I grew up in a small town in southern Ontario. Friends who still live there repeatedly gasp when they see me, shrieking, “HOW can you live in the city? How can you raise your kids there?” My proud reply? “I live in a small town in the city. And I’m blessed to be able to enjoy the best of both worlds!”
Here are some of the things I love about Toronto.
We have an endless array of parks, parkettes (25 in our ward, alone), bike and walking trails, courtyards, public squares, farmers’ markets, community centres, outdoor playgrounds, public tennis courts and baseball diamonds, as well as a world-class, fully accessible waterfront with a logical, sustainable long term vision. There’s more. We even have a small working farm in the heart of our city! Not only are these beautiful venues at once welcoming and lively, but they’re also high-traffic community hubs that add joy, vibrancy, pride and an infectious sense of camaraderie to their respective neighbourhoods. And the dollar value on these? Priceless.
Ever seen Toronto from above, flying over via airplane, peering out a skyscraper window or dangling from the CN Tower? Take a walk in our 177-year-old city, and the very first thing you’ll notice is our incredible tree canopy. Trees, glorious trees! Tree hugger or not, their benefits are countless. While basking in feelings of serenity as we stroll under their leafy awning, they tirelessly work, purifying our air, unknowingly helping to reduce the number of Torontonians who die prematurely or are admitted to hospital every year for air quality-related illnesses. Our trees are priceless.
Whether it’s skating on an outdoor rink on a snowy day, whirling down the slide of a public pool on a sunny day, enjoying a smorgasbord of classes at our community centres or stretching in downward dog at a yoga class on the Beach – everyone has the opportunity to be healthy and active in our great city. Little-known fact: Ward 32 actually has more community centres than any other ward in Toronto. (Shhh. Don’t tell anyone.) Health is wealth!
Luminato, Nuit Blanche, Woofstock (North America’s largest outdoor festival for dogs), BuskerFest, Beaches International Jazz Festival, Danforth East Arts Fair, Cavalcade of Lights, Festival of South Asia, TIFF – there aren’t enough hours in the day to squeeze in every activity and (often free) event offered in our sensational city.
Each year I eagerly attend a new-to-me event and am in awe of the pure dedication, talent and energy needed to create and execute these one-of-a-kind events. Not only do these activities broaden our minds, but they also lift our spirits and strengthen our sense of community. Quality of life cannot be monetized!
How lucky are we to have three cosy libraries within walking distance in our ward? As an at-home mom for eight years, my kidlets and I made it our personal challenge to visit as many Toronto libraries as we could. I believe we explored and enjoyed 30 of the whopping 99 branches. However, I must apologize for all our overdue books and our yearly hoarding of Halloween material! We feel so fortunate to have such a spectacular library system at our doorstep. Truly priceless!
Childcare, homecare, student nutrition programs, transit, affordable housing, health-care services, curbside composting and recycling, environment days – the list is endless. We receive a wide range of great services in Toronto – more than most big cities. And did you know we pay the lowest property taxes in the GTA and still benefit from these services? Toronto is truly terrific!
Long Live T.O!
Now it’s our turn – time to strap on our thinking caps and search for innovative and creative ways to keep our city great, while reducing our deficit and generating more revenue.
Please share your solutions, strategies and favourite things about Toronto with us. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, contact us at 416-392-1376 or send a letter to 100 Queen Street West, Second Floor, B Street, Toronto, ON., M5H 2N2.