20 things you have to explain to out-of-towners about Toronto

Toronto is an awesome town, and with that awesomeness comes a natural hazard: people are going to come visit you. And when they do, aside from explaining away the various television remotes, the complexities of your shower controls, and literally everything about Rob Ford, there are a few things about this city they’ll need to know. Here’s a primer:

1. Don’t call it the T-Dot
Unless you live inside a 1990s Canadian rap video, this is not a thing that people say. Also, the second 't’ is silent. Say it with me, Tor-ron-oh.

2. Drake is the best musician in the world
And don’t even question it. 

3. There are parks
Beyond the steel and concrete, we have some green space, too. Check out High Park, Trinity Bellwoods, and Christie Pits: there are trees and grass and lots of public drinking, just keep it hidden, since it’s illegal.

4. Everyone lives in a condo
And they paid just $500,000 for it. What a deal!

5. Motorists hate cyclists, cyclists hate motorists
This is just the way it is. If you’re cycling, be ready to bust out some Matrix-level maneuvers or risk death by cab driver. If you’re driving, watch out for the guy who rides down the middle of the road because he insists it’s safer for everyone.

6. There is food from anywhere on the planet
One of the greatest things about Toronto is its diversity, and that is reflected in its endless selection of restos. Check out as many neighborhoods as you can to sample as many things as you can, but at the very least make time for Little Italy and Chinatown.

7. The Leafs are good, and get those stats that say otherwise out of my face!
We haven’t won a Stanley Cup in nearly 50 years, but the Leafs are great. Get your stupid "stats" and "facts" out of here.

8. The cab drivers don’t know where anything is
What’s that? I can type the address you just gave me into this GPS that’s right in front of me and know exactly where you would like to go? Nah, lets just drive up this street six times instead.

9. Don’t go to Dundas Square
Unless you want to tell your friends you went to Canada’s version of Times Square.

10. The liquor store closes at 10pm, except for Sunday
There is a lot of good beer to buy in Toronto, whether it comes from the government stores or the local craft breweries. Stop by Bellwoods in the west end of the city if you can.

11. The pizza chefs are in a war
In recent years, there’s been an influx of pizza joints, battling for the title of Toronto’s top pizzeria. Whoever wins, you win.

12. We have poutine
There’s no question that Montreal is the home of the gravy-cheese-fries-and-some-other-delicious-thing combo, but we’re slowly catching on in Toronto. Check out Poutini’s House of Poutine.

13. Rob Ford will take a photo with you
And then forcibly pull a Ford Nation shirt over your head. Don’t resist.

14. You can drink after the bars shut down
Go to Chinatown. Ask for “cold tea”.

15. You will see a penis if you go to the Toronto Island
The Island is a great place to walk and cycle and to do those things while nude.

16. Cross the street like you mean it
Point in the direction you’re strutting and just do it. Nobody is stopping for you otherwise.

17. The subway stops before the bars close
That’s okay, just ask the taxi driver, who definitely doesn’t know where you live, for a lift. It’ll only cost $70.

18. All the hippies stay in Kensington Market
Which is one of the greatest parts of the city, filled with mom and pop shops, restos, cafes, clothing, and more.

19. Be prepared to tip well
The trendier you go, the better the tip. Many places have a standard 18% rate now.

20. Rachel McAdams lives here
And she’ll probably cycle by you on her way to buy fresh veggies from a farmers market somewhere. Try not to gawk/propose.