09/09/2015 08:25 BST | Updated 08/09/2016 06:12 BST

Why Toronto Is So Much More Than Drake-Ville


Photo credit: Nik Thakkar

The term 6GOD and the idea of "running through the six with [your] woes" have become pretty intrinsically linked with the city of Toronto thanks to Drake. Tourism and awareness of the city and its offering have also increase infinitely duo to the association of the man that Kanye West describes as the rapper of our "time" but Toronto as a stand alone destination is certainly having it's own "time" both in part and separately from said association.

If you ask someone to describe what they visualize when they think of Toronto, it is normally the CN Tower or La Tour CN - in my opinion one of the most underrated pieces of architecture to ever exist. The Toronto skyline is synonymous with the constructed needle designed by architect John Andrews, reaching over 500 metres into the sky like a futuristic pin that you'd only really ever expect to see in a science fiction film. The poetry that the needle provides when illuminated at night is beyond breathtaking - it's visible from such an epic distance that it can only bestow a sense of wonderment on you when you experience it - no matter what time of day, this piece of architecture is jaw dropping. Experiencing it from within is no small feat - it is without doubt now a tourist attraction and entering it feels like you are going to Disneyland or a theme park - as it rightly should. You're elevated in a mere 58 seconds to half a kilometer into the sky to experience a 360 degree view of a hybrid City offering small islands, docks, ports, beaches, lesser known skyscrapers and the Rogers/Blue Jay stadium filled with thousands of people. I'd suggest skipping eating at the 360 restaurant, which appears great on paper and yes the visuals are much more intimate, but it's one of those places where no one ever goes more than once so the way you're treated is like a tourist that is never planning on coming back. I guess it is like the equivalent of eating in any novelty restaurant in any city. Altitude always evokes more emotion, certainly for me personally and this unofficial wonder of the world bestows nothing less than wonderment. Another way to experience it is by chopper which somewhat feels like Lana Del Rey's High By The Beach music video with beach views and drama (minus the bazooka and explosions of course).

There's also a super hipster nightlife side of the City with boutique spaces such as The Drake (no it was not named after Drake contrary to what everyone thinks) and Cold Tea - where bar and club goers appear to have been dressed in Williamsburg and channel an energy - albeit much friendly and warmer - of some of the world's most contemporary urban demographics. It's refreshing and novel at the same time as homely and current. There's a charm that you really cannot escape. I suppose this is why the Mayor of Toronto was convinced that Kanye West was from there...

Cities will always have cultural references to draw from - and these will come and go. Drake as a hero for Toronto certainly stands strong, his influencer in pop culture alone means that his lyrical references to the city he grew up in will always help define somewhat of an identity but Toronto stands strong with or without Drake - a hybrid city that offers a little of LA, a little of NY and a lot of its own rather unique identity.