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History & Evolution
The Iroquois tribes were apparently the native occupiers (before 1500) of the region now named as Toronto. The name Toronto is also likely derived from the Iroquois word tkaronto meaning place where trees stand in the water. However Huron tribes displaced Iroquois when the Europeans first arrived at the vicinity.
Then came the French traders who founded Fort Rouille on the current Exhibition grounds in 1750, but soon abandoned it in 1759. The region saw an inlfux of British settlers during the American Revolutionary War as the United Empire Loyalists fled for the unsettled lands north of Lake Ontario. In 1787, the British negotiated the Toronto Purchase with the Mississaugas of New Credit, thereby securing more than a quarter million acres of land in the city.
In 1793, Governor John Graves Simcoe established the town of York on the existing settlement, naming it after Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany. He also built a Fort York at the entrance of the town's natural harbour near the present-day Parliament Street and Front Street.
Though destroyed by Americans in the War of 1812, the York was incorporated as the City of Toronto on March 6, 1834, reverting to its original native name. Reformist politician William Lyon Mackenzie became the first Mayor of Toronto, and led the unsuccessful Upper Canada Rebellion of 1837 against the British colonial government. The city grew rapidly through the remainder of the 19th century.
The region saw the first significant population influx between 1846-1849 occurred with the Irish potato famine that brought a large number of Irish Diaspora into the city. Toronto became the capital of the province of Ontario after its official creation in 1867 and has remained so since with the Ontario Legislature located at Queen's Park. Because of its capital status, the city has also always been the location of Government House, the residence of the vice-regal representative of the Crown.
The Great Toronto Fire of 1904 destroyed a large section of downtown Toronto, but the city was quickly rebuilt. Nevertheless, the city got another blow when following the World WarII, refugees from war-torn Europe arrived along with construction labourers particularly from Italy and Portugal. Following elimination of racially based immigration policies by the late 1960s, immigration began from all parts of the world which led to rapid growth of Toronto's population till 1971. By the 1980s, Toronto had surpassed Montreal as Canada's most populous city and the chief economic hub. During this time, many national and multinational corporations moved their head offices from Montreal to Toronto and other western Canadian cities.
In 1954, the City of Toronto was federated into a regional government known as Metropolitan Toronto while the postwar boom resulted in rapid suburban development. In 1967, the seven smallest municipalities of the region were merged into their larger neighbours, resulting in a six-city configuration that included the old City of Toronto and the surrounding municipalities of East York, Etobicoke, North York, Scarborough and York.
In 1998, the metropolitan government was dissolved and the six municipalities were amalgamated into a single municipality, creating the current City of Toronto.
Besides being the commercial capital of Canada, Toronto is also the city of world famous landmarks, each unique in its own way.
Along with 21st century skyscrapers, the city is also studded with good numbers of museums and scenic destinations as well, hence satisfying the diverse interests of adventure seekers.
The worlds tallest freestanding erection, CN Tower is undoubtedly the landmark of Toronto. Standing 1,815ft (553m) high, this celebrated icon is an important telecommunications hub and center of tourism of the city. The tower is situated in the heart of Torontos entertainment district, on the north shore of Lake Ontario.
The Canadian National Company built the tower in 1976, which was revitalized and opened to public in 1998, proving a hit with locals and visitors alike. Today about two million people visit the tower each year.
The tower not only provides the panoramic view of the city but also has other attractions to entertain the visitors. Apart from having indoor and outdoor observation decks at different levels, the building is further garnished with a Horizons cafe, a revolving restaurant, the Sky Pod and a terrifying glass floor enabling visitors to stare 1,122ft (342m) straight down. Further there are a group of entertainment venues at the base of the tower as well including two motion-simulator rides.
Location: Front Street West
A bizarre hybrid of a medieval-style stonework exterior and early 20th century interior, Casa Loma is Canadas own castle today owned by the City of Toronto. The castle was formerly the home of Canadian financier, Sir Henry Pellatt who hired the noted architect, E J Lennox to build this 98-room castle which was completed in 1914.
The interiors of the castle has the magnificent decorated suites, secret passages and 800ft (244m) long tunnel, while exteriors provides a stroll through the beautiful five-acre estate gardens which are open between May & October.
Location: Austin Terrace
Royal Ontario Museum (ROM):
Situated in Queens Park, the Royal Ontario Museum consists of three buildings housing 200,000 sq.ft (18,58m2) of galleries and exhibitions. The striking facade alone of this one of the most exciting museums of Canada will take your breath away.
The museum is home to more than 40 galleries showcasing art, archaeology and science including ancient Mediterranean and Canadian heritage collection. Among the most popular exhibits are dinosaurs, galleries of Chinese Art, a bat cave, a gem and gold room, exhibits about Ancient Egypt & Nubia and the Samuel European Galleries.
The recently opened Ten new along with the spectacular new Michael Lee-Chin Crystal galleries and public spaces have further made the place an architectural jewel.
Location: Bloor Street West at Avenue Road
Bata Shoe Museum:
The only museum of its kind in the world, the Bata Shoe Museum is housed in an equally unique building shaped like a shoebox. The Bata family under the Bata Shoe Museum Foundation established the museum in 1995 though was designed by Raymond Moriyama.
The only place dedicated to the history of footwear today owns some 10,000 items of footwear, dating as far back as 4,500 years ranging from Elvis Presley's loafers and Queen Victoria's ballroom slippers to 19th century beaded Native American shoes and leather broad-toed Tudor shoes.
Most of the pieces are donated from the private collections of Sonja Bata, chair of the foundation and wife of Thomas J. Bata.
Location: Bloor Street West
Once a bustling industrial zone, Harbourfronts abandoned warehouses and crumbling factories today have yielded to a stunning urban playground that stretches over the old piers.
The center was established when back in 1972, the federal government took over a 38-hectare (96-acre) strip of waterfront land to preserve the vista which today has become one of the most popular destinations for locals and visitors alike. It is a great place to spend time strolling, picnicking, gallery hopping, biking, shopping & sailing.
The Center has 12 major venues for music, dance and cultural events, in and around two major multi-use buildings. Some of the major venues of the center includes Premiere Dance Theatre (Queens Quay Terminal), Lakeside Terrace (York Quay Center), Harbourfront Center Theatre, Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, International Marketplace and World Cafe along with many other attractions.
Location: Queen's Quay W
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