Toronto the Good, Really

Published 09, Feb, 2011
Author // Bob Leahy - Publisher

In which country boy Bob Leahy sings the praises of the city he once called home, and shares some favourite images from his portfolio.

Toronto the Good, Really

I’ll be in Toronto the rest of this week. I’m there for the Gay Men’s’ Sexual Health Summit. There will be lots of familiar faces there, the best brains in HIV prevention and support in Ontario. Say hi if you see me.

Brian and I will be interviewing some of the key players at the Summit for PositiveLite.com, so stay tuned for those.

I have a great affection for Toronto. I know the city well. I lived there for many years, right downtown in fact, before moving to the country fifteen years ago. To some extent I miss it; other times I know we made the right choice to move. It’s healthier where we live now, in the middle of nowhere, quieter too. And I’ve grown to really appreciate quiet.

But there are two things I REALLY like about the city, and why every visit’s a good one. The first one is all about food. Here in Nanookville, good ethnic food is not just hard to find, it’s pretty well non-existent.   And those ubiquitous Chinese Canadian places don’t really count, even though - and this is scary - you grow to like their fare over time. So mmmmm chow mein. Mmmmm chicken balls covered in bright orange glop. Mmmm fried rice. I wolf all these down. Meanwhile, I deal with my cravings for the good stuff - for dim sum, for roti, for jerk chicken or for good Thai - each and every visit  to Toronto. I am, in fact, the original food tourist, and I probably look like one too, with a camera slung around my neck.

The second thing that I really, really like about Toronto is the look of the place. It’s a very visual city, with photo ops around every corner. I like best its underbelly, its graffiti-laden back lanes, for instance, which are a frequent photo subject of mine. Toronto can do elegant world class city quite well, but it can do seedy, gritty and vaguely threatening urban jungle even better.

In any event, I’ve chosen ten photos I’ve taken over the last few years which perhaps illustrate what I mean. There are prercious few tourist draws here – no CN Towers, no Casa Lomas, no Eaton Centres  – in fact only two of them are in places peope from the city would necessarily know. See if you Torontonians recognize (m)any of them. They are largely all about the other side of Toronto. 

Welcome to the other side . . .

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About the Author

Bob Leahy - Publisher

Bob Leahy - Publisher

Award-winning blogger Bob Leahy first made his social media mark a decade ago on LiveJournal.com where there are still to this day almost 3,000 entries of his available to be read. He was a featured blogger on Ontario’s HIVStigma.com campaign, along with PositiveLite.com founder Brian Finch. He joined PositiveLite.com at its inception in 2009 and became it's Editor a year later.

Born in the UK, Bob’s background is in corporate banking, which he gladly left in 1994, after being diagnosed with HIV the previous year.  He has chaired the board of PARN (Peterborough AIDS Resource Network) and has been an executive board member of both the Ontario HIV Treatment Network (OHTN) and the Canadian AIDS Society (CAS).  He was inducted in to the Ontario AIDS Network’s Honour Roll in 2005.  Bob is currently a member of Ontario’s GMSH (Gay Men’s Sexual Health Alliance). He also writes for TheBody.com.

In 2012, Bob was honoured with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal for his work and commitment to HIV/AIDS in Canada.

Bob continues to write for this site while in the Positivelite.Com editor’s seat, with a particular interest  in HIV prevention, theatre and the arts in general. He is accredited media for a number of Toronto theatres. He lives in Warkworth, Ontario with his partner of thirty-two years and three dogs.