Early this May I spent a few days in Novi Sad. This Serbian city is smaller than Belgrade, more laid back and you can practically walk everywhere or take transit for a few stops. In Serbian Novi Sad means “New Plantation”. It’s in its own autonomous zone and has the potential to be the number one tourist destination in the region primarily because of their annual Exit Festival.
While living in my old apartment I befriended a few people beyond the usual superficial hellos that you would expect during regular lobby and elevator encounters. The first one was my immediate neighbor. A nice enough guy who’s sister and cousin shared the place. Then he got arrested, the hydro was cut off, a Sheriff’s notice posted on the door indicating eviction from the premises and I haven’t heard from any of them since.
“HEY! STOP THAT DOG!” I answered the call to action today while bicycling back home from an espresso bar in Liberty Village. A little devilish dog had Houdini’d himself from his master’s leash and was making a break for it. I don’t know if the dog had any destination in mind but the way he was running seemed like he was experiencing both the joy and fear of freedom. And whether the person who made the call for action was the dog’s owner was a moot point. That dog was darting through city streets miraculously avoiding being hit by cars yet with the laws of probability that doomsday clock could strike twelve at any moment. By happenstance I was there and so was another random cyclist. From Liberty Street the dog turned North on Jefferson Ave. Like a pair of urban cowboys on horseback the other cyclist and I were working together on our bikes trying to corral him so we can trap him and grab him. But he was too quick, small and agile. He took a sharp turn into a parking lot enclosed with fences at all sides. There was a pedestrian opening at the other end and I was pedaling hard to get to it before the dog did. If I won that race I was sure to catch him since the little devil had no where to go. But I couldn’t. He was just too damn quick.
So far I’ve lived in the big T dot O all my life where the population is three million and counting. There are so many things to do in the city that never sleeps that it’s virtually impossible to do it all. And if you try or do then you could miss out on other things like…I dunno…world travel.
That is why I’ve focused on defining and living in My Toronto. It’s all things to all people but not everything to one person. I enjoy to live my version of Toronto life. It consists of engaging in activities of which I like. Not what the other guy likes. You won’t see me partying it up in the Entertainment District, going to cocktail hour after-work or that other thing you may like so much but I don’t.
I focus on the hidden gems and treasures of the city that I have fun exploring. Its hanging out with friends at cafes, sushi restaurants, the movies, criticizing the government of the day, biking everywhere and jogging along the waterfront. It’s going to The Distillery District for a spicy hot chocolate, the Evergreen Brick Works to check out their market and participating in Critical Mass with my fellow members of the bicycling community. Now define your Toronto and appreciate it for what it is.