A Trip to Lotusland

I’m on my way to Vancouver.  Technically, I would be qualified to write a Local Tourist post from there because I lived in Vancouver for 4 years.  And when I returned to Toronto, I brought a lot of happy memories with me.  But truthfully, it never quite felt like home.

Vancouver has been nicknamed Lotusland.  This is how I think of it. The people who live there tell you they wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.  They say things like “I don’t mind the rain, you get used to it.”  I never did.  And first time visitors become hypnotized.  When you visit there – on a sunny day – the mountains and the beach and the happy Lotus-eaters will seduce you also into thinking, “why would anyone want to live anywhere else?”

But I’m happy living here in Toronto.  And here are a few of my reasons:

I enjoy sunlight.  Give me -6 degrees and sunny over +2 and rainy any day.  And it’s not just the rain.  It’s the duration of  Vancouver’s rainy spells.  One day I counted 17 days without seeing sunlight.

I like swimming in our lakes.  Yes, living on the ocean is a great idea – but the water is too cold for swimming.  (One might challenge me on the assertion that our own lake is “swim-able” but as an Ontario cottage-goer, I’m speaking about lakes in general.)

There are lots of options for a weekend getaway that don’t involve camping.  As much as I like spending time here, I also appreciate the freedom of being able to plan a short trip to Montreal, or New York or Chicago (and you can choose to go by plane, train or automobile).  From Vancouver, the getaway options are more limited, unless you include Seattle.  Where it’s rainy.

We have a big community of muliticultural neighbourhoods.  When I lived away from Toronto, I found that I took this variety for granted. I missed the city’s many options for ethnic food and ingredients, and the atmosphere of our own Little Italy, or the Danforth or Kensington.

I’m not a skier.  Vancouverites might argue that they’re advantaged by living so close to ski hills.  Living in a place removed from access to local ski hills doesn’t make one bit of difference to me.

But I do like going back to visit Vancouver.  I miss Granville Island Market and Kits Beach.  I miss the friends I left there, the laid-back attitude and weekend celebrations that came together spontaneously and not after weeks of advance planning.  And I do miss those illusive, idyllic sunny days.

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But Toronto is home.

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