Friday, March 6

Happy 175th Birthday, Toronto!

Toronto from the Bay 1908Toronto from the Bay in modern day.

Today is Toronto's 175th birthday. Many years ago, I liked to visit the city, but now it is far too big for me.

The first settlement in the area was on the east banks of the Humber River. The Seneca Indians established it and later it was populated by the Mississauga Indians. After that, Europeans came to the area and began to settle in the area.
President James Madison declared war on Britain on June 18, 1812 because England wouldn't abide by the naval and trade rights of the USA. Some Americans felt the British Territory, now known as Canada should have been seized during the American Revolution. Toronto, known at that time as York, was raided twice during the War of 1812. When the war ended in 1814, British immigrants flooded the area .

The town of York had 9,000 inhabitants by 1834. It was incorporated as the city of Toronto the same year. The major was William Lyon MacKenzie, who later lead the Upper Canada Rebellion and became a prominent politician. Under his leadership, Toronto flourished and grew.

The 1840s brought gas street lights to Toronto. Steamboats brought a wide variety of commercial opportunities. By the mid-1850s, railroad tracks radiated in a web that lead to the upper Great Lakes, western Canada, Montreal, New York and Chicago and Detroit.

Confederation took place in 1867, at which time Toronto became the capital of Ontario. Within three years it had become known as an industrialized city.

In 1851, the population of Toronto was 30,000. By 1891, there were 150,000 people living in the city. The leaps and bounds of growth were spurred by railroad guru Casimir Gzowski and retail giant Timothy Eaton.

Toronto continued to grow. In 1911, hydroelectric power was provided to the city through the Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario. The plant, located in Niagara Falls, Ontario, harnessed energy from the Falls to produce cheap electricity to the area. Forestry and mining north of the city opened even more resources.

Toronto's investment and manufacturing industries grew during World War I. By the 1920s. new municipalities had sprung up around the city now populated by half a million people.

The Crash of '29 and the Great Depression walloped Toronto, but not as hard as it did other major Canadian centers. World War II revived the city and in 1953, the first subway in Canada transported people to their destinations under Toronto's streets.

By Canada's Centennial in 1967, many small suburbs had been amalgamated into Toronto. It now had five boroughs, four of which had become independent cities by 1991.

The new megacity of Toronto came into existence in 1998. This made Toronto the fifth largest city in North America. Population at that time was approximately 2.4 million. Today, 5.5 million people make their home there.

The CN Tower was opened on June 26, 1976. Today, it is a landmark on the city's skyline. It took 40 months to build the 1,815' 5" tall structure and when you see it on the skyline, you know you are about to enter the city.

Toronto is definitely a Canadian city that is worth visiting. I tend to stay away because of the crowded and busy streets, but everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime.


  1. Great post, Mary. Very interesting. Keep writing the historical stuff and bit by bit, you'll educate all of us about the great things Canadian (and other countries too.)

  2. gosh what a history and how it's changed!

  3. I've driven through Toronto but never stopped. I've enjoyed this little history lesson and the pictures too. I love the old picture!

  4. Such a pretty scene!!! And great history of your country. I so love this kinda stuff.

  5. Very interesting! I have never been to Toronto!
    The girls were in a 5k race this morning and I have posted about it. Take care and try to stay pain free!! Hugs Carolyn

  6. A professor I worked with for several years lost his wife to cancer. He was devasted, and was in mourning for a long time. Eventually he met a much younger lady at a conference, married her, kept a bi-country marriage going for several years. Then he finally retired and moved to Toronto to be with her - she is still working as far as I know. He loves it there.

  7. Good article, Mary. I really enjoyed the history and love the first photo!

  8. Good article, Mary. I really enjoyed the history and love the first photo!

  9. Mary-I never knew much about Canada-until I started visiting you-thank you for another great history lesson!

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