Canadian culture is very difficult to define. There are very few unifying traits that identify a person as a true Canadian. Sure, for the most part there’s hockey and the fact that we’re all polite, but even so, is that all it takes to make us a part of the “true north strong and free”? Well, according to a new documentary entitled Let’s All Hate Toronto, one thing that brings all Canadians together is their hatred for Toronto.
For the past year, directors Albert Nerenberg and Robert Spence have been hosting “Toronto Appreciation Days” in cities across Canada. Spence, who calls himself Mr. Toronto, would stand in front of a banner and sing songs and give speeches to passers-by while Nerenberg filmed. Crowds would gather around the spectacle, and people would often step out of the crowd to regale others with their personal feelings towards the city. According to Nerenberg, they would time how long it took for someone to tell them off, and in every case it was less than a minute. In Montreal, they hadn’t even unrolled the banner before someone walked by and shouted a string of expletives.
Aside from hosting the Toronto Appreciation Days, they interviewed scholars and celebrities alike about their hatred for Hogtown, and the responses were very colourful. Punk Rocker Joey “Shithead” Keithley from the band DOA said that Torontonians were all “soulless, one-eyed corporate zombies.” Owch. Even worse, on Nerenberg’s list of cities that hate Toronto the most, Toronto itself ranks at number 3, behind Vancouver and Montreal.
The world premiere of Let’s All Hate Toronto is on Friday April 20, 2007 at the Bloor Cinema as part of the Hot Docs film festival. There is a second screening on Saturday, April 28, also at the Bloor.