50 Charles St. E.
Ontario Tourism Region : Greater Toronto Area
- Postcards above used with permission from A Great Lakes Treasury of Old Postcards 2007 Lorenzo Marcolin, MD 176 pp. For Copies call the Huronia Museum 705 526 2844 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Pop. 2,265,588. City, metropolitan municipality, and capital of the Province of Ontario since 1867, on the N shore of L. Ontario at the mouths of the Don and Humber Rs., and Hwys 400, 401,403,404,407,409,410,427, and QEW, 60 km NE of Hamilton.
The name Toronto is from the Mohawk word "tkaronto" and means "where there are trees in the water." The word originally referred to a place now called Atherley Narrows near Orillia where the water moves quickly between lakes Couchiching and Simcoe.
As many as 4,500 years ago native people drove stakes into the water to create fish traps. French explorers picked up the name and it eventually migrated 125 km S to cover the Toronto area. (The popular version that the name means "meeting place" originated with a 19th century local historian, Henry Scadding in whose 1884 work Toronto: Past and Present, he cited a 17th century French missionarys translation of the Huron word "toronton" to mean there is a lot." Scadding interpreted this to mean a lot of people, or a meeting place.)
The name first appears as Tarantou on Sansons map of 1656 and in varying forms has been applied at different times to most of the region between Ls. Ontario and Simcoe. In the 17th century a Seneca village called Teiaigon stood near the mouth of the Humber R., where the trail from L. Ontario to Georgian Bay started.
Etienne Brule was the first white man to visit the site when he descended the Humber R. in 1615. In 1787 the British government bought about one-third of what is now York C. from three Mississauga chiefs for £1,700.
In 1793 John Graves Simcoe, lieutenant-governor of Upper Canada, was directed to establish his capital at what is now Toronto. Simcoe named it York in honour of the Duke of York, son of King George III, a name it retained -- despite local objections -- until its incorporation as a city in 1834. Simcoe held a meeting of his executive council at York that year, but later meetings were held at what is now Niagara-on-the-Lake, until permanent buildings were completed at York in 1797.
"Muddy York," as it was nicknamed, grew up close to the malarial Don Marshes, and its major defences were built farther W, at the entrance to the harbour. Under the threat of war with the United States, Fort York and a shipyard were begun in 1812. When an American invading force landed near the present Sunnyside Beach in 1813, the York garrison withdrew after brief skirmishing. Before leaving, however, the British mined the forts magazine, which blew up as the Americans arrived, killing Gen. Zebulon M. Pike.
The Americans burned the parliament and garrison build- ings and looted deserted houses. In retaliation, the British burned part of Washington, D.C., in 1814. Fort York has been restored and is now one of Torontos many tourist attractions.
York remained a small and undistinguished capital until the late 1820s, when the rich farmlands nearby were settled, and the settlement became a grain market and distribution centre.
Between 1827 and 1834, the year in which Toronto was incorporated as a city, the population jumped to 9,000 from 1,800. When Upper and Lower Canada were united in 1841, the capital of the United Province of Canada was established, first at Kingston and then, from 1845-49, in Montreal.
After the Rebellion Losses Riots in Montreal, the capital alternated every two years between Toronto and Quebec. At Confederation in 1867, Toronto became the capital of the Province of Ontario.
Torontonian "Ned" Hanlan (1855-1908) took up rowing as a child and turned professional in 1876. For four years he held the world singles sculls championship. The Royal Canadian Yacht Club, started as the Toronto Boat Club in 1852 and with quarters on Toronto Is., was the first sailing association in the province.
An historic plaque at 60 Richmond St. E. recalls Sir Sandford Fleming, inventor of Standard Time. At a meeting of the Canadian Institute in 1879, Fleming first presented his idea for a standardized worldwide system for reckoning time. His proposal led to the International Prime Meridian Conference in Washington five years later, at which the present system of Standard Time was adopted.
Woodbine is the oldest permament racing establishment in Ontario and was the site of the running of the Queens Plate from 1883 to 1955. The track became Old Woodbine in 1956, when a New Woodbine was opened in Etobicoke; in 1963 it was renamed Greenwood.
Mary Pickford (1893-1979) began her acting career on stage at the age of five and was laternicknamed "Americas Sweetheart." She played childrens roles well into her adult life.
Canadas first air-mail flight in 1918 ended at the Leaside Flying Field. A IN-4 Curtiss aircraft from the Royal Air Force detachment at Leaside was chosen for the first air-mail delivery in Canada. The plane took off from Montreal at 10:30 a.m., refuelled at Kingston, and landed in Toronto with its cargo of 120 letters at 4:55 p.m.
The worlds first quiz show aired in Toronto when former teacher Roy Ward bought air time on a radio station for the debut of Professor Dick and his Question Box on May 15,1935.
Today, Metropolitan Toronto consists of five cities and one borough: Toronto, North York, York, Etobicoke, Scarborough, and the Borough of East York. Together they cover a total of 400 square km (144 square mi.)
Approximately two-thirds of Metro Torontos three million residents were born and raised somewhere else.
Half a million Italians make Metro the largest Italian community outside Italy.
Metro is also home to the largest Chinese community in Canada and the biggest Portuguese community in North America.
Toronto has a wealth of architecture -- from Casa Loma, a magnificent 98-room castle built between 1911 and 1914, to the worlds tallest freestanding structure, the CN Tower.
Theres a one-of-a-kind City Hall building, which still looks futuristic, even though it was built in 1965, and the Romanesque Revival-style 1899 Old City Hall, with its Georgia pine floors and gargoyles, is still in use and may be visited.
As real estate prices have climbed, so have Toronto skyscrapers, and the citys skyline seems to change monthly as new glass-sheathed temples to business and commerce rear into the sky.
Natural Resources Canada in the City of Toronto.
Address of this page: http://www.ruralroutes.com/toronto