It’s true, it seems, though inhabitants decry the lack of reasons proffered by critics. Still, one only has to read between the lines of the signs leading into this city of 7 million inhabitants to understand. There, in plain English (if not on the lips of many), lies the subtext of existence in the Centre of the Universe: Welcome to Toronto—Now Fuck Off.
It’s called the T-Dot, T.O., Smoke City, Hogtown, the City that Fun Forgot. Many outsiders sarcastically deem it the Centre of the Universe. From the miraculous CN Tower (soon to be second-highest free-standing structure in the world) to the forever-marginal Maple Leafs, Toronto’s got mediocrity all sewn up. Perhaps that’s why, nationwide and to the individual, Canadians believe Toronto sucks. The Newfies hate it, Haligonians and Calgarians too, while Vancouverites, between bong hits, vehemently agree and talk constant shit about it. So what if none of these people have actually been there—are skiers any different? Of course not.
Perhaps nowhere in Canada is the term Onterrible (that refers to the province of Ontario, of which Toronto is capital) more celebrated than in ski towns. And though 95.5 per cent of everyone in a ski town, other than French-Canadians and Aussies, are generally from in or around the Big Smoke, there’s still a lull of awkward silence and sympathetic compassion when you announce yourself as a Torontonian; with no good rejoinder, the silence is usually broken by someone announcing back, “Leafs Suck!” Which, either brilliantly or fortuitously, can’t be argued.
The reasons Canadians cite for hating Toronto are as vast and varied as the multicultural hordes who inhabit it. Albert Nerenberg, a Montreal filmmaker whose latest documentary, Let’s All Hate Toronto, examines the issue closely (and humorously), uncovered strangely polarized reasoning: it’s too white, it’s too multicultural; it’s too uptight, it’s too liberal; it’s Canada’s media centre, it’s the financial capital; it thinks it’s New York, it thinks it’s Hong Kong; the Leafs suck, the Leafs suck.
Yup, seems everyone has a different schizophrenic reason to despise Canada’s largest city. “You can blame anything on Toronto,” says Nerenberg. “You split your pants? It’s Toronto’s fault. It’s raining? Toronto’s fault.”
So if Toronto truly sucks, why cover it from a skiing perspective? Because it can be argued that while Toronto may not be on the radars of western or Quebecois skiers, it still matters. It’s not a destination for skiers, but rather the country’s largest breeding ground for them. And if ski-tour operators, equipment manufacturers, and the country’s flagging resorts can milk the teat of Toronto’s financial success through the skiers it churns out to populate the nation’s hills and almost-hills, then beauty. They gotta come from somewhere, eh?
Everyone hates Toronto, but everyone loves money, which is why the city will always matter.