The City of Toronto is the largest city in Canada and is located on the north-western shore of Lake Ontario. Canada’s largest and most vibrant urban center provides its 2.5 million residents with a 46 kilometre long waterfront shoreline, the Toronto Islands, and Port Lands which extend some distance into the lake. With approximately 49% of the city’s population born outside of Canada and more than 100 languages and dialects spoken, Toronto is one of the world’s most diverse cities.
Toronto’s history dates back thousands of years and it was shortly after the last ice age that the present-day city was inhabited by Iroquois tribes who were displaced by Huron tribes. The name Toronto is believed to have been derived from the Iroquois word meaning “place where trees stand in the water”, and this description refers to what is now Lake Simcoe. It was only in 1793 that the urban community was founded by British colonial officials as the Town of York, and in 1834 through its progression & expansion that the town became the City of Toronto.
Through the 19th century, the city developed with an extensive sewage system, illuminated streets, long distance railway lines, a large alcohol distillation centre, horse drawn (then later electric) streetcars, as well as a dominant import & export facility through the harbour. It was in the late 19th century and early 20th century that the city began to receive new immigrant groups, and by the late 1960’s with the elimination of racially based immigration policies, Toronto began to receive residents from all parts of the world.
Metropolitan Toronto was created in 1954 with the amalgamation of the City of Toronto with its 12 surrounding municipalities, and in 1998 was deemed the Toronto Megacity with the dissolution of the metropolitan government. Today, Toronto’s population is cosmopolitan, which is a sign of its role as a desired destination for immigrants to Canada.
As Canada’s economic capital, Toronto is the national hub of the commercial, financial, industrial, business services, telecommunications, transportation, media, arts, film, publishing, software production, medical research, education, tourism, and sports sectors. A great city to live and work, Toronto provides a high quality of life and is one of the safest urban environments in the world.