Toronto

TorontoSkyline1

 

Toranna. Hogtown. Tee-Oh. T-dot. Canada’s largest and most impressive city has many names, but the third largest city in North America is known around the world by its actual name: Toronto.

Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the center of this populous and energetic region of the world. While the inner city of Toronto itself is home to more than 2.6 million inhabitants, the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), which includes the surrounding suburbs and boroughs, has more than 6.1 million people, placing it in the top 30 largest cities in the world.

This population is booming, too. Toronto is the number one stop for immigrants to Canada, making it the fastest-growing city in North America. In 1990 Toronto boasted 13 skyscrapers; by 2010 there were 54! As hundreds of thousands of immigrants flock into the city, the population has soared, and today roughly 50% of the people who live in Toronto were born outside of Canada. The large mix of millions of different people speaking different languages and following different cultural norms has led Toronto to be named the “Most Multi-Cultural City in the World” by the United Nations. In fact, while only having half the population of New York, Toronto has more immigrants per-capita!

North America's third largest city has grown from 13 skyscrapers to more than 50 in only 30 years!

North America’s third largest city has grown from 13 skyscrapers to more than 50 in only 30 years!

Toronto is ranked as the most multicultural city in the world. 50% of Torontonians were born outside of Canada.

Toronto is ranked as the most multicultural city in the world. 50% of Torontonians were born outside of Canada.

This great city’s beginnings originate with the Wyandot people, a native tribe that was exterminated by the much more warlike Iroquois tribes. By 1500 the Iroquois had taken over all of what is today Southern Ontario, and had built a sizable village on the land of present-day Toronto. The name “Toronto” itself is an Iroquois name, which means “The place where trees stand on the water”, a reference to the hundreds of low, flat islands that surround the Toronto shorefront.

By the 1660’s French trappers had already made extensive contact with Iroquois peoples in this area, and the dozens of large river canyons that snake through the region to Lake Ontario made excellent portage routes for French traders. Thus, by the end of the 17th Century the area around Toronto was well-explored and settled by a mix of Iroquois and French colonial traders.

In the early 18th Century a neighboring tribe of natives, the Mississauga, attacked and pushed the Iroquois and French out of the area, sparking what is known as the Beaver Wars. As the the following decades escalated into the French and Indian Wars and a vicious conflict between Britain and France for control of the continent, this area was largely left alone and forgotten about.

Toronto means "The place where trees stand on the water" in reference to the islands of Toronto's shorefront, popular summer getaways today.

Toronto means “The place where trees stand on the water” in reference to the islands of Toronto’s shorefront, popular summer getaways today.

The place where trees stand on the water.

The place where trees stand on the water.

Iroquois natives and French trappers built a healthy trade relationship, living alongside each other and intermarrying, until the Beaver Wars started and the French-British war for dominance over North America.

Iroquois natives and French trappers built a healthy trade relationship, living alongside each other and intermarrying, until the Beaver Wars started and the French-British war for dominance over North America.

With the British victory at Quebec in 1759, North America fell under British rule, and the low-key relations that the Iroquois had enjoyed with the French were gone. Instead, aggressive British expansion into the region began. The Hudson Bay Company established several trading forts along the shores of Lake Ontario, Lake Erie and Lake Huron, and a network of roads was established between these forts. Forests were cleared and British settlers began to set up farms. The Mississauga natives who lived in the area continued to sell off portions of land to these new colonizers, not realizing that they were slowly dooming themselves to obscurity.

By the time the Revolution began in America, there were already several sizeable towns in the region, and more than 1,000 Europeans had moved in. The revolution in the 13 colonies suddenly brought in a flood of United Empire Loyalists escaping lynch mobs, and the population of Southern Ontario, particularly around Toronto, boomed. With thousands of loyal subjects settling in the area the British governor of the Canadas detached military companies to protect them. Forts were built and the road network expanded. One of these forts was the imposing Fort York, which is considered the official founding of the city of Toronto. Markets, iron shops, a harbour and houses sprang up around the fort, and as this little expanded it was the turn of the Mississauga natives to be pushed out.

By 1793 Fort York had incorporated as a fully-fledged city and boasted a population of more than 10,000 people, making it the civic hub of the region. The area around the fort was teeming with farms and villages and was beginning to look less like the wilds of the New World and more like the quaint British countryside.

In 1812 America attempted to invade Canada. An American army sacked the fort and plundered the town, burning down much of the houses and shops and making off with most of the valuables. Along with the tools and art and jewellry stolen by the American soldiers were hundreds of black Africans who had called Toronto home. These men and women were free, as slavery was banned in the British Empire, but to the American looters they were property and were chained up and marched south to be sold.

A large army of Canadian militia, Iroquois and Huron warriors and British regulars chased the Americans out of Ontario and the city was rebuilt. As more Loyalists continued to flood into the area, the decimated population was able to regrow rather quickly.

Loyalists from the 13 colonies arrived by the boatload during the American Revolution, and were the foundation of the city of Toronto.

Loyalists from the 13 colonies arrived by the boatload during the American Revolution, and were the foundation of the city of Toronto.

Fort York, the beginning of Toronto.

Fort York, the beginning of Toronto.

Today Fort York is a National Historic Site and is open to the public.

Today Fort York is a National Historic Site and is open to the public.

The Battle of Fort York, during the War of 1812, saw the fort fall to the Americans and the subsequent burning and looting of Toronto.

The Battle of Fort York, during the War of 1812, saw the fort fall to the Americans and the subsequent burning and looting of Toronto.

Reenactments take place daily during the summer at Fort York today.

Reenactments take place daily during the summer at Fort York today.

In 1834, with a population surpassing 30,000, Fort York was incorporated as the City of Toronto and became the official capital of Upper Canada (Ontario’s name at the time). The fantastic farmland of the region, the hundreds of rivers, the surrounding Great Lakes and the mild temperatures attracted scores of immigrants and settlers, so that by the time of Confederation in 1867, Toronto was the largest city in Canada. Several large trading houses and banks were established here, including the Royal Bank of Canada and Toronto Dominion banks. The Hudson’s Bay Company moved its headquarters from London to Toronto, and the bustling city had become the Canadian center of finance, trade and industry by the mid-19th Century.

By 1854 several railways connected the city to the rest of North America. A large sewage system was built and city streets became illuminated by gas lamps. Telegraph wires kept the city in touch with the rest of the world and by 1860 there no less than fifteen daily newspapers and five weekly news magazines published in the city, including the Toronto Star, the Globe and Mail, and MacLean’s Magazine.

Toronto had also built up the largest port on the Great Lakes, and steamers, barges and schooners connected trade routes to Europe, South America and the Caribbean. With a major port, several railways, a network of major roads and large banking centers well established in the city, thousands of people migrated to Toronto every year. By 1899 Toronto had well over a million people living and working here, making it the fifth largest city in North America.

Union Station and the rail network that connected Toronto to North America, circa 1870.

Union Station and the rail network that connected Toronto to North America.

Toronto's old factories can still be seen today dotted throughout the city.

Toronto’s old factories can still be seen today dotted throughout the city.

 

Downtown Toronto at the turn of the century.

Downtown Toronto at the turn of the century.

The Toronto shorefront has long been a place of relaxation, sun and play.

The Toronto shorefront has long been a place of relaxation, sun and play.

Toronto had become the largest distillery center in North America by the late 19th Century. Today the old Distillery District is a trendy place of markets, cafes, loft living and boutique shops.

Toronto had become the largest distillery center in North America by the late 19th Century. Today the old Distillery District is a trendy place of markets, cafes, loft living and boutique shops.

In 1921 all the different streetcars and buses of the city were incorporated into the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC). The streetcars were painted red and white and remain a poignant symbol of Toronto today.

By this time, particularly following the end of the First World War, thousands of immigrant groups from around the world were flooding into the city. By 1930 Toronto had three large Chinatowns, a Jewish quarter, a Russian borough, a Little Italy and several other ethnic neighborhoods. This mix of nationalities, ethnicities and races was surprisingly peaceful, although during the Russian Civil War bolshevik sympathizers attacked and burned down several Russian churches, but the Toronto police (York Regional Police) quickly put down these acts of vandalism and local Anglican and Catholic parishes raised money to rebuild the damaged properties.

The Second World War was a period of intense growth for Toronto. Contracts for military goods and new technologies saw industry boom in the city. Hundreds of thousands of people flocked in from the countryside to fill positions on the production lines and in the vast wartime bureaucracy. Buildings were built taller and taller to accomodate all these new people. While the war raged in Europe and the Pacific, Toronto became a place of wealth, shopping, nightlife and good living. The city never lost its multicultural roots, and it became known across Canada as a youthful and energetic city. This reputation would propel it into the new world following the war.

The post-war boom saw skyscrapers built throughout the city, and its population, now nearing 2 million, was spreading out across the surrounding region. Suburbs turned into urban sprawl, and the TTC network was expanded. In 1954 work on the TTC Subway system began, and by 1972 there were two major subway lines operating underground. These subway stops were unique in the world in that an entire underground city connected them all, so that during the harsh winters economic life in the city could still operate. Today Toronto is home to the world’s largest subterranean city, and engineering marvel in itself!

As the boom continued into the 1970’s, new buildings grew up. The CN Tower, the symbol of Toronto, was built, and Toronto acquired its own Major League Baseball team, the Toronto Blue Jays. While the rest of the world sank into recession during the 1980’s, Toronto continued to enjoy its fourty-year economic boom. The city had become the center of art and culture in Canada, surpassing Montreal. Home to CBC, CTV and CHUM, as well as Second City and a multitude of pop stars, actors and artists, Toronto was now a world-class city.

World War 2 brought an economic boom to the city as industry grew to meet war production demands. Thousands of young people, mostly women, flocked into the city for the numerous jobs.

World War 2 brought an economic boom to the city as industry grew to meet war production demands. Thousands of young people, mostly women, flocked into the city for the numerous jobs.

The end of the Second World War saw spontaneous celebrations on the streets of Toronto.

The end of the Second World War saw spontaneous celebrations on the streets of Toronto.

Toronto continued to boom in the post-war world. This is the Toronto skyline in the 1950s.

Toronto continued to boom in the post-war world. This is the Toronto skyline in the 1950s.

1950s Toronto saw the suburbs grow, particularly Mississauga to the west and Scarborough to the east.

1950s Toronto saw the suburbs grow, particularly Mississauga to the west and Scarborough to the east.

Construction on the TTC Subway began in 1954.

Construction on the TTC Subway began in 1954.

By the 1960s Toronto had become the cultural as well as economic heart of Canada.

By the 1960s Toronto had become the cultural as well as economic heart of Canada.

Toronto in the 1960s.

Toronto in the 1960s.

By the 1960s the TTC Subway was a busy mode of transport throughout the booming metropolis.

By the 1960s the TTC Subway was a busy mode of transport throughout the booming metropolis.

The 1970s

The 1970s

By 1976 Toronto's population had surpassed 2 million.

By 1976 Toronto’s population had surpassed 2 million.

The 70's saw the CN Tower, today's symbol of Toronto, begin construction.

The 70’s saw the CN Tower, today’s symbol of Toronto, begin construction.

By the late 70's Toronto was firmly a world-class city.

By the late 70’s Toronto was firmly a world-class city.

Toronto in the 1980s

Toronto in the 1980s

The 1990s brought a new economic boom to the city which saw dozens of new skyscrapers pop up across the city as well as the subway system expanded. The GO Transit network, a system of commuter rail and bus hubs, was established bringing commuters in from the surround areas. The seven suburbs of Toronto as well as the city itself were amalgamated into the Greater Toronto Area, sharing resources and services across the region. The GTA is now home to more than 6 million inhabitants, making it the third largest metropolis in North America and the second most densely populated city on the continent after New York.

Today, as in days past, there is always something to do in Toronto. From exploring the city’s heritage in Chinatown or the Distillery District to soaring high above in the CN Tower, to “Riding the Rocket” on the TTC Subway to tanning on the beaches of Lake Ontario, Toronto has something for everyone. This sophisticated, energetic, modern and youthful city has an energy unlike any other. Home to the largest festivals in Canada, and Caribanna, the largest festival in North America, Toronto can always entertain.

Toronto is home to all of Canada's major media, such as CityTV and MuchMusic.

Toronto is home to all of Canada’s major media, such as CityTV and MuchMusic.

The CBC studios are located in the center of Toronto.

The CBC studios are located in the center of Toronto.

CTV, the second largest broadcaster in Canada, is located in Toronto and is easily spotted by the news van exploding from the wall.

CTV, the second largest broadcaster in Canada, is located in Toronto and is easily spotted by the news van exploding from the wall.

 

The CHUM building in Toronto is home to television and radio broadcasting.

The CHUM building in Toronto is home to television and radio broadcasting.

Toronto City Hall is a city landmark and was featured in the 2004 movie "Resident Evil 2".

Toronto City Hall is a city landmark and was featured in the 2004 movie “Resident Evil 2”.

Toronto City Council in session.

Toronto City Council in session.

The Ontario legislature, Queen's Park.

The Ontario legislature, Queen’s Park.

Toronto's TTC Streetcars have been given a modern upgrade.

Toronto’s TTC Streetcars have been given a modern upgrade.

But many of the older streetcars can still be seen around town!

But many of the older streetcars can still be seen around town!

TTC buses traverse the entire GTA, making Toronto one of the most public-transit connected cities in North America.

TTC buses traverse the entire GTA, making Toronto one of the most public-transit connected cities in North America.

 

Ride the Rocket, the TTC Subway. The system covers 80 square km of track over 69 stations on three lines, with a further two more lines planned over the next eight years.

Ride the Rocket, the TTC Subway. The system covers 80 square km of track over 69 stations on three lines, with a further two more lines planned over the next eight years.

If you're in a rush then a large fleet of taxis are ready to take you anywhere, although often gridlock on Toronto streets makes it faster to take the subway.

If you’re in a rush then a large fleet of taxis are ready to take you anywhere, although often gridlock on Toronto streets makes it faster to take the subway.

 

TTC Subway station sign

TTC Subway station sign

TTC Subway station entrance.

TTC Subway station entrance.

Toronto's Union Station is the original rail hub in the city center, and is still the functioning train station today!

Toronto’s Union Station is the original rail hub in the city center, and is still the functioning train station today!

Inside Union Station, Toronto.

Inside Union Station, Toronto.

Union Station is one of Canada's major rail hubs.

Union Station is one of Canada’s major rail hubs.

Toronto's commuter rail network, GO, services all of southwestern Ontario.

Toronto’s commuter rail network, GO, services all of southwestern Ontario.

GO also uses buses to transport people who live away from the rail lines.

GO also uses buses to transport people who live away from the rail lines.

Pearson International Airport is Canada's largest airport and, at more than 10 million passengers per year, the third busiest airport in North America!

Pearson International Airport is Canada’s largest airport and, at more than 10 million passengers per year, the third busiest airport in North America!

Just one of Pearson Airports three terminals. A monorail system transports passengers between terminals, free of charge.

Just one of Pearson Airports three terminals. A monorail system transports passengers between terminals, free of charge.

Toronto Island Airport is a smaller airport that services more local flights.

Toronto Island Airport is a smaller airport that services more local flights.

 

A fleet of ferries transports people around the numerous islands of the Toronto waterfront.

A fleet of ferries transports people around the numerous islands of the Toronto waterfront.

Toronto Police Services keep the city safe and have numerous outreach programs to connect with the different communities that make up the city.

Toronto Police Services keep the city safe and have numerous outreach programs to connect with the different communities that make up the city.

Toronto police are known to let loose sometimes.

Toronto police are known to let loose sometimes.

But it's not all fun and games for police in this large metropolis. A city of over 6 million has its fair share of crime.

But it’s not all fun and games for police in this large metropolis. A city of over 6 million has its fair share of crime.

Toronto Police Services use a variety of vehicles to keep order in this huge city.

Toronto Police Services use a variety of vehicles to keep order in this huge city.

..including horses!

..including horses!

Toronto EMS ambulances save thousands of lives every year.

Toronto EMS ambulances save thousands of lives every year.

The Toronto Fire Department deals with hundreds of fires, car accidents and emergency 911 calls every month.

The Toronto Fire Department deals with hundreds of fires, car accidents and emergency 911 calls every month.

Toronto's firefighters are well-trained full-time professionals.

Toronto’s firefighters are well-trained full-time professionals.

 

Toronto's Chinatown is a bustling maze of twisting alleys and crowded markets.

Toronto’s Chinatown is a bustling maze of twisting alleys and crowded markets.

Toronto Chinatown.

Toronto Chinatown.

Just off Chinatown is Kensington Market, a hip area filled with second-hand stores, art galleries, pot cafes and boutiques.

Just off Chinatown is Kensington Market, a hip area filled with second-hand stores, art galleries, pot cafes and boutiques.

Kensington Market is a popular draw in Toronto.

Kensington Market is a popular draw in Toronto.

Little Italy, Toronto.

Little Italy, Toronto.

Greektown, Toronto.

Greektown, Toronto.

Toronto's Little India

Toronto’s Little India

 

St Lawrence Market is a blending of all of Toronto's different cultures into one bazaar. Open year round!

St Lawrence Market is a blending of all of Toronto’s different cultures into one bazaar. Open year round!

 

Yonge Street runs through downtown Toronto and travels all the way to the top of Lake Superior, making it the longest street in the world!

Yonge Street runs through downtown Toronto and travels all the way to the top of Lake Superior, making it the longest street in the world!

Downtown Toronto is always awake and full of energy.

Downtown Toronto is always awake and full of energy.

Dundas Street is a hub of shopping and entertainment in the city.

Dundas Street is a hub of shopping and entertainment in the city.

Toronto is urban and sophisticated.

Toronto is urban and sophisticated.

Downtown Toronto blends the old with the new.

Downtown Toronto blends the old with the new.

Toronto is brimming with parks.

Toronto is brimming with parks.

In the heart of a city of 6 million, tranquil parks offer a convenient getaway.

In the heart of a city of 6 million, tranquil parks offer a convenient getaway.

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Underneath the streets is a whole other city of shops, restaurants and other venues connected by the subway system.

Underneath the streets is a whole other city of shops, restaurants and other venues connected by the subway system.

The Toronto waterfront offers sandy beaches in the summer months.

The Toronto waterfront offers sandy beaches in the summer months.

Beaches

Toronto-waterfront-with-white-swans-in-the-harbour

Every summer Toronto hosts Caribana, the largest festival in North America.

Every summer Toronto hosts Caribana, the largest festival in North America.

Caribana is a celebration of Caribbean culture and heritage, and has evolved into a week long party of bright colours, hedonism, music and partying.

Caribana is a celebration of Caribbean culture and heritage, and has evolved into a week long party of bright colours, hedonism, music and partying.

Caribana is the biggest party in Canada!

Caribana is the biggest party in Canada!

caribana

Toronto Pride is the second largest Pride festival in North America.

Toronto Pride is the second largest Pride festival in North America.

 

The Toronto Pride Festival is a big boon for the city's businesses, as half a million people flock to the city from all over to celebrate.

The Toronto Pride Festival is a big boon for the city’s businesses, as half a million people flock to the city from all over to celebrate.

The Toronto Chinese New Year festival.

The Toronto Chinese New Year festival.

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is a stop on the Hollywood circuit every year.

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is a stop on the Hollywood circuit every year.

The newest movies of the blockbuster season are premiered at TIFF (here Bruce Willis attends for the premier of Looper).

The newest movies of the blockbuster season are premiered at TIFF (here Bruce Willis attends for the premier of Looper).

TIFF2012-Looper-RC_14

The CNE (Canadian National Exhibition or, simply, The Ex) is an annual event with its own grounds.

The CNE (Canadian National Exhibition or, simply, The Ex) is an annual event with its own grounds.

At The Ex there's something for all ages.

At The Ex there’s something for all ages.

 

Canada's Wonderland never fails to thrill.

Canada’s Wonderland never fails to thrill.

Toronto's Medieval Times is a unique way to enjoy dinner out.

Toronto’s Medieval Times is a unique way to enjoy dinner out.

 

Toronto has thousands of restaurants and a sophisticated cuisine culture.

Toronto has thousands of restaurants and a sophisticated cuisine culture.

Toronto has an awesome nightlife. The city's youthful nature gives it an energy after dark that few other cities can boast.

Toronto has an awesome nightlife. The city’s youthful nature gives it an energy after dark that few other cities can boast.

Toronto is home to hundreds of nightclubs, some for everybody and others by VIP guest list only.

Toronto is home to hundreds of nightclubs, some for everybody and others by VIP guest list only.

Toronto is known as Canada's party town.

Toronto is known as Canada’s party town.

 

Toronto is an education center in Canada. This is Humber College.

Toronto is an education center in Canada. This is Humber College.

The University of Toronto (U of T) is one of Canada's oldest schools. Founded in 1827, it has been a landmark in Toronto for nearly two centuries.

The University of Toronto (U of T) is one of Canada’s oldest schools. Founded in 1827, it has been a landmark in Toronto for nearly two centuries.

York University is another of Toronto's landmark schools.

York University is another of Toronto’s landmark schools.

Ryerson University, one of Canada's top business schools.

Ryerson University, one of Canada’s top business schools.

 

Toronto's inner city neighborhoods consist of older row houses and tree-lined streets.

Toronto’s inner city neighborhoods consist of older row houses and tree-lined streets.

Housing prices in Toronto are among the most expensive in Canada. As a result people have been moving to the suburbs and urban sprawl is becoming a major problem.

Housing prices in Toronto are among the most expensive in Canada. As a result people have been moving to the suburbs and urban sprawl is becoming a major problem.

The average Torontonian lives in in one of hundreds of sprawling apartment complexes.

The average Torontonian lives in in one of hundreds of sprawling apartment complexes.

Condominiums in Toronto are a popular purchase that come with a hefty price tag: the average condo costs nearly a million dollars.

Condominiums in Toronto are a popular purchase that come with a hefty price tag: the average condo costs nearly a million dollars.

The hip and trendy, renting a renovated loft in an old factory is becoming a popular way to live in Toronto.

The hip and trendy, renting a renovated loft in an old factory is becoming a popular way to live in Toronto.

The Toronto Maple Leafs, one of the original 6 NHL teams, fills the 50,000-seat Air Canada Center every single game.

The Toronto Maple Leafs, one of the original 6 NHL teams, fills the 50,000-seat Air Canada Center every single game.

The Air Canada Centre, home of the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Toronto Raptors.

The Air Canada Centre, home of the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Toronto Raptors.

Toronto established the Toronto Raptors NBA team in 1995.

Toronto established the Toronto Raptors NBA team in 1995.

The Toronto Blue Jays MLB team won back-to-back World Championships in 1992 and 1993.

The Toronto Blue Jays MLB team won back-to-back World Championships in 1992 and 1993.

The Rogers Centre (formerly the SkyDome) is home to the Blue Jays and the Argonauts CFL team. Built in 1989 it was the world's most advanced stadium at the time, with a mechanical roof that can open and close.

The Rogers Centre (formerly the SkyDome) is home to the Blue Jays and the Argonauts CFL team. Built in 1989 it was the world’s most advanced stadium at the time, with a mechanical roof that can open and close.

At the base of the CN Tower, the Rogers Centre can seat 49,000 people and has 348 hotel rooms and 170 luxury executive boxes.

At the base of the CN Tower, the Rogers Centre can seat 49,000 people and has 348 hotel rooms and 170 luxury executive boxes.

The Toronto Argonauts CFL team play at the Rogers Centre.

The Toronto Argonauts CFL team play at the Rogers Centre.

Toronto FC, part of MLS, is slowly making soccer (football) more popular in Canada.

Toronto FC, part of MLS, is slowly making soccer (football) more popular in Canada.

Trump Tower is the newest skyscraper in downtown Toronto.

Trump Tower is the newest skyscraper in downtown Toronto.

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