Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Toronto the Good

Like many big-city condo/apartment dwellers, I tend to neglect my building's rooftop terrace. I don't know why this is, exactly. I guess it's because I feel that it's kind of a public space, like a park, and devoid of the privacy I would be able to enjoy if I had, say, my own backyard.

In any case, I decided to brave the rooftop last night to test the night-portrait setting on my digital camera. These are the results. They're a striking reminder of the urban beauty that surrounds me every day. Is it the same kind of beauty that you will find in, say, the wilds of northern Ontario? No, but it is beautiful nonetheless.

And green, in its own way. Along with a multitude of other Torontonians, I walk to work every day. And while big cities are certainly a major source of greenhouse-gas emissions and other noxious pollutants, individual Torontonians emit half as much of the earth-warming gas as the average Canadian. Why? Mainly because all of this population density means that services and businesses all tend to be within easy reach. Add in a (usually) functional mass-transit system and an ever-expanding network of bike trails and community gardens, and what you get is the kind of sustainable lifestyle that many in rural communities can only dream of.

But it's definitely not for everyone. Does it drive me nuts some days? Absolutely. I've never been one for crowds. But it is a place that has so much to offer, culturally, historically, and artistically, that right now I wouldn't trade it for anything else.

And best of all, when it starts to run me down and I just have to get out, it's only a short drive to the mystery and adventure of Georgian Bay, or the sun-drenched beaches of Lake Erie. And right here at my doorstep, Lake Ontario beckons, even though it's a well-kept secret that Toronto is one of the busiest port cities in Canada.

And the view's not too bad, either.

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