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With it’s population, highlights, economy and urbanization, Toronto can be safely considered being one of those cities in the world which one has to visit. To find out more how things got there, read the rest of this article and learn about the history of this magnificent metropolitan area.

Ancient times

In case of Toronto, it’s a lot harder to characterize an ancient culture that lived in this area. From what we know, permanent settlements didn’t exist, various tribes including the Mohawks have had different uses for this territory and often set up summer camps. Toronto as a name most likely comes from a Mohawk word tkaronto, which would mean “a place where trees stand in water”.


A French explorer, Etienne Brule, is the first European person credited to stand on the shores of Lake Ontario. Soon enough, the Toronto passage has become a vital junction for fur trading. Later, this fact has led to a major fight between Britain and France as they tried to gain control.

John Graves Simcoe

This person is known as the godfather of Toronto, named York at first. In his view, the settlement served more as a guarding post at the American border. Soon, it has became the capital of Upper Canada and the need for routes intended mainly for fast military communication has led to the building of three major roads – Yonge Street, Kingston Road and Dundas. Yonge Street is still the longest street in the world, running 1896 kilometres to the Rainy River.

American raids on York

York has been attacked twice during the War of 1812. It has been partially burned in 1813, when Pike Zebulon attacked it with his troops. British soldiers were outnumbered by many and decided to retreat, yet still stop the attack by setting fire to all magazines in the fort and making it explode. This happened just as the Americans entered the building, killing Zebulon and many of his man in action. After the American armed forces left, it was rebuilt much stronger and the attackers didn’t even had the chance to reach the shore the next time they tried.

The Great Irish Famine

The mid 1800’s saw a large number of Irish immigrants, both Catholic and Protestant. The latter group was more successful and soon started playing a major role by occupying major positions in politics, education and business.

The first trains and transportation

1853 was the year when the first trains pulled out of Toronto on a long track that ran north to Barrie on Lake Simcoe. In the end, Toronto became the main railway hub for Western Canada, further enhancing the importance of the city. By this time, Toronto had already distinct neighbourhoods, a drain system, piped water, gas lightning on the streets and a rapidly expanding economy.


British industrial advances and a reciprocal free trade agreement with the United States has led to major developments in Canada, including Toronto. Coal-fired steam power was used to produce an extensive range of products, which were shipped by train and on water, the latter changing the city’s harbor into a grimy and sedulous industrial zone.


Source by Julie Kinnear

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