Canada vs. Canada




Following bossy Paul‘s Toronto vs. Vancouver holiday destination question in AMT240, we’ve received quite a few defences of Toronto, several recommendations for Montreal, and very little regarding Vancouver. This suggests that Vancouverites either think Vancouver is not as good as Toronto and/or Montreal, or they’re so laid back they don’t feel the need to spring to the defence of their splendid hometown. And/or they like Vancouver so much they don’t want Paul in it.

Vancouverites, if you’re reading this, by all means go to the comments to clarify the reason for your silence. Meanwhile, the Torontonians have spoken up. Andrew from Toronto sums up the qualities of the cities:

I live in Toronto, but love to visit montreal. They are all very different cities. If I were your listener, I would go to Toronto (not boring Olly!), and take an overnight trip to montreal.

Toronto is: ancient streetcars; hilarious fired mayors; grubby, wonderful, diverse Kensington market; TV trucks smashed through walls; 3 hours from Algonquin and 5 hours from Montreal; Honest Ed’s; art festivals; delicious St Lawrence market; a “little” ethni-copia: Little India, Little Italy, Little Portugal, Little Chinatown, Chinatown, Greektown; Church Street; FOOD, so much good food (just stay away from the financial district and the distillery district for it); Burgers Priest.

Montreal is: authentic bagels; Celine Dion’s smoked meat; sour Francophones who pretend not to understand English, and won’t give directions to bakeries because they feel culturally oppressed; jazz festivals; beautiful old Montreal; corrupt corrupt politians, like, Chicago corrupt; tam tam.

Vancouver is: beautiful mountains; indecipherable highway system; Stanley Park; rainy; Battlestar Galactica; pot; ridiculously expensive real estate; Skid Row; relaxed; Vij’s.

There’s a Chinatown AND a Little Chinatown? I’m booking a two-week dim sum tour in the January sales.

Next, Dani presents a considered case:

I was born and raised in Toronto, but moved to Vancouver at 19 and lived there for four years.

While in general I’m inclined to agree with Olly that Vancouver is an overall ‘nicer’ place to visit than Toronto, remember that Paul was looking for an interesting cold-weather destination. Vancouver in the winter is probably not dissimilar to the UK, with generally cold but not below freezing temperatures, lots of drizzle, and weeks on end without sunlight. (After typing all this, I realize that he might be thinking of skiing/wintersports that one might enjoy in Whistler, etc. Of course there is that. I just tend to think of the city proper when I think Vancouver)

Toronto in the winter is plenty cold, but if you plan on staying in the middle of the city, you’ll find yourself in a sea of brown, salty slush. Many of the nicer things to do in Toronto (there are some beautiful parks and great shopping districts) would frankly be kind of a downer in the middle of winter (and this coming from someone who loves the city and considers it home.)

I think if he is set on a Canadian vacation in winter, Helen’s suggestion of Montreal would be a better option. And you’d have a chance to try some real poutine! (Shut it, it’s delicious, and vastly superior to Putin on pretty much every count.)

It’s true. Poutine is corrupted by curds and gravy, whilst Putin – well, it’s difficult even to know where to start.


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One Response to “Canada vs. Canada”

  1. lorelei Says:

    Montreal fans have failed to mention the awesomeness that is St Joseph’s Oratory. Not only does it have proof that faith healing works in the form of thousands of crutches dangling on a wall, but also a saint’s heart in a bottle. Who could resist this?

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