TORONTO – “Oh, this is my Toronto,|” I said as we turned onto a narrow street crammed with trees and rowhouses, each with a sliver of yard.
My companion snorted. “It’s fake Toronto.”
“But it’s the Toronto I know. It’s exactly like my street, only we were in The Beaches.”
“The what now?”
Funny, I’d no idea there was a great debate over whether to pluralize the area I lived in. I was a teenager, of course, and didn’t give a hoot about municipal politics. I lived in The Beaches; I went to the beach.
I had to go to Wikipedia to find out what was up with the neighbourhood that is bordered by Fallingbrooke, Kingston, Woodbine and Lake Ontario: “The dispute over the area’s name reached a fever pitch in 1985, when the city of Toronto installed 14 street signs designating the neighbourhood as ‘The Beaches.’ The resulting controversy resulted in the eventual removal of the signs, although the municipal government continues to officially designate the area as ‘The Beaches.’ In early 2006 the local Beaches Business Improvement Area voted to place ‘The Beach’ on signs slated to appear on new lampposts over the summer, but local outcry caused them to rescind that decision. The Beaches Business Improvement Area board subsequently held a poll (online, in person and by ballot) in April 2006 to determine whether the new street signs would be designated The Beach or The Beaches, and 58% of participants selected The Beach as the name to appear on the signs.”
But me, I lived in The Beaches. And that is my Toronto.