The Frugal Traveler finds Toronto more expensive than years ago, but shares a wonderful weekend with readers, filled with our kind of city exploration and good eating. In fact, Matt Gross walks our local neighborhoods, visits Kensington Market, and the New Yorker heard about and dines at our favorite Vietnamese place, Rua Vang Golden Turtle.
The Times picture of the hot dog stand at Queen West and Spadina belies the vibrant cool of this very intersection. Most of the city’s design firms are within 3 blocks walk, the fashion district across the street, the best Queen West clubs a block either way, and Chinatown 3 blocks North. We’ve had coffees at the Lettieri (behind the hot dog stand) many times with friends.
The Frugal one explores on foot, and finds the mix of cultures from one street to the next exhilarating. These are real communities within the city, with ethnic restaurants and shops interspersed with the typical Big City coffee shops, boutiques, and clubs.
As I walked north, Ossington became more Vietnamese (billiards, video stores), then Portuguese (banks, sports bars) and a bit Italian (kitchen supplies). Very multiculti — no wonder Jane Jacobs, the proponent of urban diversity, settled in Toronto.
Toronto – city of the future, happening today. That may be why our “new Jane Jacobs” Richard Florida also settled here, to take his spot at the Rotman School of Business at U of T. Paul Krugman’s piece about Berlin’s alt-transportation in the same Times edition (Stranded in Suburbia), could have been written about Toronto as a sizeable city on the brink of transforming, from mostly-cars to mostly-not. Give us a couple of years. Transformation takes time. To see how far our collective awareness has come, just follow neighbor Greg Greene’s documentaries, End of Suburbia and Escape from Suburbia. Many people scoffed at the End of Suburbia, but just a few short years later, the scenarios are real and are playing out every day. At the end of this day, a large dense, walkable city with great neighbors is the perfect getaway, and the perfect next place to live.