One of the few sunny afternoons in Toronto before the bad weather arrives, and perhaps the last one I will see in a while. I hit the Humber River trail with the enthusiasm of an athlete preparing for the Olympics. What I would get out of the walking session, though, is not just a bit more physical resilience. What I saw around me is evidence of what Toronto is, an incredibly diverse, culturally heterogeneous and tolerant place. Two Japanese girls taking so many selfies they probably ended up draining their phone batteries. Jewish families dressed in black, pushing baby strollers, and with many children each who laugh and zip around on their bikes. Parents teaching their teenage boys to fish in the river, maybe the same way they learned at that age in another river similar to this one. A cyclist with the whitest, longest beard I’ve ever seen, like a fit Santa Claus on a bike. A old man alone on a bench, looking puzzled at all the activity going on around him. A Chinese couple sitting together in a silence only broken by short comments and a nod of assent here and there. A group of Korean ladies mesmerized by a little waterfall. Two Indian kids posing for a picture their mum is taking, the older brother hugging the little sister, a show of pure love and care. The strength of this city lies in its diversity, and in what unites its inhabitants, not their differences but what is common in them: trying to live with dignity, raise families, work hard, teach kids to be decent human beings, and enjoying a sunny day before the cold approaches.
Photo (c) Paco Beltran