Safe(r) Crime and Peaceful Streets – Toronto, Ontario, Canada

I took a walk enjoying the +24 sunny clear day with not even a whisper of wind. While waiting for Jo on Bloor street, a man ran past me at top speed with an arm full of clothes, hangers flopping wildly. I contemplated what he might be late for. Then another man followed, brushing me slightly in his haste. I wondered if he was going to the same appointment. But when the police man sprinted by seconds later, I admitted it was probably a robbery. It was all so surreal tho as everyone kind of just slowed up craning their necks in slight yet passive interest. Passerbys were unruffled and you could almost hear the collective thoughtful “hummm…I wonder…what`s happening…there?”

I wouldn`t even have known it was happening had I not been tuned into the birdsong in the trees lining the streets. It was the quickened pace of the shoes pounding the sidewalk that caught my interest. I realized that if we were somewhere else, there may have been guns and a whole fleet of cops screaming in pursuit. It was only a few months ago that I was caught in between a thief and the police on 9 de Julio in BsAs. It took me a few moments to register that several guns were being pointed at me and that perhaps I should move out of the line of fire.

Joanna was shocked when I related the experience to her recounting that she couldn`t even remember the last time she saw a crime here. It may be just my perception but this is one of the reasons I love my home country. Canada to me in one word: PEACEFUL. Even the crime seems not so violent. In fact, stats show that Canada has one of the lowest crime rates in the world. A recent Mercer survey revealed that all of the Canadian cities covered by the survey appear in the top 20 rankings (out of 215) for personal safety and security making Canadian cities the safest in North America.

Save for this moment of fleeting excitement, I was intrigued by the smoothness of the street. I am not talking about the pavement altho here it doesn`t jump up to trip you in its unlevelness. There are laws about picking up after your dog so no poo poo hopscotch either. But I am talking about the silky ease in which people glide along. Everyone seems to have a force field bubble of space around them cushioning from bump and tumble run ins with the multitude of other pedestrians. When I look up I see not cement highrises but blue sky only obstructed by the fullness of the leafy trees. I took a deep breath inhaling the cleanness and fresh spring air warmed just enough by the smiling sun. The cars have a respectful amount of room between them and I strained to hear even one honk, screech or road raged driver. Nope. Just the subdued murmur of cheerful conversation here and there…in English, French and would you believe it, even Spanish.

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