Matt Galloway

Toronto Through the Eyes of Matt Galloway

Matt Galloway is a fixture on CBC Radio. As host of the station's daily drive-home program Here and Now, he spends his afternoons - and yours - unpacking what's happening, what's developing and what's need to know in the big T.O. Be it hot button political or civic issues or an upcoming cultural event, odds are the colloquial and approachable host knows about it and is already on-air with the person responsible for it.

So who better to chat with about what it's like to live in Toronto. From actively supporting local musicians and restaurants, to his love of the Toronto FC, Galloway is a guy who's openly passionate about our city.

What's the best part about living in Toronto?

It's a cliche, but we're a city of neighbourhoods, and I love the fact that all these individual communities flow into each other.

Of course, I like mine the best. I love where I live (in the west end, near Christie Pits). At the bottom of our street is one of the best Indian restaurants in the city (Banjara), one of the best butchers in the city (Gasparro's), the best grocery store in town (Fiesta Farms), the best place to see baseball and restaurants that serve everything from Ethiopian and Korean to Mexican and Trinidadian food. Jealous yet?

It's no secret that you love music. How do you go about selecting music for your show?

One of the advantages of living in such a diverse city is that the whole world also lives here. You see that in the food we eat, the books we read and the music we listen to.

We try to play music on the show that reflects the city we're in. That can mean anything from The Henrys and Amy Millan to a great young vocalist I heard for the first time the other week named Alejandra Ribera who's just 26 but sounds like Mercedes Sosa.

What are your favourite music venues in the city?

My kids aren't familiar with the phrase "sleeping in" so my late nights have been severely curtailed, but I love Harbourfront during the summer, the RCM's beautiful new Koerner Hall, The Dakota and any passing flatbed truck with big speakers blasting dancehall during Caribana.

Do you have any favourite Toronto bands or singers?

I've said this before, but I think K'Naan is a great Toronto story. Refugee arrives in Toronto not speaking English, moves into one of the toughest neighbourhoods in the city, begins to find his feet and ends up becoming a genuine pop star (and a hero in the Somali community) by making music that is as broad as his home town. We're lucky to have him.

And my kids like MSTRKRFT.

You're also a huge sports fan and you're especially supportive of Toronto FC. Do you think Toronto is a great sports city?

We have great sports fans, but the passion of our supporters outstrips the ability of the teams themselves. I shout myself hoarse at TFC games and it's great fun, but the team needs to start winning.

On the plus side, next summer is a World Cup summer. Eight years ago, my job was to hang out with soccer fans early in the morning and report in to Metro Morning as the matches progressed. One of the wildest things was being ushered into Club OV's in Parkdale where, behind an unassuming door, stood hundreds of crazed Turkish fans drinking strong coffee at 7 a.m. and braying their team on. It was brilliant.

If someone from outside Toronto was listening to Here and Now, what's the one thing about the city you'd want them to take away from the show?

That we are a vibrant, tolerant, incredibly diverse city, and that we have a lot of fun talking about it.

Describe an ideal afternoon in the city.


Porchetta sandwich with lemonade and onion rings from The Stockyards eaten at the picnic table at Wychwood Barns. After the food coma subsides, a slow ride through Wychwood Park towards home. Baseball watching under the big tree in Christie Pits, long hours in front of the stove cooking and then dinner in the backyard with a handful of friends while all of our kids raise hell inside.

Do you have any favourite places to eat or hangout in the city?

Every morning on the way to work I ride past the AGO. Galleria Italia might be my favourite room in the city. Just after that I cut through Grange Park and there are dozens of people doing coordinated tai chi. It's the most beautiful, sublime thing.

I love Jamie Kennedy's Gilead Cafe, the snug at Dora Keogh and the hand-pulled noodles from Sun's Kitchen in the Pacific Mall.

If someone's new to the city, what's the one place you'd suggest they check out?

The Wychwood Art Barns at St Clair & Christie on market day. It's an amazing mixed-use site, bringing people together who might otherwise not bump into each other, and is a great example of what we as a city do really well.

I also sit on the board of the Stop Community Food Centre, an incredible organization that uses food as a tool to change people and the city. The Stop's Green Barn at Wychwood is an amazing place to wander through, even if it makes the amateur gardener in me weep in envy.

Previously: Behind the Mic: Matt Galloway


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