The radio in the car is playing upbeat trumpet jazz and the road is bright: big city lights ahead. Saturday night and the cares of the week have been left behind; at six-thirty the highway is a river of headlights flowing easily towards the heart of Toronto.
The skyline glitters with office towers and condominiums; the gigantic CN tower rising above them, a multi-colored light show decorating it's tall concrete base. The tower is trying to present a younger image of itself, having undergone somewhat of a makeover. A light show draws attention to it: think of an enormous needle with a swoosh of light rising rapidly to the top, much like mercury rising with unnatural speed along a gigantic thermometer, and then quickly dropping to the base, only to repeat again in different colors.
The radio tuner in the car moves from radio station to radio station, reflecting my feelings tonight -- a little bit of rock-and-roll, then some disco, back to upbeat jazz and over to funk. No racing the clock tonight; just rhythm and movement; an easy drive without any need to hurry.
I drive along Lake Shore Boulevard, the music high. Lake Ontario to the right is dark, except for occasional reflections of light on the water; shafts of light that stretch and waver with the movement of the water. The boardwalk along the coastline is empty, but the grass on the side still comes through green despite the darkness.
The city presents itself as a big and pleasant party destination: the Toronto Maple Leafs are playing the New York Rangers in ice hockey; people are stepping out to for dinners or theatre shows; a walk with friends, a talk at Starbucks or a drink at the local bar.
Toronto really is growing up, looking more and more like Chicago, Boston or parts of Manhattan. On a fine autumn night, it presents itself with blemishes hidden and its jewelry on, ready for an evening of fun.
Lately, the Canadian dollar has risen vigorously above its American cousin, and held its own in the international markets. It seems the city wants to show the world it has come of age.