My brother-in-law and I have this argument every time I visit my sister's place: I'm [not] from Toronto. I've noticed many people have this argument online too, so it's a real issue. Here's my $0.02: If I'm from the Greater TORONTO Area, that means I have some link to Toronto. Anybody outside of Ontario knows this is where I am from. My cousins in Chicago (Chi-town what's good?) know I'm from Toronto. So I can't stop myself from wondering, why won't my own people accept me? End of argument. I guess it's not that deep, ahlie (My BIL and I usually begin our arguments by deciphering who has more Toronto slang up their sleeves. It's obviously me...bare mans know I know slang yea eh).
This isn't an argument that keeps me up at night, but to be honest it's a great way to introduce my love for my city. If we're speaking of Downtown, Toronto, I've only been there a couple of times, but it's amazing. The food. The vibes. Did I mention the food? Also the people, who always make me feel welcomed.
A few months back I went to Snakes & Lattes, and I had to offer Salah (Islamic prayer). Although I was certain they wouldn't have a prayer place, I had asked the staff if I could pray somewhere in the back, and they replied in the affirmative. Then again in Downtown, at a Krispy Kreme's, I had gotten the same acceptance, and the area they had given me to pray was surprisingly out in the open. I recently went to Cluck Clucks, and they had a little corner for prayer which they let me use. I have always been taken aback by the positive responses.
Although these restaurants don't have areas singled out for accommodating prayer, the fact that the staff at these public places are so hospitable make me feel included and help me form a deeper love for my city. I think many times we don't want to take a step because we don't believe our step will be worth it. You will always be a part of the movement if you take action. A couple weeks ago I saw a petition for prayer rooms in malls. After years (decades? Centuries? How long have malls been around?) of creatively praying in malls (Nursing room, anyone?) we can finally say we have a prayer place.
My friend in a Hospitality and Tourism program wrote a paper recently about factors impacting diversity in the workforce, whether that's gender, age, culture, religion etc. By creating petitions we aren't just saying we need to pray. We are creating a diverse culture where people are able to feel welcomed as customers. I would probably spend 10 hours at Markville Mall if I could eat, pray and sleep (petition for mattresses! Sleep City is that you?) all in one.
You might be wondering why I mentioned Markville Mall. That's not from Toronto...okay, let me admit one thing. I technically don't reside in Toronto. I was born in a hospital Downtown though, so I am from there. Right? Regardless of anything, home is where the heart is.
May Peace Be Upon You, Asalamu Alaykum!
"O you who have believed, do not put [yourselves] before Allah and His Messenger but fear Allah. Indeed, Allah is Hearing and Knowing." - Quran 49:1 (Sahih International)
"The best among you are those who have the best manners and character." - Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)
"I am not what happened to me, I am what I chose to become." - Carl Jung
"The function of leadership is to create more leaders, not followers." - Ralph Nader
"You have never had to steal my breath or take it away, somehow you have always managed to convince me to hand it over freely." - Tyler Knott Gregson
"These mountains that you are carrying, you were only supposed to climb." - Najwa Zebian
"I finally understand that I do not write, I leak." - Tyler Knott Gregson
"I am too little butter on too much bread. I am too many thoughts in too little head." - Tyler Knott Gregson
"How can land be owned by another man...is the sky owned by birds and the river owned by fish." - Lupe Fiasco
"Who you are, what you think, feel, and do, what you love—is the sum of what you focus on." - Carl Newport
"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
"The pain leaves bit by bit. Be patient. You are healing." - Yasmin Mogahed
"An image I always like is of a circle of knowledge — but as the circle grows, as the diameter increases, so does the circumference that’s in contact with all that darkness outside the circle of light — that ignorance." - Stuart Firestein
"Sometimes the only way to catch your breath is to lose it completely." - Tyler Knott Gregson
"It's the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. Once that belief becomes deep conviction, things begin to happen." - Muhammad Ali
"Love isn't soft, like those poets say. Love has teeth which bite and the wounds never close." - Stephen King
"To describe my mother would be to write about a hurricane in its perfect power. Or a rainbow in its climbing, falling colors." - Maya Angelou
"What we need is more people who specialize in the impossible." - Theodore Roethke
"Travelling. It leave you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller." - Ibn Battuta
"It has been said, 'time heals all wounds.' I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone." - Rose Kennedy
"Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory." - Dr. Seuss
Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant. – Robert Louis Stevenson