The Great Toronto Game


I said out loud, to myself and to anyone who cared to listen: Toronto is a very friendly city.

I said it while sipping a latte and surfing the net – and louder this time to be heard over the constant jack hammering of the road repair crew - Toronto is a very friendly city. And it hit me: that more precisely, Toronto is as friendly as you are.


Sure, we move fast as a city of preoccupied pedestrians and motorists, of cyclists and simultaneous mobile phone talkers and walking blackberry users. We move faster, think that we are busier than any other Canadian city, which we find charming about ourselves, and with all this rushing we still have time to smile back and make pleasant chatter. I can personally attest to having real and complete conversations with total strangers while riding on the TTC.


For all of you competitively-minded, rushed Torontonians or even the lackadaisical who prefer to shuffle along head down, I offer something up to put this thesis to the test. Here is a game, a sport, a pastime shared with me several years ago by a president of a telco company. Robert incorporated a version of this game of camaraderie into each and every day. We have developed it into a full game, complete with points. We call it the GREAT Toronto Game.


You are out for a walk to/from/about. Each walk is considered a game.

  • 2 points for a smile returned to me
  • 2+1 point for a returned smile and a nod of greeting.
  • 2+2 points for a returned smile and a audible good morning
  • 2+2+1 points for a returned smile and a vocal good morning from an unlikely participant (seen to be scowling perhaps)
  • 2+2+2 points for a returned smile with a good morning and the equivalent of a how do you do…or how are you today?
  • 2+2+2+2 points if the greeted actually pauses or stops to engage
  • 10 points if an actual conversation ensues.
  • No points and game over if you are asked for money.


Tally up your points at the end of your outing and compare against previous walks. Win, draw and never lose, because you have exercised your facial muscles, increased your flow of endorphins and practiced casting about general feelings of being connected to the human race – as part of an interacting community of people who take notice of each other, engage together and yes, smile. Keep track of your daily score; the goal is to improve daily…


The truth I’ve come to know is that Toronto is a friendly city. More friendly still if you take up the challenge and join the game. I think you’ll find that it is fun and that people like to play it.


And so I say Toronto is a friendly city and dare to show you. See the mugs with frames smiling out at you? Smiling is contagious. Smiling for the camera, and smiling to each other.


Other Toronto Games to note:
Yield to the Cyclist
Brilliant Driving along Dupont
The Fleeting Smile


If you want to know about these Toronto games – you've go to ask!
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Toronto is a very friendly city.

Play the game. Get the smile. Win everytime.