Toronto, Ontario

With a population of 2.96 million, Toronto is Canada's largest city and the capital of the province of Ontario. It is located  in the Golden Horseshoe, a region of over 8.1 million people that stretches in a semicircle around the western end of Lake Ontario to Niagara Falls. Around a third of the population increase in the entire country has lived in this metropolitan area in recent years. The population of the metropolitan area (Census Metropolitan Area) increased from 4.1 million in 1992 to 5.6 million in 2011. The Greater Toronto Area had a population of 6.2 million in 2010.

The city is located on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario, the smallest of the five Great Lakes at 18,960 km². Toronto underwent multiple expansions in the late 1990s with the incorporation of a number of suburbs that had already merged with Toronto (Etobicoke, Scarborough, York, East York and North York). The center with the shopping and banking district is located near the lake. The main shopping street is Yonge Street. Toronto has been Canada's economic center and one of the world's leading financial centers since the approximately 1970s, after Montreal has played this role for decades.



Cityscape and architecture

Toronto's architectural tradition began in the mid-19th century. Many of the leading architects have designed buildings in Toronto, such as Toronto native Frank Gehry, Daniel Libeskind, Norman Foster, Will Alsop, Ieoh Ming Pei, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Santiago Calatrava. Some architectural styles were developed in Toronto, such as the so-called Bay and Gable style. These are very narrow, partly only six meters wide, semi-detached terraced houses made of red brick. The term bay-and-gable describes two characteristics: the houses have a bay window and a pointed gable. The Victorian-style houses sometimes also contain neo-Gothic elements. Most Bay and Gable homes can be found in The Annex, Cabbagetown, and Little Italy neighborhoods.

The road system is largely laid out in a chessboard pattern. One of the most important streets is Yonge Street. It was intended as a military supply line; nowadays economic and cultural life mainly takes place along this street. It begins more than 1800 kilometers inland and ends at Lake Ontario, making it one of the longest roads in North America. The city center (Central Business District) extends north to Bloor Street, south to the Harbourfront neighborhood, west to Spadina Avenue and east to Parliament Street. The multi-lane Gardiner Expressway runs between Union Station and Harbourfront. In the downtown area, the city highway usually runs on a bridge construction for reasons of space. Outside the city center, small houses characterize the cityscape.

The city center consists mainly of tall buildings. In the Greater Toronto Area metropolitan area, there are nearly 2,000 buildings that exceed 100 feet; Toronto has the second highest number of skyscrapers on the North American continent after New York City. Downtown Toronto alone has over 100 skyscrapers that are over 100 meters tall. At 298 meters, the tallest skyscraper in Toronto is First Canadian Place on the corner of King Street and Bay Street. At the beginning of 2009, the number of skyscrapers increased significantly, and several hundred high-rise buildings were in the planning or construction phase.

South of downtown are the Toronto Islands, four artificially expanded islands in Lake Ontario that shield the harbor from the lake. On the westernmost island is a small airport (Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport), which can be reached via a ferry connection from downtown. The other islands are designed as a park with smaller lakes, watercourses, a pier, a beach and amusement facilities. The islands are closed to motorized private transport and can be reached by passenger ferry in about ten minutes from Queen's Quay Terminal.


CN Tower

The Canadian National Tower, CN Tower for short, was completed in 1976 and is the tallest free-standing structure on the American continents, a dominant feature of urban development and a landmark. From its completion to the topping-out ceremony for the Canton Tower in May 2009, it was the tallest television tower in the world at 553 meters. With around two million visitors a year, the tower is one of the most visited buildings in Canada, although it was originally only planned for radio transmission. Until September 12, 2007, the CN Tower was also the tallest free-standing structure on earth. The Burj Khalifa in Dubai now occupies this rank with 828 meters. In addition to a revolving restaurant and a viewing platform at 342 and 346 meters, the tower has a second viewing platform (sky pod) below the antenna mast at a height of 447 meters, until 2008 the highest viewing platform in the world.


Sports facilities and event halls

Adjacent to the CN Tower is the former SkyDome, opened in 1989 and renamed Rogers Center on February 2, 2005. The 54,000-seat arena is home to the BlueJays (baseball) and the Argonauts (Canadian football) and when it opened it was the world's first sports arena to feature a fully retractable roof and the world's largest video screen. The building houses the Renaissance Toronto Hotel Downtown (formerly: SkyDome Hotel), which offers 70 two-story suites with a view of the field and a restaurant (until 2009 Hard Rock Cafe), also with a view of the field.

East of the Rogers Center is the Air Canada Center on the south side of the railway lines, which serves as the home arena for the Toronto Raptors basketball team, the Toronto Maple Leafs ice hockey team, the Toronto Rock lacrosse team and the Toronto Phantoms football team in addition to concerts and theater performances. Depending on the event, the hall can accommodate up to 19,800 spectators.

West of downtown is Canada's largest football-only stadium, BMO Field, which was completed in April 2007 and can accommodate around 20,000 spectators.



The luxury hotel Fairmont Royal York is located opposite Union Station on Front Street. The building, completed in 1929, is 124 meters high, has 28 floors and building sections of different heights. It was the tallest building in the city until 1931.

Below the district is the more than 28-kilometer-long PATH tunnel network, which connects office complexes and over 1,200 shops and offices underground. The north-south axis of this network stretches from the Royal York Hotel and Union Station well beyond Queen Street West. On the east-west axis, the St. Andrew and King Yellow Line underground stations form the extremes of this world's largest underground city.

Also connected to the PATH is Brookfield Place (formerly BCE Place), an office and commercial complex consisting of the two skyscrapers Bay Wellington Tower (207 meters) and TD Canada Trust Tower (261 meters). This complex was planned by the Toronto architecture firm Bregman + Hamann Architects with the participation of Santiago Calatrava, who designed the six-story Allen Lambert Galleria. This gallery, including a large, light-filled atrium capped by an arched strut construction, connects both skyscrapers.

East of Brookfield Place is the 1892 Gooderham Building, a striking iron building.

The Toronto Dominion Center is a building complex of six high-rise buildings built by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe between 1967 and 1969. The most striking structures are two black skyscrapers, the tallest of which is the Toronto-Dominion Bank Tower at 222 meters. The Toronto Stock Exchange is located near the IBM Tower.

Opened in the 1970s, the Eaton Center is a six-storey shopping center with over 300 shops, 17 cinemas, nightclubs and a luxury hotel frequented by up to a million people a week. It was named after Irish immigrant Timothy Eaton, who opened a general store on the site in 1869. This resulted in a mail order company known throughout Canada. The south entrance is on the corner of Queen Street West and Yonge Street; the mall extends north to Dundas Square and also connects to the PATH below the surface. The Eaton Center was designed with the participation of German architect Erhard Zeidler together with Bregman + Hamann Architects.

East of the south entrance to the Eaton Centre, on the corner of Queen Street West and Bay Street, is the avant-garde New City Hall complex designed by Finnish architect Viljo Revell in the early 1960s. The two buildings are 20- and 27-story high-rise buildings with a curved floor plan. The two high-rise buildings are connected via a lower shell-shaped plenary hall. The building has served as the town hall since 1965 and is located opposite the old town hall. West of City Hall is Osgoode Hall. The former courthouse was constructed between 1835 and 1855 and is named after the first Chief Justice of Upper Canada, William Osgoode.

At almost 93 meters, St. James Cathedral is the tallest church building in Toronto and the second tallest in Canada after St. Joseph's Oratory in Montreal. Completed in 1844, the Anglican Church is part of the city's oldest congregation and is just off downtown on Church Street, where many of Toronto's other churches are located.

South of St. James Park is the St. Lawrence Market with a south and a north building. The southern building served as the town hall between 1845 and 1904; Today, changing exhibitions provide information about the city's history. The first floor used to be a police station. Today, more than 120 traders offer their products, especially in the northern market hall.


Outside downtown

North of the city center is Casa Loma, a 'European' style castle built by Sir Henry Pellatt in the early 1900's. It is now a museum with 98 rooms, secret passages, an old swimming pool and a botanical winter garden.

Toronto's Chinatown is one of the largest in North America. Like the others, it is characterized by bilingual street signs and numerous Chinese shops and restaurants. It is located in the area of Dundas Street West and Spadina Avenue just west of Yonge Street. The neighborhood dates back to 1878.[93] Back then, hundreds of immigrant Chinese helped build the Canadian Pacific Railway. Toronto experienced its greatest influx of Chinese immigrants between 1947 and 1960. When construction of the new City Hall on Nathan Phillips Square began in 1961, the Chinatown shifted westward from the intersection of Queens Street and Bay Street.

East of the Don Valley Parkway is Greektown, Toronto, a neighborhood on Danforth Avenue that's primarily home to Greek immigrants. In the 1970s and 1980s, the neighborhood was considered the largest Greek neighborhood in North America. The area along Danforth Avenue and Pape has bilingual street signs in English and Greek. With around 125,000 Greeks, Greektown is now the second largest Greek community outside of Greece. Lined with Greek and Canadian flags, Danforth Avenue is lined with restaurants and cafes serving Greek food and music.

On three artificial islands in Lake Ontario is the approximately 566,000 square meter amusement park Ontario Place, opened on May 22, 1971. It is about four kilometers west of downtown. In addition to various wild water rides and water slides, a large IMAX cinema is one of the attractions.


Parks and gardens

The city area has well over 200 parks and gardens with over 90 kilometers of walking paths.

The largest park at 161 hectares is High Park to the west north of Humber Bay. It extends south of Bloor Street West and west of Parkside Drive, east of Ellis Park Road. It is a mixture of local recreation area and nature park with a zoo.

Allan Gardens is a botanical garden donated by former Mayor George William Allan. For example, six greenhouses display rare tropical plants and palm trees. The university moved its greenhouse to Allan Gardens in 1931.

The approximately 15 hectare Trinity Bellwoods Park between the area north of Queen Street West and Dundas Street contains playing fields for various sports such as tennis, football and volleyball.

HTO Park, on Harbourfront south of Rogers Center, is a city beach that opened in 2007 on the shores of Lake Ontario.

In the northeast of the city is the 287 hectare zoological garden, the Toronto Zoo. The new building was started in 1970 as a result of a citizens' initiative and opened on August 15, 1974. In terms of area, it is the third largest zoo in the world with over ten kilometers of footpaths and is home to around 5000 animals and 460 species. Its predecessor, the Riverdale Zoo, opened in 1888. The zoo welcomes around 1.2 million visitors every year.

In the immediate vicinity of the zoo is Rouge National Urban Park, a national park.

Accessible by ferry, the offshore Toronto Islands offer 230 hectares of extensive walking paths, beaches and sports facilities. Over 1.2 million visitors take advantage of the opportunities offered by Toronto Island Park each year.


Music and theatre

The city has a concert hall called Roy Thomson Hall for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Massey Hall (predecessor to Roy Thomson Hall), other concert halls, and a number of buildings for opera, ballet, operetta, and drama. After London and New York, Toronto has the third largest theater scene in the English-speaking world. The Royal Alexandra Theatre, opened in 1907, gained particular notoriety. Based on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Canada's Walk of Fame was opened in 1998 in 13 streets around the Royal Alexandra Theater. There, 131 famous Canadian athletes, singers and stars from the media world are currently being honored with a memorial stone in the sidewalk.

On June 14, 2006, the Four Seasons Center opened, a 2,000-seat opera house south of the new City Hall. The $181 million structure replaced the grand opera house built in 1874. It is home to the Canadian National Ballet and the Canadian Opera Company. Toronto is the home of the renowned baroque orchestra Tafelmusik.

In addition to a wide-ranging music industry, the English-language literary scene is concentrated here. Many literary figures studied at the University of Toronto, such as Stephen Leacock, Margaret Atwood and Michael Ondaatje (The English Patient).


Art and museums

The city has several important museums. The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) is one of the largest art museums in North America, with a focus on collections of Canadian paintings, European paintings and sculptures by Henry Moore.

The Royal Ontario Museum, usually just called ROM, is the largest museum in Canada. It has collections on natural science, archaeology, art and cultural history, and First Nations. It became world famous for its art collection from the Far East. Since June 2007, the ROM has ten expanded galleries. The new building and the old building were nested in one another. The new exterior, The Crystal, has a deconstructivist, jagged, crystal-like shape composed of 25% glass and 75% aluminum. The facade facing Bloor Street West is the main entrance to the museum. The new building, designed by architects Bregman + Hamann and Daniel Libeskind, cost $270 million.

The Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art presents contemporary art.

The Ryerson Image Center (RIC), which opened in 2012, shows exhibitions on photography, new media, installation art and film.

The International Hockey Hall of Fame (HHOF) is an institution that honors the best hockey players in a hockey museum.

On Bloor Street West is the Bata Shoe Museum, a shoe museum owned by the Bata Group. The museum, founded in 1979, shows over 12,000 shoes, the oldest exhibits date from around 2500 BC.

A total of ten different houses, schools, industrial buildings and other buildings have been declared historic sites. One of the most important is the Fort York National Historic Site. It is located on the site where Toronto was founded in 1793 and where the climax of the British-American War took place on April 27, 1813 as the Battle of York.

About seven miles northeast of downtown is the Ontario Science Center, a science museum that opened in 1969. It shows scientific connections based on experiments that visitors can carry out themselves. It records around 1.5 million visitors a year.



With the exception of the National Football League (NFL), Toronto has one team in each of the major North American professional sports leagues.

In the National Hockey League (NHL), the Toronto Maple Leafs are one of the most successful ice hockey teams in North America with 13 overall wins and 21 final appearances in the Stanley Cup. The Toronto Marlies act as the farm team for the Toronto Maple Leafs in the American Hockey League (AHL). The Toronto Raptors are the only basketball team to play outside of the United States in the National Basketball Association (NBA) basketball league. Like the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Toronto Raptors play their games at the Scotiabank Arena. The Toronto Blue Jays, also the only Major League Baseball (MLB) baseball team outside the United States, and the Toronto Argonauts, who play Canadian football, play at the highly visible downtown Rogers Center. The Canadian Football League (CFL) championship, the Gray Cup, has already been held 48 times in Toronto. Due to this special position in the most important professional sports leagues in the United States, Toronto is regarded as the most Americanized city in Canada from a sporting point of view.

Other teams worth mentioning in the city are the Toronto Rock, who play lacrosse, which is extremely popular in Canada, in the National Lacrosse League (NLL), and the Toronto FC, who play in the Major League Soccer (MLS) football league alongside the Vancouver Whitecaps, also from Canada. plays. In addition, Toronto is a stronghold of rugby in Canada. There are over 70 traditional rugby clubs throughout the metropolitan area. The Ontario Blues, who compete against teams from North and South America in the domestic Canadian Rugby Championship (CRC) and the international Americas Rugby Championship (ARC), and the Toronto Arrows, have their own franchise team within the Major League Rugby (MLR) rugby league, are of national importance. place. With a total of seven traditional clubs and other academic ranks, Toronto is also a center of Canadian rowing, which has its origins in the so-called Hanlan Bay in Lake Ontario.

Toronto has been the venue for numerous international sporting events. After the 1976 Summer Olympics were awarded to Montreal, the city hosted the 1976 Summer Paralympic Games. The city applied for the 1996 and 2008 Summer Olympics, but lost to Atlanta and Beijing, respectively. The Toronto-based Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) then considered applying a third time. The city co-hosted the 1997 6th Special Olympics World Winter Games with Collingwood.

→ Main article: Special Olympics World Winter Games 1997
The 6th Special Olympics World Winter Games were held February 1-8, 1997 in Toronto and Collingwood. This was the first and only time that Canada has hosted a Special Olympics World Games. Until then, all games except the 1993 Special Olympics World Winter Games had been held in the United States. Almost 2,000 athletes from 73 countries and more than 5,000 volunteers were involved in the games. The event featured five competitive sports and one demonstration sport: Figure Skating: Toronto, Indoor Hockey: Toronto, Alpine Skiing: Blue Mountain Resort, Collingwood, Cross Country Skiing: Highlands Nordic, Collingwood, Speed Skating: Toronto. Snowshoeing was a demonstration sport. According to another source, curling was also offered.

Since 1990, the Rogers Masters, which is one of the tournaments in the ATP Masters Series, has taken place in Toronto, alternating with Montreal every year. In 1993 the 4th World Indoor Athletics Championships took place there. A year later, Toronto hosted the Basketball World Cup alongside Hamilton. In 2000, the Du Maurier Open 2000 was held in Toronto. Also since 2000, the Toronto Waterfront Marathon has been held annually in the city center in the fall. Toronto also co-hosted the 2015 Pan American Games with the Golden Horseshoe region.


Regular events

The Toronto International Film Festival in early September is one of the largest film festivals in North America. It has been held since 1976 with the presentation of the Genie Awards (since 1980) and the Gemini Awards (since 1986). The multi-venue international film festival IFCT Festival took place in Toronto in 2002.

In February, the Canadian International AutoShow has been held annually at the Metro Toronto Convention Center and the Rogers Center since 1974. With 79,000 square meters of exhibition space, it is Canada's largest motor show.

The four-day Canadian Music Week, held in March (from 2014: in May) since 1981, is a music festival and music conference.

Since 1968, the International Caravan festival has been held in Toronto at the beginning of June. It consists of musical and folkloric events in the form of concerts and theatrical performances in more than 30 pavilions around the city.

Pride Week at the end of June each year is one of the largest gay pride festivals in the world. Highlights include the Dyke March and the Pride Parade, which draws up to over a million people.

The four-day Beaches International Jazz Festival has been held annually in the summer since 1989 as an outdoor event in The Beaches neighborhood of Old Toronto, with the main act each time on a stage in Kew Garden. At the same time, bands play along a stretch of two kilometers along Queen Street East. Since 1987 there has also been the Toronto Jazz Festival in June/July. The North by Northeast (NXNE) music and culture festival has been held in June since 1995.

The Taste of the Danforth festival has been held in Greektown every August since 1994. Once just a local street festival with Greek specialties, it now attracts well over 1.5 million visitors.

The Canadian National Exhibition is a mixture of fair and agricultural fair. The event has been held on Exhibition Place, a square west of downtown, since 1879 from mid-August to Labor Day. With around 1.3 million visitors annually, it is North America's fifth largest trade fair. In addition to the exhibitions, there are also sports and music events and an air show.

The Toronto Santa Claus Parade is a mid-November Christmas parade that has been held since 1905. More than half a million people watch the parade four miles from downtown Toronto each time. It has been nationally televised since 1952.




Located on the northwest shore of Lake Ontario, Toronto is part of the Quebec-Windsor Corridor, Canada's most densely populated area. In its immediate vicinity are the western towns of Mississauga and Brampton, which are counted as part of the Regional Municipality of Peel. A little further east is the Regional Municipality of Halton, headquartered in Milton. To the north are Vaughan and Markham (Regional Municipality of York). To the east is the town of Pickering, which is part of the Regional Municipality of Durham. The metropolitan region Greater Toronto Area (GTA) includes these four regional administrations (Regional Municipality) in addition to the urban area.

The urban area covers an area of 630.18 km² and stretches 21 kilometers north-south and 43 kilometers east-west. The area is slightly smaller than that of Hamburg (755 km²). The city limits are formed by Lake Ontario to the south, Etobicoke Creek and Highway 427 to the west, Steeles Avenue to the north and the Rouge River to the east. The port area on the shore of the lake forms a coastline of 46 kilometers in total.

North of the urban area, the approximately 1900 km² area of the Oak Ridges moraine, an ecologically significant green belt, stretches from the Niagara escarpment to around Peterborough.



Toronto is drained by the Humber River on the western edge, the Don River east of downtown on the opposite side of the harbor and numerous tributaries. The natural harbor was formed by sedimentation, which also gave rise to the Toronto Islands. The multitude of streams and rivers that flow through the area from the north and empty into Lake Ontario have created numerous forested canyons. These canyons influence urban planning in such a way that some thoroughfares such as Finch Avenue, Leslie Street, Lawrence Avenue and St. Clair Avenue end on one side of the canyon and continue on the other. The almost 500 meter long Prince Edward Viaduct spans the 40 meter deep gorge formed by the Don River.

During the last ice age, the lower part of the city area was under the glacial Lake Iroquois, an ice reservoir. Land ruptures dating back to this period can be seen from Victoria Park Avenue, east of downtown, at the mouth of Highland Creek. The Scarborough Bluffs are rugged rocky cliffs up to 65 meters high for 14 kilometers along the shoreline of Lake Ontario. Toronto has no significant elevations. The lowest point is on the shore of Lake Ontario at 75 meters above sea level, the highest at 270 meters near York University in the north of the city.


Water supply

Toronto's water economy, like that of the York region, is based on Lake Ontario. From 1843 to 1873, a private company ensured the water supply, since 1873 the municipal administration has taken on this task. Today, it pumps an average of 2.9 million cubic meters of water per day through the supply network.[14] Since 1949, the steel pipes have been at least 750 mm in diameter and are encased with cement and concrete. Since the lake carries enough water, Toronto gets by with few reservoirs. Most of the water is stored in the pipe system itself.

With the DLWC project, Toronto has developed a new method for air conditioning office buildings. Since the water temperature at the bottom of the very deep Lake Ontario is constant at four degrees Celsius all year round, it can be used to cool the inner city.



Due to its location in the extreme south of Canada, Toronto has a very moderate climate for the country (effective climate classification: Dfa). The four seasons are very distinct with significant temperature differences, especially in the cold months. Due to the proximity to the water, the temperatures fluctuate little during the day, especially in densely built-up areas and areas near the shore. At certain times of the year, the lake's temperate climate can turn into extreme local and regional weather conditions, such as the so-called lake effect snow, which delays the onset of spring and creates autumn-like conditions.

Winters in Toronto are cold, with short spells bringing extreme temperatures below -10°C, made even colder by the wind. The lowest temperature was measured on January 10, 1859 at −32.8 °C. Snow can be expected in Toronto from November to mid-April. In addition to snowstorms and freezing rain, mild sections with temperatures between 5 and 14 °C are possible.

The summers are characterized by long periods of humid climate. The average daily temperature varies between 20 and 29 °C. However, it can also rise to 35 °C. The highest recorded temperature was 40.6 °C on July 8, 1936. Autumn and spring bridge the main seasons with mild or cool temperatures and alternating dry and wet periods.

Precipitation is distributed throughout the year. The focus is usually in summer, the wettest season; most of the precipitation falls in thunderstorms. The average annual total snow depth is 133 centimeters. The largest amount of snow was measured on December 11, 1944 with a height of 48.3 centimeters. The average annual sunshine duration is 2038 hours.


City outline

Due to the diversity and, in many cases, quite distinct identity of Toronto's many neighborhoods, the city is sometimes referred to as the City of Neighborhoods. Old Toronto (English: Old City of Toronto) or Downtown had up to 240 parts until 1997, when it was incorporated into Metropolitan Toronto. The Old City is the most densely populated of these; it also houses the business and administrative center.

Since January 1, 1998, the metropolis has consisted of six boroughs (counties) Old Toronto (divided into Downtown Core (Central), North End, East End, West End), North York, Scarborough, Etobicoke, York and East York in turn are subdivided into a total of 140 districts (English: neighborhoods, here: "district" or "residential areas"). The 140 districts are grouped into a total of 44 administrative districts (English ward), which are headed by a councilor (English councillor). For meetings, the 44 Wards are divided into four local councils: Etobicoke York Council, North York Community Council, Toronto and East York Community Council and Scarborough Community Council. The Community Councils were created in 1997 as part of the reorganization and form a body of the City Council. The task of the municipal councils is to submit proposals to the city council if they affect their districts.



Pre-European settlement

The oldest traces of human settlement in the area of today's city of Toronto are 11,000 years old. Pre-Indian peoples migrated from the south to the north shore of Lake Ontario after the last Ice Age. The Wyandot called the place Tarantua, derived from tkaronto from the language of the Mohawk, who belong to the Iroquois. It means place where trees stand by the water and later place of gatherings or meeting place. The name goes back to Lake Simcoe, where the Wyandot planted trees and fished, and a well-used portage route from Lake Simcoe to Lake Huron (Toronto Carrying-Place Trail).

The current urban area was home to a number of First Nations people who lived on the shores of Lake Ontario. At the beginning of European settlement, near Toronto lived the neutrals, so called by the French because they stayed out of the wars at the time. They were destroyed by the Iroquois in the mid-17th century. Therefore, in the greater Toronto area lived Seneca, Mohawk, Oneida and Cayuga, who were among the Iroquois. Immediate neighbors were the Seneca villages of Teiaiagon and Ganatsekwyagon.


European discovery and settlement

French merchants founded Fort Rouillé on the site of today's Exhibition Place in 1750, which was demolished in 1759. British settlers flocked to the region during the American Revolutionary War. In 1787 the so-called Toronto Purchase came about, an agreement between the British monarchy and the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation. The Mississaugas of New Credit traded 101,528 hectares of land in what is now Toronto for 140 barrels of goods and £1,700. However, this trade was reversed in 1805.

In the 18th century, the fur hunters used the meeting place quite successfully for their business until the British governor Simcoe had the trading center converted into a fort and thus founded York in 1793. The settlement developed slowly; the then seat of government of Upper Canada was still in Niagara-on-the-Lake. York only became the capital of Upper Canada in 1797. During the British-American War, the Battle of York took place on April 27, 1813 between the United Kingdom and the United States. Around 1700 Americans invaded York. The six-hour battle ended after the British side blew up their ammunition dump and withdrew to Kingston. After the battle, which cost both sides losses, the Americans occupied York for six days. The fact that they could not hold their ground permanently is seen as one reason why the British were able to stay in Canada. As a result, there were further armed conflicts that only ended in 1815.


After renaming York to Toronto

On March 15, 1827, King George IV founded what is now known as the University of Toronto, King's College, with which the city continued to gain in importance after a bank had already opened in 1819, the Bank of Upper Canada, which existed until 1866. In 1832 the seat of government of Upper Canada moved from Kingston to York. On March 6, 1834, York was renamed Toronto to distinguish it from New York. William Lyon Mackenzie became the first mayor in the same year. He was a radical reformer in Upper Canada. This culminated on December 5, 1837, in his leading rebels against the provincial government. But two days later he had to surrender with his followers.

On February 10, 1841, the province of Canada was formed from the British colonies of Lower Canada and Upper Canada, with Toronto as its capital from 1849 to 1852 and from 1856 to 1858. With the founding of the Canadian Confederation on July 1, 1867, the province of Ontario was formed, with Toronto as its capital from the start.

Industrialization developed in the city in the second half of the 19th century. Canada's first telegraphic message was sent from Toronto on December 19, 1846 to Hamilton, around 60 kilometers away. Ten years later, on October 27, 1856, the Toronto–Montreal railroad opened. In 1861 the first streetcars ran along Yonge Street, King Street and Queen Street. Before the electrification of local public transport, more than 200 trams, pulled by around 1,000 horses, operated to meet the growing demand. Due to the good transport links, the national agricultural fair Canadian National Exhibition has been held annually in Toronto since 1879.

In the 1850s, the majority of the inhabitants of this British colony were from the United Kingdom and at around 73% of the inhabitants were predominantly Protestant. British dominance continued for about another half century. Protestantism was not a homogeneous denomination, but divided among other things into adherents of the evangelical Baptists and the Anglican community. The religious differences led to violent tensions, which were reflected in several riots in the years 1867-1892. It was mainly the Catholics and the Protestants from Ireland who were involved in the conflict.

The 1901 census showed that eight percent of Toronto's population was non-UK. The largest group came from Germany with 6,866 immigrants, followed by 3,015 from France; 3090 people had Jewish ancestors, 1054 came from Italy, 737 from the Netherlands, 253 from Scandinavia, 219 from Asia and 142 from Russia. The city now had a good 208,000 inhabitants. Toronto's multicultural society was already in its infancy at the turn of the 20th century. Economically, Toronto had already overtaken Quebec by the 1870s and was the second largest power in Dominion Canada after Montreal. On April 19, 1904, the Great Toronto Fire destroyed over 100 downtown buildings. The electrification of the city began in 1906 with the generation of electricity at Niagara Falls.

Within 20 years, the population more than doubled, reaching over 522,000 in 1921. After that, the growth rate weakened somewhat. A number of important buildings and facilities were built in the first half of the 20th century. Thus, in June 1913, the Toronto General Hospital was opened on College Street and two years later, on March 19, 1914, the Royal Ontario Museum, founded in 1912.

However, the integration of those returning from the European theater of war caused enormous problems from 1918; around 100,000 of them alone came from the greater Toronto area. With the excuse of Greece's late entry into the war, anger was vented at the Greeks. These were a small group of 3000 people, but were very present in the cityscape with businesses and restaurants. On August 2, the anti-Greek riots in Toronto 1918 broke out. Several 10,000 Torontoers stormed the Greek Quarter on Yonge Street and destroyed 20 restaurants alone. About 50,000 people took part in the street fighting, which only ended after three days.

Up until the 1920s there were sometimes competing companies for local public transport systems. These were consolidated by the city in 1921 under the Toronto Transportation Commission, later the Toronto Transit Commission. At the same time, private transport also increased significantly. In 1910 there were around 10,000 automobiles - by 1928 this number had increased eightfold. In June 1929, the Royal York Hotel was opened, whose building with 28 floors and 124 meters was the tallest structure in the city at the time. From the 1930s onwards, the skyline changed significantly with a multitude of high-rise buildings.

During the global economic crisis, the unemployment rate rose to 30% by 1933, capital and personal assets were destroyed. At the same time, average monthly wages fell by over 40%. The number of marriages and the birth rate also fell by 40%. Even in 1939, economic power did not return to the level it had before 1929. In 1934 the city, which had 629,285 inhabitants at the time, celebrated its 100th birthday.

Similar to the First World War, Canada was also an enemy of the German Reich in the Second World War, above all as a supplier of war material. Deprivations in the form of food rationing and cut-off times for electricity and water characterized the wartime economy, which created numerous jobs in the production of war materials. After 1945, the economy had to be switched back to civilian products.

On September 17, 1949, disaster struck the Port of Toronto when the passenger liner Noronic, anchored at Pier 9 overnight during a Great Lakes cruise, burst into flames and burned out in a short time. 122 passengers died.


Development into a city of millions

Already in the 1950s Toronto's population reached the one million mark. Immigration from Europe and Asia is mainly due to the destruction there during World War II. With this development, living and working space moved well outside the city limits: by 1946, 90% of York County's industrial operations were located in the city. In 1954 it was still 77%. The ever-improving traffic and transport routes followed and reinforced this trend. However, the city in Canada was still second only to Montreal in terms of both population and economic power.

On January 1, 1954, the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto was created. The entity consisted of downtown, the boroughs of New Toronto, Mimico, Weston, Leaside, Long Branch, Swansea, and Forest Hill, and the boroughs of Etobicoke, York, North York, East York, and Scarborough. The newly formed Toronto Transportation Commission pushed ahead with the expansion of the Toronto subway network and opened a number of new bus routes. Milestones in the city's development were the completion of the last section of Highway 401 and the opening of the Gardiner Expressway.

As early as 1965, more national agencies had their headquarters in Toronto than in Montreal. In addition, Québec's separatism encouraged the exodus of businesses to Toronto. The population of the metropolitan area of Toronto surpassed that of Montreal for the first time in 1976 according to the results of the census. With Canada's entry into the Group of Eight (then G7) in the same year, the city also moved onto the international political scene. In 1988 Toronto was the venue for the 14th G7 conference.

On January 1, 1998, boroughs underwent major borough reforms, with autonomous boroughs merging with the City of Toronto. Since then, Toronto has been Canada's most populous and economically strongest city. Sir Peter Ustinov once remarked that Toronto was as clean and safe as Swiss-run New York. Toronto is considered the safest city in Canada.

On August 10, 2008, a major explosion occurred at the Sunrise Propane Industrial Gases propane facility in the Borough of North York. Around 100 houses remained uninhabitable as a result.

From June 26th to 27th, 2010 the fourth G20 summit took place in Toronto. A day earlier, the 36th G8 summit was held in Huntsville, which originally was also supposed to host the G20 meeting.



political structures
Toronto's city government is a one-tier system of government consisting of mayors and city councillors. This administrative structure is enshrined in the City of Toronto Act. Only since York was renamed Toronto has the city officially had a mayor. Prior to that, the Chairman of the General Quarter Session of Peace presided over the site. The mayor is directly elected by the city population and is the chairman of the city government. The Toronto City Council is a unicameral legislature with 44 councilors representing the boroughs. The mayor and councilors have been elected for a four-year term since the 2006 election, up from a three-year term.

Rob Ford was the 64th mayor from 2010 to 2014. In November 2013, Ford was relieved of most of his duties by city councillors. Allegations of nepotism had been raised for years, and in 2013 it became known that he used crack cocaine and was in contact with known criminals. Ford formally remained in office and was able to pursue representative tasks, but no longer has any political functions. From 2014 to February 17, 2023, John Tory was the 65th mayor. He was elected to succeed Rob Ford with 40.27% of the vote. As a result of an extramarital affair, he resigned prematurely. On June 26, 2023, Toronto will hold a by-election for mayor. For the time being, deputy mayor Jennifer McKelvie will be in charge of official business until the new election, albeit with limited powers.

Since the beginning of the legislative period in 2007, the city government has consisted of seven commissions, each with a chairperson, a deputy chairperson and four councillors, all of whom are appointed by the mayor. An executive committee consists of the commission chairs, the mayor, his deputy and four other councillors. The councils also oversee the Toronto Transit Commission and the Toronto Police Services Board. City government is based in the New City Hall on Nathan Phillips Square.

There are around 40 sub-commissions, advisory boards and round tables that also belong to the city government. These institutions are formed by city councils and by voluntary citizens. There are also four other municipal councils who make recommendations to the city councillors, but do not have independent decision-making powers. A member of the Municipal Council reports to each City Council. Toronto had a budget of $7.6 billion in 2006. The city is funded by the Ontario provincial government through taxes and duties. City spending breaks down as follows: 36% goes to provincial programs, 53% goes to city functions such as the Toronto Public Library and the Toronto Zoo, and 11% goes to debt financing and unrestricted spending.


Symbols and flags

The City of Toronto flag was designed by then 21-year-old student Rene De Santis. This design won a design competition in 1974. The flag shows the stylized City Hall's twin towers on a blue background with Canada's national symbol, the red maple leaf, at its base. After the local government reform in 1997, the city government looked in vain for a new design. As a result, the proposal was implemented to make minor changes to the 1974 design, which led to the current flag in October 1999. The space above and between the towers represents the letter "T", the initial of the city of Toronto.

The Coat of Arms of the City of Toronto was created by Robert Watt and introduced as part of the 1998 local government reform. It shows a beaver on the left and a bear on the right, facing each other and holding the city shield. Both animals stand on a green hill with a blue T for Toronto on a gold background. The coat of arms also features a crown and an eagle. Below the coat of arms, three blue vertical wavy lines symbolize the Humber, Don and Rouge rivers. Below is a horizontal wavy line for Lake Ontario, into which the three rivers flow. Under the city coat of arms is a band with the motto "Diversity Our Strength" (German: "Diversity is our strength"), framed by two Canadian red maple leaves. The motto was introduced on the occasion of the local government reform in 1998.

In addition to the coat of arms and the flag, the silhouette of the town hall is also used for the city signet.



Population development

1820 Toronto had 1,250 inhabitants, many Indian villages were considerably larger. On the one hand, Toronto succeeded in breaking Montreal's strong position in the banking sector, and on the other hand, the city promoted industrialization early on. In 1833, 80 employees in Toronto produced steam engines for the first time, from 1857 locomotives were produced and a wide range of supplying companies emerged.

At the same time, the government encouraged immigration, so that the population rose sharply. The biggest winner was Toronto, which by 1850 was already the largest city in the west with 31,000 inhabitants and more than doubled its population in the following ten years. It could bring its goods to Montreal, bypassing Kingston, using the route across Lake Ontario. At the same time it was connected to New York, to which there was already a telegraph connection in 1847. Capital to build the railroads that connected Canada's metropolitan areas between Halifax and Vancouver came primarily from Great Britain, from where most of the immigrants also came. London and later Ottawa successfully opposed Canada's political annexation to the USA. Toronto nevertheless benefited from the sales opportunities there. At the same time, the growing separatism of French-speaking Canadians prompted many companies to relocate to Toronto.

When Montreal became the center of the railway industry, the capital of Ontario began to focus on the electrical industry and automobile construction, and later on aircraft construction, in the decades around the turn of the century. This made Toronto one of the beneficiaries of the wartime economy during World War II. Mail order companies like Eaton's supplied a growing and soon international market, and the expansion of the infrastructure required new workers. After the war, immigration exceeded the city limits and larger organizational units, such as the metropolitan region, emerged. Between 1901 and 1951, the core city had quintupled its population.

Finally, the proportion of employees in the service industries rose sharply, which soon became by far the largest employers. Since many of these trades managed without trained personnel and foreign capital flowed into the city, more and more immigrants came from economically emerging countries with strong population growth. Between 1951 and 2001, the number of residents in the metropolitan area quadrupled.


Results of the 2001 census and population development up to 2006

In the census of 2001, 2,481,494 inhabitants were determined, in 2006 the population was estimated at a good 2.6 million. About 5.5 million people lived in the greater Toronto area. With 2.5 million, almost half live in the core city, the rest are spread over 24 communities with a total area of 7,125 square kilometers. From 1996 to 2006, the city grew at an annual rate of 1.8%, making it one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in Canada. In absolute terms, this corresponds to an influx of almost 100,000 residents annually. Due to the high density in the city center, the municipalities in the surrounding areas are growing. Brampton, Vaughan, Richmond Hill, Markham, Ajax, Whitby all saw a 20% increase from 2001 to 2006. The strong growth is mainly due to international immigration. Between 2001 and 2006, 447,900 people from abroad immigrated to the city region. The proportion of foreign-born residents accounted for 45.7% or 2.32 million (2006); the city is thus the most important Canadian immigration destination. The largest immigrant groups come from India with 77,800 and China with 63,900 people. The high immigration rate makes the housing market more expensive, which is why immigrants are increasingly settling in the surrounding cities. The highest proportions of non-Canadian citizens are in the neighboring cities of Markham at 56.5% and Mississauga at 51.6%.

According to a 2001 census, 43.7% of the city's population are non-Canadian; this proportion has risen steadily in recent years – in 1991 the proportion was still 38%. The large number of population groups is reflected in the many districts shaped by one group, e.g. Chinatown, Little Italy, Greektown or Koreatown reflected. The inhabitants who come from South Asia form the largest proportion with 12.0%; followed by Chinese at 11.4% and African Americans at 8.4%.


2011 census result

In the 2011 census, 14.1% of the city's population said they were descended from English immigrants. 13.2% stated Canada as their family's country of origin. Other significant ancestry groups were those of Chinese (10.8%), Indian (10.3%), Scottish (9.9%), Irish (9.8%) and Italian (8.6%) origins, as well as the ethnic Germans (4.8%). According to the 2011 census, 42.9% of Toronto's population belonged to visible minority groups: 15.1% of the total population were of South Asian origin, 9.6 % Chinese descent, 7.2% Black and 4.2% Filipino.



The predominant language in the city is English. In contrast, Canada's second official language, French, is the mother tongue of only about 1.4% of the population. Other languages with a significant number of speakers in Toronto are primarily Chinese, Portuguese and Italian. Only a minority of 2.1% are bilingual in English and French.


Jewish immigrants and refugees

Jews have been documented in Toronto since the 1830s, with 18 families living in the city in the 1850s. In 1856 the first synagogue was built. Pogroms prompted Eastern European Jews to emigrate to Canada. Depending on the country of origin, (exclusively orthodox) congregations, Yiddish theatres, after-school classes and a newspaper were established. The immigrants from Great Britain lived east of Yonge Street, the Eastern Europeans in the little respected quarter of St. John's Ward. The Spadina Avenue/Kensington Market area remained the heartland of the fragmented Jewish community until the 1950s, with many moving further north. Nevertheless, the Jewish community remains anchored downtown, where the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Center was also built. There is also a separate Downtown Jewish Community Council.

With the Great Depression in the early 1930s, the Conservative government under Richard Bedford Bennett drastically curtailed immigration, which had previously been encouraged. This was accompanied by a selective principle, according to which immigrants from northern and western Europe and citizens from the USA were given preference. In 1931, 45,305 of the 631,207 residents were Jews. The general restriction and latent anti-Semitism in Canada meant that between 1930 and 1940 only around 12,600 Jewish immigrants were admitted to Canada; 4000 of them came from Germany. In Toronto, Jews were the largest ethnic group used as a scapegoat, especially during times of crisis. They were sometimes denied access to restaurants or events, and there was even a boycott of Jewish shops. No university was willing to extend its courses to internees, only Queen's University in Kingston accepted a small group that was primarily interested in engineering courses. The rejection continued even during the war. As late as October 1945, the status of the refugees and internees had not been finally clarified. By this time Canada had taken in around 3,500 refugees including 966 internees.



In accordance with the multicultural structure of the population, there is a large number of different religious affiliations in the city. The Christian denominations form the largest group with a good 50%. The Roman Catholic Church is part of the Archdiocese of Toronto. The proportion of non-denominationals is 18.7%.

According to surveys from 2011, religious affiliation is distributed as follows:
Catholic Church: 30.4%
All other Christian denominations: 9.1%
Islam: 7.7%
Hinduism: 5.9%
Judaism: 3.0%
Buddhism: 2.2%
Sikhism: 2.9%
Belonging to no religion: 21.1%


Social problems

In Toronto in 2003 there were approximately 552,300 households below the poverty line. More than 250,000 families had to spend more than 30% of their income on rent, with 20% paying more than 50% of their income. This development is due to the sharp rise in rental prices, which increased by 31% between 1997 and 2001 alone. Around 71,000 households were waiting for state-subsidised apartments to be built. In contrast to the 1980s and early 1990s, the supply of rental apartments stagnated despite the increasing population.

In 2002 alone, 31,985 people were registered at least once in a homeless shelter. This number has increased by 21% since the 1990s and by 40% since 1988. In 1988, 91.3% of them were individuals, but by 1999 this number had dropped to 81.3%. At the same time, the number of families rose from 1.7% (1988) to 9.6% (1999).

The provincial government and the city are trying to counteract the problems by investing in housing. Among other things, the Let's Build housing project was launched for this purpose, into which around 10.6 million dollars flowed by 2001. As a result, 384 affordable homes were created for around 660 low-income tenants. After the project was completed, the city proceeded with Let's Build for approximately $11.8 million. In addition, there were other measures aimed at combating poverty and providing comprehensive medical care for the homeless.



A low crime rate has earned the city a reputation as one of the safest major cities in North America. In 1999, the homicide rate was 1.9 per 100,000 people. For comparison, that same year, that rate was 34.5 in Atlanta, 5.5 in Boston, 7.3 in New York, 2.8 in Vancouver, and 45.5 in Washington D.C. Toronto's 1991 record high for homicides was 3 .9 per 100,000 inhabitants. The city also ranks very low for robberies compared to other major North American cities, with 115.1 robberies per 100,000 people. In comparison, Dallas had 583.7 crimes per 100,000 inhabitants, 397.9 in Los Angeles and 193.9 in Montreal. The general crime rate was 48 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants. This benchmark is also significantly lower than in other major cities, such as Cincinnati with 326, Los Angeles with 283, New York with 195 and Vancouver with 239.


Economy and Infrastructure

Financial and business capital of Canada

Toronto was already an important economic and trading center in the 19th century. The stepbrothers James Worts and William Gooderham founded the distillery Gooderham and Worts on the harbor in 1830, which also produced antifreeze as well as spirits. It grew to become Canada's largest distillery, and in the 1860s it rose to become the world's largest whiskey distillery. In 1862 the company produced for the first time all year round and produced around 700,000 produced, which corresponded to a quarter of the total production of spirits in Canada at the time. In the years that followed, production grew to two million, making the company the best known in the country and the largest in the British Empire. In 1987 the company was sold to a British group, in 1990 the distillery was closed and the 52,000 square meter area was transformed into the Distillery District pedestrian zone. The historic industrial quarter, consisting of over 40 brick buildings and ten streets, has been restored and serves as an entertainment center with bars, music bars and galleries.

Toronto is Canada's most important trade and financial center and is also one of the most important in the world. In the city, many banks and investment firms are concentrated in the Bay Street Financial District. The Toronto Stock Exchange is the eighth largest stock exchange in the world by market capitalization and the third largest in North America. The five largest banks in the country have their headquarters here. In addition, over 40 foreign banks operate branches in the city.

The city has also played a leading role in the media, publishing, telecommunications (e.g. Telus Tower), information technology and film industries. A separate agency (Toronto's Film and Television Office) has the task of promoting and supporting film and television production.

The best-known companies include Thomson Corporation, CTVglobemedia, Rogers Communications, Alliance Films, Celestica, as well as the hotel chain Four Seasons Hotels and Manulife Financial. A total of over 80,000 companies have their headquarters in the city. The trading company Hudson's Bay Company is the oldest incorporated company in Canada and one of the oldest companies in the world. It moved its headquarters from York Factory to Toronto in 1957.

Toronto-based companies include: Hudson's Bay Company, RioCan Investment Trust, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Manulife Financial, TD Canada Trust, Royal Bank of Canada, Scotiabank, Bank of Montreal, Celestica, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Nortel, Citibank Canada, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, Oxford Properties Group and Rogers Communications.

While most industries and manufacturing operations are located outside the city limits, most wholesalers and distributors of these industries are based in the city. The city's strategic importance in the Quebec-Windsor Corridor favors the nearby manufacturing bases of motor vehicles, iron, steel, food, machinery, chemicals and paper. In addition, since 1959 Toronto has been accessible from the Atlantic Ocean via the St. Lawrence River. With around 8,000 factories, the city is not only a leader in the service sector, but also in the manufacturing sector.

The five largest private employers by number of employees (2001 figures) are: Toronto-Dominion Bank (14,000), Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (12,000), Rogers Communications (11,600), Royal Bank of Canada (11,000) and Bank of Montreal (8400).

Projected gross operating expenses for the city in 2008 were $8.17 billion. Budget revenue came mostly from property taxes, at $3.322 billion. The unemployment rate was 7.87% in 2007, higher than the Ontario average of 6.38%. In 2008, the unemployment rate fell slightly to 7.52%. An average household had an annual income of $68,120.


Educational institutions

There are a number of universities in Toronto: The University of Toronto, which has various branches throughout the city, York University, Ryerson University, the Ontario College of Art & Design and the University of Guelph-Humber. Founded in 1827, the University of Toronto is Ontario's largest and ranks among the world's most renowned in the field of biomedical research after Harvard University and Yale University. The university is also home to the third largest library system in North America, which includes the Robarts Library. York University is located in North York, north of Toronto. It has the largest law library in the Commonwealth.

In addition, Toronto has a number of other universities, such as Seneca College, Humber College, Centennial College and George Brown College. The Francophone Collège Boréal also has a branch in the city. Durham College and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology are located near Oshawa, which is part of the greater Toronto area.

The Faculty of Music and the Royal Conservatory downtown offer concert and opera programs. Filmmaker Norman Jewison founded the Canadian Film Center in 1988, Canada's largest institute for professional training in film, television and new media. Tyndale University College and Seminary is an interdenominational institute and Canada's largest ministerial seminary.

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) has a total of 558 public schools, of which 451 are elementary schools and 102 are secondary schools. This makes the TDSB the largest school board in Canada. In 2008, the school authorities received the Carl Bertelsmann Prize for efforts to promote equal opportunities and integration. Schools affiliated with the Catholic Church are administered by a separate agency, the Toronto Catholic District School Board. Toronto also has several private schools, such as Greenwood College School, Upper Canada College, Crescent School, Toronto French School, University of Toronto Schools, Havergal College, Bishop Strachan School, Branksome Hall and St. Michael's College School.

The Toronto City Library is the largest library in the country with 99 branches and over 11 million items.



Tourism plays an important role in Toronto's economy. With almost 4.5 million foreign visitors, Toronto was the 29th most visited city in the world in 2016. Tourists brought in $2.2 billion in revenue that same year. Most foreign visitors came from the USA and Asia.



Toronto is home to a variety of print media. The Toronto Star is based at 1 Yonge Street and is Canada's largest-circulation newspaper with around 400,000 copies. The print edition is primarily read in Ontario. Other important newspapers in Toronto are the daily newspaper The Globe and Mail, founded in 1844, the conservative newspaper National Post and the Toronto Sun. In addition, there are newspapers in Chinese and Hebrew and a variety of magazines and journals.

In addition to the local television station CITY-TV, the nationwide broadcasting stations such as u. CFMT-TV, CFTO-TV, CTV Television Network and CBC Television are all based in the city. Other television stations include the news station CP 24 - Toronto's Breaking News, the business station Business News Network (BNN) and the music station MuchMusic. Among the more than 30 radio stations, such as u. CHUM-FM, CKIS-FM also include those for the Chinese population with a Cantonese language program. The English-speaking part of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is based in downtown Toronto. Other larger media companies are Entertainment One and Rogers Media.



Air traffic

Toronto has the country's largest airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport, which handles a third of Canada's air traffic. Originally far outside of the city, it is now located on the northwestern outskirts of the city, about 20 kilometers from the center, mostly in the neighboring city of Mississauga. A small airport, Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, is located on the Toronto Islands offshore from the city. Toronto/Downsview Airport, a former air force base, has been used primarily as a Bombardier Aerospace test airport since 1994. There are nine airports and ten heliports in the Greater Toronto Area.


Public transport system

Toronto has the third largest public transit system in North America after New York City and Mexico City.

The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) operates three subway lines (Subway), one light rail line (Scarborough Line), eleven streetcar lines (Toronto Streetcar) and about 140 bus lines in the city area. The tram and bus lines are mostly arranged in a grid pattern.

The suburbs immediately adjacent to the urban area are served by bus routes from other companies that connect to the TTC network.

Starting at Union Station, there is a seven-line rapid transit system operated by GO Transit, supplemented by its own bus routes. With the double-decker trains you can reach distances of around 60 kilometers around downtown.

Since June 6, 2015, the Union Pearson Express (UP Express) has connected Toronto's Lester B. Pearson International Airport to downtown. The diesel multiple units on this line run every 15 minutes with a journey time of 25 minutes from Terminal 1 via Bloor and Weston train stations to the city's main train station, Union Station.


Ship and ferry traffic

In addition to the shuttle ferry to Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, there are ferry services to the Toronto Islands. Ferries depart from Queen's Quay on Bay Street to Hanlan's Point, Center Island and Ward's Island. On June 24, 2004, the Toronto–Rochester (USA) line was inaugurated. The Spirit of Ontario I boat completed the 152 km route at a speed of 83 km/h. However, this ferry connection was discontinued again in January 2006 due to a lack of occupancy.


Train traffic

Toronto is the starting point of the long-distance transcontinental train The Canadian. VIA Rail Canada long-distance rail services depart from Union Station bound for Montreal-Quebec, Ottawa, Windsor, Sarnia, Niagara Falls-New York (operated jointly with Amtrak) and Greater Sudbury-Winnipeg-Edmonton-Vancouver. The Ontario Northland Railway uses long-distance trains to Cochrane–Moosonee, and Amtrak uses a train to New York.


Private transport

There are several freeways in the east-west and north-south directions for private transport. The main thoroughfare is Highway 401, just north of downtown, which in certain sections has the highest traffic density in North America. On the shores of Lake Ontario, the Gardiner Expressway connects the western suburbs with downtown. At the east end, the Don Valley Parkway connects the Gardiner Expressway to Highway 401. The toll Highway 407 ETR runs parallel to Highway 401. The 108 km highway connects the cities of Burlington with Pickering; the toll is collected using automatic number plate recognition and radio transmitters. 401 and 407 are intersected by northbound highways 400 and 404. Also running north-south is Highway 427, which is 13 miles long. It heads north from the Gardiner Expressway past Toronto Pearson International Airport to Vaughan. Another branch of 427 at its southern end joins the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW), which leads to Niagara Falls on the east shore of Lake Ontario.

Along Yonge Street, the streets running in an east-west direction carry the suffix East or West for better orientation in the city center.


Public facilities

Since 1999, around half of the more than 20 hospitals have belonged to the network of the university hospital. Founded in 1812, the Toronto General Hospital is the main hospital of the university hospitals.

Toronto's fire department, the Toronto Fire Services, was established in 1874. Before that time, volunteers carried out firefighting. With the local government reform in 1998, the fire brigades of the districts form an organizational unit. With around 3,100 firefighters, 81 stations and well over 100 vehicles, the Toronto Fire Department is the largest in Canada and the fourth largest in North America after New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles.

Toronto's police force has existed since 1834. The Toronto Police Service is divided into 17 units with 5,710 police officers.

The Ontario Legislative Assembly has its seat in the Parliament House in Queen's Park. The 107 members are determined by majority voting in each of Ontario's constituencies.

The city has three courts that have jurisdiction over violations of Ontario provincial law.


Toronto in the media

Because of its important position in the field of media and film, Toronto is also known as the “Hollywood of the North”. The city is often the location of international films. In 2007, film production companies spent a total of $791 million on filming in Toronto. The Toronto Film and Television Office, the city's film and television agency, reports about 200 productions in 2005, including 39 feature films, 44 television films and 84 television series.

In particular, the futuristic Town Hall (Toronto City Hall) from the 1960s has served as a backdrop for many films. In the American thriller The Sentinel - Who Can You Trust? the town hall is the scene of a G8 summit, the film also plays u. a. at Nathan Phillips Square, where the finals will take place. In the horror film Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004), Toronto City Hall serves as the city hall of the fictional city of Raccoon City, the Exhibition Place is referred to in the film as the National Trade Center. In the episode All Our Yesterdays (1969) from the science fiction television series Starship Enterprise, City Hall is an alien portal. And in the action comedy The Tuxedo, it serves as the headquarters of an intelligence agency.

The drama films M. Butterfly (1993), directed by David Cronenberg, and The Sweet Hereafter (1997), directed by Atom Egoyan, were partly set in Toronto, as was Sarah Polley's Take This Waltz (2011). M. Butterfly had its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival. The comedy series Police Academy was partly shot in Toronto, the third part almost entirely. The film is apparently supposed to be set in a major US city, but Toronto's striking skyline can be seen several times. The film's title The Pack Freaks Out at the Highpoint refers to the CN Tower's spire where the showdown takes place. To depict the antagonist's fall, stuntman Dar Robinson parachuted from the tower.

The Toronto-born cowboy junkies have had a significant influence on the style of alternative country. On November 27, 1987 they recorded the album The Trinity Session at Toronto's Church of the Holy Trinity. The successful alternative rock band Barenaked Ladies was formed in Scarborough in 1988 and also recorded their albums in Toronto. The rapper Snow describes his origins in Toronto in his most famous song Informer in the early 1990s. The movie Red is set in Toronto.



Toronto is the birthplace of many prominent figures, including the politician Robert Baldwin (1804-1858), who played a key role in founding Canada. As the Canadian capital for film, music and media, many personalities from this field are represented. The following filmmakers were born in Toronto: Raymond Massey, Michael Ironside, Mike Myers, Harland Williams, Will Arnett, the actress Jessica Steen and the director David Cronenberg, who is best known for his horror films. Toronto-born rock musician Neil Young is known worldwide. Comedian and actor Jim Carrey didn't grow up in Toronto. By the time he was 15, he was performing on various stages in Toronto clubs. Portuguese-Canadian singer Nelly Furtado grew up partly in Toronto. Rock band Rush and their singer and bassist Geddy Lee hail from Toronto. The eminent pianist and music writer Glenn Gould was born in Toronto and died there at the age of 50 following a stroke.

Frank Gehry, who works worldwide as an architect and designer, was also born in Toronto in 1929. The Pritzker Prize winner received an honorary doctorate from the University of Toronto in 1998. The university even named its own chair for annually changing visiting professors after him. Gehry's only work in Toronto is the 2008 redesign of the Art Gallery of Ontario. Former Prime Minister Lester Pearson was born in 1897 in what is now Toronto's Newtonbrook Borough and grew up in Toronto. He studied at Victoria College and at the University of Toronto. In 1957 he received the Nobel Peace Prize as the initiator of ending the Suez Crisis. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who served from 2006 to 2015, was born in Toronto and grew up in the city. Newcomer Shawn Mendes also hails from Toronto. He lives with his parents and sister in a suburb of Toronto.

A number of famous scientists also worked in Toronto. Doctor Frederick Banting studied and worked there. In 1923, together with John James Richard Macleod, who also researched in Toronto, he received the Nobel Prize in Medicine for the discovery of insulin. Arthur L. Schawlow, who graduated in mathematics and physics from the University of Toronto in 1941, received the 1981 Nobel Prize in Physics for his contribution to the development of the laser. Bertram Brockhouse, who graduated from the University of Toronto, also received the Nobel Prize in Physics. John C. Polanyi is a professor in Toronto and received the 1986 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Physicist Walter Kohn received his Masters in Applied Mathematics from the University of Toronto in 1946 and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1998. The writer and Nobel Prize winner for literature Ernest Hemingway lived in Toronto in the early 1920s and began his career as a journalist with the Toronto Star. Montreal-born journalist and icon of globalization criticism Naomi Klein lives with her family in Toronto.