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Hume: City Building; Vancouver vs. Toronto

billy corgan

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Not only is it filthy, but you get one window in August where maybe, just maybe the water will climb up to 21 or 22 celsius. If you want nicer water, you gotta go to Wasaga, but then Geogian Bay is usually around 19 degrees.

You obviously have little to no knowledge of Lake Ontario. You talk as if the whole lake shares the same cleanliness and temperature characteristics as Toronto harbour. Ever hear of sandbanks? It is probably one of the nicest beaches in North America and the water is water enough to swim in by mid-June.

300px-Lake_Ontario_-_Sandbanks_Provincial_Park_2001.jpg
 

Hydrogen

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Oh, puhlease - ever swim in Lake Ontario? Not only is it filthy, but you get one window in August where maybe, just maybe the water will climb up to 21 or 22 celsius. If you want nicer water, you gotta go to Wasaga, but then Geogian Bay is usually around 19 degrees.
I've lived in both cities and I'd take Vancouver's weather any day. Our 43 degree summer days (with the humidex) and the minus 10 degree days in winter are awful. Anyone who can support that is delusional. Vancouver's weather is much more temperate. My aunt in Coquitlam loves emailing us in February to brag about her tulips - just to rub it in. She's from Teeswater so she knows about shit weather.

The best thing about Toronto is the Kawarthas or the 30,000 Islands, but you're looking at a 90 minute drive - minimum. Golden Ear Provincial Park is aobut 40 minutes from downtown Vancouver. Grouse Mtn and Mt Seymour are even closer.

Actually, there are plenty of places to swim in Lake Ontario. It's a big lake. At the same time, one wouldn't want to swim just any place around Vancouver. Also, if Vancouver were a city as large as Toronto, I'm sure travel times to outdoor places would take that much longer.

As for weather and "delusions," I lived in Ottawa for a long time and that city has a much more harsh winter than Toronto. Not only can it drop to -20C, but it can be very damp and -20 as well, making it feel that much colder.

So what did many people do in that situation? They went out to the cross-country ski routes around Ottawa and in the Gatineau hills. And once the canal froze up, you went skating. The Rideau canal is busier in the winter than in the summer. Yeah, winter can be tough, but not everyone wants to automatically avoid it.

The point here is that no one is delusional for putting up with or liking their local weather. Clearly, that's what some people in Vancouver have done (and some go so far as to be offended when someone questions it). But for weather alone, I wouldn't move to Vancouver. If it comes to temperate weather, there are far warmer places to live, and with less rain. For example, I've spent many weeks in New Mexico towards the end of the winter there. It can be quite warm in the lower elevations, but there is also great skiing nearby - but with lots of sunshine, and virtually no rain or humidity. A good friend of mine who lives in Vancouver spends three weeks every winter in Nevada of California to avoid the rain. He still loves Van, though.
 

Dichotomy

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You obviously have little to no knowledge of Lake Ontario. You talk as if the whole lake shares the same cleanliness and temperature characteristics as Toronto harbour. Ever hear of sandbanks? It is probably one of the nicest beaches in North America and the water is water enough to swim in by mid-June.

300px-Lake_Ontario_-_Sandbanks_Provincial_Park_2001.jpg

I have a powerboat, sir. I've criss-crossed Lake Ontario and Georgian Bay many times. Sandbanks is fantastic, to be sure, but not quite a 10 minute walk from downtown. Three hours of rough traffic is not the same as a stroll to English Bay.

Anyway, clearly people have their own opinions about both cities. I've lived in both and am settled now because at one time the gay life here meant a lot to me and now this is where my roots are.

Both cities have pluses and minuses, like anywhere else in the world.
 

Whoaccio

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Vancouver reminds me of the Toronto Islands, nice to visit but the residents are just squatters who some how feel superior for blighting one of the more beautiful locations on earth. Who the hell cares when tulips come up? The smugness is unbearable. I agree, I liked when Montreal did most of the Toronto-bashing. Montreal is a city. Vancouver just feels like Club Med crashed into a Toyota Prius and somehow sprouted a bunch of condos.
 

vancouverguy_76

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I've lived in extended periods in both Toronto and Vancouver. I'm currently settled in Vancouver...

Toronto and Vancouver are very different. Those who like one over the other often do so based on subjective means. And that's fine... I think sometimes a 'gut feeling' of comfort is the first step to choosing a city to live. If you have that choice. I moved to NYC in 2002 and decided it wasn't 'home'. I visited Toronto, loved it, and moved there. Two years ago I moved to Vancouver to 'slow down' and be closer to family and some friends. I still miss Toronto.

I have found Toronto to be far more interesting and exciting than Vancouver. Toronto has interesting neighbourhoods, interesting old buildings (eg Annex, Cabbagetown, Riverdale), and nightlife in various places making FAR more interesting neighbourhoods in Toronto. Toronto has a theatre scene, flagship stores, corporate headquarters, streetcars, and an new urban development density and intensity far more interesting than Vancouver's. I was always excited to see what new project was proposed in Toronto, be it the crazy 40 Wellesley E, Trump Tower, 1 Bloor E., etc.. Vancouver isn't quite as exciting in that regard.

Vancouver is a cute city. Lovely surroundings. Moderate, moist climate. And YES winters here are brutal. I suffer seasonal depression, and gawd help me LOL. But Vancouver provides more opportunity for 'outdoor activity' close to its city centre (I'm a downtown-living guy). I find the inner-city streetscapes of Vancouver to be more pleasant (street trees, sidewalks, decoration, etc...Toronto could easily improve theirs IMO). Vancouver's pace is slower, which drove me crazy at first, but I got used to it. I walked along the beach yesterday in the sun, which was nice... but the overwhelming pot odour sure was noticeable ;). It's not just a stereotype.

Vancouver's 'smugness' is partly rooted in an urban low self esteem, I think. I think Vancouver looks to rich cities like Toronto with some jealousy. It's a 'second city' or 'third city' syndrome. Vancouver lacks the shopping and corporate headquarters of Toronto, as well as the population. Vancouver is not as politically influential. It is geographically far from Central Canada. I think there is an inferiority complex in Vancouver that is masked in a 'smugness'. However, I'm shocked at how many of my friends are moving from Vancouver to Toronto recently! And cause they like TO... so it goes to show that Toronto definitely has benefits to some that Vancouver isn't meeting. Oh and the inner city real estate prices here are still crazy :S

So in summary, I think a 'better city' is subjective. I'm staying put for now. But to Torontonians, I'd say never put your city down. Just work on improving it. It's a great place to live, and can continue to get better. I think sprucing up Toronto's public realm would go a LONG WAY to making it an even better place!
 

adma

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I'm rooted in Toronto, yet I'm accepting of Vancouver. I'm a person of the world. Fine?

And I don't understand what this impulse is to hyperactively overjudge other cities we visit compared to Toronto, or vice versa. Seems to me like a shallowly bigoted impulse. I'd rather be in wide-eyed wonder, wherever I go, and view the whole world as just one big macro-suburb of little ole Toronto. And it isn't because Toronto's the best place there is; it's because Toronto's the place where I am. Banal, but true.
 

Archivist

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And for my part, I find much to admire about Vancouver. The creation of Stanley Park so early in the city's history was a stroke of genius, I have seen parks the world over and I think Stanley Park is the worlds absolute best central city park. Their planning regime is admirable. There is a coherency to the downtown area that is pleasing. Its dramatic setting is up there with Cape Town, Hong Kong and Rio, and far surpasses Seattle, San Francisco or Sydney, in my opinion. They were smart not to plow expressways into the core of the city, which has as a result thrived more than most have. I love the restaurants with water views, good food, pleasant service, in architecturally distinguished buildings. The waterfall building near Granville Island never ceases to amaze me, I love it so much. I came across fabulous art under the Burrard Bridge quite by accident on my last visit there, riffing elegantly on themes of home and homelessness, and it was an urban experience par excellence.

I probably over-react to what I perceive as the smug qualities of the city, and vancouverguy's post is helpful in that regard.
 

ganjavih

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There's plenty of smugness in Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal... which probably has a lot to do with the insecurities each city has. I think they're all great cities, but one doesn't clearly outshine the other (personally, I prefer Toronto all in all). Each has its strengths and weaknesses and it's easy to look at the strengths of the other city and feel a little insecure about yourself. I would prefer we celebrate the strengths of each because I think it's quite remarkable that the three largest cities in the country are all great in their own way.
 

westcoasttransplant

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Tewder

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Not a huge difference really. I think we in SW Ontario tend to underestimate just how gloomy or overcast our weather is a great deal of the time, especially this past year.

I'm quite spoiled as my only trip to Vancouver was full of sunshine and I found it to be absolutely inspiring. I know that sunshine is not the norm but my impression of the city is now somewhat skewed, in a good way. I still prefer Toronto by a long shot, but who's competing?
 

Logan

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People do realize that Vancouver is located in a temperate rain forest right? One of only a handful around the world -

From Wikipedia:
"..the largest area of temperate zone rain forests on the planet are the Pacific temperate rain forests which occur on west-facing coastal mountains along the Pacific coast of North America, from Kodiak Island in Alaska to northern California, and are part of the Nearctic ecozone.
A common feature of Pacific temperate rain forests of North America is the Nurse log, a fallen tree which as it decays, provides ecological facilitation to seedlings. Pacific temperate rain forests can be found in the Northern Pacific coastal forests, Queen Charlotte Islands, Vancouver Island & British Columbia mainland coastal forests.

800px-Temperate_rainforest_map.png

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temperate_rainforest

So yeah, it rains a lot in the winter. It's a rain forest. Can we move on now?

I was London UK for a week last year and it pissed the whole time. Fog shit and all. But guess what - I had an awesome time regardless. People should embrace their travel destinations more instead of being fixated on whether or not you want to live there or how it compares to Toronto. Totally defeats the purpose of travel.
 

westcoasttransplant

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Um...yeah...

People do realize that Vancouver is located in a temperate rain forest right? One of only a handful around the world

Uh Huh...that's why the notion that Vancouver gets more hours of sunshine is hilarious. I LOVE the rain and overcast--I grew up with it, it's very relaxing and meditative. I am not commenting on "overcast gloomy days"--as that was not topical. The statement was about hours of sunshine. And...um...100 hours (it's actually more) is BIG difference in the winter... consider we might get only 7-9 hours of daylight, then, some of the sunshine happens for only half the day--thus, 100 hours could represent a couple to several weeks more sunshine.

That is very noticeable--and--I DO notice it's brighter here in the winter...now...if only someone could turn up the heat!

cheers
 
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vancouverguy_76

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...I DO notice it's brighter here in the winter...

Going into my third Vancouver winter, I completely agree with you. Toronto had some gloomy winter days, but I've found Vancouver's extended winter rainy periods almost unbearable sometimes. I've learned to "expect the rain, and be grateful when it's not" ;)

I actually miss the snow. Seriously, a grey & green-ground Christmas just seems strange, having grown up in Northern Alberta. When I was a kid, I remember running through snowbanks on Halloween.
 

Translude15

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Vancouverguy, being born and raised in Toronto and now studying in Vancouver, a lot of points you have raised in your previous response are in fact very true.

There is a HUGE amount of anti-Toronto sentiment here. Heck, I've worn my Leafs jersey out in these parts, and I'll tell you, I've been threatened.

The "second-tier" city syndrome is definately a huge factor. Many Vancouver natives out here have bashed Toronto for not being as green a city as Vancouver, and are unwilling to acknowledge Toronto as Canada's prime city. For them it seems, a large city equals a dirty, dangerous and overall sub-par city.
 

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