I’ve Never Been to the North

Kieran Ball | Contributor

A lot of people in Prince George look surprised when I tell them I’m from Ontario. A lot more people look a lot more surprised when I tell them I’m from Toronto. “Wow, it must really suck here compared to the big city, huh?” Not really. Toronto will always be my hometown, but Prince George has really grown on me since I’ve lived here. The community is better and I haven’t been flipped off one time while driving.
I lived in Toronto for my entire life up until August, 2017. The metropolitan centre of Canada is basically a hipster New York City and we only have one NBA team. It can be very streamlined. Everyone likes the Leafs. All the radio stations play Drake. We think it gets really cold.
Prince George is an interesting little piece of British Columbia I didn’t know existed until the Summer of 2016. BC’s northern capital is a visually beautiful affair in every season. You can see the mountains from almost everywhere. The trees grow up high and you can see almost every star in the sky at night. Winter starts early and it snows like crazy. It gets cold here, for real. It always reminds me of a conversation from Game of Thrones.
“You’ve never been down South.”
“I’ve been to Winterfell.”
“That’s the North.”
Being in Prince George feels a little bit like being beyond the Wall. I’m not scared of White Walkers but I am a lot more aware of bears now. The city feels a little bit like it’s out of Fargo or Stranger Things, though Hawkins, Indiana wouldn’t ever get the winters that Prince George gets. You can’t walk much because of it. You can walk everywhere in Toronto. I think I’ve walked a total of two hours in four months of being here.
In a lot of strange ways, I feel like I’m still in Toronto. Though the scenery changes, the people don’t change much. Even 4,500 km from my hometown I feel like I know some of the people I share classes with even if I don’t ever talk to them. People are still obsessed with Supreme and Yeezy. People still like basketball, sometimes a little too much, I mean, come on. I realize we’re in a bit of a blow off class but you already know the Warriors won. People still share bad memes on community facebook pages. People still post wildly incriminating things on their snapchat stories.
If pressed about what I miss the most, I’d have to say the food. I only had to walk like ten minutes to get some really good sushi and twenty to get frighteningly cheap hangover-cure brunch. Chicken and waffles, man, for $5. Another thing I miss about Toronto is not getting into my car and thinking I smell like farts. Shoutout to the pulp mill.
But Prince George is a great city. It’s a community I’m really happy I’m able to be a part of. I’ve learned how to harvest potatoes and change tires and the handshake that’s just a little different from the one I know from Toronto. I had a raspberry plant that I loved even though it died. I co-own a dog that looks like an actual bear. Just about the best thing is that when I tell people I’m from Toronto, they think I’m exotic.