Toronto is one of the largest Canadian cities. Hundreds of immigrants and tourists from all over the world come here every year. There are a lot of skyscrapers, private properties, museums as well as cultural and administrative centers nowadays. However, that territory used to be covered with lakes and was uninhabited. Learn more about how Toronto became a great metropolis at toronto-future.
The first Indian settlements
Information about that city appeared for the first time in the 17th century. However, its territory didn’t have clear boundaries yet. According to archival information, it was located near Lake Ontario and the Don River flowed next to it. Indian tribes lived there in those days. They didn’t have a certain place of residence, so they constantly populated new and uninhabited territories. In 1788, the British bought about 1,000 km² of land here, and on July 9, 1793, that area became the capital of the British colony in North America.
City of York
The first city of York appeared on the territory of the future metropolis when Europeans began to come there. It was located near the Toronto Islands. In 1797, houses, defensive structures and military units were built there in order to increase the security of the city’s residents.
Also, two main roads were laid there, Dundas Street and Yonge Street. The city has been developing economically too until the Anglo-American war began in 1813. Subsequently, the city was looted and partially destroyed by the Americans.
Toronto in the 18th and 19th centuries
A few years later after the war, the Americans completely rebuilt the captured city and named it Toronto. William Mackenzie, a Canadian journalist and politician, became the city’s mayor. One of the main events in the history of the city, the Upper Canada Rebellion, took place in 1837.
During the 19th century, the population of Toronto grew rapidly and the infrastructure was being developed. A lot of buildings were built in the city. The first trams, horse-drawn carriages, utility systems, schools, shops and cafes appeared too. In 1827, the University of Toronto was built in the very center of the city.
In 1841, the first gas lanterns appeared on the streets of the city. The transport system was also being developed. Roads and railway tracks were laid, which connected Toronto with nearby regions to ensure the comfortable commuting of locals around the city and beyond. In 1850, the coastal harbor roads were built, which resulted in an increase in immigrant numbers and contributed to the development of trade in the city.
Besides roads and buildings, there were several beaches in Toronto but they were not suitable for swimming. The water in the lakes was very polluted with garbage. That’s why locals placed culverts and collectors in the rivers to create a water supply system, purify water and deliver it to residential areas of the city.
When the city’s infrastructure and trade were developing actively, a large number of immigrants from other countries began to come there. One of the reasons for that became the Great Famine in Ireland of 1845-1849, because of which the Irish began to move en masse from their native country to new and sparsely populated cities, including Toronto. In order to give them housing and create comfortable living conditions in the city, the local authorities decide to build new buildings, hospitals, schools and orphanages. In 1851, the Irish became the largest ethnic group in the city. In addition, Britons, Germans, Jews, Russians and Poles also moved to Toronto.
Until the end of the 19th century, entrepreneurship and the quality of public services were being developed and improved. For example, the law enforcement system has changed radically, due to accelerated responses to incidents via communication tools. The authorities also improved the fire safety system after a large-scale fire.
The emergence of a metropolis on the territory of Toronto in the XX-XXI centuries
In 1900, a new square was built in the city center near the world’s longest street, Young Street. A part of Toronto that was destroyed by fire has been rebuilt with much higher buildings. Earlier, there were several dozen low-rise infrastructure facilities. However, in the 20th century, Toronto turned into a metropolis with the first skyscrapers and modern private houses, which increased the number of affordable housing complexes for those who wanted to stay there.
Old TV towers were also destroyed and new and higher ones were built instead. The largest among them was the CN Tower, the construction of which was completed in 1976. They decided to place it in the very center of the city as well as the SkyDome stadium, which is located among the skyscrapers. Since then, the city’s infrastructure has been continuously improving. Supermarket chains, factories, bars, museums, administrative buildings and others appeared in Toronto.
During the Second World War, the city became the center of army military training and the production of artillery. After the war, a large number of immigrants came to Toronto, thus, the population increased to 1 million. Ethnic neighborhoods appeared in Toronto, such as Little Italy, Little Portugal and 2 new Chinatowns. On the initiative of the government, the construction of roads, water treatment systems, public transport and the University Avenue part of the subway still continued. Toronto was rapidly becoming a large city with hundreds of properties.
In 1954, a hurricane swept across the city destroying and flooding the infrastructure. After that, the construction of residential buildings was temporarily prohibited. Dams and underground canals designed to fight floods appeared in Toronto instead.
By 1970, new skyscrapers, a shopping and office complex as well as a TV tower were built in the city center. The number of city residents increased to 2 million. In 1995, the headquarters of Canada’s major banks appeared there. Toronto has also become a cultural center for citizens and tourists, as theaters, museums, colleges, galleries and other institutions were opened in the city.