be. It's just that they don't post here or on any site on the internet.

Some have stated that a sign of a not-so-progressive or a slipping city with too much status quo or authoritative measures would be when people who speak out, say a fair criticism or even give a possible reason or provide an idea, are pounced on and called bitter or "whiners". In other words: rocking the boat. However, sometimes it's not even rocking the boat, but just telling it like it is - describing the environment. This coincidentally is actually another thing to explain to visitors to Toronto - that overall it is status-quo dominated, and not so open minded to truths or ideas at all, and a lot of rose-tinted glass wearing going on. Thank you for your comments, they were solid proof and a reminder of being another other factor to explain to visitors to Toronto.
oh oh...Postal Pat / August 4, 2014 at 09:27 pm
Pat's gone Postal. But in a World Class way. Torontonians don't go postal like that; I recognize the sophistication of Paris melding with the big city urbanity of New York. But then, the rest of us were never designed to be World Class citizens. Only Pat. We are more like those of Cleveland or Toledo.

Pat, you are awesome. Can I have your autograph?
brooke / August 4, 2014 at 09:45 pm
I say to tourists, forget Casa Loma. Check out Queen St. Take the Queen Streetcar and take in the incredible diversity of people ( on and off the streetcar) and the diversity of restaurants, shops, cafes, galleries you-name-it. Make sure you include Queen west of Bathurst and Parkdale. Also check out Spadina Chinatown, The Distillery District and Harbourfront. And Wards Island, unless you have kids, then Central Island. And the Science Centre is worth checking out.
Pat IS Shirley!!! / August 4, 2014 at 10:14 pm
Still ccrraaaazy after all those years! Now called "Pat".
Gail replying to a comment from S.R / August 4, 2014 at 10:37 pm
Learn something - get some perspective. Or shut up.
Federico / August 5, 2014 at 12:26 pm
It is not in their best interest to see Toronto grow big and important, so old school Canada traditionally bullies Toronto into thinking it is small and boring. The new generation of Torontonians have more confidence and are finally thinking big. Change is happening fast and many oldtimers just can't keep up with it, so they become angry and belligerent. The Pats and the Shirleys are stuck in the past but give them time to adjust.
Pat replying to a comment from Federico / August 5, 2014 at 10:36 pm
You mean, a lot of rose-tinted wearing glasses. Many born-and-raised or long-time residents know where Toronto should be at, and it's not putting down the place but rather CONCERN. They are voicing out because they see that we're getting gipped. Lots of taxes for decades, and also all the corporations and developers, but where's the money being really put into Toronto itself? Federico, thank you for providing another example of what to explain to visitors about Toronto, actually you proved my previous comment as well! Those who speak out or have an opinion in Toronto, are pounced on! Think about it. Keep the examples coming! Some of you just have to comment naturally.
Pat replying to a comment from Pat IS Shirley!!! / August 5, 2014 at 10:39 pm
You're troubled, thinking that people are having double-identities. Admit that there are those with actual views and concern and call it as they see it. The population of Toronto is almost three million. Expect comments and views - true diversity.
Pat replying to a comment from oh oh...Postal Pat / August 5, 2014 at 10:41 pm
Post your name.
Jean Poutine / August 6, 2014 at 09:43 am
Toronto: boring; braggers; far from world-class; everyone now owns a restaurant, coffee shop or some other joint on the bandwagon; far from an NYC or Chicago; nice small town folks come here and turn into snobs thinking they've made it to 'big city;' wannabes; rude; arrogant; dull nightlife; ...the list goes on!
One more thing / August 6, 2014 at 01:24 pm
I'd explain to visitors that we have a lot of impotently jealous neighbours who make a point of dumping on Toronto whenever they get a chance. Like Mr Poutine above, for example.
Another thing / August 8, 2014 at 12:19 pm
Nah I impotence here. Fact is toronto sucks! So not cool at all, over zealous braggers and wannabes - a real infant town at best!
the lemur replying to a comment from stopitman / August 8, 2014 at 01:21 pm
No, it's just Spadina House that is pronounced that way, not the road.
the lemur replying to a comment from poutinistes / August 8, 2014 at 01:23 pm
This is exactly what I was talking about. Shut up about the poutine and the bagels and whatever else it is that Montreal does so much better. No one cares.

That goes for you Vancouverites bitching about sushi as well.
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Adrian replying to a comment from Roncies / November 9, 2014 at 07:47 am
I was born just off RONCESSVALLES AND it is prounounced RONCY ..not RONCIES. You are a very uninformed local if you believe that lame prononunciation you have spewed out in the interest of seeming like a 'local' NOT
Adrian / November 9, 2014 at 07:55 am
Been living here all my life..and you are saying The Beaches are not referred to as "The Beaches"? WRONG are obviously an out-of-towner for such a lame comment. It has ALWAYS been referred to as "The Beaches" You're welcome.
Adrian replying to a comment from Stuff it, Pat. Where the sun don't shine / November 9, 2014 at 08:04 am
Pat is ENTIRELY correct!
I have travelled extensively and agree with him...YOU are wrong and he is right.
trixie / December 7, 2014 at 10:01 pm
all visitors should know: as u can see the people of toronto are very self absorbed lol

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