What makes a city? What makes Toronto? Surely it can’t just be pristine skyscrapers and expensive financial districts that tower over us in all their stainless steel and chrome magnificence? Perhaps the answer lies in adorable cat cafes, or artistically disheveled areas that appeal to one’s secret hipster aesthetics. Or maybe all I have to do is gaze into the horizon at the CN tower silhouetted against the sky? The iconic symbol of this city. Is this it? Is the answer really quite so simple?
A city is not merely a landscape. It is an entity; it is created by the people who live there. ‘Toronto’ isn’t merely a word that is used to solely identify the geographical portion of land inhabited by certain people in an urban landscape. Toronto has an identity of its own, created by the joint histories of all the people who lived here over time. And if people are the ones who created this city, then it is natural it is the citizens who have the final right over this city. The right to shape the reality they live in, as well as impact the present and future of the city.
“The question of what kind of city we want cannot be divorced from that of what kind of social ties, relationship to nature, lifestyles, technologies and aesthetic values we desire. The right to the city is far more than the individual liberty to access urban resources: it is a right to change ourselves by changing the city” – David Harvey
David Harvey’s quote reflects this ideal perfectly. Every person has the power to create an impact – in any way they choose. So I choose to write.
This blog will therefore document the journey of a young international student, as she attempts to make sense of the alien environment that she has inserted herself in, and along the way do her best to make a difference (or to disturb the status quo/ create ripples/ have an impact – pick the cliché of your choice) with the combined formidable power of words and the internet.