Dear Councillor Holyday,
I grew up in the suburbs. I rode the bus for over an hour a day to get to and from school. I felt trapped until the age of sixteen, unable to go anywhere or do anything by myself (except mope). A walk to the convenience store was a pilgrimage on par with the Westward Migration. Going anywhere or doing anything required walking across busy intersections and inhospitable parking lots, scaling fences and balance-beaming the medians.
I consider myself so fortunate to live in downtown Toronto today, and to be able to raise my almost two year-old in an environment where we can walk to a park that has a water-slide in less than five minutes.
What else can we do? Just about everything. It’s lovely. We can stroll everywhere. We have approximately 742 playmates (90% of whom are named Felix, Henry or Beatrice - awesome names, don’t you think?) within a four second walk from our house. We have our pick of splash pads, parks, community drop-in centres and cool cafés. We go to the farmers market once a week, and the gallery once a month.
Probably sounds like a cliché to you, but it is a wonderful way to live. I feel safer here (and studies show I am) than I ever felt in suburbia, and I feel happy knowing I’m giving my daughter a life with approximately 459% less schlepping and 345,295%* more accessibility to life, socialization, nature and good food** than I ever had.
I hope you will visit our wonderful neighbourhood of Christie Pits one of these days. I’m sure we’d love to have you at our annual Montrose street party, too. Not scary at all, I promise! (Unless you count the East Side versus West Side dance competition)
Thanks very much for your time,
*adjusted for Walmart.
(sent Friday, July 13 to Councillor Doug Holyday and cc’ed to Councillor Adam Vaughan)