I’ve wanted to live in a city for as long as I can remember. My hometown always felt small, like my dreams were too big for the population of 30,000 and there wasn’t really any room for me to grow. I never felt like I belonged, never felt like there were things to inspire me or to make me want to constantly be creating. The whole town seemed narrow-minded and unaccepting of change. Nobody really acted or did anything differently and everybody was pretty much the same, and I hated it a lot of the time. I wanted nothing more than to move to a big city where there was space for me to grow and hundreds of things to inspire me every single day. And three weeks ago I finally made that happen.
Toronto feels magical to me. Every time I leave my dorm, even if it’s only to walk five minutes across campus, I feel like there’s electricity running through my veins just thinking about the endless opportunities that this place holds. My mind is constantly bursting at the seams with things that I want to do and ideas that I want to pursue and places that I want to see. I feel like I can spread out in Toronto. Make connections and grow my dream and find people to help me make it a reality and do the same for other people. Anything feels possible here.
One of the courses I’m currently taking is called Imagining the Creative City. It touches on ideas of what creative people look for when choosing a place to call home, and what cities can do to accommodate that and to promote creativity and innovation. People want diversity and acceptance of differences. They want places to network and meet people who they can collaborate with and who can inspire them. An ideal city has to have balance, places to stimulate individuals and places where one can relax and take a breather. These concepts have made me incredibly aware of just how much Toronto has to offer.
This city is jam-packed with creative people and places. It takes me less than half an hour to walk from my dorm to the Arts & Crafts offices, the Art Gallery of Ontario is extremely easy to get to, there are countless concert venues within reach, and tons of inspiring neighbourhoods can be accessed by public transit or with my own two feet. Ryerson itself is home to hundreds of innovative individuals and inspiring spaces, and it’s sometimes difficult to comprehend the sheer amount of opportunities that are right outside my front door. From green spaces to collaborative workplaces to print shops and independent stores, anyone could be inspired by this city. All of it makes me feel unbelievably lucky to be living here.
The city is incredibly diverse. Torontonians come from all sorts of different backgrounds and histories and they make up the intricate patterns and the vibrancy of the spaces they frequent. We have Chinatown and Gerrard Street and the Danforth and Kensington and all sorts of neighbourhoods that reflect the vast array of individuals who live in this city and make it as interesting as it is. This diversity allows for hundreds of new ideas and changes and it’s an important part of Toronto’s identity. There are so many pieces to this incredible metropolis.
People are passionate in Toronto. And if I know one thing about myself it’s that I like people with passion. I like watching people sit in front of paintings in art galleries frantically scribbling notes or recreating their own ideas of the piece. I like seeing what albums people choose to buy and how early they start lining up for shows and what they take photos of and who they hang out with. Passion often just radiates out of someone. Get them talking about what they love and what they’re inspired by and what they do in their spare time and you can feel the enthusiasm and the energy just dripping off their tongue and out into the open. Passion is why I write these blogposts and why I want to work in the music industry. It’s what I know and what I’m comfortable with, and seeing that in other people is something I can connect with.
Every fibre of my being feels like Toronto is where I’m supposed to be right now. It’s familiar to me and there are places that I know like the back of my hand, but there is also so much more for me to explore. There are still places to go and things to see and experience. There are ideas that have yet to form and people I have yet to meet, but Toronto seems like an incubator of creativity and spark. Finding people to work and collaborate with doesn’t feel like a problem when there are thousands of imaginative, forward-thinking beings living in the same radius as you.
It feels incredible to finally be somewhere that I actually fit in. I feel like I belong here, among the record shops and bookstores and art galleries and museums and parks. I feel at home. I find myself constantly taking everything in and searching for inspiration and sometimes just letting it come to me. Words for blogposts and journal entries come easily and Instagram photos seem to be more interesting and work spaces are more stimulating. Toronto offers so much, and for someone who’s lived in the suburbs for her whole life and has only dreamt about living in the thick of it all, it feels like I’ve hit the jackpot. I’m not saying that Toronto is perfect, but it feels a lot more like home than anywhere else. At this point, I can’t imagine myself being anywhere but here.