The Toronto Skyline and Other Perks

Living here, whether you like it or not, whether intentionally or not, you’ll start taking pictures of the Toronto skyline every other week. Trust me. Those big skyscrapers are definitely irresistible and seem to look different with every change of weather or season. You’ll soon learn to distinguish between the many styles and moods of the Toronto skyline, and it just may become your friend. I have many inner dialogues with the Toronto skyline. I call it Bob.

Toronto is a great place to live if you like crowded and diverse cities that are bustling and full of energy, but also very friendly. It’s also great if you don’t mind the extremely low temperatures in the winter and the short and precious summer. But people here find a way to make do.

For example, I don’t know if you know this, but brunch is very popular here. I’m not talking about a Sunday brunch because you slept late after a wild Saturday night, or if you just had a lazy Sunday morning and decided to lay in – brunch in Toronto has a life of its own. It’s like a deity here and people take it very seriously. Plus, it’s a chance to try some delicious food from cuisines from all over the world, because, like I said, Toronto is very diverse, and we have different food from different cultures.

My favorite is the Danish smørrebrød (open sandwich), and have it nearly every day at work. Sometimes I think that when I have that for brunch, I write better codes, haha. One downside is that Toronto has very hard water. Nothing helps unless you measure it and then decide on your solution (learn how at https://tanklesscenter.net/measuring-hard-water). I buy my drinking water, but sometimes I use a pitcher water filter for cooking soups or for tea.

Finding an affordable flat can be a challenge, though. The housing situation here has always been a struggle whether you’re renting or buying, you should take note of this. So just research thoroughly about the area you want to move in and really evaluate your situation, and start from there. You could move into a more affordable area at first and then move up. It’s actually how I started. I never thought I’d like in a big skyscraper, but here I am.

And in the end, if you do move here, be prepared for a lot of cultural trips and a lot of nature!

DIY Car Repairs

I fancy myself as an amateur handyman and therefore I try to do things for myself. DIY car repairs are no exception. Have you ever gotten an estimate on auto body work? It will scare the pants off of you! After succeeding at building a small cabinet with borrowed tools and upon restoring a rusty antique collectible motorcycle gas tank, I was on my way to bigger and better things. I had found the hardware store down the street. I found a few online so I wouldn’t even have to leave home. Over the years I have assembled a few tools, and when I found some small dents and scratches on my car from parking too close to employees at work, I figured I could solve the problem myself. No expense to be incurred. This kind of thinking makes me so proud. I could hammer out the dents and then spray paint the fender. I happened to have a paint spray gun for car paint (like this: http://www.paintspraypro.com/best-paint-sprayer-for-car-paint/) that my father had given me when he cleaned out his shed..

I clearly overestimated my skills since the car repair was not perfect. It was okay, just so so. The dents were smaller but the surface was not smooth as glass. The paint didn’t match the original color and I did not feather it out on the edges to help it blend better. Knowing that I will get more scratches sooner or later, I decided to let it be. I have a few things to learn if I want to keep my handyman title. It is back to the Internet for proper repair instructions. Learning how to clean a paint spray gun nozzle was a real coup. I should have known. As for the wrong color, I had purchased it from a dealer, but my car had faded to a lighter shade. Drat! I am clearly a better software developer than I am a car painter.

No one is going to ask me to repair their dented car any time soon. I look around and see that most people leave them as is. It is a sign of experience, evidence of a car’s history and daily scrambles with other vehicles. A scrap is a dent or two and a major scrape is a battle scar. There are times when the car faces mortality and it is definitely time to get professional help. In the meantime, I am sticking to simpler DIY home projects like fixing a frayed electrical cord or redoing faulty lighting on a ceiling lamp. A tweak here and there around the house is all it takes and it is about as much as my skill level can handle. I stay away from stoves, refrigerators, dishwashers, and dryers. Appliances have me beat. If the coffee maker needs cleaning due to lime stains, I can rinse it out in the sink. I promise not to boast of my prowess any time soon un less I have sufficient proof.

Hitting the (Mountain) Trail

There is nothing like hitting the glorious and challenging mountain trails of Toronto to let off some steam. It is an adventure like no other, alone or with friends. You can opt for rugged trails or smooth and easy through tree-lined neighborhoods. A day in fresh air pushing those bike pedals is my idea of pure enjoyment. The city has a lot to offer in the way of parks and recreation. It is really a gem for the inhabitants. But mountain biking is high on my personal list of favorites. I am busy upgrading my bike pedals for even better maneuverability of the bike. It will be in perfect shape when I am done. I like the hands on work. It is as relaxing as the ride. Plus I will get top performance from my bike every time.

There is an inner city cycling map produced by the City of Toronto. If you plug in basic information, you get a suggested route. For more wilderness types you want to get off the beaten path. Then you need to go by word of mouth as to what people like. You may need a bit more experience. For families, there is the Waterfront Trail consisting of Etobicoke (western section), Toronto (central area), and Scarborough on the east. Some of these trails are asphalt and are routed along quiet residential streets like the area that follows Lake Shore Blvd. The Toronto Trail is mostly off-road with many street crossings. In the Sunnyside Park area, the path becomes asphalt and it is shared with in-line skaters and a few pedestrians. Then we have Scarborough, a mix of off-road paths and on-road sections. These paths are always being updated to make them safer for riders. For example, wet unpaved trails can be slippery and challenging for cyclists. One section is hilly if you like variety.

Toronto is my city of residential preference for these reasons. Why not live where you can practice your favorite pastimes. Plus it is a beautiful city with a variety of architectural styles and views galore. You can choose from many unique neighborhoods. I am spreading the word all the time and now have a few friends in my would-be “cycling club.” We plan outings on weekends and promote photography as an adjunct interest. You can find our smiling faces on Instagram and Facebook. If you hit the local mountain trail, you will find us in a pack.

How great to find a sport you love that you can share with friends and family. I help take care of other peoples’ bikes as they are not all as adept as I am about maintenance and repair. I and teaching them the tricks of the trade slowly but surely so they will be on their own in case something happens. I believe in mastering your mode of transportation. Each bike is unique and requires special skills. I am sure that if you find one you like, you will be as hooked as I am.

Stuff I’d Rather Not Think About

Software development is a challenging field that demands a lot from your creativity and ability to make logical connections. I know for a fact that you can create a program for just about anything imaginable. You hope that it is something useful and that it will take off like wildfire. The more people that know about it, the more it gets around by word of mouth. I have been fortunate enough to have this experience, although it is one that is few and far between. I can use my skills to help the world solve problems and efficiently perform tasks. I can also use my skills for rather mundane pursuits that serve my needs alone.

Let me give you an example. I have a hot tub that requires the regular and ongoing application of chemicals to keep it safe and clean for human use. I have a particular formula that I like arrived at after some trial and error and consultation with the experts. While I like a salt water pool, it is not as practical for a hot tub. Most people have a pool man who takes care of the right chemicals for pools and hot tubs, but it is an expense I don’t need to acquire. I think I can handle the job on my own. Here’s what I did. I created a software program that tells me what days of the week I need to add certain chemicals to keep the unit running at peak levels. It was a labor of love. I can print out what I need each day since it is not the same on a daily basis. I add chemicals five days a week and once a month a special additive. The software program keeps me right on track.

I hear neighbors and friends complain about murky hot tubs that they would rather not enter. The owners are lax about care and haven’t a clue as to what chemicals to use. People don’t like to dunk themselves in a broth of harsh elements. At least their heads are not under water. Nevertheless, chemicals can burn the skin and make it dry and flaky. I heed these remarks which is why I am careful about the mix I use for my own hot tub chemicals. I let people know I have a software-controlled formula and that it is safe indeed to jump in and enjoy the warmth. So far I haven’t had too many naysayers. I feel that I should put out a little sign for those negative people. But overall, I entertain a lot and the hot tub is a central focus of the fun. Along with the build-in grill, I have everything I need for summer entertaining. No one need fear putting their toes in the water. My software, of course, is custom designed so it won’t work for everyone. I can adapt it for others if the need should arise. After, all this is my profession.

Snug as a (Wet) Bug in a Rug

Here is a survival tip for anyone thinking of making the move to Toronto: get a space heater. Maybe get a few. I am not going to lie, Toronto is cold. While there are places in Canada that get colder, I personally don’t visit any of them, and I can promise you that you don’t really need to either if you live here. Toronto’s got just about everything you’ll ever need; for everything else, there’s the internet.

I am not a wimp about weather by any means—I’ve been playing ice hockey since I was five—but I hate being cold. I don’t think hate is a strong enough word, really, especially when I’m indoors. I despise being cold. Unfortunately, this is a serious problem for anyone working in IT. Nobody cares about your comfort; it is all about keeping the equipment cool enough to run properly. You can turn into a popsicle for all they care. It’s true. I’ve had colleagues who need to wear gloves at their stations. It’s a problem in all seasons, too. Not just winter. I’m cold in the winter because as I said before, Toronto gets cold. I also get cold in the summer because the air conditioner is always on super high in my office. Also, because our hottest month is July. Coincidentally, it rains a lot in July. This means I get wet either getting to or leaving work, then get blasted by the a/c at my destination, and that makes me cold. I have rain gear but I often forget it, or I forget to look out the window (or I’m at work, where I don’t even have a window so the weather outside is a complete surprise). Instead, I have a small but efficient space heater. The one I use the most is a bathroom space heater. I am not a fan of getting out of a nice warm shower and stepping onto freezing cold tile or into the much cooler temperature of my bathroom. That’s a special kind of torture for me. But it’s impractical to run the heat in just the bathroom in the summer and it’s also expensive to run it to a point where the bathroom is a comfortable temperature in winter.

The bathroom space heater solves my problem. It sits low to the ground so it warms the tile up nicely. It warms the air in the bathroom to a pleasant temperature so I am not freezing when I get out of the shower. If it falls over, it shuts off. If it gets too hot, it shuts off. I can have the rest of the house at a normal temperature and turn my bathroom into a sauna. Some days it is the only time of my day, aside from when I’m in bed, that I am actually at a comfortable temperature. Seriously, this thing is a life changer. Trust me. Once you get used to one, you will never look back. Especially if you are thinking of moving to this wonderful city of mine called Toronto.

Creating Our Own Paintball Course

My friends and I are fans of playing paintball. After spending a long day at a desk in front of a computer screen all day, it is fun to get outdoors on the weekend and run around with pals. Shooting each other is just an added bonus, hahaha. My friend Steve has a decent sized piece of land, and he was totally up for us building our own paintball course at his place. I think his exact words were, “Well, I’m not using it for anything else,” and all around him, we were whooping it up because it was about the best idea any of us has come up with in a while. Over the summer, we worked on the design, and then the build, of the paintball course. We used cinder blocks, a couple of plastic barrels (we put sand in them first) and some 2x4s to give people barriers to hide behind and the like.

Next, we turned our focus on the guns. We all decided to get HPA tanks instead of CO2 because we figured we could get the air and fill them ourselves rather than dealing with going somewhere to get CO2 tanks refilled all the time, and because it is more practical to use the air tanks when you live somewhere like Toronto where it can be…let’s say cold…often (one of the few drawbacks of living here). There comes a point where you’re pretty much just shooting dry ice or nothing comes out at all. Since we’re all computer guys, we went online to figure out the best way to approach this, and it turned out that this part was not as easy as we thought.

First, we had to buy an air compressor. Cost-wise, we had a decision to make: we could buy a high-output compressor, which was pretty pricey, or a regular air compressor and a booster. We actually ended up going with a quiet air compressor, with the logic being that we wanted the rest of the group not to know if someone was refilling their tanks and if anything happened to either piece, it would be cheaper to replace than the entire unit. I am not sure if this was the best logic, but it was put to a vote and that’s what was decided. We were able to find a decently priced portable one with a 20-gallon tank, which is great. Next, because we’d gone with a regular compressor, we needed a booster. We ended up buying a Shoebox compressor because they are basically designed for this type of thing. It’s on their website and everything, it explains exactly what you need. Everyone kicked in for the two compressors because they were fairly big ticket items, and that meant it didn’t hurt anyone’s wallet too hard. It will “pay for itself” in the not-so-distant future, which is what I just keep telling myself.

Anyway, our first big weekend out on there is in a couple weeks because some of the guys special ordered stuff that won’t be in until then. Why they waited this long is beyond me. I am super excited. It should be a fantastic time, and I’ll have to let you know how it goes!

Some Guys Have Duct Tape, I’ve Got a Stapler

If you had to put together a basic office supply/tool kit, what would you include? You might have picture hangars and a hammer; you might have pliers and a tape measure. You would surely want a hole punch, a letter sealer (those little plastic bottles with sponge on one end to eliminate licking envelopes), and plenty of paper clips (yes, they are mini tools). Alongside the essentials would surely be a good stapler, manual or electric and a box or two of refills.

Duct tape will do in a pinch to hold these together, but why not the ubiquitous stapler? Sure, it is intended to fasten pieces of paper, but it can also work like magic to mend things around the workspace. (And duct tape is so unsightly!) In fact, I have a mini version in the car and in my brief case. You can buy these wee refills if you know where to go.

The office, at work or in one’s home, must come equipped for various functions. One of the most common is to affix pages of a report or some research for later consumption. I know, I know. We keep these documents handy on our desktops or in files, but there are times when you want to hold something in your hands and make notes. You want to keep it within visual reach. There are also times when you want to give someone your work and feel that forgoing electronic sending is a good thing. Your email can get lost in the thousands people have in their in boxes.

No matter the purpose, the stapler is the answer to many office prayers. It does double duty if it is a staple gun that can attach things like flyers and posters to bulletin boards or walls. It can be used to decorate a room for a birthday or special celebration. Its uses know no bounds. You really should have a couple of different models. You will be surprised how often you will use them (and they don’t cost that much).

Arts and craft people can’t live without their scissors and stapler. They are the tools of the trade. You can even mend a seam that has come apart temporarily or make sure your Post-it note stays in place. A stapler can keep you out of trouble and in harmony with modern office life. Set it on your desk and watch its uses grow.

I think an electric stapler like these would make a great gift for the person who has everything, even duct tape. You can choose a regular size or long reach model once you assess the recipient’s everyday needs. Staplers for the home or office may be simple to complex, but let’s face it, the mechanism of the device is pretty standard. An added treat for your gift would be some colorful matte or metallic finish staples that make the routine process a little more fun.

You don’t have to lift a finger to buy what you need. Go to your budget-friendly office supply site online. If you are really picky, read the reviews and select accordingly. In the long run, a stapler will be your favorite tool.

Campout Essential: Sleeping Bag

When you want to get away from it all, there is nothing like camping. You get the vistas common to the great outdoors, fresh air, cooking over a campfire, and some random hiking. It is just a matter of picking the right place at the right time: no rain, only shine. It beats hotels in spite of their comfort because it is a real change of scene.

Hotels advertise their amenities like pillow top mattresses with memory foam and 1000 threat count cotton sheets. They tout their giant soaker tubs, two-person showers, and double sinks. They offer plush terry robes and slippers, hairdryers, pillows to alleviate neck pain, and more. It is truly a traveler’s paradise. But give me camping anytime in my trusty sleeping bag.

Sleeping bags have actually come a long way. They cool you off in summer and warm you thoroughly in winter months, if you dare to even go outside. They are made of waterproof fabrics that withstand a lot of toting and opening. They are durable, reliable, and they last. Everyone ten years or so, I like to get a new one just to keep up appearances.

The new models look like sleeping pods oddly enough. There are semi-tapered and tapered versions that still give you enough room to move around while on your great outdoor adventure. My favorite are super appealing and comfy made of natural goose down. You always want a bag that repels moisture, keeps in the heat, and dries fast in the event of dreaded rain. Get a shaped hood if you like and an ample foot box.

A good bag will cost about $200 more or less, but they can go up in price. You can get extra-long and models just for women. Some have more volume for larger people. It is a world unto itself. Most people like a nylon shell and a storage bag for off season. Some have backpacking bags for avid hikers. Some designed for deep winter have vents for body heat that allows for internal temperature regulation. There is no limit to what you can have. Just ask Backpacker magazine and check out their ratings. They are known to conduct vigorous field testing, so you can trust their choices.

I love the way they talk about a performance mummy, enhanced loft, warmth to weight ratio, and compression stuff sacks. There is a lot to learn if you are a regular outdoorsperson. You even have to make decisions about zipper placement and internal pockets. I love the one called “Expedition.” That sounds like a superior choice for a woodsman of caliber. There are also bags for two people so you can cozy up and keep each other toasty warm.

Camping isn’t real if you don’t sleep under the stars. To heck with the tent. Be brave and face the elements—and the animals—if you dare. If you want a veritable experience, just grab your bag and go. It will fold up and fit into your SUV without crowding the backpack and bags of food. If you always wanted to sleep in a big puffy jacket, now is the time! You may find yourself sleeping outside the Apple store waiting for the new phone to arrive.

Becoming an Employee Or Launching a Start-Up

Lots of people want their own start-ups, and it isn’t too hard to see why. People think that having a start-up of their own is going to give them the sort of freedom that they never would have been able to enjoy when they were still employees, and that is at least partly true. People who work on their own businesses can at least set their hours a little more. They can also take their businesses in the direction that they actually want, instead of fulfilling the mission of their bosses. That’s going to make all the difference for a lot of people, especially if they want to feel like they’re in charge of their own proverbial destinies in a whole new way.

If you’re in software, you’re probably going to feel like a start-up is one of those things that you have to cross off of your master to-do list. It will probably be the thing that you remind yourself that you were supposed to do each and every New Year’s Eve until you finally decide to sit down and do it. Many people go into software in the first place with the intention of starting their own businesses, usually after learning about all of the people who did that and went on to become millionaires.

If you love both software and money, this is going to feel like a natural step. Some people will probably tell you that if you know a lot about coding, you’re basically just slacking off if you’re still an employee and you haven’t started your own exciting new business yet. Believe me, I know: I have friends who will remind me of this every now and again, and I’ll have to give them variations on the same speech when I justify my decision to stay an employee for the time being.

All I can say is that I like stability. I like knowing how much money I’m going to make from one year to the next. It’s actually one reason why I got into software in the first place. I wanted a career in a lucrative field. If I was going to take the kind of risk that a start-up represents, I would have become an actor or musician. I probably would have had more fun, and the risk would have been only slightly lower. My dream was for a stable and lucrative job. I didn’t want to chase fame and fortune I probably wouldn’t get.

 

The Worst of Toronto

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As much as I genuinely love Toronto, I’m not going to say that Toronto is perfect. If you’re not a fan of cold winters, for instance, Toronto may not be the place for you. Toronto also manages to balance out its harrowing cold winters with seemingly endless hot, humid summers. When it comes to weather, Toronto is definitely going to give you the worst of both worlds. If you’re from New England or the Northern parts of the Midwest in the States, you probably think you’re ready for anything. You should know that Toronto is even further North, so it is like those areas, only even worse. If you’re from elsewhere in Canada, Toronto may be even worse than the places that you’re used to in terms of its normal weather patterns.

I should also mention that Toronto has literally the worst traffic I have ever encountered on any continent, and I’m more well-traveled than you might think. Granted, I do have more experience with Toronto traffic compared to my experience with the traffic in a lot of other cities. Really though, this means that I should have seen the full range of Toronto traffic, and I should be able to give you something of a nuanced opinion on the subject. Near as I can tell, Toronto traffic ranges from ‘bad’ to ‘horrible.’ I have driven at the pace of one mile per hour in Toronto traffic, and there were points where I wondered if running to work would have been better, especially since running gives you better exercise than yelling at the traffic.

If you want a job in Toronto, I recommend picking one that isn’t going to necessitate an especially long commute. My work is pretty close to my house, and a lot of software companies practically expect that you’re going to be a little late sometimes. If it takes you a long time to get to work and you’re putting yourself at the mercy of Toronto traffic, I guarantee that there are some days where you just won’t plan ahead enough and you’ll be forced to tell your boss it was Toronto traffic’s fault yet again.

One of the saving graces with regards to the truly terrible Toronto traffic is the simple fact that the public transportation in Toronto is definitely above average, so you’re not going to be getting around town in your car all the time anyway. You’re not going to spend half of your life in this city stuck in traffic, so that should make you feel better at least. However, it is still important to keep in mind that the little things like this can still affect your quality of life in any location, and it’s always better to know about them before you relocate anywhere.

Toronto is a great place for the people who are environmentally conscious in some ways. They can save some energy by taking advantage of the great public transportation system in Toronto, for one thing. However, the air pollution in Toronto is nothing to be proud of for anyone. People who are aware of environmental problems are going to be more aware of this problem than almost anyone else, and this might make the city a little off-putting for them. Really, it didn’t seem much worse than many of the cities in which I’ve lived before, but I have seen the facts and statistics and they don’t lie.

People who are concerned about overpopulation will probably feel like they’re being swarmed with evidence when they’re living in Toronto. The city is the victim of its own success in some ways. Word got out about the city being great, and more and more people want to join in the fun. That can make it less fun for the rest of us in some ways, and when they join the rest of us, it will be less fun for them as well. However, at least you know that meeting people is never going to be a problem for you. Even the best cities have problems, and Toronto isn’t immune.

Living and Working in Toronto

Living and Working in Toronto

A lot of people who want to move to Canada specifically want to move to Toronto. Canada is a huge country, and Toronto gets more attention than any ten other Canadian cities usually will. There’s something very satisfying about being able to say that you live in Toronto. I know that I’ve been happy whenever I described myself as a Toronto resident in the past, and I probably always will be. Toronto is one of the best places I’ve ever called home.

For one thing, I’ve always found that the people of Toronto were really friendly. Obviously, this isn’t going to apply to everyone, and it won’t be true all of the time. No one stuck in Toronto traffic is going to be particularly friendly, for instance. However, overall, I’d say that Toronto culture emphasizes being polite. It’s hard to judge the character of an entire city, but there are still going to be trends in the behavior of the residents of any city. New York City has the reputation of being full of people who are seething with hostility all the time. All I can say is, I’ve been there and that’s exactly the way that I remembered it. Toronto isn’t like that at all. Surprisingly enough, Toronto is where I hang my hat.

Of course, the main reason why I moved to Toronto in the first place was the promise of great jobs in the tech sector, and that’s what I was able to find immediately. I really recommend Toronto to my fellow software developers on that basis alone. The software industry changes really rapidly. If you’re a young, enterprising tech worker, you have to make sure that you have some sort of an escape route when your company decides that it’s time to move onto the next entry-level graduate. Toronto will have a wide range of positions available for you in the software industry.

I don’t have as much experience when it comes to manufacturing and the financial industry, but I have heard over the grapevine that Toronto is also great when it comes to those particular industries. Toronto in general tends to have great job opportunities. Plenty of people come here for work, and they stay for the rest of what Toronto has to offer. If you’re a person with a lot of documented education, you won’t have a problem finding a job in many cases. Toronto is a great place for the enterprising and the educated in more ways than one.

The fact that Toronto is a city for people who work hard and for people who play hard already means that it has a lot going for it. The fact that it has even more going for it than that almost makes it feel as if Toronto is showing off in front of the other cities. However, one of the great things for me was the fact that Toronto has a great transit system. If you’re like me and you’re used to the transit systems that you’ll usually find in the States, the public transportation in Toronto is going to come across as downright miraculous. Since Toronto traffic is miraculous in all of the worst ways, their excellent public transportation system is that much more important. Toronto is kind of like New York City in that regard: the traffic is awful, but it is possible to skip it altogether in favor of a cheaper and more environmentally friendly option.

I don’t have kids and my school days were long over by the time I actually moved here, so I can’t really speak from personal experience. I might go back to school for additional degrees at some point though, and I’d be more than happy to do it here given the quality of the colleges in Toronto. I have heard from friends and coworkers that do have kids that the schools in Toronto in general are very good, which should be encouraging for the parents who are thinking of relocating there for whatever reason. Toronto in general places a great deal of emphasis on education, and it definitely shows in more ways than one. It is easy to recognize an educated populace on first glance, and you will find that here.

Entertainment in Toronto

Entertainment in Toronto

Toronto has one of the best art scenes that I’ve ever seen in my life. Contrary to popular belief, some software developers actually do care about that sort of thing. Software isn’t our entire lives, and we can appreciate the stuff that artists bring to the table. I’ve really appreciated what I’ve seen in Toronto since I’ve been here. Toronto has a lot of intellectual entertainment in general. You’ll see some of the best of Canadian theater here, and plenty of great live music options. The movie theaters and sports stadiums didn’t disappear as a result, of course, and Toronto is pretty well-equipped in terms of entertainment options in general. If you really want to experience a little culture on the weekends or even weeknights, Toronto definitely has you covered.

Of course, a lot of the people who want to visit Toronto will usually start by going sightseeing. Toronto may not have as many famous landmarks as some cities, but it’s certainly no slouch when it comes to great things to see with one’s own eyes. Almost everyone visits the CN tower at some point or another. I don’t blame them. It really is awe-inspiring, especially when you see it for the first time. You definitely get used to it after a while, so I recommend seeing it firsthand just after you arrive in Toronto. If you visit it at any point afterwards, the magic is probably going to be gone.

If you’re a hockey fan, you’ll probably want to go to the Hockey Hall of Fame at some point or another. I’m not a hockey fan, and I’ve had to be quiet about that ever since I first moved to Toronto. Still though, even I wouldn’t mind going to see the Hockey Hall of Fame, soaking up everyone else’s boundless enthusiasm. If you’re a museum person like I am, you are pretty much going to have your pick of museums. Toronto may not have any museum that’s as famous as the Louvre, but the McMichael Canadian Art Collection will work well enough on a rainy day. Toronto is a great place to visit, and, in a stunning twist, you would want to live there.

The Start-Up Roulette

The Start-Up Roulette

Here’s the thing: when you launch a start-up, you’re basically gambling. Unless you’re doing this in your spare time, you just signed away your regular paychecks, your employee benefits, and everything else you get when you’re working with a good software company. You’re doing this in the hope that your business is actually going to take off, and you just don’t know whether it is or not when you’re really early in the game.

Some people won’t agree with the gambling analogy, pointing out that the odds at succeeding when it comes to gambling are so low that they barely even count in the first place. I’m not exactly sure how the odds of succeeding at a new start-up compare, but given the number of businesses that fail in their first year, the odds really don’t work in anyone’s favor. Starting a software business isn’t like going to Vegas, but it also won’t be like going back to college to get your new degree. You can put in four years, work hard, and be sure that there’s a certificate with fancy lettering waiting for you at the end of your college experience. You could put in four years trying to get a start-up off the ground with nothing to show for it other than the knowledge that you failed, which you always knew was possible anyway.

If you have a really revolutionary idea for a software start-up, it may be a good idea to just go with it. However, most people just don’t get those ideas. Naturally that’s the case, or the ideas wouldn’t be considered revolutionary in the first place. Most people who begin their start-ups aren’t trying to plug a hole in the system: they’re starting their businesses for the sake of starting businesses. The market doesn’t really need them, and they shouldn’t be surprised when the market more or less spits them back out when they try to add something back into it.