In my previous article, I have spoken about how I made a major life decision to leave the San Francisco area of California and move to Toronto. I am still settling down, but wanted to share my first impressions of the city.
From Sunshine to Polar Vortex
As my plane left San Francisco and flew north-east, the view from the plane window changed dramatically. The green meadows began to be replaced by endless stretches of white. I realized with a sinking feeling that I was thoroughly unprepared for a Canadian February.
Toronto surprised me by being far worse than anything I could imagine. Not only was it a Canadian February, but also a once-in-a-decade flash freeze month from the polar vortex winds. For weeks since my arrival, the city remained hidden behind snow-storms and fog-clouds, and on one occasion, I even saw a flash lightening just outside my window on the 40th floor, with an ear-shattering thunder coming after it.
Being stuck in the house, there was nothing to do until the skies opened up.
Love at Second Sight
When the weather improved, I got a Presto Card and used the street-cars to see various neighborhoods. These street-cars have floor-to-ceiling windows to observe all shops and eateries by and I aways got down wherever I liked, explored walking, and then, hopped on to the streetcar again.
It was thus I experienced the beauty of the city.
I also learned that Toronto was unsafe. I was excited to try my first poutine of Canada, but as soon as I left it on the bench to get some soda, it became a victim of pigeon-robbery.
A Piece of History
One of the best ways to get to know a city is through walking tours. From attending a historic tour of Chinatown and Kensington Market, I learned the story of immigrants who had built so much of this city.
I also loved going up and down the Spadina Avenue, which had everything from bargain plushies to tofu-desserts, and from collectible action figures to horse-carriage rides. I also learned how the city’s name changed over the course of its history from Tkaranto (First Peoples) to Fort York (British Empire) to modern-day Toronto.
While I’m still in the process of settling down, now that spring is ahead, I plan to see more of the city and visit its more well-known spots. And since my immigration restrictions from the US are resolved upon moving to Canada, I will also be able to travel internationally again.
This has been a major point of life-change for me, but I am extremely happy with the decision I have made.