Toronto cliches

The top 10 cliches about Toronto

Cliches about Toronto have varying degrees of accuracy, even as they shape the discourse about our city. Whether true or fair, cliches are at least a useful way to examine how a city collectively thinks of itself or, in some cases, how it's thought of from afar.

Here are my picks for the most prevalent cliches about Toronto.

Toronto is a city that hates fun

Perhaps the longest standing cliche about Toronto stems from our former Victorian stuck-upishness. Toronto the Good is a persistent tag, whether it be dance floor regulations, 2 a.m. last call, or a whole host of other things over the years. Accuracy rating: 8/10.

People from Toronto are exceedingly polite

We're notorious for saying "thank you" at every opportunity, and out of that the city has built itself a reputation as one of the politest urban centres in the world. There's certainly truth to this compared to other major cities (e.g. Paris and New York), but we're far from perfect. Accuracy rating: 7/10.

Toronto is the world's most multicultural city

From an international standpoint, Toronto's multiculturalism is what the city is best known for. Is it a cliche? Yes, insofar as it's an overused characterization that often lacks substance. Is it accurate that Toronto is the most multicultural city in the world? It would appear so. Accuracy rating: 10/10.

Toronto's public transit system is the pits

The TTC is like the city's favourite whipping boy, but despite inadequate governmental subsidies, it actually ranks very well in a North American context. The grass isn't always greener. Accuracy rating: 3/10.

Suburbanites hate downtowners and vice versa

There's certainly real tension between the demands of suburban residents and their downtown counterparts when it comes to municipal needs, but now that the Rob Ford-era rhetoric has faded away, the animosity between these groups is just a tad overstated. Accuracy rating: 6/10.

People from Toronto think it's the centre of universe

Toronto is often accused of this egocentrism, but it's probably more apt to say that we're guilty of thinking we're the centre of the country. Toronto's far too self-conscious to claim global status of this type. Accuracy rating: 5/10.

Toronto is the best hockey city in the world

This is a longstanding cliche doled out by sports broadcasters and players recently traded to the Maple Leafs, but given the success of the team, it's a dubious crown. More than that, the city has embraced a more diverse sporting ethos over the years. This is also a baseball and basketball town. Accuracy rating: 6/10.

Condos have killed any character Toronto once had

Everyone loves to bash condos in this town, and that might be fair in architectural terms and on street like Yonge, but it's important to remember that dense development has also animated huge chunks of the city that used to be eerily quiet and empty. Accuracy rating: 6/10.

Toronto is a dangerous city

This is another one of those cliches that is applied to Toronto from afar. The vast majority of people who actually live here acknowledge and appreciate that crime levels are exceptionally low for a city of its size. Accuracy rating: 3/10.

It's impossible to buy a house in Toronto unless you're rich

Real estate prices in Toronto can be downright depressing in Toronto, so there's some truth to this sentiment. A recent study pegged the average household income required to by a detached home at $200K. To afford the average condo, a $90K household income. Accuracy rating: 8/10.

Lead photo by

Derek Flack


Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in City

blogTO is now on WeChat and Weibo

The mist garden is one of Toronto's secret cooling spots

5 of the strangest things to ever happen in Toronto

The guy behind the King St. middle finger is running for city council

It will soon be easier to cross the street in Toronto

Worker lockout could put a damper on the CNE this year

Toronto is about to smell like rotting garbage

Christian bloggers are furious at the Toronto Public Library