As part of our Maps series, we suggest the perfect public places to have a good cathartic sob.
Words by Tania Peralta. Map by Sam Liacos.
I learned how to cry in Toronto pretty quickly. I arrived on a Monday, and by Friday, I couldn’t believe how much money I had already spent. It was a perfect “aspiring journalist in a big city” moment, and I secretly loved crying while crossing the four-way crosswalk at the Yonge and Dundas intersection where too much is happening for anyone to care (sorry) or notice (thank god). From TTC subway nightmares to unnecessary definitely-need-to-buy-this-outfit weekly purchases, my initial cries were young and predictable. Those were easy cries to cry. I could cry them out in the bathroom of any given club and feel absolutely fantastic the next day.
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Then came the heartache cries, the “I don’t know what I’m doing with my life” cries, and most recently, the “do I even belong in this city?” cries. The weight of citizen surveillance in Toronto is felt differently from neighborhood to neighborhood and person to person, but it is said that the healing of the land and the purification of the human spirit is the same process. These are the safe places I believe you can experience that here in Toronto.
The Royal Ontario Museum (100 Queens Park)
On the benches on the ground floor right past the initial entry. On Tuesdays after 5:30 p.m., you can sit there quietly and weep in peace for three hours. This is for the cry you have after you get another rejection email for that pitch you were sure you were going to land. It’s a perfect place to feel shitty about something, but not overdo it. The tourists have gone home and the nannies with kids are getting picked up. You can feel the rhythm of the city shift into an evening mode, a sign that you’ve almost made it through the day.
2. Cedarvale Park (443 Arlington Ave.)
From the northern entry downward. Rain or Shine. This is the quietest public spot, but still right in the city place to cry outside. At the top of the hill near the tennis courts, you’ll find hidden little picnic corners. Cry there. Take a nap. Keep it moving. It’s also good for pacing. You can pace back and forth through the park for hours. Caution: stay on the right side so you don’t cry yourself into a cyclist or runner.
3. At the umbrellas by Sugar Beach (11 Dockside Dr.)
The fact that there’s a tiny fake beach in Toronto is depressing enough to initiate the tears. Even on a sunny day, this is where you go if you need to START crying. The ugliness and loudness of the location will make you feel alone until it sort of feels good, and all of a sudden, you’re so glad it’s ugly and loud, because you feel ugly and loud too. After 6 p.m., when the hustle and bustle of the condo construction and office buildings has died down, it becomes a deserted place with pink skies in the summer, and the lights from the city outline feel like a hug.
4. Chester Subway Station
If you live west of Queen and Yonge, you should ride the TTC to Chester subway station. Get out. Follow the smell of coffee. Grab a cup. No one will know you there.
5. On a walk through Davenport Ave.
From its intersection at Lansdowne to Bathurst, not a block before or after, or you’ll risk running into students and nannies that take up the entire sidewalk. Just from Lansdowne to Bathurst, someone’s Avo or Vovo will be sure to greet you as you pass their front lawn. Smile back each time.