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I still struggle with how I feel about Toronto, let alone the Annex. I recently returned to this city after living in London (UK); each time I came back to visit, it became less and less home for me, despite my family and friends being here. This became a sentiment I couldn’t explain to them, and one I couldn’t explain to myself either. What was it about Toronto that made me feel so uncertain?
I was on my way to Bendale Library to attend one of the walks that editor and co-owner of Spacing magazine, Shawn Micallef, was organising as part of his writing residency at the Toronto Public Library. Bendale branch was located in an area of Scarborough I’ve never been to; I was part excited, part intrigued. It’s not that I’ve never been to Scarborough, it’s just somewhere I’ve never hung out in. And aside from taking a summer school class by Finch East and Brimley (I dreaded that commute), there was never any reason for me to go there. Most of my friends lived downtown and since I lived in the Annex, I was within walking distance to the TTC, the grocery store, the pharmacy, coffee shops, the cinema, loads of restaurants appealing to all sorts of palates, and most importantly, to Honest Ed’s, which became a one-stop shop for me. Anything north of St. Clair, is practically strange, foreign to me. I know, a horrible thing to admit, but it’s a common sentiment that many downtowners share: anything north of Bloor, or Dupont even, is “far”. The same can be said of those who live out of the downtown core. Despite that we pride in the fact that we’re a city of neighbourhoods, we tend to remain within a certain zone. Anything out of it, we can’t be bothered.