A couple of weeks ago I was travelling on the subway between the east side and downtown when, as I always do, I looked up and out over the Don Valley as the train crossed the Bloor Viaduct. I realized suddenly that this was a personal rule I’d created for myself when I travel around the city: always look out the window when crossing the Don Valley in the subway. Travelling in Toronto, by any mode, can be a stressful experience, and I’d created this rule for myself to introduce a moment of beauty in my trip and remind myself of one of the joys of this city.
I was curious about whether other people had a similar rule for themselves, so I Tweeted out a question.
I got a pretty good, and interesting, set of responses. One of the themes was taking surface transit over the subway when you have a choice, so you can look at the city as you move about it, which is a rule I also follow.
Another theme was to try a different route or cut through a laneway whenever you get a chance — mix up your own experience of the city.
Take different routes whenever possible to see new things. Cut through laneways. Look up. Look down. Take the streetcar instead of subway if you have time.
— Vic Gedris (@vgedris) November 6, 2019
A further theme was engaging with people: chat with crossing guards (“They’re the eyes and ears of the community“), or offer to help those who look lost. Other rules were about consciously noticing something about the environment — the light, the progress of a construction project.
All of these personal rules are ways of taking ourselves out of our own little bubble and reminding ourselves to pay attention to, interact with, and find ways to appreciate our city as we move around it.
If you have a personal rule like this, let us know what it is in the comments.