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