Photo cred - Tina Leggio
Moving to Toronto after coming from pretty much anywhere else in Canada is a little bit of a culture shock. No matter how young you are when you make this trip, you're going to learn than everyone around is a proper grown up. And after a little while, you're going to be a proper grown up too. Don't fight it, it'll only make it harder. Just accept that Toronto is one big wake up call. Here are the points the city will strike you with.
Toronto's shitbox apartment
Pretty much as soon as you move into your apartment (if not before), you will realize that to be able to afford its exorbitant rent, you're going to have to work. A lot. There will be no more lying around watching Netflix and getting stoned for days on end. Plus, as it dawns on you that you are paying this ridiculous monthly fee for an apartment that can accurately be described as "a matchbox," the cruel realities of our unfair world will settle in. Nobody's sugercoating shit for you any more. Get to work.
Hellish rides on the TTC
After a few occasions where you ballpark how long it'll take you to get somewhere and end up an hour late, you start to realize that the TTC cannot be trusted. At first you think it's because of negligent city planning, but then you realize that the Toronto Transit Commission is just trying to teach you time management skills. Now you know to always give yourself a loooong head start before you have to arrive anywhere, because the universe is a random place, and who knows if there's going to be a delay on your journey because some idiot dropped their sandwich on the tracks or something.
Constantly Scheduling Everything
One day, you'll catch yourself in the middle of updating your calendar. You'll remember that there was once a time when you didn't need to use a calendar to know when you were hanging out with friends, because plans were usually made within 24 to 48 hours of seeing someone. But that's not you anymore. In Toronto, in order to see anyone, you have to book an appointment with them at least a week in advance. Sure it makes life feel like a never-ending work day, but at least you're more organized?
Photo cred - lyn tally
Toronto's Fitness Obsession Dominating Your Lifestyle
Without even thinking about it, you wake up at 6:30 every morning, because you need time to hit the gym and then go to yoga before work. You'll find yourself actually caring about what foods you put in your body, and you'll learn the word "carcinogen" for the first time. You finally understand what it feels like to actually be healthy, and it's all thanks to Toronto's fitness obsession. At night, you're always in bed by 10:30, because you read somewhere that the hours of sleep you get before midnight are more valuable than the ones after it.
Toronto Beer Selection Will Make You Become An Old Man Beer Snob
Once upon a time, you were satisfied with PBR, or Heineken, or maybe a Stella if you were feeling fancy. Today, you wouldn't dream of touching that mainstream commercial stuff. You only drink beer that was locally crafted. You spend a lot of time at Bellwoods Brewery and the Indie Ale House. When you do find yourself at a bar, you always order the house beer. You're not just going to put anything in your body.
What You Eat In Toronto
Grocery shopping has become a much more complicated affair, because you're jumping around from store to store to find the best quality product for the lowest price. You know where to go for eggs, and it's not where you need to go for bread. Some things you can only get at the farmer's market too, so you make a trip to your favourite one every couple of weeks. All in all, you've probably increased the amount of time you spend buying food by 75%.
What You Do With Your Free Time In The City
Toronto frowns upon being a shut in who spends their free time watching T.V. alone. In your spare time, you'll probably be volunteering somewhere. If you have a few spare hours between two commitments, you'll head to a coffee shop and read a book, or open up your laptop (which you always have on you) and read whatever article's on the front page of the New Yorker. Time means a lot more to you now, and you would never dream of wasting even a second of it doing something frivolous and mindless.
You Will Start Talking About Local Politics
Even if you didn't before, you now realize that you have serious opinions about things going on in local politics. The mayoral election that just passed was a big deal to you, just like it was a big deal to everyone else in this city. You get into debates about what the city needs to improve all the time. You're officially a functioning member of society. Who knew?
Photo cred - Michael Monastyrstyj
Weekends Become Days To Be Productive
On your weekend, instead of sleeping in, you wake up earlier than usual. You don't want to miss a minute of your day! You and some friends have made plans to go play Frisbee on the islands, or shinny at Campbell Park, and you're really excited about it. Once you get home, you'll make yourself a healthy lunch, and catch up on some more reading.
Toronto's "responsible is cool" mentality
As you meet new people in this city, you'll notice that they all have certain personality traits in common. They're what you would call "Type A's." You'll listen to them talking about commuting from their job to their internship, then going home to finish schoolwork after a quick stop at the gym, and you'll think, "shit, I really don't have my life together." The next day, you will start looking at graduate programs to apply for. Because you see, in Toronto, responsible is cool.
Toronto Makes You Driven
You once assumed that you really could do anything with your life. You were always unemployed, so it was easy for you to believe that once you bothered to get your ass into gear, everything would click really easily. Toronto doesn't let you live in that fantasy world. You work hard all day, every day, and you have a deep understanding of your limits. You now actually set realistic goals for the next five years of your life, and it actually gives you peace of mind.
Your Relationship Status Will Go From Single To Serious
Everyone in Toronto is in a Serious Relationship. For the first little while that you were living here, you felt weird about being the only single person in your group of friends, even if you were all like 22. Dating around still happens, but everyone around you expects it to eventually give way to a fulfilling relationship. You're either going to spend a lot of time justifying being single, or you're just going to get Serious About Relationships too. Obviously this pressure is higher for girls than guys, but it really is there for everyone.