December 13, 2012 § 1 Comment

Toronto, still. It’s been months now that I’ve been wanting to write about this and how or when it happened, but all I can say for certain is that things have changed since when, a month before getting married, in a prairie town in southern Alberta, I told someone that we were going to move east across the country. A graduate student from Toronto himself, he promised we would love it. It’s not really a city, he said. There is no “Toronto” – rather Torontos, because more than anything it’s a city of neighbourhoods. I mumbled something in reply then but later, in Edmonton, to friends around a summer evening firepit (one of many gatherings altogether ritually comprising my “long goodbye” to that river city of champions), with laughter and shared food and perhaps music or boardgames or poetry in the offing, I retold that exchange and mocked his answer and confessed my anxieties about moving, somewhere between Simmel and Corb Lund.

This comfort with this city (this city in particular) isn’t something I expected, and of course it is determined entirely by the how and wherefores we live (walking distance to the lake, a ten kilometre bike ride eastward from the heart of downtown, juggling schedules but maintaining a fragile and treasured independence). And of course there are still days I itch for the prairies, or miss people across the country, and more often than not I sigh relief after crossing the Don Valley homeward. But those have less to do with this particular confession – and so two and a half years later and older I can only offer an apology to those whose attachments to this city I then condescendingly set aside.

It is mid-December now, and in a week we pack our boxes into Union Station for the train trek across the continent like Russian emigres seeking winter.


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