When I visited Toronto for the first time, I lived in my home city Yokohama which is adjacent to Tokyo (more precisely it is adjacent to a city that is adjacent to Tokyo). Tokyo and the surrounding area including Yokohama is like a gigantic version of GTA (Greater Toronto Area), and at that time, I thought Toronto was a small city. When I lived in Hamilton, I often visited Toronto and thought Toronto is a big city. When I lived in Orillia, I thought even Barrie, which is way smaller than Toronto, was a big city. The notion of “big” and “small” is always relative.
It’s been one week since I moved to Etobicoke which is western part of Toronto. As I wrote in an old post, I spent a couple of weeks at my friends’ place in downtown Toronto during Christmas vacation after having lived in Orillia for a little more than a month, and at that time, I couldn’t tell which I preferred; urban or rural. Now I can tell without hesitation that I prefer living in an urban area. My experience in a small town for ten months seems to change my perspective. Etobicoke is not as “urban” as downtown Toronto. It’s not a very exciting place, but I feel relieved to live in a lively place.
I should emphasize that “urban” does not necessarily mean “little green”. Many people, even in Japan, presume that Tokyo is “made of concrete”, but in fact, there are many green and relaxing places in Tokyo. I lived in Barcelona, which is way smaller than Tokyo, for three months in 2005. I found it is “made of stone” with little green, less greener than Tokyo, and I felt a little uncomfortable for that reason. I like to live in an urban and green city.