Greetings from Toronto

I’m in Toronto, visiting family.  If you’ve never visited the Big TO, you should; as cities go, it’s beautiful and overall great.

The skyline at dusk, from the Toronto Islands

The skyline at dusk, from the Toronto Islands

Beyond the skyline, though, the thing that strikes me is the city’s impressive cultural panorama.  It’s one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse cities in the world. Nearly half the population was born in other countries.  Because my sons live in easy walking distance of the Koreatown neighbourhood, I’ve now learned to distinguish written Korean from Chinese. Can you?

Examples of Chinese, Korean, and Japanese scripts.

Examples of Chinese, Korean, and Japanese scripts.

Can you tell which of these scripts are Chinese, Korean, and Japanese? After visiting Toronto, I can. (Click to find out which is which.)

Christmas shopping in Toronto's Eaton Centre

Christmas shopping in Toronto’s Eaton Centre

As great as Toronto is, though, there are millions of reasons why I wouldn’t want to live there–as in ‘millions of people’. Too big and busy for my tastes, thank you very much!  It recently passed Chicago to become the fourth largest city in North America, after Mexico City, New York, and Los Angeles.

As you’d expect, such a large city has its share of writers. Wikipedia lists over 300 writers from Toronto.  Here are a few who are particularly meaningful to me.

  • Robert J. Sawyer
  • Margaret Atwood
  • Cory Doctorow
  • Michelle Sagara
  • Pierre Berton
  • Dennis Lee
  • Joy Fielding
  • Lucy Maud Montgomery
  • Michael Ondaatje

If you’re in Toronto, be sure to check out Bakka Phoenix bookstore, Canada’s largest store devoted to science fiction.

How about you?  What’s your favourite city?

 

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