I arrived to Toronto for the first time in jeans and a t-shirt, fresh-faced and impressionable, with a mouth in the shape of an O as I took in what was a sprawling city in the nineties and is now, a haven of high rises that bely a much greater depth than can be grasped during a mere 12 hours. Which is about how long my first visit lasted.
I arrived with the love of my high school life, my best friend and her boyfriend. We ladies changed into literal ball gowns on the top of a parking garage, half in and half out of a Saturn with the kind of bucket seats that it takes serious effort to get in or out of. The boys slipped easily into what passed for dress clothes for males still in the throes of puberty. My ball gown was red not unlike the lady in the song played at adolescent school dances and my best friend wore cotton candy pink. Our loves were treating us to a showing of The Phantom of the Opera at the Pantages Theatre. In those days, it was a huge deal as the rumors of it closing circulated widely around North America on a weekly basis. We drove through the very early morning hours in that cramped Saturn to get to Toronto, we returned to the suburbs of Detroit under cover of darkness, technically that same day. Like spies who have a penchant for the performing arts it was an epic adventure all completed in the space of less than 24 hours. There were giggles, there was drama but there was no difficulty crossing the border between the United States and Canada in those pre-9/11 days.
Fast forward almost two decades. No longer fresh-faced but still in some ways just as impressionable, with a divorce behind me and a life very different from what I envisioned when I was actually delusional enough to think that my first love might be my only love, I arrived again in Toronto for a press trip that would include the great city and greater Ontario.
This time, I boarded an early Porter Airlines flight from Newark after enjoying their gate-side lounge with fellow travel colleagues, consumed one of the best onboard meals I’ve ever had and landed what felt like minutes later on an island which was followed by a ferry ride to the city — all before I would have even crossed the border between Michigan and Ontario, via car.
I’ve been to Toronto numerous times. Every time since that first it has been for work, but something about this trip was different. I’d never arrived by plane and yet there was some kind of symmetry that I still can’t put my finger on. Between my first trip and this last. View full post »