An East Coast boy in the big city - Metro US

An East Coast boy in the big city

I’ve lived in Toronto long enough that I’m starting to forget what it’s like to be from the Maritimes. The ways of the East Coast are giving way to the rhythm of the Golden Horseshoe.

Believe me: New Brunswick to Toronto is a gear shift that will junk your emotional engine if you’re not careful.

New Brunswickers are a conservative sort, but friendly and trusting. We put chastity belts on our daughters, but we leave the key in the lock.

Meanwhile, Torontonians are socially liberal, but not liberally social. We always have an aura of busyness, even when all we’re doing is playing games on our iPhones.

I use “we” to describe both New Brunswickers and Torontonians because, right now, I feel like I have a foot in each province. That can make me feel off balance because it’s a bit like having one foot in a canoe and the other on a Great Lakes vessel.

For example: In certain Toronto neighbourhoods crime is a given. Compare that with my hometown Saint John, N.B., where as far as I know there has been one murder charge in the last two years, the accused was acquitted and — this is true — the weapon was a sword.

In New Brunswick, even front page violence is quaint. It makes you wonder what the police will do when Saint John’s criminals discover the musket.

Sergeant: His firestick is no match for our chain mail, men! Put away your slingshots and run!

Another big difference between the two regions is that, in Saint John, there is no racial tension. Because there are no races. You can’t start a fire in a vacuum. Do you know what we call black people in New Brunswick? We call him “Daryl.” Because that’s his name.

So, two years in Toronto has been an experience. And, now, for the first time the big city is becoming the “new normal.”

When I moved here, Toronto houses were too close together, but now it’s the homes in New Brunswick that seem amusingly far apart. Eight lanes of traffic in the middle of a city seems normal now, when before I had gawked at it like it was Blade Runner.

Soon, both feet will be in Toronto. But I know that, no matter what happens, there will always be a little bit of New Brunswick inside me. I’m pretty sure it’s asbestos.

John Mazerolle is a comic and writer in Toronto. Read more at www.beaverexaminer.ca

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