NELSON: A nice place to visit, but that’s it

Jim Nelson - FILE PHOTO
Jim Nelson
— image credit: FILE PHOTO

My colleague, ironically paginated to my left, recently told me that he will be stationed in Toronto for a few months.

“Gee, that’s too bad,” I commiserated, always the empathetic Vancouverite.

He replied: “I don’t think so. I think Toronto is a better place to live than Vancouver.”

I just about spilled my Quinoa salad on my Emily Carr coffee table book. We knew we had a topic for this week’s column.

The last time I visited Toronto was in the fall. The weather was at its most pleasant — sunny and cool. The leaves were changing. The city was clean and cosmopolitan and I came away proud of Canada’s biggest city.

But Toronto at its best is still just a nice place to visit; one wouldn’t want to live there. Metro Vancouver (hereafter “Vancouver”) is an immeasurably better place to work and play.

There’s the weather.

Toronto has two seasons; tundra winters with ice storms, and humid, soggy tea bag summers, joined by a few weeks of cool sunshine, which presage the next torturous climatic onslaught.

Admittedly, Vancouverites are a bit smug about weather. We send easterners photos of January golf or crocuses blooming in early February.

But we’re smug because one can’t ski in the morning and sail in the afternoon in Toronto, or walk the seawall in a benevolent January Scotch mist, or choose to drive two hours to as much winter as one requires.

And six months of drizzle is a small price to pay for our peerless Vancouver summers.

Then there’s the mountains and the ocean. It’s difficult to venture away from them for any length of time, let alone live away from them, and Lake Ontario is no replacement. The tranquility of Vancouver’s setting more than replaces any allure of living in Canada’s supposed business and cultural hub.

Toronto is closer to big eastern U.S. cities (also with harsh climates), but Vancouver is the gateway to the Pacific — a short hop to the sun in Hawaii, the South Pacific, Asia, and southern California.

And which city finishes higher in any international ranking of the world’s most livable cities?

I played golf twice last week and took down my Christmas lights today in my shirtsleeves.


Oh, and then there’s the mayors…



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