there’s a reason I love this town

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Back from a good Nova Scotia style vacation and straight into whatever my normal life is I suppose. Every time I come back from down home it gets a little harder to be in Toronto. People seem a little more aggressive, the air seems determined to choke the holiday freshness right out of my chest, things are just a lot more intense. It’s really easy to stumble down an endless path of Toronto bashing which so many people do. There’s definitely a lot to hate about this city, or any urban enviroment in general.


I’m a guy who takes pleasure in the small things, sounds and sights we may not always pay attention to, so every day for the next 7 days, as a form of Toronto re-entry therapy, I’m going to post a reason why I love it here, because I honestly do. This city has been good to  and for me, and I’m extremely lucky to be able to live the way I do here. So, for today’s reason I love Toronto….

You can get a haircut from a Phillippino Sailor.

I desperately needed a trim yesterday, and my usual lady was out of commission, so I went on the hunt in my neighborhood. I really love the idea of a barbershop; a sort of hub for goings on in the area, stories being told, people yelling about sporting events, etc, so I thought I’d try one out. First stop was a place 2 blocks from my house that I noticed a little while ago. Went to door and found the barber asleep with a ciggarette in his mouth and a bottle of Polish vodka on the table. Sooooo maybe not the vibe I’m looking for. Next stop? Mike’s Barbershop, on the corner of Dovercourt and Ossington. Now we’re talking. 2 dudes in the chair, 1 guy cutting hair, the other giving a straight razor shave. Happy.

Ended up with Joe, an early 40′s super nice guy who got his haircut training by cutting his 20 ship mates hair while they sailed around the world delivering goods. He moved from the Philippines about 10 months ago and is doing his best to settle in with his wife and son. He’s finding the language barrier ab bit tough, but said he loves the extreme cultural diversity of Toronto, all the foods, all the different people. He said he feels like he lives in a city where no one is from here, but is doing their best to make it home. It’s true for anyone who moves to anywhere,  but coming from him it home. I’ve met countless amazing humans here in Toronto who have over the years gave me directions when I was lost, come after me because I left my bank card in the machine, left my wallet on the counter of a store, etc.

Point is, all of us are trying in our own way to make Toronto home, even if it’s not home forever. We help each other do that, we’re not alone in feeling totally out of place, and as long as people like Joe are around to remind of that, I’ll be able to handle it here for a while yet.

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One thought on “there’s a reason I love this town

  1. Joanna says:

    Hi buddy! I just wanted to mention that “phillippino” is actually spelled “filipino”, in english. In filipino, we spell it as “pilipino”, for everyone who speaks english. Why? Because there’s no F in the Philippine alphabet. Now, if YOU were filipino, you’d use the most accurate/authentic word to reference someone else of Philippine decent – “pinoy”, which is the tagolog word for “filipino”. ;)

    Oh, and the word Philippines only has one L. I know. I had to remind myself every time until grade 6. We didn’t make up that rule. We call our country, Republika ng Pilipinas!

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