Well, I’ve already dedicated H to my true hometown of Hamilton, but Toronto is sort of a half-adopted hometown, a place that’s also very dear to my heart. I didn’t really pay it that much attention for the first eighteen years plus of my life, except for a place to occasionally go to ride up the CN tower or see a baseball game or get government records, and really I suppose I was really ignorant of the benefits of living so close to such an amazing city. But then, I was young.
I moved to Toronto, to the suburban wilds of North York at least, for university, in the fall of 1995, and spent four years at York University, commuting back home to crash at my parent’s place every other weekend or so. (For some reason I still have dreams about finding my way across the big city on the TTC and looking for a new room to rent in Toronto.) I spent the first year, including the summer, in residence, and then spent the regular school term in rental places found on the housing board and summers back in Hamilton.
After seven months spent trying to find a job with only a bachelor’s degree and no work experience, during the consolidation days of the Y2K scare, I ended up going back to school in Toronto, taking the applied IT course at the Herzing institute in the Eaton center, and commuting into the city and back every day from Hamilton on GO transit – which would have been much more stressful, except that regular classes only lasted for four hours a day when I wasn’t doing teaching assistance or tutoring or grading for the school, so a lot of the time I could head back to Hamilton early. It was really a worthwhile experience, rounding out my university education with some more marketable skills, and also giving me a few useful connections, including the referral that led me to the job that I’m in now, (indirectly.)
As another side note about my Herzing days, I remember spending the time on all those long train and bus rides lugging my clunky Compaq laptop, (windows 98, 4 gig hard drive, I don’t even know how many megahertz processor or megabytes of RAM,) and working either on Buffy fanfic or class assignments.
So, after I started working, Toronto was once again a place that I only visited occasionally on vacation, though a bit more frequently than when I was a kid. I even dropped by Toronto during Script Frenzy before, though the first time, June of 2007, I ended up getting a bad sunburn on a tour bus and went home before the big screening. The second time, I made it to the Toronto kickoff party.
And then, in the summer of 2008, I found out from a friend in the Hamilton Nanowrimoers group that there was a charity screening of Serenity happening on a Saturday afternoon, and decided that I was going. (Someone broke into the database at work that weekend, but I didn’t let that stop me.) And there, I heard about the Toronto Firefly shindigs group, and though it took me a while to actually get around to going out for shindigs, now I attend fairly regularly, and the Buffy-Angel meetups, and it was the regulars from those two groups, (which have considerable overlap as you might imagine,) who introduced me to the Toronto science fiction and fantasy convention scene, which just recently brought home to me how many passionate writers and creative people there are in Toronto – not that Hamilton is a town devoid of interest in such matters, but we’re a smaller town, and touching base with a larger pond full of similar fish can be good when you feel like your old school has drifted elsewhere.
So that’s why I didn’t think much of hopping on the GO to crash a few Toronto script frenzy writing sessions last weekend, when it became clear that none of the Hamilton Script Frenziers were feeling up for a meet. And I’m glad I did, both for meeting new fellow writers, and visiting new places, and just the creative charge that I get for going somewhere because I’m a writer. There are worse places to go for that than Toronto, I’m sure.