In Seattle, where I come from, "home" was the house I shared with my brother and our dogs. I felt at home when I was there. The neighbourhood, the city, Seattle, was "the city". Home city, but not "home"
Here in my new Canadian life, Toronto - the whole city, feels like home to me. I was wondering why this was. As I was walking this morning in the College Park neighbourhood, then later in the St. Lawrence Market/Old Town neighbourhood where I live I think I figured it out.
In the U.S. I drove everywhere. If something I needed was more than a few blocks away - and I mean two blocks away, I'd hop in the car to go there. It's a very American way to get around. We love our cars. But getting in a car isolates you from everyone and everything. You forget what the area just a few blocks away looks like or smells like, or what's on this corner and who lives on that corner...
In Toronto, we don't have a car. We walk or take transit (primarily the subway) everywhere. I am in connection with the city everywhere I go. I have to pay attention. I see it at walking speed, not in the blur of driving speed. I think because I experience Toronto in this way, the whole city feels like home to me - my connection to it is as broad as my walks - and in the city, a 45-minute walk to get somewhere is not all that exceptional. I would never walk 45-minutes to somewhere in the U.S. Don't ask me why, but it just doesn't make sense.
I love this broader sense of where "home" is. I love being in Canada and with my love in Toronto.