My Toronto

May 26, 2008
By Jonathan Bentley, Denver, CO

My Toronto

The tree-lined streets of Toronto, Canada are where I spent the majority of my childhood. Surrounded by everything of importance, the beach, the city, and the local hockey rink. Between picking juicy, red, strawberries, sculpting tall, white, snowmen, and creating maple leaf piles three times my own height, I kept myself busy through these long, ever so tedious years.

Among my favorite things to do was, from the safety of my room, watch the snowflakes just magically fall from the sky, and then land on the cement and disappear, only to awake the next morning and be surrounded by the whiteness I thought had sunken into the earth.

For the most part, with the exception of an occasional visit to my dad’s work, my world extended to my elementary school, six long blocks down the main road. Within the long expanse between my house and the school lay everything I ever knew; a few stores, and a buffet that I always wanted to visit.

Further away, was what often seamed to be like another country, the big city of Toronto. I only knew of this almost mystical place, because every morning on my way to school, I would see the men and women in dark business suits load the streetcar, carrying their plain black briefcases, much inferior to my bright red backpack.

Perhaps the earliest entrepreneurial venture of my own, was during my first Toronto summer. The hot weekend had sparked me to setup a “charity” lemonade stand. Our first customer, our neighbor, asked me where the fine money would be going. “To my dad of course, who will bring it to the liquor store,” I replied, failing to mention that there was a “World Wildlife Fund” donation box there.

Apart from selling lemonade, my most important hobby began with the weekly trip to the corner store, which lay exactly eight houses up from mine. Here, sold the greatest collectables one could acquire; small plastic toys inside a hollow chocolate egg. Together my sister and I managed to rack up over 100 of these treasures, and when the big move to America came upon us, we found great disappointment in the fact that our collecting of “kinder eggs” would have to cease do to the choking hazard Americans saw in them.

The only foreigner my undeveloped mind was really interested in was the man who never once failed to run by our house at the exact same time every morning. What fascinated me about this incredible being was that in the coldest of the Toronto winter, no matter if it was 3º out, he wore shorts. Now these weren’t ordinary shorts either, these shorts came down about four inches from his waist, and between these and the t-shirt he wore, (much to my disappointment) each day I thought he would not return the next due to hypothermia.

In the event that enough snow fell on the ground, I would be spoiled with the treat of sledding to school. On this adventure, we would pass the many early morning ice skaters, the coffee shop where the same people were everyday, and the streetcar, gliding gracefully down the center of the road.

In our house, there was a window at which you could sense the outside from. In the winter, the radiator behind me kept me warm and toasty, but I could almost see the cold outside; the trees swaying in the frosty wind, and looking as though they had frozen beards on them. During the summer, I could feel the heat on the window, hear the obnoxious roar from people mowing their much-to-long grass, and fully absorb the sticky smell of 90º Fahrenheit and 80% humidity.

I never knew that eventually living this childhood dream would have to end. I first came to reality with this when I was sat down on the couch and told that we would be moving to America. America? And in what seemed like faster than I could eat a Kinder Egg, we were in our car, off to start a new life. As we left I waved good-bye to my lemonade stand sidewalk square, to my Kinder Egg supplier, to my friends, and to my Toronto.

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