As a Mexican in Toronto sometimes I feel like I have a double personality. While I’m a native of Mexico City (or Chilanga as we call ourselves) I take a temporary Torontonian identity to be able to blend in and become a resident of this city. I know I’m not the only one and that’s one of the things that fascinate me about Toronto. People from all over the world come here taking an alternative identity that allows them to share a common ground and live together.
The other day a friend of mine from Colombia showed me a book by illustrator Dusan Petricic called My Toronto. Petricic was a political cartoonist in Belgrade who moved to Toronto in the early 90’s. Chances are you have seen his work on The Toronto Star on in one of the many children’s books he has illustrated.
What really called my attention about My Toronto, was the way in which Petricic’s illustrations show an intimate view of a city that is hard to define in words.
With his humorist style, Petricic captures the spirit of a city in which newcomers are becoming locals and locals are always under the influence of newcomers.
He also shows a city that keeps transforming right in front of the eyes of the locals, or at least of those who have lived here long enough to witness it’s growth and expansion.
I find the interdependent relationship we have with the cities we live in extremely interesting and I certainly loved the way in which Perticic communicates our relationship with Toronto.
If a city makes us who we are, I think I might be turning little by little into a Torontonian kind of Chilanga.
What about you, what kind of Torontonian are you?