After weeks of contemplating future moves inside out and upside down, this evening, I finally came to the decision to move out of the city. Before I could officially close the books, an opportunity to stay presented itself and I was almost swayed by some friends. We all know when you live in a place long enough, and make it your own and meet friends who become your family and your rocks, that surely you can always come visit or even if things don’t work out… move back, no problem! Visiting, yes. Move back? Not part of my plan. I moved to Toronto in 2000 and passionately hated this city until about 2007. In that time, I secured an Italian passport and dual citizenship with the dream of running off to Europe. As a dry run, I decided to check out a couple of European cities on my own - I struck out to visit Amsterdam and Berlin. Explored both cities by bike, metro, train and my own two feet. Consulted with maps, talked to drivers, shop keepers, citizens and met fellow travelers. The experience was incredibly humbling. One afternoon, while enjoying a beer amongst some old ruins turned courtyard turned outdoor bar in Germany, I made a promise to myself. That when I got back home, I would teach myself how to love Toronto and I couldn’t leave until I learned how to live there. So I did. I explored the city’s ravines, both the Don and Humber River banks, visited all different kinds of churchs, heritage buildings, tiny museums, abandoned buildings, bridges and rail road tracks, off beaten spots by the lake in both the west and east ends of the city, biked to neighborhoods so far north, that the bike ride back down to my apartment was beyond exhausting, drank beer in tucked away parkettes, tanned on big rocks and small beaches that I can’t now recall how to get to, along with many bonfires and group picnics on the Toronto island. I made an active point to learn about historical streets, spots, facts and little known architectural gems in this city. I earned Toronto.
Through this process I fell in and and out love for the first time and I also taught myself how to take photographs. The past five years have undoubtedly transformed me and I can say with heartfelt confidence that I now know what it takes to make a place your home and truly love it.
I can’t wait to do it again.
“A place belongs forever to whoever claims it hardest, remembers it most obsessively, wrenches it from itself, shapes it, renders it, loves it so radically that he remakes it in his own image.”