Saturday, May 23, 2009

If You Have To Say It... What Does It Say?

As Toronto celebrates its 175th year, I'm detecting a bit of a shift in the rhetoric about its standing as a city from an odd combination of self-conscious insecurity and righteous indignation, to the realization that, by jove, we are terrific and we shouldn't apologize for it.

Exhibit D*, from an article about the local literary scene in the Official Guide to Doors Open Toronto (which is celebrating its 10th year and a wonderful way to experience the city - more on that later):

"In the greater scheme of things, Toronto is still a bit of an adolescent. But the confidence that our writers now have to set their work in Toronto and to find their inspiration in Toronto speaks to a city that's coming of age, wanting to be real, not trying to be a Paris or London or New York or wherever." Jane French, Project Manager, Doors Open Toronto

"In the past, we've had this compulsion to compare ourselves to other cities - to say that literature matters if it comes from New York or Chicago or Mumbai or London or Dublin, but if it comes from Toronto it's provincial and parochial and doesn't matter as much. That's been part of the problem. What's changed is that we've started measuring the city against its own merits." Amy Lavender Harris, Geography Professor, York University

*This exhibit business began in my April 9 post:

Friday, May 15, 2009

And the Winner is...

A few weeks ago, I threw out the challenge: "I'm anxiously waiting for the day when an article in a popular media outlet boldy praises Toronto without apologizing, looking backwards or making comparisons."

And the winner is... The New York Times. In a travel article on Toronto, posted today but dated for Sunday's issue:

My favourite line is about the Frank Gehry-designed renovation of the AGO: "It’s a stunning homecoming for an architect credited with helping other cities flourish, not that Toronto needs a hand."

There's a pretty nice slideshow too (can you guess the location of the photo above?)

Bumptious Yankee Alert

Exhibit C, From today's Globe and Mail:

On Richard Florida, "tireless promoter of the so-called 'creative economy,' best-selling economist and famous would-be Canadian":

"Clearly, this man will never fit in to Toronto, no matter how hard he tries...He is relentlessly positive about the city and its prospects. He's all silver linings, no clouds. He's so American!That's what makes him such a great catch for Toronto, despite any eye-rolling that mention of the "creative class" might now inspire among hype-weary locals. The city needs a regular infusion of bumptious Yankees. It wouldn't be Toronto without them."

Well, having just reviewed the definitions of bumptious available online, I'm not going to count myself as one of them. A great catch, maybe!