I don’t feel like I know Toronto at all. I’ve lived in Toronto – GTA in this sense – for 14 years before going to Europe for grad studies, and as much as I call it home, I don’t know it. Then again, one must first define “Toronto”. Is it the GTA – Greater Toronto Area – that contains regions such as Scarborough, Markham, North York? Or just downtown Toronto? For the rest of this entry, “Toronto” will refer to just “downtown Toronto”.
It was expected that this three-week trip back home would be a busy one, filled with meeting friends and preparation for three important events: my baptism, which happened on September 8th, my best friend's wedding on September 15th for which I am the maid of honour, and my mid-term confirmation exam on September 28th. Yes, it is my “vacation” of the year, but it is barely a vacation at all.
Still, it’s always good to see old friends. Last Wednesday I met up with Derek, one of my housemates for four years in university. We went downtown to SkyDome – yes, Rogers Centre, but I refuse to call it that as I still live in the past – for a baseball game with the Toronto Blue Jays playing against the Baltimore Orioles. It was the second baseball game I went to, the first one being the Jays against the Boston Red Sox some years back. I had never been a huge fan of baseball, but Derek loves it. Though I didn’t know all the rules of the game, I had a great time just hanging out and experiencing a vivid stadium atmosphere.
At a glance, Toronto is like any other large, fast-paced metropolitan city. You look up to not see the sky, but skyscrapers. I’ve worked in Toronto during two of my six work terms in university, both at the corner of University Avenue and College Street. I also go downtown from time to time to hang out with my friends. I love Toronto, but I would have to conclude that I like to go downtown for leisure, but I definitely would not want to work there every day.
Here stands the CN Tower, a symbol of Toronto, behind Union station, where I was to meet Derek that day. Union station was like a tourist destination for me. I rarely had to go there when I lived in Scarborough, and when I did, it was always just passing by. That was why I felt so lost when I exited the TTC station at Union, especially since it was rush hour. People dashing from here to there, trying to reach their next destination on time…that is not the lifestyle I want to have. I probably looked like an anomaly, walking around slowly and leisurely. Or perhaps I’ve just been in France for too long.
This is the part of Union station that Derek said “looks like Grand Central station”. Of course the flow of traffic is mainly underground in the concourse area, but I liked this part of the station. Toronto is already considered not so busy compared to some train stations in Europe that I’ve been to, like Cologne and Paris. Yet it’s still just another big city…
…and here we are at SkyDome for the beginning of the game! The stadium was by no means full or even close to being full, but it was filled with enthusiastic spectators. When people are interested in a sport, they can get so into it! The crowd sang “Take me out to the ball game” halfway through the game. I knew of the song from Barney when my sister watched it as a kid, but to sing along in an actual game was definitely a first for me!
The Orioles are batting! Intense focus on the batters face…who will win the game?
And here is the pitcher for the Jays. I have no idea who anyone was, but during the game I learned a few names, at least on the Jays team. There was Rajai Davis, and Edwin Encarnacion, and…okay they’re the only two I remembered clearly. Perhaps it was because they were awesome.
Ah, good ol’ CN Tower again, lit up at night. I don’t remember the last time (and the only time) I went up…it was probably some ten years ago. I’d like to go up again, preferably at night, and see the full splendour of Toronto lit up at night. It’s probably not inferior than Paris…let’s see if I get a chance before I go back to France.
Here’s an adorable snack vendor who carries a whole rack of snacks on his head without supporting it with his hands. I wonder how long it took for him to be able to do that…
Well, the Jays won in the end! Even a baseball n00b like me stood up and cheered as the last Orioles batter in the game was struck out, and everyone cheered! Much better compared to the loss to the Red Sox in my previous baseball game, hehe 😉