In the past four years that I’ve lived in Halifax, I have had to shamefully admit that I’m from Toronto more times than I can count. On these occasions I’ve learned to accept the following reactions:
Number one: the judgmental glances from proud Nova Scotians as they size me up and wonder how to approach the conversation.
Number two: the relieved look from fellow Torontonians who are happy they don’t have to worry about being attacked for living in a city supposedly filled with assholes.
On one of these fine occasions, a work colleague actually gasped loudly when she learned of my hometown and stated that she always thought that I was from the Valley because “I was too nice to be from Toronto.” Thanks? I usually continue the conversation by saying that I was actually born in Halifax and still have family living in Nova Scotia.
Even though I only really lived in Halifax for about two months as a baby before my parents moved back to Ontario, the fact that my birth certificate says Halifax instead of Toronto has definitely helped my case when met with someone who is obviously wary of students who find their way to Halifax from Toronto to live out their university careers by the ocean.
I’ve lived in Halifax long enough to fall in love with this city. While the above might portray Nova Scotians in a negative light, I’ll be the first person to say that even though I’m from Toronto, there have been many occasions when a Torontonian has pissed me off.
What I don’t understand, is how these students can come out to Nova Scotia and impose the same standards upon Halifax as they do on Toronto. I’ve heard people complain about how small and boring Halifax can be, or how they are tired of going to the same few bars and cafes in Halifax when Toronto has a much better selection. I mean, Toronto is massive and yet my friends still go to the Madison most weekends.
This is frustrating because no one would ever compare New York City to Lunenburg because their special qualities have no relation at all. So why do people insist upon comparing Toronto and Halifax? The two cities are completely different. I will admit that there are moments when I long for Toronto. But this longing has nothing to do with the restaurants and stores that I’m missing out on; it always has to do with the people that I’ve left behind.
When I go home to Toronto I find myself overwhelmed at first by the sheer number of people. That being said, it’s really easy for me to get used to the city, and my first subway ride always fills me with happiness.
I love the energy that emanates from the city streets. I love feeling like one tiny piece of a big puzzle because it shows me how insignificant my problems can be and allows me to embrace the bigger picture. Toronto is home to all of the people that I love. It’s where I went to high school, and it’s where I feel like myself. Toronto is my home.
On the other hand, I always feel a little relieved when I come back to Halifax. As soon as I drive through the Nova Scotia border I feel tension slip away. I love that I can drive 10 minutes away from my house and sit on the rocks at Herring Cove in silence, just watching the waves. I love that I can walk downtown in 20 minutes instead of taking a smelly 30 minute subway ride. I love how perfect strangers will smile and say ‘good morning’ on my walk to class. I love how Halifax has made me feel at home.