Toronto 2019


Okay, so . . . it's been a week since I last updated, and I have a lot to catch you up on, and it's going to take some time to get through all the catching up -- probably several days, maybe more than a week, given all I have planned in the evenings every day this week starting tomorrow. I may just have to post brief entries, one for each city Danielle and I visited, today, tomorrow and the next day at lunch time, just to cover Toronto, Niagara Falls, and Syracuse.

I took a lot of photos at all of these places -- over 400 of them -- and just separated them into photo albums on Flickr this morning; I barely managed to get them uploaded to begin with last night, and that was without even any tags, let alone captions, which should take some time on its own. If nothing else, I'll get captions I can copy and paste for about 23 of the photos tonight, for the photos I intend to include in the photo digest email I'll only have time to work on this evening.

So if nothing else, for right now, for Toronto specifically, you can look at photos without any contextualizing tags or captions in a collection of four photo albums here. At first I was just going to separate them by day, but with more than 110 photos of Toronto on Wednesday alone, I decided it might be better to separate them by location or activity: one set for the building that housed the AirBnB we stayed in; one for visiting "The One Eighty" bar on the 51st floor of the Manulife Centre on the night we arrived; one set for Toronto Islands and the PATH underground shopping complex; and one set for, of course, the CN Tower.

After this evening, you'll find captions on at least 10 of the Toronto shots, which combined should at least give a much better, broader overview of the visit. I did go back and post backdated twitter digests for all the days I missed, at least. Of course, if you already follow me on social media then you already saw all that stuff. If not, though, you can get a little bit of informational detail that way, by just clicking back through those posts.


That said, here are my general impressions of Toronto specifically:

It's a city with either global impact or relatively easily ignored, depending on the metrics being used. Some very cool things about it include, of course, the CN Tower, which was for 32 years the world's tallest self-supporting structure, and is still today the tallest in the Western Hemisphere. The city contains quite the multitude of skyscrapers otherwise, though. It is home to First Canadian Place, at 72 floors and 978 ft the tallest building (excluding the CN Tower, which as an observation tower does not technically get included as a "building") in Canada -- that doesn't even get it into the 20 highest in North America, though. Not only that, it also has so many skyscrapers that in the worldwide ranking of skylines' "visual impact" (where skylines are given points based on total combined number of skyscraper floor counts), it ranks #21 in the world. Narrowing the geographical parameters there down to the North American continent, Toronto has the third-largest skyline, after only New York City and Chicago. If you go for the entire Western Hemisphere, Toronto only gets pushed down to fourth by Sao Paulo taking #3.

The point is, Toronto has a huge skyline, actually kind of outsize for how big the city is. And what I mean by that is, Toronto may be by some distance the largest city in Canada, effectively making it "Canada's New York City," with 2.7 million people in the city proper, and that's nearly exactly the city population of Chicago. More relevantly on a global scale for comparison, however, Toronto's metropolitan population is 5.9 million, which is barely more than half that of Chicago; this is actually much more comparable to Philadelphia's metropolitan population of 6 million. As such, by city proper, Toronto is the fourth largest in North America, but by metropolitan population, it ranks seventh. Pretty impressive still, sure, but still pretty easily overshadowed by several other cities.

One thing Toronto does have over all those other cities is its diversity -- nearly half its population (47%) is foreign-born, the second-highest in the world after Miami. The sheer number of different nationalities in the city makes it among the five most diverse cities in the world, even more so, just slightly than New York City.

These are all things I love about Toronto. But did it make a lasting impression on me? In a sense, it did. But, as I told Ivan when he asked me about how I liked it over Facebook Messenger, it truly doesn't hold a candle to Vancouver, B.C., which has integrated surrounding natural beauty to rival that of Seattle -- and Toronto, where bigger does not necessarily mean better, does not. It's on the shore of one of the Great Lakes (and I got to add two new visited Great Lakes on this overall trip), but Vancouver has surrounding tree-covered mountains and far more intricate waterways. I did find Toronto Islands fascinating, as it seems to be the only place on Lake Ontario quite like it. I also loved going up the CN Tower just for its sheer height, although the building's architectural design seriously pales in comparison to Seattle's own Space Needle (then again, so does that of pretty much any other observation tower).

I'm glad I went, and I had fun, but contrary to Shobhit's initial insistence that Toronto is far too big to visit for two nights and only one full day, I had plenty of my fill of it, and frankly would not be disappointed never to visit there again. I've checked it off my list. Now, if I get an opportunity to go again I certainly will, especially if for whatever reason Shobhit wants to -- I'm sure there is plenty more to see. I don't want to come across as though I hated it -- far from it; I actually think it would be fun to visit again. I just can't see ever really going out of my way to make it happen again. This is in pretty high contrast to Chicago, which I quite loved and would be pretty eager to visit again.


[posted 12:21 pm]