THE CON­VER­SA­TION

Toronto Life - - Contents - Please email your com­ments to let­ters@toron­to­life.com, or mail them to Let­ters,Toronto Life, 111 Queen St. E., Ste. 320, Toronto,Ont. M5C 1S2. All com­ments may be edited for ac­cu­racy, length and clar­ity.

Mil­lion-Dol­lar Ba­bies

Our cover story on the GTA’s next hot neigh­bour­hoods was met with much grum­bling about what con­sti­tutes “af­ford­able” in 2017. For the record, we’re equally ap­palled that houses for un­der a mil­lion are hard to find.…

“‘Af­ford­able’ [laugh­ing emoji] Oh, Toronto Life, as usual, you have a sick sense of hu­mour.”

—Meghan Storey, Face­book

But the story had its fans—in­clud­ing this woman, who was stoked to see her neigh­bour­hood ranked No. 3:

“Cur­rently liv­ing in West Rouge and pinch my­self ev­ery day. It takes me longer to put the ca­noe on the roof of the car than to drive to the Rouge!”

—Krista Marie Green, Face­book

Food Fight

Re­ac­tion to “A Restau­rant Ru­ined My Life,” Robert Maxwell’s me­moir about his dis­as­trous run at be­ing a restau­ra­teur, was, in a word, fever­ish. Buz­zFeed ran a piece (with many an­gry CAPS and com­pound-ex­cla­ma­tion points!!!) en­ti­tled: “Please Stop What You’re Do­ing and Read This Failed Restau­ra­teur’s Bat­shit Story.” Here’s a telling tid­bit from that:

“Maxwell, who had no ex­pe­ri­ence in food or busi­ness (!!!), de­cided to open a restau­rant and, well... it didn’t go as he’d en­vi­sioned it would. Be­cause of course it didn’t!!! The whole thing is stun­ningly, breath­tak­ingly ar­ro­gant, and made me yell, “THIS GUY !!!! ” and “OH MY GOD” and “ARE YOU SE­RI­OUS?” re­peat­edly. And be­cause I don’t want to ex­pe­ri­ence it alone, I now give you some of the most holy shit lines…. 1. ‘I was a foodie with a bor­ing day job who fig­ured he could run a restau­rant.’ First line of the dek and I’m al­ready mad !!!! ”

—Rachel Wilk­er­son Miller

Ap­par­ently peo­ple found it dif­fi­cult (and yet im­pos­si­ble not) to read about Maxwell’s many self-sab­o­tag­ing de­ci­sions. Schaden­freude-filled threads cropped up ev­ery­where. Here’s a small sam­pling from among the pub­lish­able ones (which sub­stan­tially re­duces the pool).

“The only peo­ple dumber than those who say ‘Wow, I want to be a writer. Just be cre­ative and the money pours in!’ are those who say ‘I love cook­ing for my loved ones; I’ll open a restau­rant and ev­ery­one will love me!’ ”

—@NMa­matas, Twit­ter

“I’ll fol­low my dream and start a restau­rant with zero ex­pe­ri­ence and only $60,000. What could pos­si­bly go wrong? Spoiler alert: Ev­ery­thing.” —fark.com

“Guess a foodie learned the hard way there is a lot more to the in­dus­try than watch­ing a few cook­ing shows, and hav­ing a Yelp ac­count and an In­sta­gram feed of their av­o­cado toast.”

—Nick Wat­son, Face­book

“The hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try is no place for am­a­teurs to tread. This fel­low is damn lucky that he didn’t OD.”

—Peg Wolfe, toron­to­life.com

“Oh god this gives me an anx­i­ety at­tack. Poor guy, what a stupid set of de­ci­sions. At least he lives in Canada so they all have health care and so­cial ser­vices.”

—Frowner, Me­taFil­ter

“No mat­ter how ter­ri­ble your life choices, you will feel sub­stan­tially bet­ter about them af­ter read­ing this.” —@WFKARS, Twit­ter

Which is not to say the piece didn’t elicit some com­pas­sion for the writer’s plight.

“Robert Maxwell pro­duced an ex­cel­lent ar­ti­cle, not merely be­cause of its in­ter­est­ing sto­ry­telling, but be­cause it gave an ex­am­ple of hon­est, av­er­age fail­ure. Most sto­ries that cover a per­son’s for­tune in life ei­ther de­scribe ex­tra­or­di­nary suc­cess or ter­ri­ble tragedy. For the ma­jor­ity of peo­ple, the for­mer eludes them while the lat­ter mer­ci­fully never vis­its them. Ba­sic yet crush­ing fail­ure is some­thing that can more read­ily walk quite eas­ily into most any­one’s life, es­pe­cially when peo­ple are in pas­sion­ate pur­suit of their dreams.”

—Gary Pem­ber­ton, Toronto

“Wise man once told me the best way to be­come a mil­lion­aire was to start off as a mul­ti­mil­lion­aire and then open a restau­rant .... Cruel, heart­break­ing busi­ness.”

—Mike El­liott, Face­book

“Tough­est busi­ness I know… you ei­ther have to be a rich, well­con­nected chef/celebrity or a drug king­pin to run a suc­cess­ful restau­rant in Toronto.”

—Bobby Smith, Face­book

“Read­ing this is like watch­ing a hor­ror movie. Don’t rent that space! Don’t cash out your re­tire­ment! Oh god, no, don’t stick your hand in that rathole! It’s so blind­ingly ob­vi­ous that the knife is com­ing, but like ev­ery hor­ror movie pro­tag­o­nist be­fore and since, this poor man just stum­bles right into it. I wish him the best of luck re­cov­er­ing from this—to be hon­est, he came out some­what bet­ter than some other folks of my ac­quain­tance. At least he still has his mar­riage and a place to live….”

—ourobouros, Me­taFil­ter

“Time will tem­per these bad mem­o­ries as the debts are slowly paid back, and he will be left only with mem­o­ries of great re­views, sat­is­fied cus­tomers, happy em­ploy­ees and most of all the ac­com­plished feel­ing that he did it. Maybe it didn’t work out as planned, set him back from his re­tire­ment goals and strained his re­la­tion­ships, but at least he fol­lowed his dream. He’d have faced many more sleep­less nights had he not taken the chance.”

—Mike Mikel­son, toron­to­life.com

Telling Tales in School

Read­ers were al­most unan­i­mously ef­fu­sive in their praise of “The War Kids,” our piece about Syr­ian teens thriv­ing in Toronto and what they want to be when they grow up.

“This is so heart­warm­ing. Thank you @toron­to­life for shed­ding light on the progress and dif­fi­cul­ties fac­ing new Cana­di­ans flee­ing con­flict.”

—@CameronHBecker, Twit­ter

“A touch­ing and in­spir­ing read. Made me teary. Good for these kids; I hope they achieve—and sur­pass—their dreams.”

—On the side­lines, toron­to­life.com

“A whole new gen­er­a­tion of Cana­di­ans able to con­trib­ute to our cul­ture, so­ci­ety and econ­omy!”

—@Gen­uineImi­ta­tor, Twit­ter

“So very pleased to know these young new Cana­di­ans are thriv­ing and lov­ing life in their new coun­try.”

—@Cop­perBronzed, Twit­ter

“The War Kids are gold. Canada is so lucky to have them, with their great hopes for their fu­ture. I wish them all the best in their jour­ney.”

—Yas­min Praulins, Toronto

“Thank you for this ex­cel­lent trib­ute to the stu­dents who have found a place in our coun­try, our city and our schools. As an itin­er­ant teacher of deaf and hard-of­hear­ing stu­dents, I was as­signed to teach at Marc Garneau this year. While none of the stu­dents in your ar­ti­cle in­ter­act with me di­rectly, I know as I scan the faces in the study ar­eas, library and hall­ways, I am ab­sorb­ing the history, en­ergy and fragility of these in­di­vid­u­als who have left one world for another.

“I feel for­tu­nate to be a part of this school, as I take in the stu­dents’ en­thu­si­asm to learn and adapt. They smile of­ten, so­cial­ize ac­tively and grace our ed­u­ca­tional en­vi­ron­ment with hope, grat­i­tude and a sense of won­der.

“These stu­dents have fu­tures and their bright, open faces are a tes­ta­ment to that.”

—Rhonda Tep­per-Narod, TDSB

“Re­ally great story and at the right time. We’ve been help­ing a new­comer Syr­ian fam­ily who are keen to learn English, and their 13-year-old son is strug­gling. The vice-prin­ci­pal of his school told us about LEAP and is try­ing to get him in.”

—Barb Eh, toron­to­life.com

Oops!

A few goofs to cor­rect from our In­flu­en­tials pack­age. We got two peo­ple’s ages wrong: Walied Soli­man is 40, and Danielle Martin is 42. We re­ferred to Tokyo Smoke, the stoner bou­tique, sell­ing both pot para­pher­na­lia and ac­tual pot at the shop; the for­mer is cor­rect, the lat­ter is not. And we ran a ren­der­ing of One Bloor East in­stead of Mizrahi De­vel­op­ments’ The One in the “New Yorkville” side­bar.

Fi­nally, in our 2018 Eat­ing & Drink­ing guide, an old re­view of a long-de­funct Greek restau­rant ran un­der the Drake Com­mis­sary (what­ever you do, don’t go there look­ing for a ho­ri­atiki salad). The cor­rect re­view ap­pears in our Where to Eat list­ings on page 98 of this is­sue. Apolo­gies to all.

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