Sometimes looking at things from a distance, from another perspective, can lead to new awareness.
View from its sidewalks Toronto is immense.
It forces you to stand up and feel small in front of the imposing skyscrapers.
Small in front of a growing city that offers many stimuli.
But what happens if you look at it from other points of view?
On a cold April evening, an initial answer to this question arrived.
To stop the quiet in the room of my hostel, the All Days Hostel in Selby Street, a side street of the busiest Sherbourne Street, a message was enough.
“Do you go out tonight?”.
“I’m already in my pajamas, it’s too cold.”
“In 20 minutes I’m in front of the hostel. Get dressed and go out ».
The cold was stinging, in the days before it had snowed, but that evening was clear and walking in the neighborhood I was looking up to admire the windows of the skyscrapers lit one by one as night fell.
“Who knows how to live up there?” I thought aloud;
“Find a place where we can find out,” was the reply.
Two blocks later I was at number 55 on Bloor Street West, in the building that also houses the cineplex. The finger pressed on the elevator button indicated the number 51 and it took 10 seconds to get to the penthouse of the skyscraper. When the sliding doors opened, a soft music introduced me into a room with carefully laid tables, a lounge area where white-collar workers gathered after work, but above all in front of a terrace from which one could admire a breathtaking view.
I was at The One Eighty.
“Nice place, right?”
“Do you mind if I go out to look at the view?”
“But you weren’t cold?”
” Now no longer “
In reality, I had a lot of cold, but the view of the Toronto skyline in the evening, with the illuminated CN Tower, had warmed my heart.
It wasn’t the first time I had seen Toronto from above, I had seen it from the CN Tower during the day, but in the evening it took on another fascination.
I was stunned for I don’t know how many minutes to observe all those lights that were lost on the horizon.
«Sara is ready pizza, come on»
«I’m coming, thanks»
Between me and me, however, a thought had begun to make its way: “Toronto, in the evening, is made for the dreamers. Those who come out despite the cold, who are lost in search of the rooftop bar, those who laugh coming out of the elevator in the wrong plane and run back into it. The evening in Toronto is made for those who admire the skyline and get excited, and wouldn’t want to be elsewhere, because, at that moment, there is everything they needed to feel alive”.
And I, at that moment, I felt more alive than ever.
Looking at the world from new perspectives always leaves a mark.
Sometimes you can understand it better, others can discover unknown corners, other times you can better understand yourself.
I knew that there was an island in front of Toronto, but I had never been there until one afternoon when the sun played hide and seek in the clouds and the air smelled of the lake, I was able to discover it.
That day I felt like walking, I wanted to lose myself, not to stop my legs until they gave in. I was homesick, but because of the time zone there was no one on the other side of the phone.
One more reason to walk, one more reason to do it alone.
But I was never alone in Toronto, I’ve never been, because someone always came at the right time.
«Today you are stranger than usual»
«I have my heart elsewhere»
«I’ll take you to my favorite place in the city»
“Where are we going?”
” In nature”
«But we are in the middle of the skyscrapers»
«You will soon see»
Past the baseball stadium,
left the palaces of finance and the docks of the long lake, with its green areas and its cafes, I ended up at the port.
“We take the ferry, it costs 14 dollars, but it will be worth it”
” Agree, you find me on one of those beautiful wooden chairs, they are like those of American films. I’m going on that rose. “
I waited. I waited for emails or messages from home, waiting for the ferry. I waited.
Even Lake Ontario, reflecting the clouds in the sky, had become as gray as my thoughts. The water was rippled only by the motion of the ferry that, placid, was coming to bring me who knows where.
“Come in and sit here, the show begins.”
It really was a show.
The boat slowly slid over the lake’s waters and the skyscrapers moved more and more away from my horizon, creating a modern, postcard-like landscape.
Half an hour’s crossing and I was in another world.
The cement had been replaced by immense green fields. Around me, there were also streams and small ponds with little ducks. I was in nature and only half an hour’s drive from the city.
Toronto Island has thus become one of my favorite places.
While on one side it offers a spectacular view of the city, on the other, the eye opens on the immensity of the lake that overlooks the United States of America.
«I must leave a sign of my passage»
“But Sara, are you crazy?”
«No, now with the pen I make a small S on the quay overlooking the lake so, one day, I’ll come back here and I’ll look for it to remind me of this moment».
I really did the S.
I made it remind me that I was there, at that moment, by my will and that I was surviving in a metropolis.
I did it because I am convinced that one day I will walk again on that bank of Toronto Island. And I did it because looking at the city from that perspective, new and different, I appreciated even more what Toronto was giving me in those moments: new awareness and the serenity that is reached when a dream becomes reality.