Social norms vary from city to city. In Marrakech it’s perfectly normal for a shopkeeper to offer mint tea to a potential customer before setting off on a lengthy barter. In Montreal, friends greet one another with kisses to the cheeks.
So what, then, are Toronto’s social norms? When is it okay to strike up conversation with a stranger? (At a bus stop?) How do you fit in while strolling through Chinatown, or on a night out on College Street, or while shopping for seafood in Kensington? And speaking of Kensington, should you ever drive there — and if so, where and how do you park? What about avoiding SUV strollers on Roncesvalles or the Beaches: what do the locals do? Is Toronto truly the cold, impersonal place that certain people in other parts of Canada believe it to be, or are we more complex?
In an attempt to put together a handbook of Toronto etiquette, we are asking for insights about the unspoken conventions that shape how people act in Toronto. From greetings to transit — in London, riders always exit the back doors on a bus, but not here — what are our city’s social rules?
We’ll use the results of this exercise in participatory journalism in the next issue of Spacing.
Photo by Damien D.