By Al Downham
Here at The Eyeopener, we look out for froshies, especially those new to Toronto. Moving to the 6ix can be a shock when there’s no one to tell you the city’s do’s and don’ts. So, here’s 10 tips ensuring you don’t act like the biggest dingus downtown.
1. Pick a side — The golden rule among pedestrians is to pick one side. It’ll be the first rule you break whether it’s on the sidewalk or escalator. As a regular in the downtown core you’ll see this precious rule broken daily by those afraid to unlink from the buddy system. You’ll grow increasingly infuriated by them the longer you’re here. Your friends won’t miss you. Make sure to leave a lane open for fellow Torontonians.
2. Stay off Sherbourne — It’s important to know the city you live in. It’s why so many first years wander aimlessly through downtown. But more specifically, it’s vital to know what to avoid, including the vast area past Sherbourne between Welleslley and Queen. In these neighbourhoods, the north and south sides of streets can resemble night and day. The last thing we want is a curious first year stumbling through Moss Park at 11 p.m.
3. Don’t take transfers — Only take transfers from the driver’s hand. Seriously, we’ve seen TTC workers on streetcars and buses scream at children for ripping off a transfer without the driver’s permission. We’ve always wanted to ask why they get emotional over something so trivial, but our fear of the driver leaves us speechless.
4. Avoid aid workers — These people either want your signature or cash. You’ll see their neon vests two blocks away; they’ll see you and your heart sinks as your eyes meet. You’ll look away, keep walking or put on headphones, but these devils still greet you with hellos and high fives. Do not be fooled, for they have darker intentions. You may not support their NGO, but they could fund their cause using volunteers instead of commission workers.
5. Keep off the bike path — Biking in the downtown core has been a hot issue among Torontonians for years. Cyclists are constantly avoiding opening doors, street-car tracks and rogue taxi drivers. The last thing they need is an oblivious frosh using their bike path as a pedestrian passing lane. Avoid being heckled, and/or throwing a cyclist over the handlebars by staying where you belong: the sidewalk.
6. Don’t shoot street performers — If you watch or photograph street artists and leave, I’m assuming you have a death wish. You don’t have to tip them for literally freezing in one spot for several hours, but froshies beware. That stoic cowboy will be high tailing after you asking for tips before he has you in a half-nelson. Don’t fret, they’ll partially apologize when you cough up some change.
7. Shut up about Rob Ford — We get it. Our former mayor was the reincarnation of Chris Farley without the likeability. We get the Toronto Star for free on campus, we know all about the guy. While the world laughed heartily at the blatant corruption and scandal in city hall, we wept just as hard. When Doug Ford follows up on his plan to become prime minister this fiasco won’t be so funny to Canada anymore.
8. Go out with cash — In a perfect world, taxi drivers would never unjustly deny you a ride home because, you know, it’s illegal. But in Toronto, taxi drivers don’t seem to have an issue with leaving you drunk and lost if your inquiry doesn’t fit their requirements. Whether you only have debit, your location is less than $10 away or simply too far, cabs are known to reject customers because their replies are unaccommodating. Carry cash on a late night out to avoid bantering with the cabbie outside the pub.
9. No fast food — The number of times I’ve seen newcomers craving fast food is too goddamn high. Wendy’s was the shit back home because it was the only shit offered during high school lunch break. It’s time to move on to cheap local eats like Ali Baba’s or Big Slice. Froshies will thankfully discover these joints as they grow sick of Pitman’s awful cafeteria food.
10. Step aside on the subway — Unless you intend to fight a literal wave of human beings, wait until commuters get off the subway before you enter. You may be late, but the train isn’t moving any faster because you slept in after a night at the Ram’s traffic light pub night. Don’t stand in the doorway either. Fuck those people.