Photo cred - Carlos Bolivar
What makes someone a Torontonian? There's more to being a resident of this city than narcissism, ingenuity, and an inability to pronounce the second "t" in "Toronto." To help out any newcomers, we've compiled a list of rights of passage for anyone who wants to call this city home.
Form an opinion about Drake.
Most people from this city feel some kind of way about Drake. If you want to be initiated into Toronto culture, the first thing you must do is study up on his body of work and decide if you love him or hate him. There is no middle ground. If you love him, what's your favourite of his songs? If you hate him, come up with a reason why you think he's overrated. Drake is Toronto's world ambassador, and there's no way we can avoid thinking about him.
Cab home drunk from the other side of the city at 4:00am
Going out in this city can often be a huge journey, especially if you don't live in the heart of downtown. At some point in your time here, you will find yourself trapped in the entertainment district after the subway and most streetcars have stopped running. Your only way home will be to spend oodles of dollars on a taxi that you and too many of your friends will pile into. Bonus points if someone opens the door and pukes over the side while the cab is in motion.
Successfully balance life, work, and school
Torontonians are go-getters. We don't just crush partying, we crush every other aspect of our lives too. Expect any Toronto resident you meet to have multiple jobs, an internship, and be working on a degree. Despite all this, they'll still get blasted on the weekend, and show up for work on Monday looking fresh and chipper, and better prepared than you are for the morning meeting.
Photo cred - Pam Lau
Get tipsy at Trinity Bellwoods or High Park with your friends
Outdoor drinking has become a major Torontonian pastime in the warm weather months. Grab a six pack from the Beer Store or the LCBO and while away the late afternoon laughing and arguing about music until it's too dark to see where you put your phone.
Go to Black Creek Pioneer Village
Anyone who's grown up here has gone on a field trip to Pioneer Village. It's a reconstruction of a Canadian pioneer settlement, and as you pass from house to house, actors dressed in old timey garb tell you stories about life back in the day. It's definitely not for everyone, but if you want to be inducted into the culture, you're gonna have to know a thing or two about this classic Toronto experience.
Tandem bicycle through the islands
On a hot day, pack a picnic and make a day of it on the Toronto islands. Most people go at least once a summer, and spend the day lounging around by the water, feeding ducks, and playing frizbee or soccer. At some point in the day, you and some of your friends will have to rent out a tandem bike and go on a little expedition. It's a ton of fun riding along the boardwalk and scaring seagulls. Or just, you know, enjoying the view.
Spend a significant portion of your week commuting
Without a doubt, this is a commuter city, and getting to and from work is always going to take up a huge chunk of your day. The subway is often very unreliable, and some days you'll find yourself thinking that no matter how early you leave in the morning, you never seem to get to where you're going on time. You'll know you're a true Torontonian when a delay happens on the subway, and you use some creativity and perseverance to redirect your root and get to work on time.
Explore Toronto's Farmer's Markets
This city has a whole bunch of farmer's markets, and they're always a great way to expand your palate if you're getting bored with what you've been eating. Torontonians take trips to Duffrin Grove, St. Lawrence, and Sorauren Farmer's Market on the regular to eat some yummy homemade foods and buy fresh ingredients from their grocery lists.
Photo cred - Zi-Ann Lum
4:00am breakfast at the Lakeview
In the early hours of the morning, you'll find this 24 hour diner packed with folks trying to extend their night out for just a little longer. The breakfast menu and the coffee are always on point, so if you ever find yourself getting hungry from all that dancing, head over to the Lakeview with a few of your friends and keep the party going.
Buy a bike
Cycling has become a pretty major form of transportation for a huge portion of people in this city, and bike culture is a very serious thing. Make sure to get a road bike, for the street cred, and learn to fix it yourself at places like Bike Pirate. See if you can work your way towards eventually riding a fixie. You'll quickly become the coolest person in your group of friends.
Crash a downtown student house party
Go downtown and wander into any house you can hear loud music and voices coming from. House parties are pretty big on the list of ways Toronto students like to get drunk, so you're bound to meet some hot co-ed, or at the very least, make out with someone with an impressive beard.
Bar hop in Parkdale and the Junction
These neighbourhoods are slowly gaining traction in the bar scene. Loads of new spots are opening around these areas, with delicious microbrews to enjoy and plenty of free live music. What's not to love about that? Check out the Hole in the Wall and 3030 in the Junction in particular for a nice vibe, good beer, and even better music.