Everyone hates Toronto. I can’t exactly pinpoint why that is, but even growing up just hours away in Windsor, there was a general belief about Toronto instilled into all of us from a young age that the big smoke was just not the place to be.
Being from Windsor, even Detroit seemed to have a better reputation amongst Windsorites than Toronto did. Our proximity to Detroit, one of the most dangerous cities in the world, was like a crown jewel in the Windsorite’s own crown of city pride.
This isn’t anything new. Toronto-hatred is a seemingly unifying trait across Canada, and with Canadians.
Is it Leafs fans boasting about how they still have the most Stanley Cup championships? Is it envy? Of course, living in Montreal doesn’t help, either. The Montreal/Toronto rivalry is decades old now, and even within Montreal, there’s frequent complains of Torontonians being snobby.
Most of it stems from the old stereotype that Ontarians, and specifically Torontonians, think they’re the centre of the Universe, or the “New York of Canada” as some will say. This is probably true in regards to the economy, but this isn’t fair to Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal, and cities of that ilk, of their contributions to the Canadian cultural fabric. The aforementioned cities are either global players or emerging as global players in a variety of industries. (If you want real culture, head to Winnipeg or Windsor, where real people live!)
The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) on its own has a population of just over 6.4 million people. In the entirety of Canada, there are 37 million people. That means that the GTA has 17 percent of Canada’s population. Ontario as a whole has 38.6 percent of the population. That’s a lot of people, and it makes it really easy for the rest of Canada to develop a Us v. Them mentality, not dissimilar to that of Quebec v. The Rest of Canada.
And of course, I’d be remiss to not mention the Rural/Urban Divide. Like I said, even though I’m from Ontario, there isn’t much love for Toronto from smaller-town Ontario. Part of it stems from the economic disparity, fear of diversity, or this general idea that a bunch of empty suits are screwing them over, time and time again.
Part of it, surely, is first hand. Every time I visit Toronto, the city feels much less friendly, or even soulless, than a city of similar size, like say Chicago. Montreal has that joie de vivre, Chicago has soul in every sidewalk, but Toronto just feels … phony.
Perhaps it’s because Toronto is a young city, and is only recently developing a distinct personality based around afro-Caribbeanism and multiculturalism from other places like China or India, which does give the city a nice spark, but it’s nothing that hasn’t been done before.
Either way, Toronto is the city that no one loves. Even Torontonians bitch, moan, and complain about the skyrocketing housing markets or the traffic. Until Toronto can prove itself to be not hatable, I’m going to stand by this position, as hating Toronto is one of the most unifying things this great nation has.