Just as the waves of Lawrencetown beat against the Nova Scotia coastline, so the elitist Toronto snobbery clashes with Maritime values in Halifax.
The Torontonian’s strange lingo can be forgiven – sometimes parties are best described in terms of how “live” they are. It’s OK that they’re unaware most people don’t know how hip Roncesvalles isn’t. It’s neither their uncontrollable Starbucks infatuation nor their commitment to button-downs, longer shopping hours and pea coats that gets to us.
Their disinterest in stepping outside exclusive high-school cliques doesn’t bother Maritimers either. We think it’s probably for the best. And the exotic vacations they take over the breaks are really fun to hear about too. Who knew they had resorts in Muskoka?
All such aspects of the Toronto elite character are right on. It’s really just the false sense of entitlement and their taking themselves so seriously that doesn’t sit well.
During time spent in a Toronto private school, I became well aware of the spitefully superficial elements of the Toronto elitist attitude. Now, given the chance to observe such attitudes within Halifax, the appeal of Maritime amicability is all the more apparent and the Toronto elitism, incongruous.
Toronto elitism is often anything but subtle. However, for those who haven’t left the house in years, it can be best understood when juxtaposed with the essence of Maritime spirit.
At the core of what distinguishes Maritime character is the humor. The blend of playful offensives and severe self-deprecation are qualities less present in some of those central folk than is optimism in Hobbes.
The ineptitude toward things like jolly Maritime banter often inhibits a friendship from the start.
For Maritimers, nothing starts conversation like an oral Charley Horse and a clever one in return is something we value dearly. But the mind of the Toronto elitist has become intolerant of the informal: automatically aggravated by anything but the aloof.
So the playful pitch to a couple of privileged Torontonians, lurking in a friend group’s periphery at some party, doesn’t go so well. For Maritimers, we presume the atmosphere is friendly until we’ve been convinced otherwise. However, such encounters prove the inverse true for this select group.
Friendship for these farcical aristocrats demands some prior approval, some willingness of the inferiors to groom the high-horse from which they dare not descend. It’s difficult for us to understand how dire is the need to assert their bourgeoisie status, for we’re of a hardier culture which demands no pedestal.
Maritimers enjoy being wrong. We ask so many questions about the weather because we’re in a constant state of doubt on all matters, open at all times to the input of others. Thus, we can’t help but be skeptical of the uncanny ability of Toronto elitists to always be so dreadfully composed.
There is a certain paradox in the Toronto elite to be at once well-educated and soft-mannered while simultaneously presumptuous and crude. At a recent Kingsian party, a few of the affiliates were parading about branding anyone who wasn’t in their “crew” as “unfortunate”. Their surrender to dogma could not have been more blatant.
Of course not all of the Toronto elite are so disagreeable. There is considerable variability in their degrees of delusion. However, to silence discussion on this matter would be an assumption of infallibility, an unspoken pacifism on the part of a majority. Indeed, the false pretensions among the Toronto elite may well only need to grow accustomed to Maritime norms. Perhaps, it’s all just a bit of culture shock for everybody. If this is the case, let’s hope that one day soon, we’ll invite them to kitchen parties.

By David J. Shuman

David is the current editor-in-chief of The Watch and writes on student issues and events. Find him on Twitter: @DavidJShuman

16 replies on “Torontifax?”

It sounds like a couple of guys from Toronto were assholes to the author at a party once, and I’m really sorry that happened but I have to say I’m surprised that the Watch published something so petty, uninformed, unfounded and just not cool. I realize there are a lot of kids from Toronto in Halifax and at King’s, and I know there are arguments to be made, and I think most Torontonians are pretty open to it. But I don’t have the time of day for these ridiculous generalizations (commitment to button-downs?), especially when the author uses the same ‘us and them’ mentality that he is condemning Torontonians for having. I mean, would it be okay to say this kind of shit about anybody else’s hometown?

You had me at Roncesvalles and longer shopping hours. You lost me just about everywhere else.
I know all about Toronto private school snobs. But you won’t find them at King’s. They’re at Queen’s, Western, McGill, and right next door at Dalhousie. King’s is full of all the awesome, good-natured, yet privileged Torontonians, including our valedictorian at graduation (a hilarious, down-to-earth individual, I might add). To be fair, your year might not be so lucky. Or maybe you take too many classes at Dal…

I find it kind of ironic that this article seems to be focused on the elitist attitudes of Torontonians, considering you spend your entire article using plastic words to support an incoherent argument–as most young King’s students tend to do. (Thanks, FYP.)
Your argument seems to be that people from Toronto are rich jerks, yet you admit to attending a Toronto private school yourself. Considering that there are roughly 158 private schools in the GTA compared to 553 public schools, by definition you are part of the elite by having attended a private school (even if it was just on scholarship).
You shouldn’t be surprised by the fact that there are tonnes of Torontonians at King’s and Dalhousie, considering the entire population of the Maritimes is substantially less than the city of Toronto alone.
Being from Toronto doesn’t necessarily make you a jerk, just as being from the Maritimes doesn’t make you a nice guy. You’re obviously writing from the perspective of a Maritimer studying at King’s, and you seem to be a pretty elitist jerk yourself.
I’m appalled that The Watch would publish this type of xenophobic bullshit.
(By the way, big words aren’t fit for journalism. Maybe it’s time you start reading actual newspapers instead of just the dictionary.)

As someone who came to Halifax from Toronto with a welcoming and open mind I am deeply offended by the words that were published in the Watch. Firstly, not only do they go against the nuanced, deeply analytical approach that King’s so profoundly cherishes in its students, it is radically prejudice and ignorantly dismissive.
The first thing I must confront is the assumption that with Toronto comes privilege. A privilege that makes you feel entitled – a privilege that makes you feel you are better, so much better, in fact, that you are above having to stretch your social habits beyond the ones that you were raised with. Some of us worked our asses to get into King’s, most of my friends sweated themselves through anxiety disorders at their public schools and private schools to get there. Some of them are socially awkward people, some of them are socially adept – the point is, the people from the East Coast, West Coast, any part of Canada and the world, foster the same variety.
The issue here is the assumption of polarity which can easily be ameliorated by extinguishing these toxic thoughts in our minds, you James Jenkinson are intelligent enough to have been accepted into King’s, your mind is powerful enough to admonish itself from these polarized, prejudicial and honestly, self-limiting thoughts. Ask yourself – why do I not get along with these people? What can I do to make it ok? If it means not being friends with them how can I understand on a specific case by case basis why this interaction isn’t working without making grand and destructive assumptions?
I am mystified that this kind of black and white logic is being employed to make an argument which serves no purpose outside partisanship, and a lack of communication.
You work within language – you want to converse, you basically made the intention of your language impotent by devoting your time to this empty and divisive gesture. No one can be wrong or right when comparing demographics – this is a central point I take issue with in your argument, and find profoundly problematic.
I know you are heated, but before lambasting and ignorantly characterizing an entire group of people from one city, which harbours the most cultural diversity in the country, might I add – you must then, include the specific nuanced place you are coming from. I think the heat of this argument goes much deeper than your need to rely on some one’s place of origin. It goes much deeper – it lingers in our natural instinct to assume, to idealize (negatively or positively) in order to make sense of someone we don’t understand because they challenge us.
Like the sexist argument of man vs woman – you have done the same with Halifax citizens versus Toronto. These idealistic and brittle ideals harm both parties – I am unnerved that such reckless and abusive uses of language have been published. The descriptions you made of the Haligonians are by no means nuanced or rich and I am also insulted on their behalf.
I never once befriended a person at King’s because of where they were from. My friends are from many different demographics, and many different schools, some from art schools, others from the west coast born from parents who worried themselves to sleep every night to send their child to private school – the point is all these intricacies don’t matter – it’s what you do with what you have, and I am embarrassed that such a polarized, and again, partisan encouraging argument was published and celebrated by our University Newspaper.
You should evaluate your own morals if you are basing your friendships on place – I base my friendships on connection, on who the person is, on how they uniquely demonstrate their love and receive it. Place shapes us, but we aren’t our places. I suggest you ask yourself why you are making such superficial assumptions when you have been given the gift of such an investigative and provocative education.
The Watch: look at yourself and ask why you needed to publish this to get attention.
Writer: Ask yourself why you needed to rely on such a polarized argument to get your point heard. Find a new one. Generating more blanketing statements isn’t going to get you respect, it’s not going to get you respect from anyone who is a human loving, open person that is willing to come to judgments only from facts stemming from nuance, and deep thought.
I send this message with Love, and Respect because you deserve honesty, I sense you are trying to arrive at love, but instead it came off snarky and mildly desperate, a person with your vocabulary should showcase herself/himself through a more metered and knowing platform, – hopefully you write from an honest self possessing point next time.
Getting feedback is exciting because it means you made a distinct choice – I respect your need to follow through on this choice. However, I deeply encourage you to go deeper, to ask yourself exactly where your loyalty to binary thoughts comes from – I doubt it begins with the Toronto Halifax divide.
Hannah Rittner
BAH ‘11

To use the word “us” in this article is insulting. Being a Maritimer and a King’s student I can proudly say I love going to this university with just about anyone who loves it here too. If you claim to love the Maritime’s sense of humour, then I’m sure you will enjoy the fact that this article is laughable. The mindset that you are promoting is exactly what you are condemning people from Toronto for. I hope that you will some day live up to the Maritimer charm that you speak of, and I hope you don’t need the same thesaurus to do so.

What a poorly written rant. This is a writer to avoid, for both his lack of empathy and nuance, and his senseless writing style. Do you have a pulse, sir? Or just a thesaurus?

LOL This is funny and accurate. Those who can’t see the humor should “reach” Toronto, and meet the folks James is talking about.
– Torontonian in Halifax

The problem with these criticisms is that they depend on recourse to intellectual vocabulary. The matter at hand is snobbery… Lighten up. The clash of salty friendliness with delicate pomp need not cause offence. Perhaps defence is met only with offense though, so forget that you have anything to defend. I’m quite able to see the humour and accuracy of this article and I’m from Toronto. Unfortunately, James, the atmosphere has proven itself a bit unfriendly. That aside, everyone knows people are more friendly on the East Coast. That’s the only reason it takes so many Newfie’s to screw in a lightbulb. I give this article two thumbs up, it’s a shame if some people only see fists.

I am the Bourgeois of Bay Street. I am Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross AND Malice. I am the Alpha and the Omega, Master of the Universe. I AM THE ELITE.

I agree with the Torontonians above who didn’t cast down this article at the sound that they were being considered snobbish, but rather saw the absolute humour, and the truths that are held within this piece of fine opinion journalism.

As a King’s alum from Toronto, I find this article completely pointless and offensive. The author is clearly guilty of the snobbery he is dumping upon all Torontonians (as though we are all the same!). Unless King’s has dramatically changed since I left the school, you are completely off base. Shame on the Watch for publishing this kind of garbage.

Maybe times have changed since I was a student coming to King’s, but as I remember it we banded together based on social interests, clubs, music choices and which bay we lived in. The Maritimers and the Torontonians were thrown together, along with everyone else from around Canada, making King’s the eclectic community it is. My best friends in this whole world come from King’s and they also come from all around this country. Toronto and Halifax alike, we are friends because of the community that is fostered at King’s. There is no us and them, there are only King’s alumni. To see it any other way means you’ve entirely missed the point of what King’s is. Now that is a lamentable tale worth telling.

The greatest irony of this piece struck me while reading the comments. The author so clearly describes his position as one that, like most jolly maritimers, begin a friendship with an light-hearted “oral Charley horse.”
Come on girls and boys from the most bland of provinces! You’re lack of any capacity for self-deprivation in the name of humour could only be made more obvious if you picked your head up from sniffing a line and yelled “this is SO lame.” Oh wait, you do do that.

I’m amazed that irony is not lost on you when you deride other Torontonians for being elitist snobs when this article is a perfect example of you doing exactly that.
You lack empathy, communicate poorly, and seem to have little grasp on even the most basic of social cues. I wonder whether you ate heavy metals or pesticides as child from the level of autism that you’re displaying in your writing.
Please never write again. I am embarrassed for Toronto, Halifax, and you.

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