Toronto

Toronto is the capital of Ontario and has a population of 2.74 million, making it the most populous city in Canada and the fourth most populous city in North America. The city is known for its international diversity, unique entertainment offerings, vibrant art scene, and major sports teams. It is recognized as one of the world’s most multicultural and cosmopolitan cities.

Toronto, Canada

People of indigenous heritage have traveled through and lived in the Toronto area for more than 10,000 years. Since the British named this territory the area of Upper Canada, towns were created, such as York. After a war-like event, American troops destroyed York during the War of 1812. York has since named Toronto and is now its province in Ontario.

Toronto reflects its role in Canadian immigration, with more than half of the city’s population belonging to a visible minority group and many speaking one of more than 160 languages. Torontonians elect their mayor by popular vote, then the city’s chief executive.

Toronto is a cultural hub with visual arts, music, film, and media. It is home to the CN Tower – the tallest freestanding structure on land in the Western Hemisphere. The city attracts over 43 million tourists annually.

You can find the headquarters of Canada’s five largest banks and the headquarters of corporations like the Toronto Stock Exchange. It has several fields, including technology and financial services, but stands out in life sciences, education, arts, and tourism. Toronto is third on the list of hubs for technological innovation.

Google maps Toronto


If Toronto residents want to know what the weather will be like that day, they must look up the Canada Life Assurance Building on University Avenue and Queen Street West. On its roof are cubic lights: green means sunny, red means umbrellas, and white, so common in winter, means snow. In addition to its usefulness, the structure adds a touch of color to the city’s grim business district, whose high-rises remind us that come rain or shine, Toronto is a working city. In keeping with the Anglo-Saxon Puritan motto of “the early bird gets the worm”, Ontario’s capital has become the engine of the Canadian economy. It no longer competes with its ‘sister’ Montreal but is now there with New York. But critics see this business city as too serious, a “Swiss-run New York”.

Nevertheless, the city’s four and a half million inhabitants are clean, tidy, and open, and the meager crime rate and the fact that 18 percent of the city’s land is covered in parks are a miracle. The world is represented here: 535 000 Scots, 480 000 Irish, 415 000 Italians, 435 000 Chinese, 225 000 Germans, 160 000 Poles, and 130 000 Greeks. Eighty of the nearly 100 languages in Canada are spoken in Toronto, and the municipality’s Language Heritage Programme encourages immigrants to preserve their culture.

Even before they established their settlement on the mudflats where Lake Ontario meets Georgian Bay, the Surround Indians had already noticed the multi-ethnic character of the area. In their language, Toronto meant “meeting place”. The first European to meet the natives here, in 1615, was the French explorer Étienne Brulé, followed for 150 years only by determined fur traders. The French only built their fortress, Fort Rouille, in the second half of the 18th century, but it failed to defend Ontario from the claims of the British, who captured Toronto and made it a city in 1793.

Today, the 19th-century and early 20th-century red-brick towers in the heart of Toronto, such as Old City Hall, Union Railway Station, and St Andrews Presbyterian Church, dwarf the CN Tower (at 548 meters, it is the tallest telecommunications tower on the continent), their image reflected in the imposing skyscrapers. Most of the banks and multinationals are headquartered on Queen Street and Yonge Street – the latter, which stretches to James Bay on the Rainy River, is the longest street in the world in the Guinness Book of Records. Speaking of roads, the underground city of PATH is equally remarkable. The 11-kilometer underground pedestrian network connects 50 office buildings and 1,200 shops and restaurants in the city center. Torontonians particularly appreciate it in winter, when temperatures are often below freezing. One of the main hubs of the above-ground “parallel world” is the BCE Market, a brilliantly lit space covered with metal and glass shopfronts designed by Santiago Calatrava. Toronto also boasts some world-renowned museums and the SkyDome. The stadium has a capacity of 60 000 people and a retractable roof. Since 1989, it has hosted more than 2,000 events, including Pope John Paul II, Nelson Mandela, and the Dalai Lama, concerts, and games for the Blue Jays baseball and the Argonauts football teams. The Maple Leaf ice hockey team, who play at the futuristic Air Canada Centre, are the city’s sporting stars.

Geography

Toronto is 630 square kilometers, with a maximum south-north distance of 21 kilometers and a maximum east-west distance of 43 kilometers. This includes Toronto Islands and Port Lands that extend out into the lake, south of the downtown core. The city’s borders are formed by Lake Ontario to the south, Etobicoke Creek, Eglinton Avenue, and Highway 427 to the west, Steeles Avenue to the north, and Scarborough – Pickering town line to the east.

The city of Toronto is primarily flat, with gentle hills in certain areas and slopes steeply away from the lake. Toronto’s land is broken up by ravines that flow into Lake Ontario and several creeks and rivers. The Humber River forms one end of the ravine system, while the Don River defines the other end. These two rivers are separated by the Toronto harbor, which houses much of the city’s industry.

Toronto, despite its ravines, is not very hilly, but the elevation steadily increases away from the lake. The elevation difference ranges from 76.5 meters (251 feet) above sea level on Lake Ontario to 209 meters (686 feet) above sea level in the north end of the city and York University. There are occasional hills; for example, in Midtown Toronto, there several sharply angled elevations. Shoal Lake is sometimes visible from these hills as far inland as Eglinton Avenue.

Toronto has some high points because it used to be flooded by glacially caused lakes during the last ice age. Today, however, the high points are visible because they once acted as boundaries of these lakes. This is most significant in downtown Toronto and north of Spadina road.

Due to landfills, much of the lakefront has been changed on the north side. Such a process was not used on the east side, creating a wetland filled in and the shoreline extended. A landfill has been used to create Humber Bay Park, extending the shoreline west past the harbor.

The Toronto Islands were a part of the mainland until 1858 when a storm severed their connection to the rest of Ontario. Now they are an island. Longshore drift had taken sediments deposited by the Scarborough Bluffs and brought them to the islands.

The combination of the Don River and the Toronto Harbour has created an area of sedimentary land that, over time, has been blocked from natural water flows. The mouth was changed in the 20th century to allow for dredging and to create parkland. A new mouth is being built for this purpose and for mitigating flooding.

Climate

Toronto has a hot, humid continental climate during summer, but it is on the precipice of becoming a warm and humid climate because of 20th-century advancements. Toronto is in plant limbo regarding hardiness, so it fluctuates between zones 7a and Dfb according to locality.

The city has four distinct seasons with variance in length. There are variable weather patterns due to the change of weather systems, such as high and low-pressure systems. The city experiences warmer temperatures around its urbanization and is close to water.

Winters are cold; the average temperature is usually below 0°C (32°F). This is made worse by periodic cold snaps and wind chill. Every winter, the snow melts to make room for the summer’s warm temperatures. These are hot, reaching up to 30°C but sometimes reach 35°F. The spring season is transitional, with cool or mild temperatures averaging around 10-12°C (50-54°F).

Precipitation in Toronto mainly relies on thunderstorms and usually starts in summer. The average amount is 86 cm a year. Thunderstorms also lead to an average of 22 cm of snow every year. In Toronto, the sunshine hours are higher during the summer than any other time; on average, 2,066 hours or 45% of daylight.

Did you know?

Toronto is viewed as a welcoming city but also “nice”. With 46% of the population being foreign-born residents, Toronto embraces diversity and culture. This image led to Toronto’s statement that they are “a true meeting ground of different cultures, cuisines, and faiths.” Toronto’s unique culture was described as the “pluralist paradise up north” and has one of the largest Aboriginal populations in Canada.

  • Toronto is the largest city in Canada and the capital of Ontario. It’s one of the most diverse cities globally, with more than 140 languages spoken within its borders.
  • Toronto is a multicultural city with residents from over 200 different ethnicities. Toronto should feel proud to be home to so many distinct cultures. More than 50% of current Torontonians were born elsewhere, and we believe Toronto’s true strength is how the city embraces and welcomes diverse backgrounds.
  • With over 10 million trees, Toronto is a concrete jungle and a woodland with 25% forest coverage.
  • In 1994, The Economist voted it the most liveable city globally. The Economist Intelligence Unit ranked it the fourth most liveable city in the world in 2013.
  • The famous city of Toronto is known for its cosmopolitan and multicultural population.
  • Toronto is home to many tourist attractions and landmarks, including the CN Tower, Casa Loma, Royal Ontario Museum, Art Gallery of Ontario, and Hockey Hall of Fame.
  • The CN Tower is one of the tallest freestanding structures in the Western Hemisphere. Up until 2007, it was the tallest structure on Earth. The Burj Khalifa (built-in Dubai) eventually took over that crown and became the world’s tallest freestanding structure.
  • Toronto is the only city in North America to have a castle. Casa Loma is considered one of the few authentic castles in North America, as it was initially built in 1914 as a private home.
  • Toronto’s GDP is USD 305 billion, making it the 7th largest urban economy globally. Canada’s financial, industrial, cultural, and market economy center.
  • In the heart of the Great Lakes region, Toronto has a population of 2.79 million and is often referred to as “The most diverse city globally.”
  • Toronto Pearson is Canada’s busiest airport. In 2019, it handled nearly 50 million passengers and 500 thousand flights.
  • The Toronto Zoo is the largest in Canada and one of the largest zoos in the world. Locals and tourists alike recognize it as a top zoo because it allows guests to see animals worldwide.
  • The Rogers Centre is the first stadium with a retractable roof. The Toronto SkyDome was also one of the first baseball stadiums to incorporate hotels and had 70 rooms that overlooked the field.
  • Yonge Street is the longest street in the world. Yonge & Dundas is one of the most famous intersections on Yonge. The debate here is whether or not this is true because, in recent years, Guinness has noted that one part of Yonge is a separate highway.
  • The PATH is the largest underground shopping complex in the world. The collection of winding tunnels connects seventy buildings in downtown Toronto. These tunnels have over 1200 retail stores and 30 kilometers of space underneath the ground. It was once frequented by 200,000 residents and workers daily; however, it is a little less populated presently.
  • Toronto International Film Festival has become one of the city’s most meaningful events. Five hundred thousand people attend each year, including no shortage of celebrities.
  • The Toronto Public Library is the most extensive in the world. TPL offers an incredible service to Toronto residents, with over 10 million items in their collection and 112 locations.
  • The Toronto Islands are an excellent way to get a break from your day and enjoy outdoor fun. The island is perfect for a summer or fall day with Centreville, barbecue areas, and beautiful views.
  • Caribana is North America’s largest street festival and is the largest single-day parade in North America. Caribana celebrates the traditions of Caribbean culture and is typically celebrated in the summer.

Further readings: Toronto Wikipedia, Canda driving directions.