Being raised in a small city of approximately 200,000 people is comparably different had I grown up in a large city, let’s say for example Toronto. Thankfully for me, I’ve had the experience of living in Toronto for a year. I was a student at Humber College’s graphic design program. What lead me there was my failure to get into where I am today, a graphic design student at Conestoga College.
There are many comparable differences to the life I’ve experienced in both K-W and Toronto. For one, and most obvious, is the amount of people are vastly different. I feel constricted by the numbers of K-W, but in Toronto, I, myself, was consumed. One could almost say, annihilated. In some respects, though, the shear amount of people in Toronto made me feel, surprisingly, more free.
Another difference greatly evident is the amount of activities to be had or to be done. It makes sense, to accommodate all these different people and their interests, a generation of varied activities must be created. That is not to say that K-W doesn’t have things to offer. It’s just not as varied as one would find in a larger city. You could say the activities are more mainstream, to say the least. The specialized or unique is generally not a common sight in K-W unlike Toronto. It still exists, but the search is a bit more laboured, especially for specifics.
Public transportation is another crucial difference, especially to those without an automobile. The transit system in Toronto is great because buses missed can be caught in the next 5-10min. Again, there are more people using or needing use of such a service, so it only makes sense that the transit runs more frequently.
I could go on, but essentially, if I had to give a general summation on the differences between student life in a small city vs big city, it would be: with more people, comes more things.
I’ve asked a prior graphic design classmate, Joseph Nowak, we were in the same class in ’09-’10, about his experience with big vs small city. Now, I was assigned to ask another student, but since student was not specified, and he is technically a studying student of Art, he has his own comics, I figured his opinion is relevant and valid. The following is an unedited response he made to the question I posed, “How do you feel about being in a big city, Toronto, as opposed to a small town, K-W?”
“I am not exactly sure what it is you’re looking for in a response but i’ll do my best.
Three main differences in my experience have been as follows:
More Artists/groups in my area
More job opportunities
Greater number of venues and events for displaying my work.
Toronto may not be the most artistic city, even in Canada (I imagine people would think of Montreal first) but it’s very evident that more people trying to earn a living through art come to a big city like this. I have met them through friends and work and conventions and have seen a bigger percentage of success than from where I grew up. It’s almost like school, being around artists all the time is essential for both development and support.
The fact that the availability and range of jobs is so vast in a big city is ideal for someone like me. Even though I possess some honed skills (welding, baking, etc.) there are enough ‘no experience necessary’ jobs in my vicinity to jump from one to the other as I see fit. For me at least, the fear of unemployment doesn’t exist here.
Cafes and galleries and other public spaces here seem more inclined to help out artists. Even though I didn’t make that much money at my recent art show, the fact that it was organized and attended is evidence of a more thriving community. The places where the riches civilians live are the places where you want to display and sell your work.”
Basically, although his experience is more attuned with that of the art community, it goes back to what I’ve stated, more people, more things, thus more opportunities. It really comes down to the life you wish to lead or where it just so happens to lead. We could argue one being better than the other, but they are different, yet underlying it all, they are inherently similar.