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Toronto ( , colloquially or ) is the most populous city in Canadamarker and the provincial capital of Ontariomarker. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontariomarker. With over 2.5 million residents, it is the fifth most populous municipality in North America. Toronto is at the heart of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), and is part of a densely populated region in Southern Ontario known as the Golden Horseshoe, which is home to 8.1 million residents and has approximately 25% of Canada's population. The census metropolitan area (CMA) had a population of 5,113,149, and the Greater Toronto Area had a population of 5,555,912 in the 2006 Census.

As Canada's economic capital, Toronto is considered a global city and is one of the top financial centres in the world. Toronto's leading economic sectors include finance, business services, telecommunications, aerospace, transportation, media, arts, film, television production, publishing, software production, medical research, education, tourism and sports industries. The Toronto Stock Exchange, the world's seventh largest, is headquartered in the city, along with a majority of Canada's corporations.

Toronto's population is cosmopolitan and international, reflecting its role as an important destination for immigrants to Canada. Toronto is one of the world's most diverse cities by percentage of non-native-born residents, as about 49% of the population were born outside of Canada. Because of the city's low crime rates, clean environment, high standard of living, and friendly attitude to diversity, Toronto is consistently rated as one of the world's most livable cities by the Economist Intelligence Unit and the Mercer Quality of Living Survey. In addition, Toronto was ranked as the most expensive Canadian city in which to live . Residents of Toronto are called Torontonians.

History

When Europeans first arrived at the site of present-day Toronto, the vicinity was inhabited by the Huron tribes, who by then had displaced the Iroquois tribes that had occupied the region for centuries before c. 1500. The name Toronto is likely derived from the Iroquois word tkaronto, meaning "place where trees stand in the water". It refers to the northern end of what is now Lake Simcoemarker, where the Huron had planted tree saplings to corral fish. A portage route from Lake Ontario to Lake Huronmarker running through this point, the Toronto Carrying-Place Trail, led to widespread use of the name.

Frenchmarker traders founded Fort Rouillémarker on the current Exhibition groundsmarker in 1750, but abandoned it in 1759. During the American Revolutionary War, the region saw an influx of British settlers as United Empire Loyalists fled for the unsettled lands north of Lake Ontario. In 1787, the British negotiated the Toronto Purchase with the Mississaugas of New Credit, thereby securing more than a quarter million acres (1000 km2) of land in the Toronto area.

In 1793 Governor John Graves Simcoe established the town of Yorkmarker on the existing settlement, naming it after Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany. Simcoe chose the town to replace Newarkmarker as the capital of Upper Canada, believing the new site would be less vulnerable to attack by the Americansmarker. Fort Yorkmarker was constructed at the entrance of the town's natural harbour, sheltered by a long sand-bar peninsula. The town's settlement formed at the eastern end of the harbour behind the peninsula, near the present-day intersection of Parliament Street and Front Street (in the Corktownmarker-St. Lawrence area).

Map of Toronto, 1894
In 1813 as part of the War of 1812, the Battle of Yorkmarker ended in the town's capture and plunder by American forces. The surrender of the town was negotiated by John Strachan. American soldiers destroyed much of Fort York and set fire to the parliament buildings during their five-day occupation. The sacking of York was a primary motivation for the Burning of Washington by British troops later in the war.York was incorporated as the City of Toronto on March 6, 1834, reverting to its original native name. The population of only 9,000 included escaped African American slaves fleeing Black Codes in some states. Slavery was banned outright in Upper Canada in 1834. Reformist politician William Lyon Mackenzie became the first Mayor of Toronto, and led the unsuccessful Upper Canada Rebellion of 1837 against the British colonial government. The city grew rapidly through the remainder of the 19th century, as a major destination for immigrants to Canada. The first significant population influx occurred with the Great Irish Famine brought a large number of Irish to the city, some of them transient and most of them Catholic. By 1851, the Irish-born population had become the largest single ethnic group in the city. Smaller numbers of Protestant Irish immigrants were welcomed by the existing Scottish and English population, giving the Orange Order significant and long lasting influence over Toronto society.

Toronto was twice for brief periods the capital of the united Province of Canada first from 1849–1852, following unrest in Montreal, and later 1856-1858 after which Quebec became capital until 1866 (one year before Confederation); since then, the capital of Canada has remained Ottawamarker. As it had been for Upper Canada from 1793, Toronto became the capital of the province of Ontario after its official creation in 1867, the seat of government located at the Ontario Legislature located at Queen's Parkmarker. Because of its provincial capital status, the city was also the location of Government Housemarker, the residence of the vice-regal representative of the Crown.

In the 19th century an extensive sewage system was built, and streets became illuminated with gas lighting as a regular service. Long-distance railway lines were constructed, including a route completed in 1854 linking Toronto with the Upper Great Lakes. The Grand Trunk Railway and the Northern Railway of Canada joined in the building of the first Union Stationmarker in downtown. The advent of the railway dramatically increased the numbers of immigrants arriving, commerce and industry, as had the Lake Ontario steamers and schooners entering port before which enabled Toronto to become a major gateway linking the world to the interior of the North American continent.
Toronto became the largest alcohol distillation (in particular spirits) centre in North America, the Gooderham and Worts Distillery operations became the world's largest whiskey factory by the 1860s. A preserved section of this once dominant local industry remains in the Distillery Districtmarker, the harbour allowed for sure access of grain and sugar imports used in processing. Expanding port and rail facilities brought in Northern Timber for export and imported Pennsylvania coal, industry dominated the waterfront for the next 100 years.

Horse-drawn streetcars gave way to electric streetcars in 1891, when the city granted the operation of the transit franchise to the Toronto Railway Company. The public transit system passed into public ownership in 1921 as the Toronto Transportation Commission, later renamed the Toronto Transit Commission. The system now has the third-highest ridership of any city public transportation system in North America.

The Great Toronto Fire of 1904 destroyed a large section of downtown Toronto, but the city was quickly rebuilt. The fire had cost more than $10 million in damage, led to more stringent fire safety laws, and the expansion of the city's fire department. In 1954, a half-century later, disaster struck the city again when Hurricane Hazel brought intense winds and flash flooding. In the Toronto area, 81 people were killed, nearly 1,900 families were left homeless, and the hurricane caused more than $25 million in damage.

The city received new immigrant groups beginning in the late 19th century into early 20th century, particularly Germans, French, Italians, and Jews from various parts of Eastern Europe. They were soon followed by Chinese, Russians, Poles and immigrants from other Eastern European nations, as the Irish before them, many of these new migrants lived in overcrowded shanty type slums, such as "the Ward" which was centred on Bay Streetmarker, now the heart of the country's finances. Despite its fast paced growth, by the 1920s Toronto's population and economic importance in Canada remained second to the much longer established Montrealmarker. However, by 1934 the Toronto Stock Exchange had become the largest in the country.

Following the Second World War refugees from war-torn Europe and Chinese job-seekers arrived. So too did construction labourers, particularly from Italymarker and Portugalmarker. Following elimination of racially based immigration policies by the late 1960s, immigration began from all parts of the world. Toronto's population grew to more than one million in 1951 when large-scale suburbanization began, and doubled to two million by 1971. By the 1980s, Toronto had surpassed Montreal as Canada's most populous city and the chief economic hub.
this time, in part owing to the political uncertainty raised by the resurgence of the Quebec sovereignty movement, many national and multinational corporations moved their head offices from Montreal to Toronto and other western Canadian cities.

In 1954 the City of Toronto and 12 surrounding municipalities were federated into a regional government known as Metropolitan Toronto. The postwar boom had resulted in rapid suburban development, and it was believed that a coordinated land use strategy and shared services would provide greater efficiency for the region. The metropolitan government began to manage services that crossed municipal boundaries, including highways, police services, water and public transit. In 1967, the seven smallest municipalities of Metropolitan Toronto were merged into their larger neighbours, resulting in a six-municipality configuration that included the old, i.e. pre-1954 City of Torontomarker and the surrounding municipalities of East Yorkmarker, Etobicokemarker, North York, Scarboroughmarker and Yorkmarker. In 1998, the metropolitan government was dissolved by the Provincial Government in the face of vigorous opposition from the smaller component municipalities and all six municipalities were amalgamated into a single municipality, creating the current City of Toronto, where David Miller is the current Mayor.

The city celebrated its 175th anniversary on March 6, 2009, since its in inception as the City of Toronto in 1834.

Geography



Toronto covers an area of , with a maximum north-south distance of and a maximum east-west distance of . It has a long waterfront shoreline, on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. The Toronto Islandsmarker and Port Lands extend some distance out into the lake, allowing for a somewhat sheltered Toronto Harbourmarker immediately south of the downtown core. The city's borders are formed by Lake Ontariomarker to the south, Etobicoke Creek and Highway 427 to the west, Steeles Avenue to the north and the Rouge River to the east.

Topography



The city is intersected by two rivers and numerous tributaries: the Humber River in the west end and the Don River east of downtown at opposite ends of the Toronto Harbourmarker. The harbour was naturally created by sediment build-up from lake currents that created the Toronto Islandsmarker. The many creeks and rivers cutting from north toward the lake created large tracts of densely forested ravines, and provide ideal sites for parks and recreational trails. However, the ravines also interfere with the city's grid plan, and this results in major thoroughfares such as Finch Avenue, Leslie Street, Lawrence Avenue, and St. Clair Avenue terminating on one side of ravines and continuing on the other side. Other thoroughfares such as the Prince Edward Viaductmarker are required to span above the ravines. These deep ravines prove useful for draining the city's vast storm sewer system during heavy rains, but some sections, particularly near the Don River are prone to sudden, heavy floods. Storage tanks at waste treatment facilities will often receive too much river discharge causing them to overflow, allowing untreated sewage to escape into Lake Ontario closing local beaches for swimming.

During the last ice age, the lower part of Toronto was beneath Glacial Lake Iroquois. Today, a series of escarpments mark the lake's former boundary, known as the Iroquois Shoreline. The escarpments are most prominent from Victoria Park Avenue to the mouth of Highland Creek, where they form the Scarborough Bluffsmarker. Other observable sections include the area near St. Clair Avenue West between Bathurst Streetmarker and the Don River, and north of Davenport Road from Caledonia to Spadina Road; the Casa Lomamarker grounds sit above this escarpment. Despite its deep ravines, Toronto is not remarkably hilly, but elevation differences range from above-sea-level at the Lake Ontario shore to ASL near the York Universitymarker grounds in the city's north end at the intersection of Keele Street and Steeles Avenue.

Much of the current lakeshore land area fronting the Toronto Harbour is artificial landfill filled during the late 19th century. Until then the lakefront docks (then known as wharves) were set back further inland than today. Much of the adjacent Port Lands are also fill. The Toronto Islands were a natural landspit until a storm in 1858 severed their connection to the mainland, creating a channel later used by shipping interests to access the docks.

Climate

Toronto's climate is moderate for Canada owing to its southerly location within the country.It has a humid continental climate (Koppen climate classification Dfa), with warm, humid summers and cold winters. The city experiences four distinct seasons, with considerable variance in day to day temperature, particularly during the colder weather season. Owing to urbanization and its proximity to water, Toronto has a fairly low diurnal temperature range (day-night temperature difference). In general, the denser urban scape makes for warmer nights year around and is not as cold throughout the winter than surrounding areas (particularly north of the city); however, it can be noticeably cooler on many spring/early summer afternoons under the influence of a lake breeze.Other low-scale maritime effects on the climate include lake effect snow, fog and delaying of spring- and fall-like conditions, known as seasonal lag.



Toronto winters sometimes feature short cold snaps where maximum temperatures remain below , often made to feel colder by wind chill. Snowstorms, sometimes mixed with ice and rain can disrupt work and travel schedules, accumulating snow can fall any time from November until mid-April. However, mild stretches with temperatures in the range and infrequently higher also occur in most winters melting accumulated snow. Summer in Toronto is characterized by long stretches of humid weather. Usually in the range from to , daytime temperatures occasionally surpass accompanied by high humidity making it feel oppressive during these brief periods of hot weather. Spring and Autumn are transitional seasons with generally mild or cool temperatures with alternating dry and wet periods.

Precipitation is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year, but summer is usually the wettest season, the bulk falling during thunderstorms. There can be periods of dry weather, but drought-like conditions are rare. The average yearly precipitation is , with an average annual snowfall of about . Toronto experiences an average of 2,038 sunshine hours, or 44% of daylight hours, varying between a low of 27% in December to 59% in July.

Cityscape

Architecture



According to knowledgeable Toronto residents, and architects who have designed buildings in the city, such as Will Alsop, Toronto has no single, dominant architectural style. Lawrence Richards, a member of the faculty of architecture at the University of Torontomarker, has said "Toronto is a new, brash, rag-tag place — a big mix of periods and styles." Toronto buildings vary in design and age with many structures dating back to the mid-1800s, while other prominent buildings were just newly built in the 2000s.

Defining the Toronto skyline is the CN Towermarker. At a height of it was the world's tallest freestanding structure until 2007 when it was surpassed by the Burj Dubaimarker, but it is still the tallest tower in the western hemisphere surpassing Chicagomarker's Willis Towermarker (formerly known as Sears Tower) by 110 metres in height. It is an important telecommunications hub, and a centre of tourism in Toronto.



Toronto is a city of high-rises, having over 2,000 buildings over in height, second only to New York Citymarker (which has over 5,000 such buildings) in North America. Most of these buildings are residential (either rental or condominium), whereas the Central business district contains the taller commercial office towers. There has been recent media attention given for the need to retrofit many of these buildings, which were constructed beginning in the 1950s as residential apartment blocks to accommodate a quickly growing population.

In contrast, Toronto has also begun to experience an architectural overhaul within the past five years. The Royal Ontario Museummarker, the Gardiner Museummarker, the Art Gallery of Ontariomarker, and the Ontario College of Art and Designmarker are just some of the many public art buildings that have undergone massive renovations. The historic Distillery Districtmarker, located on the eastern edge of downtown, is North America's largest and best preserved collection of Victorian era industrial architecture. It has been redeveloped into a pedestrian-oriented arts, culture and entertainment neighbourhood. Modern glass and steel highrises have begun to transform the majority of the downtown area as the condominium market has exploded and triggered widespread construction throughout the city's centre. Trump International Hotel and Towermarker, Ritz-Carlton, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts are just some of the many high rise luxury condominium-hotel projects currently under construction in the downtown core.

Neighbourhoods

Toronto Harbourfront by night
The many residential communities of Toronto express a character distinct from that of the skyscrapers in the commercial core. Victorian and Edwardian-era residential buildings can be found in enclaves such as Rosedale, Cabbagetownmarker, The Annex, and Yorkvillemarker. Wychwood Park is historically significant for the architecture of its homes, and for being one of Toronto's earliest planned communities. The Wychwood Park neighbourhood was designated as an Ontario Heritage Conservation district in 1985. The Casa Loma neighbourhood is named after Casa Lomamarker, a storybook castle built in 1911 complete with stunning gardens, multiple turrets, massive stables, an elevator, secret passages, and bowling alleys. Spadina Housemarker is a 19th century manor that is now a museum.

The City of Toronto encompasses a geographical area formerly administered by six separate municipalities. These municipalities have each developed a distinct history and identity over the years, and their names remain in common use among Torontonians. Throughout the city there exist hundreds of small neighbourhoods and some larger neighbourhoods covering a few square kilometres. Former municipalities include East Yorkmarker, Etobicokemarker, North York, Old Torontomarker, Scarboroughmarker, and Yorkmarker.



The Old City of Torontomarker covers the area generally known as downtownmarker. It is the historic core of Toronto and remains the most densely populated part of the city. The Financial Districtmarker contains the largest cluster of skyscrapers in Canada, including the First Canadian Placemarker, Toronto Dominion Centremarker, Scotia Plazamarker, Royal Bank Plazamarker, Commerce Courtmarker and Brookfield Placemarker. From that point, the Toronto skyline extends northward along Yonge Street. Old Toronto is also home to many historically wealthy residential enclaves, such as Yorkvillemarker, Rosedale, The Annex, Forest Hillmarker, Lawrence Park, Lytton Park, Moore Park, and Casa Loma, most stretching away from downtown to the north. These neighbourhoods generally feature upscale homes, luxury condominiums and high-end retail. At the same time, the downtown core vicinity includes neighbourhoods with a high proportion of recent immigrants and low-income families living in social housing and rental high-rises, such as St. James Townmarker, Regent Parkmarker, Moss Parkmarker, Alexandra Parkmarker and Parkdalemarker. East and west of Downtown, neighbourhoods such as Kensington Marketmarker, Leslievillemarker, Cabbagetownmarker and Riverdalemarker are home to bustling commercial and cultural areas as well as vibrant communities of artists with studio lofts, with an increasing proportion of middle and upper class professionals. Other neighbourhoods in the central city retain an ethnic identity, including two Chinatowns, the popular Greektownmarker area, the trendy Little Italy, Portugal Villagemarker, and Little India along with others.

The inner suburbs are contained within the former municipalities of Yorkmarker and East Yorkmarker. These are mature and traditionally working class areas, primarily consisting of post-World War I small, single-family homes and small apartment blocks. Neighbourhoods such as Crescent Townmarker, Thorncliffe Parkmarker, Westonmarker, and Oakwood-Vaughanmarker mainly consist of high-rise apartments which are home to many new immigrant families. Recently, many neighbourhoods have become ethnically diverse and have undergone gentrification, as a result of increasing population and a housing boom during the late 1990s and 2000s. The first neighbourhoods affected were Leasidemarker and North Toronto, gradually progressing into the western neighbourhoods in York. Some of the area's housing is in the process of being replaced or remodelled.

The outer suburbs comprising the former municipalities of Etobicokemarker (west), Scarboroughmarker (east) and North York (north) largely retain the grid plan laid before post-war development. Sections were long established and quickly growing towns before the suburban housing boom began and the advent of Metro Government, existing towns or villages such as Mimicomarker, Islingtonmarker and New Torontomarker in Etobicoke; Willowdalemarker, Newtonbrookmarker and Downsviewmarker in North York; Agincourtmarker, Wexfordmarker and West Hillmarker in Scarborough where suburban development boomed around or between these and other towns beginning in the late 1940s. Upscale neighbourhoods were built such as the Bridle Pathmarker in North York, the area surrounding the Scarborough Bluffsmarker in Guildwoodmarker, and most of central Etobicoke, such as Humber Valley Villagemarker, and The Kingswaymarker. One of largest and earliest "planned communities" was Don Millsmarker, parts of which were first built in the 1950s. Phased development mixing single-detached housing with higher density apartment blocks became more popular as a suburban model of development. To some this model has been copied in other GTA municipalities surrounding Toronto, albeit with less population density. Over the last few decades, the North York Centre that runs along Yonge Street and the Scarborough City Centremarker have emerged as secondary business centres outside the downtown core. High-rise development in these areas have given North York and Scarborough distinguishable skylines of their own and a more downtown feel with high-density transit corridors serving them.

Industrial

In the earlier industrial era of Toronto, industry became concentrated along the Toronto Harbourmarker and lower Don River mouth.

The Distillery Districtmarker contains the largest and best-preserved collection of Victorian industrial architecture in North America. Once the largest alcohol processing centre in North America, related structures along the Harbour include the Canada Malting Co. grain processing towers and the Redpath Sugar Refinerymarker. Although production of spirits has declined over the decades, Toronto still has a robust and growing microbrewery industry.

The District is a national heritage site, it was listed by National Geographicmarker magazine as a "top pick" in Canada for travellers. Similar areas that still retain their post-industrial character, but are now largely residential are the Fashion District, Corktownmarker, and parts of South Riverdalemarker and Leslievillemarker. Toronto still has some active older industrial areas, such as Brockton Villagemarker, Mimicomarker and New Torontomarker. In the west end of Old Toronto and York, the Westonmarker/Mount Dennismarker and Junctionmarker areas have a sense of grit to them, as they still contain factories, meat packing facilities and railyards close to medium density residential.

Beginning in the late 19th century as Toronto sprawled out, industrial areas were set up on the outskirts. Over time, pockets of industrial land mostly followed rail lines and later highway corridors as the city grew outwards. This trend continues to this day, the largest factories and distribution warehouses have mostly moved to the suburban environs of Peelmarker and Yorkmarker Regions; but also within the current city: Etobicoke (concentrated around Pearson Airportmarker), North York, and Scarborough. Many of Toronto's former industrial sites close to (or Downtown) have been redeveloped including parts of the Toronto waterfront and Liberty Village, large-scale development is underway in the West Don Landsmarker.

The still mostly vacated Port Lands remain largely undeveloped, apart from a power plant, a shipping container facility and out-of-commission industrial facilities. There are future plans for development, including residential areas under the guidance of Waterfront Toronto.

Public spaces

Toronto has a diverse array of public spaces, from city squares to public parks overlooking ravines. A group called the Toronto Public Space Committee was formed to protect the city's public spaces. Nathan Phillips Squaremarker is the city's main square in downtown, and forms the entrance to City Hallmarker. Yonge-Dundas Squaremarker, a newer square not far from City Hall, has also gained attention in recent years as one of the busiest gathering spots in the city. Other squares include Harbourfront Squaremarker, on the revitalized Toronto waterfront, and the civic squares at the former city halls of the defunct Metropolitan Toronto, most notably Mel Lastman Squaremarker in North York.

There are many large downtown parks, which include Grange Parkmarker, Moss Parkmarker, Allan Gardensmarker, Little Norway Parkmarker, Queen's Parkmarker, Riverdale Park, Trinity Bellwoods Parkmarker, Christie Pitsmarker, and the Leslie Street Spitmarker, which is Tommy Thompson Parkmarker on weekends. The Toronto Islandsmarker have several acres of park space, accessible from downtown by ferry. Large parks in the outer areas include High Parkmarker, Humber Bay Parkmarker, Centennial Parkmarker, Downsview Parkmarker, Guildwood Parkmarker, and Rouge Parkmarker. An almost hidden park is the compact Cloud Gardensmarker, which has both open areas and a glassed-in greenhouse in downtown Toronto.

Both squares and parks are associated with rinks or pools for public ice-skating.

Nathan Phillips Squaremarker is currently undergoing a major redesign by PLANT Architect Inc., Shore Tilbe Irwin & Partners, Peter Lindsay Schaudt Landscape Architecture Inc., and Adrian Blackwell (winners of the International Design Competition in 2006/2007). West 8, a Dutch architecture firm, won the Central Waterfront Innovative Design Competition in 2006 to redesign the central part of the Toronto waterfront. In 1999, Downsview Parkmarker initiated an international design competition to realise its vision of creating Canada's first national urban park. In May 2000, the winning park design was announced: "TREE CITY", by the team of Bruce Mau Design, Office for Metropolitan Architecture, Oleson Worland Architect and Inside/Outside.

Culture

Toronto is a major scene for theatre and other performing arts, with more than fifty ballet and dance companies, six opera companies, two symphony orchestras and a host of theatres. The city is home to the National Ballet of Canada, the Canadian Opera Company, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Canadian Stage Company. Notable performance venues include the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Artsmarker, Roy Thomson Hallmarker, the Princess of Wales Theatremarker, the Royal Alexandra Theatremarker, Massey Hallmarker, the Toronto Centre for the Artsmarker, the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatresmarker and the Sony Centre for the Performing Artsmarker (originally the "O'Keefe Centre" and formerly the "Hummingbird Centre").

Ontario Placemarker features the world's first permanent IMAX movie theatre, the Cinesphere, as well as the Molson Amphitheatremarker, an open-air venue for large-scale music concerts. Each summer, the Canadian Stage Company presents an outdoor Shakespeare production in Toronto’s High Parkmarker called "Dream in High Park". Canada's Walk of Famemarker acknowledges the achievements of successful Canadians, with of a series of stars on designated blocks of sidewalks along King Street and Simcoe Street.

The Distillery Districtmarker is a pedestrian village containing boutiques, art galleries, restaurants, artist studios and small breweries, including the well-known Mill Street Brewery. A new theatre in the district, the Young Centre for the Performing Artsmarker, is the home of the Soulpepper Theatre Company and the drama productions of nearby George Brown Collegemarker.

The production of domestic and foreign film and television is a major local industry. Many movie releases are screened in Toronto before wider release in North America. The Toronto International Film Festivalmarker is one of the most important annual events for the international film industry. Europe's largest film studio, Pinewood Studiosmarker Group of London, is scheduled to open a major new film studio complex in west-end Toronto, with five sound stages, with the first two to open by fall 2008.

Toronto's Caribana festival takes place from mid-July to early August of every summer, and is one of North America's largest street festivals. Primarily based on the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival, the first Caribana took place in 1967 when the city's Caribbeanmarker community celebrated Canada's Centennial year. Forty years later, it has grown to attract one million people to Toronto's Lake Shore Boulevard annually. Tourism for the festival is in the hundred thousands, and each year, the event generates about $300 million in revenue.

Pride Week in Toronto takes place in late June, and is one of the largest LGBT festivals in the world. One of the largest events in the city, it attracts more than one million people from around the world. Toronto is a major centre for gay and lesbian culture and entertainment, and the gay village is located in the Church and Wellesleymarker area of Downtown.

Tourism



View from CN tower
Toronto's most prominent landmark is the CN Towermarker, which stood as the tallest free-standing land structure in the world at . To the surprise of its creators, the tower held the world record for over 30 years.

The Royal Ontario Museummarker (ROM) is a major museum for world culture and natural history. The Toronto Zoomarker, one of the largest in the world, is home to over 5,000 animals representing over 460 distinct species. The Art Gallery of Ontariomarker contains a large collection of Canadian, European, African and contemporary artwork. The Gardiner Museummarker of ceramic art is the only museum in Canada entirely devoted to ceramics, and the Museum's collection contains more than 2,900 ceramic works from Asia, the Americas, and Europe. The Ontario Science Centremarker always has new hands-on activities and science displays particularly appealing to children, and the Bata Shoe Museummarker features many unique exhibitions focussed on footwear. The centrally located Textile Museum possesses another niche collection of great quality and interest. The Don Valley Brick Worksmarker is a former industrial site, which opened in 1889, and has recently been restored as a park and heritage site. The Canadian National Exhibitionmarker is held annually at Exhibition Placemarker, and it is the oldest annual fair in the world. It is Canada's largest annual fair and the fifth largest in North America, with an average attendance of 1.25 million.

The Yorkvillemarker neighbourhood is one of Toronto's most elegant shopping and dining areas. On many occasions, celebrities from all over North America can be spotted in the area, especially during the Toronto International Film Festivalmarker. The Toronto Eaton Centremarker is one of North America's top shopping destinations, and Toronto's most popular tourist attraction with over 52 million visitors annually.

Greektownmarker on the Danforth, is another one of the major attractions of Toronto which boasts one of the highest concentrations of restaurants per kilometre in the world. It is also home to the annual "Taste of the Danforth" festival which attracts over one million people in 2 1/2 days. Toronto is also home to Canada's most famous "castle" - Casa Lomamarker, the former estate of Sir Henry Pellatt, a prominent Toronto financier, industrialist and military man. Other notable neighbourhoods and attractions include The Beachesmarker, the Toronto Islandsmarker, Kensington Marketmarker, Fort Yorkmarker, and the Hockey Hall of Famemarker.

Sports



Toronto is the only Canadian city with representation in five major league sports, with teams in the National Hockey League, Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, Canadian Football League, and Major League Soccer. The National Football League's Buffalo Bills also play select home games in the city. The city's major sports venues include the Air Canada Centremarker, Rogers Centremarker (formerly known as SkyDome), Ricoh Coliseummarker, and BMO Fieldmarker.

Toronto is home to the Toronto Maple Leafs, one of the National Hockey League's Original Six clubs, and has also served as home to the Hockey Hall of Famemarker since 1958. The city has a rich history of hockey championships. Along with the Maple Leafs' 13 Stanley Cup titles (second all-time), the Toronto Marlboros and St. Michael's College Schoolmarker-based Ontario Hockey League teams combined have won a record 12 Memorial Cup titles. The Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League also play in Toronto at Ricoh Coliseummarker and are the farm team for the Maple Leafs. They are currently the only AHL team that is located in the same market as its NHL parent club.

Toronto is currently home to the only National Basketball Association franchise outside the United States. The Toronto Raptors entered the league in 1995, and have since earned five playoff spots in 14 seasons. The Raptors won the Atlantic Division title in the 2006–07 season, led by star player Chris Bosh. The Raptors are the only NBA team with their own television channel, Raptors NBA TV. The team plays their home games at the Air Canada Centremarker.

The Toronto Rock are the city's National Lacrosse League team. They are one of the league's most successful franchises, winning five Champion's Cup titles in seven years in the late 1990s and early 2000s, appearing in an NLL record 5 straight championship games from 1999-2003, and are currently second all-time in the number of Champion's Cups won. The Rock share the Air Canada Centremarker with the Maple Leafs and the Raptors.



The city is represented in the Canadian Football League by the Toronto Argonauts, who have won a league-leading 15 Grey Cup titles. Toronto played host to the 95th Grey Cup in 2007, the first held in the city since 1992. In addition, the city has hosted several National Football League exhibition games; Ted Rogers leased the Buffalo Bills from Ralph Wilson for the purposes of having the Bills play eight home games in the city between 2008 and 2012. The city is also home to Major League Baseball's Toronto Blue Jays, who have won two World Series (1992 and 1993) titles and are currently the only Major League Baseball team in Canada. Both the Argonauts and Blue Jays (as well as the Bills when they are in town) play their home games at the Rogers Centremarker, in the downtown core.

Toronto is home to the International Bowl, an NCAA sanctioned post-season football game that puts a Mid-American Conference team against a Big East Conference team. Beginning in 2007, the game is played at the Rogers Centre annually in January.

In addition to team sports, the city annually hosted Champ Car's Molson Indy Toronto at Exhibition Placemarker from 1986 to 2007. The race was revived in 2009 as the Honda Indy Torontomarker, part of the IndyCar Series schedule. Both thoroughbred and standardbred horse racing events are conducted at Woodbine Racetrackmarker in Rexdalemarker.

Historic sports clubs of Toronto include the Granite Club (est. 1836), the Royal Canadian Yacht Club (est. 1852), the Toronto Cricket Skating and Curling Club (est. pre-1827), the Argonaut Rowing Club (est. 1872), the Toronto Lawn Tennis Club (est. 1881), and the Badminton and Racquet Club (est. 1924).

Toronto was a candidate city for the 1996 and 2008 Summer Olympics, which were awarded to Atlantamarker and Beijing respectively. The Canadian Olympic Committee is currently considering a Toronto bid for the 2020 or 2024 Summer Olympics.

Toronto will be hosting the 2015 Pan American Games in July 2015. It contested against the cities of Limamarker, Perumarker and Bogotámarker, Colombiamarker.

Club League Sport Venue Established Championships
Toronto Argonauts
CFL
Football Rogers Centremarker
1873

15
Toronto Maple Leafs
NHL
Ice hockey Air Canada Centremarker
1917
13
Toronto Blue Jays
MLB
Baseball Rogers Centremarker
1977
2
Toronto Raptors
NBA
Basketball Air Canada Centremarker
1995
0
Toronto FC
MLS
Soccer BMO Fieldmarker
2007
0
Toronto Maple Leafs
IBL
Baseball Christie Pitsmarker
1969
8
Toronto Rock
NLL
Box lacrosse Air Canada Centremarker
1998
5
Toronto Xtreme
RCSL
Rugby union Fletcher's Fieldsmarker
1999
0
Toronto Marlies
AHL
Ice hockey Ricoh Coliseummarker
2005
0
Toronto Nationals
MLL
Field Lacrosse BMO Fieldmarker
2009
1


Media

Toronto is Canada's largest media market, and the fourth largest media centre in North America (behind New York Citymarker, Los Angelesmarker and Chicagomarker), with four conventional dailies and two free commuter papers in a greater metropolitan area of about 5.5 million inhabitants. The Toronto Star and the Toronto Sun are the prominent daily city newspapers, while the national dailies The Globe and Mail and the National Post are also headquartered in the city. Toronto contains the headquarters of the major English-language Canadian television networks, including the English-language branch of the national public broadcaster Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), the largest private broadcaster CTV, and the flagship stations of Citytv and Global. Canada's premier sports television networks are also based in Toronto, including The Sports Network (TSN), Rogers Sportsnet and The Score. MuchMusicmarker and MTV Canada are the main music television channels based in the city. The bulk of Canada's periodical publishing industry is centred in Toronto including magazines such as Maclean's, Chatelaine, Flare, Canadian Living, Canadian Business, and Toronto Life.

Economy



Toronto is a major international centre for business and finance. Generally considered the financial capital of Canada, Toronto has a high concentration of banks and brokerage firms on Bay Streetmarker, in the Financial Districtmarker. The Toronto Stock Exchange is the world's seventh-largest stock exchange by market capitalization. All of the Big Five banks of Canada are headquartered in Toronto, as are a majority of Canada's corporations.

The city is an important centre for the media, publishing, telecommunications, information technology and film production industries; it is home to Thomson Corporation, CTVglobemedia, Rogers Communications, and Celestica. Other prominent Canadian corporations in Toronto include Sun Life Financial, Four Seasons Hotels, the Hudson's Bay Company and Manulife Financial.

Although much of the region's manufacturing activities take place outside the city limits, Toronto continues to be an important wholesale and distribution point for the industrial sector. The city's strategic position along the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor and its extensive road and rail connections help support the nearby production of motor vehicles, iron, steel, food, machinery, chemicals and paper. The completion of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959 gave ships access to the Great Lakesmarker from the Atlantic Oceanmarker.

Demographics

Toronto population by year, within present boundaries
Year City CMA GTA
1861 65,085 193,844
1901 238,080 440,000
1951 1,117,470 1,262,000
1971 2,089,728 2,628,045
1976 2,124,295 2,803,101
1981 2,137,380 2,998,947
1986 2,192,721 3,733,085
1991 2,275,771 3,893,933 4,235,756
1996 2,385,421 4,263,759 4,628,883
2001 2,481,494 4,682,897 5,081,826
2006 2,503,281 5,113,149 5,555,912


The last complete census by Statistics Canada estimated there were 2,503,281 people residing in Toronto in June 2006, making it the largest city in Canada, and the fifth most populous municipality in North America.

The city's population grew by 4% (96,073 residents) between 1996 and 2001, and 1% (21,787 residents) between 2001 and 2006. Persons aged 14 years and under made up 17.5% of the population, and those aged 65 years and over made up 13.6%. The median age was 36.9 years. Foreign-born people made up 49.9% of the population.As of 2006, 46.9% of the residents of the city proper belong to a visible minority group, and visible minorities are projected to comprise a majority in the Toronto CMA by 2017. According to the United Nations Development Programme, Toronto has the second-highest percentage of constant foreign-born population among world cities, after Miamimarker, Floridamarker. While Miami's foreign-born population consists mostly of Cubans and other Latin Americans, no single nationality or culture dominates Toronto's immigrant population, placing it among the most diverse cities in the world.

Pie chart showing Toronto's visible minority composition (data from Canada 2006 Census).


In 2006, people of European ethnicities formed the largest cluster of ethnic groups in Toronto, 52.6%, mostly of British, Irish, Italian, and French origins. The five largest visible minority groups in Toronto are South Asian (12.0%), Chinese (11.4%), Black (8.4%), Filipino (4.1%) and Latin American (2.6%). Aboriginal peoples, who are not considered visible minorities, formed 0.5% of the population. This diversity is reflected in Toronto's ethnic neighbourhoods which include Little Italy, The Junctionmarker, Little Jamaica, Little India, Chinatown, Koreatownmarker, Greektownmarker, Portugal Villagemarker, Corso Italia, Kensington Marketmarker, and Bloor West Village.

Christianity is the largest religious group in Toronto. The 2001 Census reports that 31.1% of the city's population is Catholic, followed by Protestant (21.1%), Christian Orthodox at (4.8%), Coptic Orthodox (0.2%), and other Christians (3.9%). In fact, due to the city's significant number of Methodist Christians, Toronto is often referred to as the Methodist Rome. Other religions in the city are Islam (6.7%), Hinduism (4.8%), Judaism (4.2%), Buddhism (2.7%), Sikhism (0.9%), and other Eastern Religions (0.2%). 18.7% of the population professes no religion.

While English is the predominant language spoken by Torontonians, many other languages have considerable numbers of local speakers, including French, Italian, Chinese, Punjabi, Spanish, Hindi, Tagalog, Urdu, Portuguese, and Tamil. Chinese and Italian are the second and third most widely spoken languages at work. As a result, the city's 9-1-1 emergency services are equipped to respond in over 150 languages.

Government



Toronto is a single-tier municipality governed by a mayor-council system. The structure of the municipal government is stipulated by the City of Toronto Act. The Mayor of Toronto is elected by direct popular vote to serve as the chief executive of the city. The Toronto City Council is a unicameral legislative body, comprising 44 councillors representing geographical wards throughout the city. The mayor and members of the city council serve four-year terms without term limits. (Until the 2006 municipal election, the mayor and city councillors served three-year terms.)

At the start of the 2007 term, the city council will have seven standing committees, each consisting of a chair, a vice-chair and four other councillors. The Mayor names the committee chairs and the remaining membership of the committees is appointed by City Council. An executive committee is formed by the chairs of each of standing committee, in addition to the mayor, the deputy mayor and four other councillors. Councillors are also appointed to oversee the Toronto Transit Commission and the Toronto Police Services Board.

There are about 40 subcommittees, advisory committees and round tables within the city council. These bodies are made up of city councillors and private citizen volunteers. Examples include the Pedestrian Committee, Waste Diversion Task Force 2010, and the Task Force to Bring Back the Don. Additionally, the city has four community councils that make recommendations on local matters to the city council, but possess no final authority. Each city councillor serves as a member on a community council.

Toronto had an operating budget of C$7.6 billion in 2006. The city receives funding from the Government of Ontario in addition to tax revenues and user fees, spending 36% on provincially mandated programmes, 53% on major municipal purposes such as the Toronto Public Librarymarker and the Toronto Zoomarker, and 11% on capital financing and non-programme expenditures.

Crime

The low crime rate in Toronto has resulted in the city having a reputation as one of the safest major cities in North America. For instance, in 2007, the homicide rate for Toronto was 3.1 per 100,000 people, compared with Atlantamarker (19.7), Bostonmarker (10.3), Los Angelesmarker (10.0), New York Citymarker (6.3), Vancouvermarker (3.1), and Montrealmarker (2.6). Toronto's robbery rate also ranks low, with 207.1 robberies per 100,000 people, compared with Los Angeles (348.5), Vancouver (266.2), New York City (265.9), and Montreal (235.3). Toronto has a comparable rate of car theft to various U.S. cities, although it is not among the highest in Canada. However, many in the city, especially the local media, have concerns regarding gun violence, gangs, and racial profiling by Toronto Police against minorities.

Toronto recorded its largest number of homicides in 1991 with 89, a rate of 3.9 per 100,000. In 2005, Toronto media coined the term "Year of the Gun", because there was a record number of gun-related homicides, 52, out of 80 homicides in total (65% – similar to the average in U.S. cities). The total number of homicides dropped to 69 in 2006, that year, nearly 2,000 people in Toronto were victims of a violent gun-related crime, about one-quarter of the national total. 84 homicides were committed in 2007, roughly half of them involved guns. Gang-related incidents have also been on the rise; between the years of 1997 and 2005, over 300 gang-related homicides have occurred. As a result, the Ontario government developed an anti-gun strategy.

Education

Toronto is home to a number of post-secondary academic institutions. The University of Torontomarker, established in 1827, is the oldest university in Ontario and a leading public research institution. It is a worldwide leader in biomedical research and houses North America's third-largest university library system, after that of Harvard Universitymarker and Yale Universitymarker. York Universitymarker, located in the north end of Toronto, houses the largest law library in the Commonwealth of Nations. The city is also home to Ryerson Universitymarker, Ontario College of Art & Designmarker, and the University of Guelph-Humber.

There are four diploma-granting colleges in Toronto, Seneca Collegemarker, Humber Collegemarker, Centennial Collegemarker and George Brown Collegemarker. The city is also home to a satellite campus of the francophone Collège Boréalmarker. In nearby Oshawamarker, usually considered part of the Greater Toronto Area, are Durham Collegemarker and the University of Ontario Institute of Technologymarker, while Halton Regionmarker is home to Sheridan Collegemarker.

The Royal Conservatory of Musicmarker, which includes The Glenn Gould School, is a noted school of music located downtown. The Canadian Film Centre is a film, television and new media training institute founded by filmmaker Norman Jewison. Tyndale University College and Seminarymarker is a transdenominational Christian post-secondary institution and Canada's largest seminary.

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) operates 558 public schools. Of these, 451 are elementary and 102 are secondary (high) schools. This makes the TDSB the largest school board in Canada. Additionally, the Toronto Catholic District School Board manages the city's publicly funded Roman Catholic schools, while the Conseil scolaire de district du Centre-Sud-Ouest and the Conseil scolaire de district catholique Centre-Sud manages public and Roman Catholic French-language schools. There are also numerous private university-preparatory schools, such as Branksome Hallmarker, Greenwood College School, Upper Canada Collegemarker, Crescent School, Toronto French Schoolmarker, University of Toronto Schoolsmarker, Bayview Glen School, Havergal Collegemarker, Bishop Strachan Schoolmarker, and St. Michael's College Schoolmarker.

The Toronto Public Librarymarker is the largest public library system in Canada, consisting of 99 branches with more than 11 million items in its collection.

Infrastructure

Health and medicine



Toronto is home to at least 20 public hospitals, including the Hospital for Sick Childrenmarker, Mount Sinai Hospitalmarker, St. Michael's Hospitalmarker, North York General Hospitalmarker, Toronto General Hospitalmarker, Toronto Western Hospitalmarker, Scarborough Hospitalmarker, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centremarker, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), and Princess Margaret Hospital, as well as the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicinemarker.

Toronto has been known to have one of the worst ER wait times in Ontario. As of early 2007, according to a study conducted by CBC News, half of the case's wait times averaged at about 4 hours, and around 10% of cases had to wait over 12 hours. According to many doctors, a shortage of beds, nurses, doctors and medical equipment is to blame.

Toronto's Discovery District is centre of research in biomedicine. It is located on a 2.5 square kilometre (620 acre) research park that is fully integrated into Toronto’s downtown core. It is also home to the Medical and Related Sciences Centre marker, which was created in 2000 to capitalize on the research and innovation strength of the Province of Ontario. Another institute is the McLaughlin Centre for Molecular Medicine (MCMM).

Transportation

Kilometre 0 of the City of Toronto
The CLRV streetcar, is seen here in downtown Toronto.


The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) is the third largest public transit system in North America after the New York City Transit Authority, and the Mexico City Metro. The TTC provides public transit within the City of Toronto. The backbone of its public transport network is the subway system, as well as a mainly elevated rapid transit line. The TTC also operates an extensive network of buses and streetcars.

The Government of Ontario also operates an extensive rail and bus transit system called GO Transit in the Greater Toronto Area.
, GO Transit carries over 205,000 passengers every weekday on its seven train lines and extensive bus system.


Canada's busiest airport, Toronto Pearson International Airportmarker (IATA: YYZ), straddles the city's western boundary with the suburban city of Mississaugamarker. Limited commercial and passenger service is also offered from the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airportmarker, on the Toronto Islandsmarker, south-west of downtown. Toronto/Buttonville Municipal Airportmarker in Markhammarker provides general aviation facilities. Toronto/Downsview Airportmarker, near the city's north end, is owned by de Havilland Canada and serves the Bombardier Aerospace aircraft factory.

There are a number of expressways and highways that serve Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area. In particular, Highway 401 bisects the city from west to east, bypassing the downtown core. It is one of the busiest highways in the world. The square grid of major city streets was laid out by the concession road system, in which each major arterial road is approximately two kilometres apart from each parallel route.

Sister cities

Partnership Cities


Friendship Cities


See also

Province of Toronto

References

Bibliography



Notes

External links




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