Last month, we half-jokingly suggested that you take a jaunt up to Canada while their dollar was in dire straits (it still is, FYI). We even went so far as to recommend spots in Toronto that might supplant your Brooklyn-based cravings for good coffee, cozy dive bars and must-try restaurants.
But lately, it seems to be getting a little out of hand. Toronto is getting its own Seinfeld pop-up diner this summer. And we recently discovered that one of the city’s über-hip venues, the Gladstone Hotel, is now doing Broad City trivia nights. Hold on: is Toronto actually trying to be the new Brooklyn, or at least the New York City of the North?
This isn’t a condescending scoff at our friends up there — far be it from us to take imitation as anything other than flattery — nor is it a self-important rejection of cities that aren’t Brooklyn. No city is the best city. Or, put another way, every city is the best city when you live inside it. We don’t “own” Broad City, and we certainly don’t own Seinfeld. But in light of Louis CK’s new webseries taking the ever-topical ‘search for authenticity’ to task, we’re starting to wonder what the point of it all really is.
Toronto already had a pizzeria called “North of Brooklyn” and a hotel bar called Brooklynn, spelled with two Ns for no apparent reason other than maybe to appear a little old-timey, or to avoid copyright infringement from Mayor Tall’s search-and-destroy team. The deeper you go, the more absurd their use of our city’s branding starts to become — almost as absurd as naming your baby Brooklyn.
And while calling “copycat” is about as attractive as whining about your first-world problems, Toronto’s behavior is giving us every indication that it’s planning to replace us entirely. If this continues, we may even see even more blatant plagiarism than gimmicky diners and dive bars. What’s next? Will Toronto’s beloved venues suddenly be replaced at breakneck speed by condo developments? Will Vice buy out a stretch of Kensington Market, turning Cold Tea into their corporate head office? Will Toronto become the setting of an HBO show that claims to write “the voice of a generation?”
Either way, two can play at this game. We might just have to build the western hemisphere’s tallest building, or elect a ridiculously good-looking president (there’s always next term), or hold Michael Cera hostage until his agent agrees to film the next Scott Pilgrim in BK.
Follow Sam on Twitter for more hypocritical hot takes at @ahoysamantha