Before the rise of social media, Drake memes, and internet friends, Toronto was never really a must-see city on my travel list. In fact, the only memories I had of Canada were visiting Chinese malls in Vancouver while I still lived in Seattle and a short Montreal trip a few years prior full of tourist traps and scams. As destiny (among other things) would have it, I made my way up to see the country of beavertails and poutine, which ironically I ended up not having at all.
According to a possibly biased news source, Toronto is roughly the same size as Chicago both by area and population. While the veracity of this fact is unconfirmed, I can tell you that through my personal experience Toronto feels much smaller, most likely due to the concentration of skyscrapers and high-rise apartments in one relatively small area. Because of this, it goes without saying that the range of both cultural and socio-economic neighborhoods found within the city is quite impressive. From the gritty back alleys of Chinatown to the luxury car lined streets of the Yorkville neighborhood, Toronto certainly has something for all visitors to experience.
Aside from the prospect of eating loads dim-sum and meeting up with internet friends (aka Matt), the biggest thing I looked forward to during my visit was the photography. Having been enticed by all the architectural and street photos as seen on Instagram, I set out to shoot everything and anything I could…only to be left somewhat disappointed.
Don’t get me wrong - Toronto is a nice looking city. However, once you try photographing a majority of things with that “creative” eye of yours, you quickly realize that the same picture has been shot by someone else at some point or another, almost guaranteed. Views from the 6-esque compositions, black tower lookups, and over-contrasty skyline night shots, you name it, it’s been done. I hate this meme of a title but as a self-proclaimed “creative”, it’s somewhat demotivating to know that your vision (lol) is in no way unique and you should probably reconsider how you define yourself once this sobering moment of self-awareness is reached and put your camera away once and forever. Perhaps it goes back to the small scale of the city coupled with the sheer number of kids with cameras, but Instagram has ruined Toronto.
Anyways, I still took a few cliché shots (while getting rejected from free admission to a museum because apparently an American student ID isn’t good enough), ate good food, and watched Matt do something very illegal so I enjoyed the visit nonetheless. Also our return flight got cancelled and we got to stay an extra 12 hours at the airport so that was nice.
Don’t take my criticism of the city to heart, I’d probably still visit again tbh.