From Settlement to Megacity: A Brief History of Toronto, Ontario
Toronto is a city rich in history, full of interesting events and people that have made this city great. If you trace the beginnings of this city, you'll see that Toronto is no ordinary place. It's a place where history has been preserved, yet modernity has also prevailed.
Toronto's Pre-City Days
Toronto's history began 8,000 years ago with prehistoric humans roaming the shores of the Atlantic and hunting the dense woods for elk and bears. Several years later, the Iroquois Indians settled the area with nearly 200 villages. The area was also settled by other tribes such as the Seneca, the Mississauga, and the Huron. In fact, the word 'Toronto' means 'meeting place' in the Huron language. The first European to set foot on the land was French explorer Etienne Brule. Shortly after, the French began to settle in Toronto, but because of the hostilities between the English and French, Toronto's British rule began in 1760, when the English drove the French out of the area. Make sure to check out the historical sights on your vacation in Toronto.
Toronto Becomes a City
Under the rule of Upper Canada's governor, John Graves Simcoe, Toronto officially became a city in 1793. However, this little town by the harbor was first called Fort York and would be called as such until 1834. Fort York was the name given to the town because it had been strategically garrisoned against the French, and it was named in honor of the Duke of York. Shortly after being established as Fort York, Toronto became the capital of Upper Canada. In 1796, Yonge Street, named after the British secretary of war Sir George Yonge, was created. Today, at 1,900 kilometers, Yonge Street is the longest street in the world. When Fort York became known as Toronto in 1834, the town had 9,000 inhabitants, and at this time, the city began to flourish. Today there are many visitors and fun things to do in Toronto.
From the mid-nineteenth century onward, Toronto has been a growing business metropolitan area. In the 1840s and 1850s, Toronto saw a rapid increase in its urbanization with steamboat port activity and railway building. The city was made the capital of Ontario in 1867, and by 1891, the city's population was over 150,000. With the railroads, steamboats, mines, and forests, Toronto became a hot spot for industrialization over the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century. However, Toronto felt the effects of the Great Depression in the 1930s, though significantly less than other Canadian cities. With World Wars I and II, Toronto suffered the casualties of war, but also saw growth in its manufacturing and investment scope. The post-World War II period was one of significant growth for the city with Europe renewing Toronto's material stock. By 1951, the population of the city reached over 1 million, and in the years following, the metropolitan government began, the subway system was created, and suburbs were established. In 1976, after 40 months of construction, the CN Tower became open to the public. Today, the CN Tower stands as the world's tallest building at 553.33 meters (1,815 feet and 5 inches). By 1998, Toronto was officially known as a 'megacity.' At a population of 2.4 million, it is known as the fifth largest city in North America. Start planning your vacation and book a Toronto hotel today.