Monday, September 27, 2004

Montreal vs. Toronto

Which city is cooler? Very good question.

Most Montrealer’s have an obvious answer to this life altering question. Why? Well, these good citizens will probably tell you about the night life, the culture, the joie de vivre, the culinary experience and the women (let’s not forget the most important) that make Montreal so much hipper than Toronto.

I agree on some points (especially the opposite one), but I happen to have lived in Toronto for four month during one great university summer vacation. so I nourish mixed feelings when it comes to this so important question.

I’ve had the opportunity to discover a whole side of Toronto that is well hidden, even from many its own citizens. Montreal is packed with people from all kind of backgrounds, but so is Toronto, and probably more so. China Town in the T-dot really is a China Town, and when you feel like Korean or Indian food, you can find authentic Korean or Indian (or any other kind) much easier than in Montreal. There is Lee’s Palace that features tons of acts that skip Montreal, and hordes of bar loving students in the Annex, University of Toronto’s student neighbourhood, much larger than the McGill ghetto.

But then, Montreal has a crazy summer festival season, beautiful terraces and women (did I mention that already?). And Montreal feels different; there is an obvious riff with the traditional North American urban life style which tes the rest of the continent.

Yet, people tend to grow so accustomed to where they live, and end up not noticing what makes their city different anymore. Didn’t a wise man once say that the grass always looks greener on the other side?

Montreal, with its bohemian reputation, seems to be attracting more artists and related odd professionals (web designers, animation artists, fashion designers, wanna-be rock stars…), while Toronto reeks of money; just take a short trip around the business district and you’ll smell the green in the air. And some money never does any wrong; even artists need to make a living after all. There are the very hip success stories of Softimage, Ex-Centris and EA in Montreal, but T.O. has all the corporate headquarters, and when it comes down to the regular person’s life, which companies do you think employ more people? I doubt that there is more than a few dozen Wallpaper reading, nouveau-posh metrosexuals working at Softimage right now.

And Toronto is not devoid of artistic and cultural richness; you just have to look for it, it does lurk here and there in the underbelly of the corporate beast mega-polis that T.O. has become.

Still, I prefer life in Montreal much better. My main problem with Toronto is the over-work oriented life styles that rules there. It seems like too many people don’t take enough time off, which is unfortunately understandable in the cut-throat setting of the North American neo-liberal corporate jungle.

So here is my answer to the question that motivated this rant. Send more money to Montreal, and chill people down in Toronto. Then both cities will be equally cool.

It doesn't sound like you enjoyed writing this one. Writing should be about pleasure, intimacy and sincerity, Hug...
Nice, well said actually. Nobody should diss TO unconstructively. Damn I love MTL...
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