Scarborough has gained quite a negative reputation over the years. It's often the target of ridicule by media outlets and people from other districts, who like to associate it with unflattering words like "ghetto" and "embarrassment". While these descriptors are overly harsh, even Scarborough natives have to admit there are some things about Scarborough that can be a little bit aggravating. Here are a few of them, from my own Scarberian perspective:
1. The malls are always packed.
Whether it's Scarborough Town Centre or Pacific Mall (which technically isn't even in Scarborough), your shopping experience will always involve some struggle to get parking, or maneuvering through a massive horde of mall-goers (even on weekdays). A quick 'in-and-out' mission can sometimes turn into a 'stay-and-weep' crisis because there are just so many people that get in your way. The situation is even worse now, with the new food court renovation currently in progress.
2. It's hard to convince your parents to let you stay out late.
Scarborough's reputation for crime and gang-related activity makes convincing your parents to let you go out an arduous task. Even though that reputation is very much outdated, your parents may still use it as an excuse to keep you home. It's even worse if you're trying to visit friends who live in Malvern.
3. There's not much to do.
Other than eating at all of the amazing multicultural food spots in the area, there isn't really much else to do in Scarborough. Most of the time, Scarberians will take the commute downtown for some actual action; that is, unless you like bowling at Club 300 (also technically not in Scarborough) or going for shisha at Alexandria's every weekend.
4. The slang gets ridiculous.
There's always some new word being thrown around in Scarborough. Slang in Scarborough is almost like it's own language. There are definitely some patois influences, but other times it seems as if the slang is invented from nothing, styll. #NizeIt
5. You run into everybody.
No matter where you go in Scarborough, you're bound to run into someone you know. It could be on your daily morning commute, during your errand-run at Eglinton Square or even at the Superstore walk-in clinic. If anything, this might be a good thing; since knowing that you're probably going to run into someone you know might influence you to make sure you don't go out looking like a complete hobo.
6. Riding the RT is quite an experience.
The RT ride is never fun. Most of the time you'll find yourself standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the person next to you because it's so packed. There's also a stretch of rail near the STC stop that gets super loud (like nails on a chalkboard at 120 decibels), and a distinct pungent smell between Midland and Ellesmere that is never pleasant.
7. The stereotypes are outrageous.
Scarberia, Scartown, Scarlem... The list goes on and on. People who aren't from Scarborough probably think that every teenager who lives there is some sort of thug or gangster. I get that most of us used to rock oversized white-tees and baggy pants, but applying that "ghetto" stereotype nowadays is just absurd.
8.Getting anywhere else is tough.
If you want to go downtown, you've got the RT or Kennedy Station (unless you want to take the DVP, which is never a good time). The distance from Scarborough to downtown is actually not as bad as it is for other places; but for Scarberians it's still farther than they'd like.
9. No one else knows where Scarborough is.
Sometimes when you tell people you're from Scarborough, they'll tell you they've heard of it but they don't actually know where it is. Then you tell them it's actually a part of Toronto and they scoff at you. Really?
10. You can't not love it.
No matter how many first-world struggles you experience living in Scarborough, you wouldn't want to live anywhere else (COUGH). Once a Scarberian, always a Scarberian.