Does Toronto have an east end or an east side?
Toronto has never been a place with widely agreed upon internal borders. Debate over where the east and west portions of the city begin and end quietly marches on almost a hundred years after the birth of the Bloor Viaduct.
Confusion as to our collective sense of place isn't, however, confined merely to Toronto's contested borders, but also the terminology we use to identify the various parts of the city.
Perhaps the best example of this is the "side" vs. "end" debate. Let's start with a question: if you were heading to the Beaches (itself a contested term), would you be going to the east side of the city or the east end?
For my part, I'm firmly in the side camp given this example. If, on the other hand, I was destined for the Scarborough Bluffs, I'd say I was heading to the east end.
Internally at blogTO, we treat Victoria Park as the dividing line. The logic is fairly straightforward: given how expansive Toronto is, it makes sense to sub-divide its east and west portions. If you're already in the east end at Queen and Broadview, what does that make Scarborough (recalling, of course, that it's every bit part of Toronto)?
Drake, in case you care, would say Scarborough is the east end.
The same applies in the west. By this way of thinking, the Junction Triangle is the west side, while anything beyond Jane St. is the west end.
I suspect that those who refer to everything to the east and west of the city's centre as -ends- likely do so based on our pre-amalgamation borders, where boroughs like Etobicoke and Scarborough were treated as separate places altogether, and thus not part of east or west Toronto at all.
Toronto residents tend to be fiercely loyal to their particular naming practices, so I doubt consensus will be achieved anytime soon. I'd be curious to hear the justifications and reasoning for adopting one of side or end, rather than both.
Here's how our Twitter followers weighed in on the matter. Let us know where you stand in the comments.
Photo by AshtonPal in the blogTO Flickr pool.
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