Archives for posts with tag: immigration
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Fresca – where the Toronto-style garlic brush was born, and has been dousing slices at Vietnamese-run pizzerias since the death of Massimo’s.

The culmination of over four years of delicious research, my latest contribution to the Globe and Mail follows the amazing story of the emergence of Toronto-style pizza – the product of accidents of history, only-in-Toronto cultural fusion, and the death of a pizza institution. It has given me the opportunity to celebrate what might be the “best slice in town” – the garlicky, tender and savoury pizza at Fresca. 

Read Meet Toronto’s new masters of pizza on the Globe and Mail website

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This post originally appeared on the Charlie’s Freewheels blog

Canadaimm

Immigration is a big part of life here, where half of all Torontonians were born somewhere else! Many of us, our parents or our friends have personally experienced what it means to overhaul your life and settle down in a new place.

What lots of people have noticed is that newcomers are particularly open to adopting new behaviour. Which makes sense: getting to a new country, we are eager to take up new customs, and it’s easier to get over old habits.

That’s why it’s so important to encourage new immigrants to Toronto to cycle. If we can show newcomers that cycling is affordable, healthy and convenient, they’ll more readily use a bike to get around. And they’ll become part of the ever growing contingent of Toronto cyclists, pushing the benefits of cycling to society at large and enabling more infrastructure that will make biking even more viable and safe.

But with the image of what it means to successfully integrate, a lot of new immigrants have expectations of getting a car when they come to Canada, even if they come from a place where cycling is an everyday way to get around. According to the Toronto Cycling Think & Do Tank, many new immigrants consider bicycles a “second class” mode of transportation, chosen out of necessity rather than desire.

It seems our trusty bicycle has an image problem. But we can get over it!

CANADA-BIKELots of organizations are working to connect new immigrants to bicycles. Since 2009, CultureLinkand Cycle Toronto have collaborated to offer Bike Host, a program that has been giving bike tours of the city, mentorships and road safety courses to newcomers. Once a participant has gone through the program, they then mentor the next group of newcomers the following summer.

Charlie’s serves youth from Regent and Moss Parks, the neighbourhoods that have some of the highest concentrations of immigrants in the country. Recognizing that newcomers are especially suitable cyclists, our programs normalize cycling as a viable way to get from A to B in Canada, and the most affordable, convenient and healthy transportation option.

caravan

We like the way Caravane, an immigrant-cycling organization in Montreal puts it. Bicycling is a way of participating in a culture, and when you participate, you integrate.

So let’s keep supporting newcomers with bikes!

Holland-motion

I know it may be hard to conceptualize, but try and imagine the provinces of North and South Holland — the Randstad specifically — as one big city.

the ranstadThe complex dotted-and-linked towns and cities of the Randstad

I know it’s hard to conceptualize when looking at a map: a highly complex and widely spread system of independent-seeming towns, cities, farms and transportation in between — the Randstad alone has an area of 8 287 square kilometres (about 4000 of which are urban).

But functionally North and South Holland is one big city. And with that comes a lot of motion:

A first example of Holland-mobility is that many people from the Netherlands that I’ve encountered have personal geographies that consist of a lot of movement between the cities of North and South Holland (the sort of movement you associate with the United States and the American Dream).

Of those I’ve spoken with, many of their grandparents are from one city, their parents grew up in another, they were born in that town, but now live elsewhere.

These common stories of intra-provincial migration contribute to a blurry sense of place-based identity, and soft declarations of one-point-of-origin as where they’re “from”: a confusion that ultimately leads to a Holland-wide identity, and the allegiance to the Randstad as a whole as the basis for identity, rather than an individual town or city.

Another point of Holland motion: people travel from in between cities near and farther away, to live, work and socialize on a daily basis. My fellow interns at Golfstromen themselves live in Utrecht and Zandvoort. A friend’s colleagues similarly travel from major regional cities — cities with their own employment — to work in Amsterdam.

And a final meditation on Holland Motion —
Lining the bike paths of Amsterdam are the constant appearance of way-finding signs directing you to far-flung Haarlem, Almere, Den Haag, and Utrecht — cities that are relatively quite far away. But these cities, appearing on the streets, inhabit your consciousness as you negotiate the local geography of Amsterdam. Being constantly reminded that they and are within biking distance — indeed that they exist! — wraps their being into the being of Amsterdam, tightly weaving Holland together as a series of neighbourhood-cities within a greater regional metropolis.

Bike signs

This May, I look forward to “following the signs”, that is, choosing a city that I see a  bike way-finding sign for, and biking there without consulting a map — to experience Amsterdam, the city I choose to bike to, and the spaces and tight relations in between.