1. They don’t complain about the weather
There are two variations for these anomalies. One is the sweet, sweet summer child hailing from some nicer, warmer place. They’re wearing board shorts or leggings in December, adamantly insisting they are completely fine surviving the five-minute walk to class, and really, who needs a hat anyways? All while you can physically see their fingers turning a dangerous shade of purple.
The other group is the overprepared, hardened northerners. Spot them rocking two pairs of socks, fleece pants, and a jacket that is probably better suited for alpine mountain-climbing than for a walk over to Con Hall. Don’t even think about mentioning that the -30ºC is a bit chilly – you will be in for a lecture about how ‘there is no such thing as too cold, only underdressed!’, and that your shivering, your midterm marks, and probably world hunger can all be solved by adding an insulation layer.
2. They make eye contact
Hold on, did that stranger you just passed on your way to Robarts — did they look you in the eye? Did they actually turn up their lips — into a smile? You haven’t seen one of those in years. Sure, we Torontonians pride ourselves in being polite — we’ll give you streetcar directions or chat about the best places to eat without a hitch, but actually acknowledging other people we don’t know? That would be a very different question.
3. They like the TTC
A genuine TTC compliment is the closest thing you can get to a cardinal sin in Toronto. If the subway gets to your station on time every day of the semester, you wouldn’t hear a peep. But god forbid if repairs (that coincidentally keep the same trains that we are riding from crashing into each other) close the subway for the weekend. You won’t hear the end of it.
Yes, we know that it’s technically one of the best transit systems in North America, but you don’t get your Toronto licence unless you bash the TTC at any given opportunity.
4. They suggest swimming in the lake
Ah, Lake Ontario. Every Torontonian knows that the mix of sewage, bacteria, weird plastic bits, and, more likely than not, a wide assortment of eldritch horrors is a swim you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy.
So, when you hear your new friend ask if they should bring a swimsuit to your trip to Scarborough Bluffs, be sure to chastise them.
5. They don’t drop the ‘T’
Do you remember that scene from Argo, where Ben Affleck corrects the Americans’ perfectly pronounced ‘To-ro-n-to’ into Toronto’s real name? That scene is 100% accurate.
Taranah is the one and only way to say our city’s name, preferably accompanied with a Tim Horton’s double-double in one hand and a Blue Jays shirt. If your friend actually pronounces Toronto how it should ‘technically’ be pronounced, you can bet that they also call the Skydome the Rogers Centre.