22 Signs You Grew Up in North Toronto

By Erin Davis

It’s a certain breed of young professionals (YPs) who grew up in North Toronto.

Many of us still know (or know of) one another and call Toronto home to this day. 

Though we may not be able to afford our own homes in North Toronto proper quite yet, it still holds a special place in our hearts. 

Here’s why:

1. You Snuck into an “R-Rated” Movie at Canada Square
All you had to do was buy a ticket to the Disney flick, then walk right into the horror movie – there was never anyone there to check.

2. You (or one of your siblings) were in the Leaside or North Toronto Hockey League
And after the countless games and tournaments, your parents inevitably became friends with the other parents… and probably even did a joint family trip.

3. The Yonge/Eglinton Centre Was the First “Mall” You Were Allowed in Without Your Parents
That’s because it was within walking distance from your house, it was impossible to get lost in, and you’d been going there your entire life. Plus, it was close enough that your parents could easily pick you up.

4. You Bought a Friendship Bracelet at Inti Crafts
And added it to the stack of unravelling summer camp friendship bracelets on your wrist.

5. You Cried When Lime Rickey’s Closed
You always wanted your future kids to carry on the birthday party tradition at the one-time it venue of choice (complete with its epic “Kitchen Sink” dessert).

6. You’ve Slid Down the Water Slide at the North Toronto Community Centre
You may even remember when they revamped the centre and the pool in the first place. Years later, you knew someone who climbed the fence after a few beers and went swimming in their underwear – or did so yourself.

7. You Went to the Former Yonge/Eglinton PJ’s Pet Centre Just to Visit the Cute Puppies 
And probably had a temper tantrum or two when your parents wouldn’t let you take one home.

8. You Went to Day Camp in Sherwood Park
And that’s why you still know all the trails and the fact that you can find “clay” near the creek.

9. You’ve Gotten in Trouble for Rollerblading in Mount Pleasant Cemetery
And you’ve always been secretly scared that you’d get lost in there and locked in once the sun went down. You probably also practiced driving down its streets with your parents. 

10. You Met Kids From Other High Schools After School at Eglinton Station
It was outside of Cinnabon that you met the first boyfriend or girlfriend from a different school. 

11. You Know that Suits’ Patrick Adams Went to Northern, Hollywood Hottie Malin Akerman Went to North Toronto, and Drake Grew Up in Forest Hill
And you’ll know that Adams killed it in Northern’s drama program, Ackerman was the drive-thru “Noxzema Girl,” and Drake was a staple in “The Village.”

12. Northern’s Football Team Was a Big Deal
So much so that students got the afternoon off to “go to the game” (which was likely against Central Tech) when they made the finals.

13. You Remember When North Toronto Collegiate Looked Like a High School Instead of a Condo Building
And the kids who go there probably still have a better rep in the academic department than the stoners down the street at Northern. Right?

14. You Attended Park Parties at “The Res” or Eglinton Park
Actually, it was likely at “The Res” at St. Clair where you took your first sip of alcohol or pull of your first joint. The more care-free teenagers also ran through the fountain (not I, of course).

15. Your First Bar Was Cheers (RIP)
And most your first part-time job paycheque was spent there – especially in the summer on karaoke night. 

16. You Either Worked at St. Louis, Originals, Sporting Life, or Scallywags – or Know Someone Who Did
So many North Toronto kids worked at these spots that you’d think no other part-time work existed.

17. You Don’t Need these 19 Reasons to Venture North of Bloor
You frequent most of these places so often that you may as well have written the piece yourself.

18. You Already Know that Nothing Beats a Belly Busters’ Submarine (Maybe a Homeway Breakfast)
And you nobody was more excited than you (and your high school friends) when “Bellies” recently opened another location downtown.

19. Going Downtown Was a Huge Deal
You were so used to either walking or being driven to school, that mastering the TTC was a big step in your adolescent journey. Plus, you’d get to people watch on Queen Street in a way you never could in your NT bubble.

20. You Got Free Condoms From the Anne Johnston Health Station for the “Big Night”
Too much?

21. You Went to Western or U of T
You either opted for Western because that’s where all your friends were going, or U of T because you loved the city so much you didn’t want to leave – plus, you could live at home. And still go to Cheers, obviously.

22. You Legitimately Know Half of Toronto’s YPs by Default
You grew up knowing the kids at all the other uptown schools thanks to Eglinton Station, house parties, and summer camp connections. Most of us still live in the city, remain connected via Facebook and blend our growing networks. So yeah, the city’s pretty small for us. 


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