Lake On­tario sucks com­pared to the At­lantic

A con­verted, ad­mir­ing Toron­to­nian looks long­ingly at a cul­ture and city I wish I could be a part of year-round.



Howe said that “if you take any Nova Sco­tian away...where he can­not view the At­lantic, smell salt wa­ter or see the sail of a ship, the man will pine and die.”

Howe con­nected Nova Sco­tia by print and rail, se­cured re­spon­si­ble gov­ern­ment and acted as an elo­quent spokesper­son for the province. He was also opin­ion­ated—in 1840, he du­eled a critic at Point Pleas­ant Park and lost, just nar­rowly dodg­ing his op­po­nent’s bul­let.

Howe’s fear­less­ness and pa­tri­o­tism make any­one else’s con­tri­bu­tions seem mi­nor. I’m teth­ered to the Univer­sity of Toronto for eight months of the year, where the clos­est I get to pro­mot­ing Hal­i­fax are my hand-trem­bling bids to get Joel Plas­kett play­ing at par­ties.

I came back to Hal­i­fax this sum­mer to work, see my fam­ily and smell some of that salt wa­ter. I was an out­lier. Most of my friends went to Toronto for the sum­mer. Two of my cousins worked down­town. One friend sweated it out on Bloor Street, while an­other worked at the univer­sity.

They’re all Haligo­ni­ans and they all miss Hal­i­fax. Lake On­tario—with its bor­ing, flat wa­ter—just isn’t the At­lantic. But they’re con­vinced that op­por­tu­nity lies else­where. The ex­o­dus isn’t out of spite or cyn­i­cism or self­im­por­tance. It’s out of ne­ces­sity: Toronto is the city that never sleeps, and Hal­i­fax is the city that never wakes up.

My cousin said that, “though I love Hal­i­fax and the re­cent de­vel­op­ments have me very ex­cited for its fu­ture, the work op­por­tu­ni­ties for a young pro­fes­sional in my in­dus­try are slim to none.”

He said that if Hal­i­fax con­tin­ues to grow at its cur­rent pace, “I could see a world where a Hal­i­fax fi­nance job ful­fills me.” He was echoed by the others. Maybe later on, but not now, one friend said. Would if I could, said an­other.

Toronto’s di­ver­sity, pace and pros­per­ity are un­prece­dented. The city is the main nerve of Cana­dian cui­sine, sports, art, ed­u­ca­tion and business. But it’s un­bal­anced. Com­mutes are long, na­ture’s sti­fled, streets are busy. Noise is ev­ery­where. The pock­ets where my friends and I clus­ter aren’t too glam­orous, ei­ther. It looks like what 1970s Canada would have been un­der the Sovi­ets: drab and grey and ev­ery­one dress­ing the same.

Com­ing back to Toronto’s Op­po­site gives you an ap­pre­ci­a­tion for it all. The re­vamped water­front is a seam­less blend of shop, ship and sea. Point Pleas­ant Park is green and leafy as can be. The Pub­lic Gar­dens is its usual beau­ti­ful self. Cars stop for jay­walk­ers, in­stead of the other way around. The cli­mate’s friendly and the peo­ple even more so. The city is compact, the down­town is grow­ing, the air is clear.

There’s a rea­son that I love this town, but I can’t quite nar­row it down. Once again, I’m an out­lier. When I asked my friend what he misses most about Hal­i­fax, what’d he re­ply? Put down the pis­tol, Mr. Howe. He quickly texted back, “the ocean,” with salt wa­ter al­most cer­tainly form­ing around his eyes.


Ted Fraser is a Hal­i­fax na­tive go­ing into his third year at the Univer­sity of Toronto.

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