This post is dedicated to those of you who are worried about moving to such a huge metropolis.
^ I’ve been there. From the time I was eleven, I swore to all things holy that I would never ever EVER live in Toronto. So, naturally, when I found out Glendon was located in The Big Smog – I was terrified. I dreaded the day when I would actually need to understand how the city’s North-South-East-West system worked. What’s a small town girl to do?
I gave it a chance. Things fell into place! FULL CONFESSION: I am now madly, truly, and passionately in love with Toronto. That’s it, I’ve said it. Weight off my shoulders! Despite my original fears, the city won me over.
If you’re considering Glendon but are still super hesitant about switching to a dramatically different location like I was, I urge you to keep these things in mind.
1. Glendon is a safe haven.
When you are on campus, you will feel totally sheltered from the city. There’s scarcely a sign of urban life here, with the exception of “traffic” from the odd supply truck or campus security vehicle. Everything is picturesque and lush; even The Manor looks like a storybook cottage nestled in the middle of a fairy garden. The Glendon Forest and the green space in the quad rivals those of the city’s greatest park. The Centre of Excellence, while modern and sleek in design, lets in the most overwhelmingly beautiful natural light. Forget all that crap about T.O. being a concrete jungle…Glendon will dispell those myths the instant you set foot on campus.
2. Toronto feels safer than you think it will.
Honestly. It’s not like those crime shows make it out to be, where there’s a swat team on every corner (my family watched Flashpoint as if it was a religion, forgive me T.O.). Crime happens everywhere, and Toronto seems to get a bad rap. Yes, you have to be aware of your surroundings – but you should do that no matter where you go! I’ve travelled and seen some scary and intimidating places, but I personally feel safe here. It’s like the city has my back!
3. Asking for directions doesn’t make you silly.
I remember getting so confused when someone told me to go West on Queen. I called my Torontonian friend later that afternoon, and the conversation went something like this:
“Kier, you just have to remember where South is.”
“How, though? I don’t have a built-in compass!”
“South is where the water is. Check for moss on trees or the setting of the sun or something.”
“I’m in a city where the skyscrapers are so tall I can’t see the clouds sometimes! Where am I going to find trees?! What if it’s overcast?! What do I do then?!”
Yes, it seems strange that Toronto-born natives seem to innately know where the water is when they are absolutely nowhere near the water. It took me a while to realize that it’s not because they’ve been born and raised on the NSEW system, but because it’s REALLY NOT THAT COMPLICATED. Trust me, if I can figure it out, so can you! Tips? Ask for directions – and clarify them when needed. In my experience, cab drivers are the best for this – super friendly! NEVER rely on Google Maps or any other GPS device…the city is constantly changing, so is it’s transit and construction zones. If you take the wrong direction on the subway, there is ALWAYS a way for you to get off and switch platforms – you won’t have to pay again so long as you stay within the station. You will pick up on “city rhythms” quickly, so don’t fret.
4. There are UNLIMITED POSSIBILITIES here.
The food is beyond compare – one day I will dedicate a post to the best places to eat in Toronto (on a student budget, no less!). The experiences are unparalleled. Yes, there are “mainstream” attractions like the Zoo, or the CN tower, or Nathan Phillips Square; but then you’ve got so many hidden gems in the city (I’ll feature those, too!). There is always something happening, whether Glendon is hosting (like the awesome annual Kajama boat cruise!!!) or you drop in on an event on your own time (TIFF, Francophonie en Fête, Let’s Go Global, Harvest Fest). You truly make the city your own by engaging in the different facets of diversity that it offers.
I hope this calmed some of your fears or apprehensions about moving to this gorgeous and vibrant city! I never thought I could love it, but I was wrong (as I can be sometimes…but shhhhh don’t tell anyone!). Try it out, I promise that it will grow on you as quickly as it did on me ❤
Much Toronto lovin’ and DFTBA,
p.s. this :