I am in Toronto for the film festival, having never been to this lovely city before. Perhaps it is an illusion, but some parts of downtown feel the way New York might have done in the 1960s: an old-fashioned friendliness with cosmopolitan charm. And the feelgood factor is promoted by something I have never encountered at any other festival on this scale: volunteers. Outside every venue an army of smiley, orange-T-shirted individuals who do their level best to help you with information and directions. I sometimes find myself prefacing questions with “Sorry to bother you …” just for the verbal TLC of them replying: “Oh, please! It’s no bother at all!” When have I ever experienced this level of civic helpfulness?
Maybe in the Apple Store, with the T-shirted apparatchiks at the Genius Bar, although they are trying to sell you stuff that will need to be upgraded sooner than you think. But then it hit me….