I may have fallen in love with the city of Toronto, bit by tiny bit. Beautiful was not really the first word that came to mind when thinking about Canada before I lived here. What came to mind was vast. Cold. Alien… And yet, one of the things that I first noticed when I arrived on 1 May 2010 was the amount of greenery everywhere. There are trees, flowers, and plots of grass all around! I was overjoyed at this, because coming from a tropical country, I had thought that greenery was one of the things that I’d sorely miss in my new home. While my initial perception of Canada being a land of dead trees, winter storms, and glinting icicles wasn’t entirely wrong, (see: the Great Ice Storm of 2013), I did realize that it was wrong to judge a country by only one aspect of it. When I arrived in Toronto in 2010, it was warm, everything was blooming, and there were barbecues in backyards and parks almost every weekend. Good memories, my first summer here. I got fat real quick.
On the subject of Toronto being beautiful – I’m not ashamed to admit that one of the factors that influenced my choice of Uni was architecture. I like beautiful buildings – gothic, Victorian, modern, red-brick, steel, glass, cottage, skyscraper, whatever it may be classified as, I absolutely adore buildings that carry themselves with grace and strength. Toronto’s buildings have this odd but endearing mix of red-brick-and-vines beside steel-and-glass edifices that I think is wonderful, and the University of Toronto has a particularly eclectic mix.
This is University College, the main reason that I fell in love with UofT’s downtown campus. I ended up being in Woodsworth College, but that doesn’t take away from my love of that old, gorgeous, historical building. I am fascinated by the stonework and the wooden stairs, the stained glass windows, and the stories of the ghost roaming the halls. It didn’t help that I had a class that used to be in one of the towers, with a giant round stained glass window set in one of the walls – it was beautiful up there.
When Mikaius and I walked around the city for almost three hours yesterday, we ended up in sections that we hadn’t been in before. He said that he, “felt like a tourist in my own city,” and you know what? I don’t think that’s a bad idea at all. Armed with a bottle of water and a camera, we explored alleys and main streets, roamed around Chinatown, dropped by a 7-11 for a Slurpee and an iced coffee, and ended up at the Courtyard of University College just sitting and soaking up the sun. And taking many, many photographs.
You know what was wonderful, to me at least? When we hung out at the UC Courtyard, there were no less than five people just sitting under trees and reading. Here are two of them:
And here are a few shots of the courtyard/Uni itself. Isn’t it beautiful there?
I think that my attachment to all things green stems in part from my grade school/high school campus. There were trees everywhere, sometimes there would be sheep wandering on the the football field, and at one point I swear I remember a water buffalo just idly munching on grass, too. My school offered a degree in Agriculture, so it wasn’t a surprise seeing animals around the area. I don’t know how it looks like now as I haven’t been back in about seven years, but my memories of that school has a lot of trees in it.
I’ve only been in Toronto for four years, and while I am half-in love with the city, I know that situations are less than ideal for many of its inhabitants. Studying Social Inequality, especially for immigrants of colour, has made me realize that while I may think the city itself is gorgeous, there are many issues that still plague the population. That being said, I also believe that things will get better, glass ceilings have the possibility of being breached, and while it is not projected that immigrants’ wages will ever reach the level of Toronto-born Canadians anytime soon, things can be done to work towards it. I got pretty depressed writing my papers for social inequality, what with all the sources showing me only the stark truth of numbers and nothing of the back stories of the people. Yet this additional knowledge, bleak and depressing though I found it at times, has spurred me towards attempting to try and make things better. I’m only twenty-three, I still have time.
Where I was and what was playing: Safe in bed, and Maroon 5’s Never Gonna Leave This Bed
*lolo = grandfather in Tagalog