RANGE: The Torontogre would like to describe her habitat as downtown Toronto, Ontario, but since neither she nor anyone else has been able to find downtown Toronto, she ranges the area bounded by Kingston, Buffalo, Hamilton, and Owen Sound. She makes her influence felt across the country by means of far-reaching transmitters operated by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
HABITS: The Torontogre is a Noble Dame and has taken it upon herself to see that her city has clean streets, safe subways, and a lively but decorous night life, with free flowing ginger ale, plenty of community singing, and those hot sausage rolls that just keep on coming. Under her benign influence, charming landmarks pop up where previously there had been only old buildings! She has developed a hardy strain of hybrid hanging plant, tough enough to survive the terrible cold of a Toronto winter in the window of a quiche and chablis snack bar. The Torontogre has transformed old snowy Hogtown into a glittering Kapital of Kultur. Her latest rage is malls, malls, malls—shopping, parking, promenading, and ballet malls, many named after quaint English suburbs. She so swells the breasts of all native Torontonians with such civic pride that they look as if they are wearing down-stuffed vests even when, for two weeks in July, they’re not. The Torontogre is a patroness of the arts akin to that highbrow hag, the Culture Vulture. Her recent cultural coups include bringing Ballet-in-a-bag to the Gumbleton Mall, founding the annual Arthur Wing Pinero Drama Festival to be held every five years in the Grisling-ton Theatrical Mall, and of course introducing the Robertson Davies Wisdom Festival, featuring competitors from all over the commonwealth, to be held in the Chokeonacoke Philosophy Mall.
HISTORY: After an ideological tiff with the Spirit of ’76, the Torontogre removed herself north to Canada, where she remains, determined to see that Toronto has at least one of everything found in civilization. No sooner is a mummy unearthed in Egypt or a school of poetry founded in Munich, than she directs the attention of MacLean’s magazine feature writer to a similar event near the Porkville Mall. Thanks to her genteel moral influence, there is very little Greek or French culture in the Toronto area, except in so far as it is necessary to have one of everything.
SPOTTER’S TIPS: Look for her near her handiworks: Canada’s World Trade Center, the CN Tower; Canada’s Macy’s, Eaton’s; Canada’s Eiffel Tower, the CN Tower; Canada’s Chicago Cubs, the Toronto Bluejays; and, of course, Canada’s Maxim’s, the restaurant high atop the CN Tower.