I really like Tourism Toronto’s new spot.

Engineered by J. Walter Thompson, the new spot is a wonderful celebration of everything the 416/647/905/289 has to offer. I am not sure if the ad was released in celebration of the city’s milestone 183rd birthday, but that’s my guess.

The spot focuses on three F’s that make Toronto great right now: Food, Being a Fan, and Freedom.

This city tastes so damn good right now. When I moved here, the restaurant scene had no imagination. A waterfront patio or a view from an office building masqueraded as an atmosphere. Quickly prepared and even more quickly served Asian food pretended to be experimental. The removal of tablecloths at 9:00 PM, to make way for a dance floor, falsely signaled hipness.

Today, there are more places to dine than days in the week. Neighbourhood flavours are popping up and establishing delineated neighbourhood pockets that offer multiple options. Young people have made finding the latest brunch place into an art form. Condo after condo is rising to provide even more clients than most proprietors could imagine.

Food is also our moist outward symbol of our multiculturalism, which, thanks to President Trump, is high on the conscious of the entire world right now. Canada has longed to open its doors to the world and the collection of top menus profiled by Toronto Life demonstrates the benefit of that.

This city is also playing damn well right now. Is it possible with the rise of the Maple Leafs, renewed leadership at the Argos and the continued excellence of TFC/Jays/Raps, that 2017 could mark us going 5 for 5 in reaching the playoffs? Our teams’ performance has only been outshone by amazing marketing and player engagement. We The North is a timeless and brilliant marketing campaign. The Bautista bat flip should be in Cooperstown if it isn’t already. The media even seems to like the current Leafs brass  

My Dad used to tease me as a young Leafs fan. His patented expression “Poor old Toronto” could regularly be applied to many of the lean long downturns our teams have faced, but I smell a parade coming before you know it. Will it be a World Series? A Coupe Grey? Lord Stanley’s mug? My prediction? Raptors. 2017 NBA Champions. You heard it here first. Raps-Rockets, we win in 7!

Long before the world has decided to take a turn back to the Stone Age and erect borders, Brexits and brick walls, Toronto has been one of the most welcoming places on Earth. I found this as a young mixed race individual moving here with no track record and today we continue to do so. Unfortunately, the most famous Black Jew that Canada has produced isn’t me, though I’m giving Drake a good chase. JK!!! 

Drake is no refugee, but I love his eagerness to stump for our city at almost every chance he gets. We are a city that accepts everyone and our backbone is going to be tested more and more over the next few years. 

I only have small quibble with the Toronto Tourism’s piece – proclaiming Toronto as “Canada’s Downtown.” Guess the tourism marketers decided we don’t need any visitors from the rest of Canada. Perhaps they haven’t travelled across this great land and realized the dislike our fellow citizens have for our arrogance. In fact, I thought by loaning the Raps and Jays to the rest of the country that we were building new bridges (I’m only half joking).

Toronto is no more Canada’s downtown than Bay Street is my bank or Ossington is my rec room or Leslieville is my garden. Toronto, like Vancouver, Halifax, Chicoutimi, Lethbridge and Brandon, is a window into Canada. What you see through that window is a lot different than what you would see through the Fort McMurray or Port Hawkesbury window, but we aren’t anybody’s downtown. 

But that’s just my point of view. The View from/of Toronto is a pretty good one. So, let’s share it and not flaunt it!