JANUARY 04, 2016

I can’t feel my face when I’m with you, ‘cause it’s -5 degrees and I’m poorly dressed. For some reason, I expected that people here would just know, somehow, that I wasn’t from around here. Like I had a giant floating sign following me around like that shitty insurance ad saying FOB. But for the most part, nobody bats an eye. I mean, it’s a huge city, and there’s plenty of international tourists here. It’s like some guy walking around back home with an Irish accent; nobody cares.

Unless you're being a god damn obnoxious tourist
Unless you’re being a god damn obnoxious tourist

Maybe it’s because everybody in Canada is high as shit. Oh boy, do Canadians love to get baked. It’s a testament to the progressiveness of this place, with a dispensary and some kind of kale-infused organic goji berry latté available at a vintage cafe at least on every block. God damn hippies. For all your greenery needs, however, all you need is certification from a medical professional. This is offered in house at many of these dispensaries, which generally sport hilarious names such as “Budzilla” and “MEDPOTNOW”. $10 for a Skype call in a shady back room with mood lighting, and congratulations! You can now buy legal weed. Indica, Sativa, edibles, oils, pre-rolled joints and shower gels. It’s ridiculous. Bertie Botts Every Flavour Greens.

My personal favourite Canadian hipster offering are the legendary growlers. Now, the locals I’ve met here think I’m making an overly big deal out of this, but the growler concept is easily the most amazing thing since sliced gluten-free bread. It’s a 32 or 64 oz bottle you can buy from a brewery, and you basically bring it back whenever you like for cheap refills of the craft beer of your choice. Cheaper and tastier than a six pack, and they even give you free tastings.


For all the progressiveness though, homelessness seems to be a pretty serious problem here. The housing market is all kinds of fucked, with anything remotely near downtown costing upwards of $1 mil. Majestic Point eat your heart out. I’d like to think that maybe that’s why I was conned so magnificently I would have been better off buying snake oil from a brake light fluid specialist.

Some friendly neighbourhood emo gang tagging
Some friendly neighbourhood emo gang tagging

I came out of the bathroom of an A&W when a black dude wearing sweatpants and a single fabulous earring came up to me and asked if I supported local music. If it was anything else, I think now… if he was championing some other cause, like starving children, I probably would have excused myself and jogged on my merry way. But local music! I know how tough it can be in the music scene, how hard it is for struggling artists to make it in the industry. Man, CJ left Thy Art like two weeks ago. So I gave this guy the benefit of the doubt.

“Hey, man, I would really appreciate it if you bought my mixtape,” he continued, looking at me with an expression I can only describe as ”World Vision”.
“You know, so I can keep producing music and… so people can hear my art, you know what I’m saying?” A single tear ran down his cheek.

Those of you playing at home can spot this hustle a mile away, and even my own overly gullible mind starting to question this sob story. So I started asking him questions: how did he produce it, what he used to mix and master, how long he spent in the studio. He had an answer for every single one. Fuck it, I thought. “I know how tough it is out there, dude.” I handed him crisp Canadian currency before saying proudly, “I’ll always help local music.”

“Man, this will help me so much. Now I can finish school. Thanks so much, bro!” he exclaimed through fervent nods, before patting me on the back and sprinting away.

And that’s the story of how I spent $30 on 3 blank CDs with “MC HYPE” scrawled on them in Sharpie.