Three Years in Toronto
I remember knocking on a former co-worker's door, on Hallowe’en of 2015, wondering if he'd ask me to greet trick-or-treaters as part of my responsibilities as a short-term renter of his basement suite. I would be spared those duties, and thankfully so, since I had just moved over 3000 km, away from my family and my then-girlfriend, to start at a new life in Toronto. I don't remember much else about that night, except that it was a Saturday, which would give me another day in Toronto to figure out how to get to the office. On the Sunday I did a test run of taking two subways, less to see what the crowding would be like and more to be familiar with which station to switch at the next day.
The previous month I had travelled to Europe, a whirlwind tour of 3 countries (Iceland, Germany and Italy) for a wedding. On the last day, I was passenger in a one-car accident, and the day after that took 4 flights and finally, 48 hours after the event, finally sought medical attention. I didn't suffer anything more serious than muscle strain, but my final destination after Europe wasn't Vancouver, where I had lived for 16 years, but Toronto, to get my bearings a little bit and, hopefully, find a place to live. Through the miracle of stumbling around on Craigslist, I would end up with a real estate agent, and though the brief days in September didn't lead to my finding a place, she would help me find my current apartment, the one I've been living in since December of 2015.
The months and years that followed would lead to the disintegration of my relationship with Karen, though we have remained friendly to this day. I would end up in Gravenhurst due to a hilarious mixup, host my mother on her many visits to Canada's biggest and therefore best city, and now the baseball trip that my dad, brother and nephew go on is one that comes here to watch the Blue Jays at the SkyDome, which is a 20-minute walk from my place. I've become a board member of a small club celebrating Nordic culture in Toronto, something I wouldn't have considered doing in Vancouver, and I stay connected to my local area through my neighbourhood association. In January, I celebrate my 3rd year of cooking for myself, another thing that wouldn't have occurred to me at all while in B.C. Vancouver has nothing on the amount of events and seemingly endless streets and number of festivals and weather intensity that Toronto has.
Reflecting on these past three years, I realized that if someone were to say "Get a life!" I'd be able to respond with all of the above! 2015 marked the first time I've lived alone since 2008, though writing that out now makes me understand that those years were the anomaly, and not the other way around. A month from now would mark the 3-year point of my residency in my tiny apartment, and despite efforts to make it feel like a home, it still doesn't feel like home.
A friend noted that it took him 5 years to really get settled into Toronto, and maybe it'll take another couple of years for the social network here to really develop. I know my way around the city, at least, and despite not feeling like an Ontarian, I feel closer to being a Torontonian. My phone number is still a Vancouver number, and the time zone of my blog is still set to Pacific time, and the mountains are a sight for sore eyes every time I visit the West Coast. With the job I still love being here and my gradually increasing local involvement, my immediate future plans involve me right where I am, since, to mix a metaphor, while still a transplant, I'm putting down a few roots.