Lake Erie, the second-smallest Great Lake (in terms of area) and the shallowest of the lakes. Giant Cleveland, in the center, anchoring the lake. To Cleveland's right, at the eastern end, is Buffalo. To Cleveland's left, at the western end, is Toledo.
Buffalo and Toledo appear to have a lot in common.
Both are struggling rust belt cities. Both have large neighborhoods with eastern European heritage. Both have great collections of older buildings. (Cyburbia's gallery has great Buffalo pictures of older buildings. A tour of Toledo would show much the same, although smaller and fewer.) (Side note: SAC has posted great pictures of Toledo's homes.)
Both cities are low on the list of metros to grab certain upscale retail and upscale restuarants. Both cities have great local sausages , still available. Both cities have an industrial background that has somewhat withered over the years.
The core city population of both communities is similar. In 1980, Buffalo was at 357,870 and Toledo was at 354,635. By the turn of the century, both core cities were considerably smaller in population.
In terms of metropolitan area, Buffalo is 43rd, with 1,170,111, a metro about four (4) times the size of its' core city. Toledo is 69th, with 618,203, a metro about twice the size of its' core city. The metro size is one (1) of the biggest differences between the two (2) Lake Erie cities.
Buffalo's market would appear to be a dominant western New York force. Buffalo is much bigger than any nearby city. Toledo, OTOH, is dominated by a very-close metro Detroit (only about 40 miles).
The two (2) communities have universities that play in the same sports league (Mid-American Conference). Their professional baseball teams compete in the same league (International, Triple A ball). Buffalo wins between the two (2) when looking at major-league sports. The Buffalo Bills (never given enough credit for being to 4 Super Bowls!) and the Buffalo Sabres (remember hockey?) grace the major league level of football and hockey.
Both cities rank very well in terms of air quality. Unfortunately, some of this improvement was related to industrial plant closings. Both communities have ample recreational opportunities nearby. Buffalo has Niagara Falls, the hills of western New York, Lake Erie's eastern basin, and the wild north-of-Toronto (relatively close). Toledo has the western basin of Lake Erie, considered to be among the best sports fishing places in the world, Cedar Point (always rated the best coaster park in the world), and access to the wilds of northern Michigan (relatively close).
Both cities have at least "considered talking about" the topic of regional government. Both metros would probably be much more visible (and perhaps stronger) if some of the principles of regional government trickled down.
My guess is that the "person from Buffalo" or the "person from Toledo" both view their community as hometown, great place to raise a family, just the right size, etc.
Welcoming your thoughts about both or either.....