reasons to love toronto

10 reasons to fall in love with Toronto right now

There's no shortage of reasons to love Toronto on this Valentine's Day. We are, after all, the best city in the world to live. But beyond the livability statistics, Toronto is a city becoming more culturally engaging, more culinarily refined, and just more interesting. Why is that? There are so many reasons, but in honour of this day dedicated to love, I've put a few of my personal picks down.

Here are 10 reasons to fall in love with Toronto right now.

Toronto is having a music moment
There's been lots of hype surrounding the "music city" alliance with Austin and Mike Tanner's appointment as Toronto Music Officer last year, but before you write it all off as PR, take note of the the rise of DIY venues in the city of late, and take a listen to the ways in which active members of the local music community want to leverage the Music Office into something that really benefits musicians.

The AGO has come into its own
Ever since the transformed AGO re-opened in 2008, the modern and contemporary programming just took off. Over the last two years, the gallery has hosted major exhibitions featuring Ai Wei Wei, David Bowie, masterpieces from the Guggenheim, Francis Bacon and Henry Moore, Michelangelo, Alex Colville, Art Spiegelman, and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Bravo, AGO. Give us more.

The condo boom
People love to crap on the ubiquity of our condo towers, but that's to ignore gems like L Tower, River City, Pier 27, and the marvellous buildings Frank Gehry has planned. The condo boom in Toronto is creating a city that's more dense, efficient, and, quite frankly, exciting.

You can skate on the lake
Just try and find a sheet of ice with a better view than the Toronto harbour. The winter might be vicious, but consistently cold temperatures keeps the ice thick and provides unique skating opportunities. Hit up the Islands or Grenadier Pond for other natural urban skating experiences.

The TTC is actually improving
While we wait on major infrastructure projects like the Spadina Extension and listen to council debate the future of rapid transit in Scarborough (once again), it's worth noting that since Andy Byford took the reins at the TTC, service has gotten better. The new platform has opened at Union Station, the new streetcars are on the rails, there's WiFi in multiple stations, and all-door boarding on busy streetcar routes.

We are The 6
Even as some people love to hate on Drake (not everybody has taste), having a hip hop mega star rep the city over and over again is something that Tourism Toronto couldn't manufacture with a hundred slick timelapse videos (it took Drizzy just one). When your biggest star is your biggest fan, it's hard not to feel a swell of civic pride.

Ugly streets can be beautiful places
Next time you bemoan the death of authentic Ossington, take a trip to Geary Avenue, the industrial strip north of Dupont that's undergoing a cultural renaissance. You've got bike shops, bakeries, bars, music venues, photo and recording studios, and soon, an indie coffee shop. It's an incredibly diverse place. Soak it up now.

The Raptors are a contender
While Leafs fans pin their hopes on the team tanking and Connor McDavid clad in the blue and white, the Raptors just keep winning. Sure, the team is still short of playoff experience, but fans have every right to be excited about the team's prospects this spring. Get ready for We the North fever to grip this city.

Craft beer is everywhere
Despite persistent complaints about the Beer Store monopoly, craft beer has taken over Toronto, be it in the form of the steady flow of breweries to open in the city or the offerings on taps in bars across the city. You never have to drink watery beer again.

We're getting more beautiful
It is easy to fall in love with beautiful things, and Toronto is certainly undergoing one hell of a makeover. Over and above the statement-condo developments mentioned above, there's the Aga Khan Museum, The Fort York Visitor Centre, Bridgepoint Health, the Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport, and the soon to open Ryerson Student Learning Centre (to name only a few).

What did I miss? Tell us what you love about Toronto in the comments.

Photo by Rob Nelson

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