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Old November 6th, 2019, 05:52 PM   #1
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A love letter to Buffalo, or a hate note to Toronto?

I spent a few days in Toronto last week, for a family wedding. I don't get to Toronto very often. In fact, the last time I was there was for another family wedding. I nearly always pop up, visit, and pop back in the same day.

Toronto has always been my ideal of a big city. When I was a kid, the CN Tower was just about the most amazing thing I'd ever seen, and the attractions - science museum, zoo, sports - were major league (sometimes literally) compared to what we had in Syracuse. When I was older, I visited New York City for the first of many times, and on paper that's more of a big city in nearly every way, but Toronto made that early impression on me that will never be surpassed.

I've heard about the negatives of massive growth, but I'd never experienced them for myself, and to be honest I dismissed them as the price you pay to live in a diverse, exciting city.

This visit was different. I feel like I was hit in the face with all of the negatives without any of the positives, and it really dulled Toronto's luster in my eyes. The sprawl. Dear God, the sprawl. I spent much of the three days driving between my hotel, another hotel where family was staying, the wedding venue, and my Canadian family's home. My rental car had great navigation so I was the designated driver. Thank goodness for navigation because it's the only way you know where you are. "Oh, I'm on a four lane highway and there are some high-rise apartments and some construction" - that's pretty much everyplace I was for my entire visit. Off the highway was better, but only marginally. I realize that hotels aren't often in small scale neighborhoods. They're on main roads surrounded by other hotels or strip malls. So it's not an accurate picture of a city. But it's all I saw this time out.

When I got back to Buffalo, the weather had magically changed from grey and drizzly to sunny and beautiful (if cold) and yes, the skyline didn't impress with its grandeur (any of those anonymous apartment high rises would dwarf our downtown) but it was warm, welcoming, and human. I was very glad to be home.

There was one moment of Toronto magic, however, and it came early on in my visit so I hadn't quite soured on everything yet. I was driving down a very busy city street, and a commuter train was going by on an overpass about half a block ahead of me. Meanwhile a plane was coming in for a landing above the train, and it was just so ALIVE. This was at about 9:30 p.m. on a Thursday, when Buffalo was probably asleep.

Thanks for listening to my rant.
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Old November 8th, 2019, 03:25 AM   #2
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It is kind of crazy how Toronto and Cleveland with very similar climates and locations blossomed and Buffalo didnt.

Buffalo was built on industry ........ if it was the steel mills or trains with cargo. It took a VERY long time for the regions to invest in Rosewell / the medical campus area and realize that industry was dying. Buffalo is almost 20 years behind in almost everything we do.

Cleveland built up its dead / dying waterfront and buffalo still is working it.
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Old November 8th, 2019, 07:32 PM   #3
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As the fastest shrinking metro in the US it's laughable to say Cleveland blossomed. The Flats were a hit for about 5 years. Now as Cayahoga county's population decline has accelerated over the past decade even the Flats are once again abandoned.

Comparing Cleveland to Toronto is even more absurd than comparing Buffalo to Toronto which is also silly.

Interesting insight from the Cleveland Press

Exploring Buffalo's waterfront renaissance; what can Cleveland learn from its Lake Erie neighbor? (photos) https://www.cleveland.com/travel/201...aterfront.html

Last edited by fubo; November 8th, 2019 at 08:26 PM.
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Old Yesterday, 06:54 AM   #4
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Cleveland blossomed? Huh???

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