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Toronto is the capital and largest city of the province of Ontario in Canada. With a population of over 3 million people (over 6 million in the metropolitan area), it is also Canada's largest city. It is located on the north-west side of Lake Ontario and has a humid continental climate. This web page attempts to give a brief outline of the city, alongside some of my photographs taken from a visit here in the 1990's.

The name Toronto is thought to have come from the Native Iroquois word tkaronto, meaning "place where trees stand in the water". The city began life in 1793 when Governor John Graves Simcoe established the town of York on land which had been purchased from the Mississauga people, who had previously had displaced the Iroquois from the area.  The town of York was founded as the capital of what was then, Upper Canada. The current name was given to the settlement in 1834.A few years later, in 1867, came the Canadian Confederation and Toronto became the capital of the newly created province of Ontario. Both Toronto and Montreal, in Quebec, both wanted to become the capital city of Canada, but Queen Victoria chose Ottawa to take this role up, as it was located in-between the two. Immigration policy of the 19th century ensured growth of the city, with many Irish amongst the many nationalities arriving to escape the Potato Famine. In the 20th century, Toronto played an important role in the two World Wars, and was used to train members of the Canadian Army. In the post World War II years, further immigration took place and the number of growing municipalities around the city resulted in the creation of a Toronto Metropolitan area in 1954. Toronto's population overtook Montreal's by the early 1980's, despite being a younger city.

Drawing from the numerous backgrounds of it's people, today, Toronto is a truly cosmopolitan city with majestic skyscrapers, complemented by the iconic CN tower. Plenty of open spaces throughout the city ensure a sense of relaxation and freedom. The city's port, set in a natural harbour, is the third largest in the country in terms of tonnage. The city's financial centre is one of the world's most important with it's heart at Bay Street, site of the Toronto Stock Exchange.

For more information and photos from the CN Tower, see my separate webpage Here

As North America's seventh largest city, Toronto is a popular destination for tourists. The CN Tower, formerly the world's tallest free-standing structure, is one of the 'must-see' sites, with a revolving restaurant, observation levels, shops and attractions. The CN tower is truly one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World and adjacent to its base is the Rogers Centre (formerly known as the SkyDome), which when built brought another superlative to the downtown area - the world's largest fully retractable roof. Also, from an architectural perspective, Toronto's City Hall, with its two elliptical towers, is a building of note, as are many others - particularly the numerous skyscrapers which have sprung up as a result of many large Canadian Banks and other companies having their main offices here.

Ontario Place provides the visitor with a multi-media entertainment complex on manmade islands in the lake and here to be found are the Cinesphere domed cinema, a marina, Children's Village, amphitheatre, shops and restaurants. In front of the City Hall sits a reflective pool which becomes a skating rink in wintertime, whilst the Eaton Centre is a stunning enclosed gallery of shops and restaurants. Being the capital of Ontario, it is here the provincial government meets and it is possible for visitors to see how the province is run by visiting the legislature in Queen's Park. The Parliament Buildings are amongst a number of sites where the city remains aware of its past in well preserved architecture. Other older buildings in the city include the Royal York Hotel, the University of Toronto, maple Leaf Gardens Casa Loma and Union Station. The city boasts a number of museums including the Royal Ontario Museum, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Ontario Science Centre (which contains no less than 400 hands-on exhibits) and the Hockey Hall of Fame. Also in the city are several theatres, the Canadian Opera Company and the National Ballet of Canada. Like Montreal, because of the city's history of immigration, Toronto has a wide choice of restaurants offering food from a range of different cultures. Here, you will find a Chinatown, Little Italy, Greektown and many more clustered areas. Toronto is home to a number of big sports teams as well, including the Maple Leafs (ice Hockey), Raptors (basketball) and Blue Jays (baseball).

Other notable attractions are Canada's Wonderland (a landscaped family amusement park with different themed areas), Black Creek Pioneer Village (a living village of life in the early 1800's) and the Toronto Zoo. Further away from the city, Niagara Falls is only about an hour away by road.

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