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The 10 most famous acronyms in Toronto history

The most famous acronyms in Toronto reveal our city's dynamism and resilience. Remember the year of SARS when we endured a viral outbreak, a massive blackout and one of the largest concerts in North America? Other phrases, like those unveiled for the Pan Am Games confused us. Yet, the acronyms that remain entrenched in our local vernacular point to oft discussed transit woes and our love affair with the arts. And, they all serve to unite us as Torontonians.

Here are my picks for the most famous acronyms in Toronto history.

SARS
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome plagued our city in 2003 and tragically resulted in 44 deaths. It left many quarantined, fearful and confused and resulted in a severe economic downturn for Toronto. This prompted SARS-Stock, the enormous summer concert at Downsview Park that featured the Rolling Stones as the headliner.

NXNE
Not to be confused with Austin's famous music and tech fest SXSW, Toronto's annual multi-day musical celebration brings big names to the city and features numerous homegrown musicians and bands at private venues as well as free concerts in Yonge-Dundas Square.

WAMCO
White, Alomar, Molitor, Carter and Olerud. That was the batting lineup that helped the Blue Jays win the World Series in 1993. Despite the Jay's recent acquisitions, the team still isn't nearly as stacked as it was in the early 90s.

TIFF
It's one of the biggest film festivals in the world and all the magic happens in Toronto. This year TIFF will celebrate its 40th birthday with an opening film starring Jake Gyllenhaal. The rest of the programming features numerous blockbusters, short films and documentaries that are sure to garner buzz come award season.

TTC
Love it or hate it, most of us take it every single day and gleefully complain about slow service, packed streetcars or subway delays. Riders act as heroes, fight and sometimes, ride each other. Regardless of your daily feelings, deep down everyone has a soft spot for the Red Rocket.

DVP
The Don Valley Parkway is usually jam-packed with traffic making commutes in and out of the downtown core a frustrating endeavour. However, thanks to the Pan Am Games, the Bloor Viaduct's Luminous Veil is finally aglow, making your ride slightly more majestic.

HOV
Closely related to the DVP, the temporary HOV lanes that emerged thanks to the Pan Am Games caused enough drama to last until the 2024 Olympics. They resulted in thousands of tickets, silly hijinks and one pretty awesome time-lapse video.

AGO
The Art Gallery of Ontario isn't just a stuffy museum filled with tired landscape portraits. Rather, it brings in exhibitions both you and your grandmother can get excited about. And, it hosts popular parties (which usually sell out) on the first Thursday of every month.

ROM
If you haven't returned to the ROM since an elementary school field trip, go for a Friday Night Live event when the museum stays open late into the night. You can eat, drink and dance as you peruse the various exhibits. If you prefer the more traditional route, go Friday after 4:30 p.m. when ticket prices drop down to $10.

OVO
It stands for October's Very Own and OVO Sounds is a recording label founded in part by Drake. Recent controversies aside, the rapper does a fine job representing our city as well as Canada's only NBA team. You can even purchase your own OVO gear at the label's Dundas West store.

What did I miss? Add more acronyms to the comments.

Photo by Dtstuff9 in the blogTO Flickr pool.


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