18 May 2008


I'M HERE! My bag, however, is apparently still in L.A. Oh wells. They'll bring it to my house tomorrow, they say. I am here, though! So that is good.

Vancouver was beautiful, although after 5 days there I started to chafe at the bit – I wanted to get out beyond the downtown area and visit up close the landscapes reflected in the towering glass walls of the city. Downtown was clean, and often quiet, and new. Toronto is not as spectacular. The lake is lovely, and looking back at the city skyline from Toronto Island on a sunny spring day makes it equally beautiful as any other city, but the architecture in general is not as amazing, the setting can’t really compete with breathtaking as Vancouver. This is not to say Toronto doesn’t have some wonderful buildings – new and old and new new city halls are all of interest, I love the Crystal, and of course there’s the famous CN tower and the infamous Robart’s Library. It also has its fair share of sheer glass skyscrapers, and mingled in among them low rise neighbourhoods with houses up to a hundred years old, or even more. And this is what I love about Toronto – the lived-in-ness. Its student, hippie and new migrant neighbourhoods, Kensington, Chinatown, the queer neighbourhood along and around Church St, the University campus, cheap eateries, the new trendiness of Queen West (or is it Queer West?) feeding on the remnants of a half-century of poverty and desperation. It feels like a city I could live, almost too easily. Maybe it’s having friends show me around, maybe its living in their houses and going to their parties and gatherings, sharing their favourite restaurants, taking trips to interesting shops or parks on their days off, but I feel as though I stepped into a city that already had a space for me, a place where my life was lived before I physically got there and will continue to be lived after I leave.

I sometimes wonder when I travel these huge distances if there’s not something completely at odds with the human psyche about spending three weeks thousands and thousands of kilometres away from ‘home’. I can’t seem to comprehend that insurmountable distance, that I will wake up in a day or two days or even a week, and I will not be able to go back to the Bulldog cafĂ©, where I drank my first real coffee in weeks, I won’t be able to email a friend on impulse to have lunch near the Kensington markets. I won’t be able to get that subway token I wanted to take back as a souvenir. I won’t become a regular at the leather shop. I won’t be able to wander through High Park on the weekend. I won’t get back to Toronto Island and hire a bike and take all the photographs I couldn’t snap the other day with my dead batteries. What is it? I can understand mentally but not emotionally and physically that the realities and rhythms of a week and a half of my life will be physically out of reach. I know that I’ll get home and I will map Toronto onto Melbourne like I mapped Melbourne onto Vancouver, I’ll slip up and try to continue conversations with people who’ve never heard the start of them, I’ll catch glimpses of Canadians in my Australian friends, I’ll be surprised that the tram isn’t red and white and looking like a lozenge/Toronto streetcar, I’ll crave TimBits from Tim Hortons.

I’ll update more soon, and put pictures up as well.


  1. you're baaaaaaack! ('ray!)

  2. I know what you mean about your fitting into this city - I had a hard time believing that I had only just met you, and that you didn't belong here.

    (I still think that you should bring db and move here.)

  3. Tim Horton's is genius. I remember some very very sugary things of amazingness.

    Also, Vancouver is New Caprica, and that is also genius.