George Stroumboulopoulos Talks All Things Toronto

It’s difficult not to have a soft spot for George Stroumboulopoulos, or “Strombo,” as he’s better known around town.  

Most of us have been fans since our high school days, during his time as a VJ on MuchMusic. And the now 42-year-old Strombo is currently the host of CBC Television’s George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight and the anchor of Hockey Night in Canada. Oh, and he was just named as one of Toronto Life’s 50 Most Influential Torontonians. NBD. 

But you probably already knew all that. 

What you don’t know are his thoughts and feelings on the city he lives in and loves, including his favourite Toronto memory and the building he sees as the single most important symbol of the city’s identity moving forward. 

On Being “Influential”
“Do you want the real answer, or like a bullsh*t answer? The real answer is that you and your team, over a variety of projects, have done something that proved that you cared about your city. To me, this whole thing is about honouring my inner section. I work with a lot of people who are not even from Toronto – some are and some aren’t – who care a lot about this town. So, we just try to do good sh*t that honours our town. If I get on this list, I’m just representing all the people I work with to prove how we care about those things.” 

His Favourite Toronto Memory
“It’s not one memory, but it’s been a constant in my life. There’s this thing that happens when I land at the airport – I used to drive a forklift at Pearson, by the way, so I spent a lot of time there working – but now I spend a lot of time travelling out of there. When you come home and land, there’s that two-hour walk from your gate to customs or whatever, then you get in your car and you’re kind of feeling the weather, and you drive down the 427 to the QEW. There’s this thing that happens when you’re heading east on the QEW when the highway banks a bit to the left and then to the right to reveal the city. Every time I see her – the CN Tower, my North Star – and see the city reveal itself, I get this feeling of ‘Ahhh.’ As much as I like to be everywhere, I need to be from here. That moment never ceases to impact me. It’s like, ‘There’s our town’.”  

His Favourite Toronto Spots
“I love the Golden Turtle on Ossington. I eat there all the time; I’m there four or five times a week. I’m vegan, so there’s this place called Feel Good Guru on Queen Street that I like as well and live across the street from. But the truth is that all of downtown works because of Trinity Bellwoods Park and how it spills out onto Queen, Dundas, and Crawford. That’s the secret to this town, as far as I’m concerned.” 

His Most Influential Torontonian
“June Callwood was the greatest Torontonian we’ve ever had. There should be statues of June everywhere. June opened Casey House – one of the first AIDS hospices in the western world. I mean, nobody was doing that. Young moms were getting kicked out of their homes for getting pregnant and she also opened up a place for them to come. She had the empathetic streak that this city shines with when we’re good. When we’re not, we’re just like any other city and just sit there and complain, whine and don’t help. But when we help, we kind of bask in the glow that June Callwood created for us.” 

His Hope for the Future of Toronto
“I think that – the way Boston is about MIT and San Francisco or Berkeley is about the School of Music – we should be about CAMH. I look at CAMH and I think that it’s the single most important building in this city. And it should be the most important building in the country. I walk by that building all the time and think, ‘That right there represents empathy, care, and togetherness’. The way that they’ve broken it up now so it’s integrated within the community makes it so that we’re all the same, which is what we always have been. I look at CAMH and I think, ‘That’s where it’s at for us; that could be our simple little world where it’s like, lay your weary head to rest, you can do it here’.”


All images courtesy of: CBC and George Stroumboulopoulos Facebook

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