You could say that I was already “primed” by the time I turned 10,11 12 or whichever age in whichever country is considered to be the “next one” after, the simpler, early childhood.
Once you’re there, your physical universe expands and the walks to school soon become the walks out and about, the bus-taking to beautiful places that you remember reaching before, but have no recollection of how you got there. Now you know. You learn the paths, you learn the city and enjoy it to a different level.
Or you can keep it just between you and the city.
Cities offer a coherent system of social interaction. Restaurants, parks, even the streets themselves are constructs of experience and they are designed no different than the living room you love to decorate yourself.
Rarely we see cities as entities to interact with on our own, and often we forget they have personality and a “pulse”. In urban lingo city, references resonate with anthropomorphic qualities. Just think of New York revered like a person. New Yorkers are proud of being New Yorkers almost like.. in a marriage-like relationship. They honour the city, they enjoy it, they help it how they can, they rely on it and share it.
Toronto does not have yet quite that level of international cult but it does have a local flavour like no other. It is here for you to interact with it in a very personal way.
As a single child, I enjoyed going around the city by myself a lot. I would walk the streets and look at the people, I would admire the buildings. Granted I do understand that partly this interest in the city and the built environment pushed me toward my path toward architecture and later, design and that not everyone likes going out and about staring at buildings, after years of carefully observing how people react to their immediate environments, the place they are in at a given moment – be it a restaurant, a park, their living room, a new hotel room or lobby – I realized that we all connect with it and get affected by it. And I’m not talking about the statistically emotional connection that one has to space proportions and colours that have already been studied and tabulated. That is only a small morsel of what this is truly all about.
What I’m talking about is the flow between your mind, your body and what is immediately interacting with your senses. What is in your arm’s reach to touch, what is in your cone of vision to see, what is in the air to smell, what reverberates around you to hear.
If you were a fish, it is all just water. Moving through it is a given, you are porous, the water going in and out, seamlessly you belong to the water and the water belongs to you. You never crave it, you never need it, you never see it – it’s just part of you. It nourishes you, you cannot live without it.