Photo cred - Tom Ryaboi
Toronto's a big city that attracts a lot of big personalities. Even among your group of friends, you can probably list at least three people who are one of a kind, and just don't care what anyone thinks about it. So it makes sense that the city also has a collection of characters who are so larger than life, or so silly, they've become household names. They aren't celebrities, for the most part, they're the people who give this city its personality, and love them or hate them, they'll probably be around forever.
The "Believe" Guy
Everyone who's hand to spend any amount of time around Dundas Square has probably had the pleasure of meeting this guy. He's always standing on various corners, and holding nothing. If you didn't already know who he was, you'd think he was just a regular joe waiting for the lights to change. But the moment you walk past him he suddenly declares, "BELIEVE in the lord!" at the top of his lungs, and startles the shit out of you. He's been doing it for years, and probably won't stop any time soon. He does not care whatsoever.
If you party in the downtown, you have met Zanta. He's that dude wandering around shirtless and wearing a Santa hat, getting turnt up and doing pushups off of his knuckles all the time. He's clearly having the time of his life, and loves that he's become a household name in this city. Ask him to pose for a picture, he'll more than oblige.
The Ford Brothers
Long before the crack scandal, the Rob Ford hass been doing irresponsible shit with campaign money, and declaring wars on silly shit like buskers (who he calls "panhandlers"), and cyclists. The more media attention him and his brother got, the more clear it became that they also have no brain-to-mouth filter, and will say the most inappropriate shit no matter the circumstance. Hopefully they'll be getting less media attention now that neither of them is mayor.
Photo cred - Yelp
The Servers At Bistro 422
The last time you and your friends were looking for cheep pitchers and a heated patio to drink them on, you probably went to Bistro 422, where not a single server made eye contact with you, but made sure you knew how pissed off they were that you were there. Despite this, their service is very prompt and efficient. You'll ask for a beer, the server will probably roll their eyes and walk away without a word, but come back a minute or two later with your exact order. It's never hurt their business, and everyone has stories they proudly tell about the first time they "rode the Beast."
Batman and Spiderman
Toronto Batman and Toronto Spiderman have been kickin' it at Dundas Square for a while, just being silly and taking pictures with people in exchange for donations. A couple of years ago, they had to have to have an epic battle for superhero supremacy. Most of it was just tussling around on the subway and on the street, yelling insults to each other, and getting into a heated chin-up contest. It's still unclear who won, but everyone had a great time, so who's complaining?
The Toronto Rooftopper
It started as a crazy trend back in 2012, where a group of people would keep trying to out-do each other, climbing onto the roofs of the city's highest skyscrapers, dangling over the edge, and taking pictures to prove that they were there. As of now, it's mostly one dude named Tom Ryaboi still doing it, and he's decreased his activity a lot (probably to avoid death), but every once in a while, a new pic will be released of him hanging out 1000 ft in the air like it's no big deal. You couldn't do it (and if you could, why would you?).
The anti-Olivia Chow guy on Richmond and Bay
He's gone now that the election has passed, but for a good while this summer and early fall, a dude was standing at the intersection of Richmond and Bay holding up a huge sign that said "Olivia Chow Supports Islamic Terrorism." He never really said anything or tried to get people's attention, but it's likely that if anyone tried to confront him, he'd have a lot to say. Despite the fact that his sign made no goddamn sense, he repped it hard, and clearly didn't care what anyone thought about it.
Another Dundas Square Busker, although he's been seen all over the city, Silver Elvis doesn't sing. He stands perfectly still on top of a box until someone puts money in his box, at which point he shakes his hips in that seductive way that only Elvis Presley knew how. He's actually one of the many alter-egos of Toronto artist Peter Jarvis, so see if you can spot him as Charlie Chaplin or a box at other parts of the city.
Photo cred - Brandon Mohan Films
The Toronto Street Drummer
While there are plenty of folks drumming on the streets of Toronto, none do it like this guy, and most of them probably haven't been in the game as long as him. People have been seeing him doing his thing for over 10 years now, so he's probably going to be around forever. His ability to just drum like crazy for long stretches of time without looking up or changing his beat is extremely impressive, even it's a bit monotonous. He'll keep doing it, and he doesn't care if you're sick of him.
Tweens At Wonderland
This isn't a specific person, but for some reason, people between the ages of 10 and 15 seem to just go crazy whenever they go to Wonderland. Never in your life will you see a higher concentration of frosted tips, and oversized graphic tees that have dumb shit like "PARTY WITH SLUTS" written on them. What are you guys trying to prove? Oh yeah, nothing.