First Impressions of Toronto

It’s good that the city of Toronto gives you a big lit up sign to remind you where you are in case you get black out drunk after a Maple Leafs game and wake up in the city’s many public spaces.

After seven to eight hours of driving through God’s green New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York, I made it to the “City of Neighborhoods” as the tourist pamphlets pronounce. There’s a lot to write about later on from the experience in Niagara Falls to drinking the Holy Grail of beers, but here are some initial thoughts.

At the U.S./Canada border, I have never been interrogated so rigorously by a border agent then I have here. And I’ve been to communist China. Since I am the new face of global espionage, he gave three minute of just odd question. At one point, I wanted to ask, “Sir, are we on a date?” Here are the questions I was asked in a deadpan style:

  • Are you here on business or pleasure?
  • Where are you heading?
  • What are you going to do there?
  • How long you here for?
  • What’s your friend’s name?
  • Where does she live?
  • How do you know her?
  • Where did you work together?
  • How long was that?
  • Where do you work now?
  • Is this your car? (Answer: Yes)
  • So you own it? (Yes, we say this is my car, it typically means that you own it.)
  • For how long?
  • Are you carrying any weapons? (No, but a car can be a weapon.)
  • Is this your first time in Canada?

Then I was able to proceed. I think the dude is just lonely.

Other observations:

  • When I was gassing up in Hamilton, Ontario, the station had Tim Horton’s donuts. I look across the street. There’s a full Tim Horton’s store across the street WITH a drive-thru. They don’t mess around here.
  • The highway from Niagara to Toronto is filled with  signs for wineries.
  • One of my Uber drivers said that the donuts are the same no matter where you go but he thinks the coffee tastes different from store to store.
  • My other Uber drive was very excited that I chose Toronto as my holiday destination.
  • That same Uber drive had the local Virgin Radio pop station on, right after the Selena Gomez song was done, the DJ mentioned something about Drake twice with in a minute. They must really love Drake here.
  • The sure say “Cheers!” here a lot.
  • Like every city in the world, there’s massive amount of construction going on. Will there ever be a time where a city is done building things?
  • A guy next to me at a brewpub had the squarest head I’ve ever seen with the thickest Canadian accent. He saw me logging into the bar’s WiFi and says, “I can tell you’re not from here because you went onto the WiFi.” If he was less sweaty and had a better mullet, he could be hosting Hockey Night on ESPN.
  • So far, I haven’t heard any French walking around, but a lot of Middle Eastern languages.




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