Toronto in Ontario

Friday, 18 November 2022 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General
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Toronto skyline from Snake Island © Jchmrt/cc-by-sa-4.0

Toronto skyline from Snake Island © Jchmrt/cc-by-sa-4.0

Toronto is the capital city of the Canadian province of Ontario. With a recorded population of 2,794,356 in 2021, it is the most populous city in Canada and the fourth most populous city in North America. The city is the anchor of the Golden Horseshoe, an urban agglomeration of 9,765,188 people (as of 2021) surrounding the western end of Lake Ontario, while the Greater Toronto Area proper had a 2021 population of 6,712,341. Toronto is an international centre of business, finance, arts, sports and culture, and is recognized as one of the most multicultural and cosmopolitan cities in the world.

Indigenous peoples have travelled through and inhabited the Toronto area, located on a broad sloping plateau interspersed with rivers, deep ravines, and urban forest, for more than 10,000 years. After the broadly disputed Toronto Purchase, when the Mississauga surrendered the area to the British Crown, the British established the town of York in 1793 and later designated it as the capital of Upper Canada. During the War of 1812, the town was the site of the Battle of York and suffered heavy damage by American troops. York was renamed and incorporated in 1834 as the city of Toronto. It was designated as the capital of the province of Ontario in 1867 during Canadian Confederation. The city proper has since expanded past its original limits through both annexation and amalgamation to its current area of 630.2 km² (243.3 sq mi).

The diverse population of Toronto reflects its current and historical role as an important destination for immigrants to Canada. More than 50 percent of residents belong to a visible minority population group, more than 50 percent of residents were born outside of Canada, and over 200 distinct ethnic origins are represented among its inhabitants. While the majority of Torontonians speak English as their primary language, over 160 languages are spoken in the city. The mayor of Toronto is elected by direct popular vote to serve as the chief executive of the city. The Toronto City Council is a unicameral legislative body, comprising 25 councillors since the 2018 municipal election, representing geographical wards throughout the city.

Toronto is a prominent centre for music, theatre, motion picture production, and television production, and is home to the headquarters of Canada’s major national broadcast networks and media outlets. Its varied cultural institutions, which include numerous museums and galleries, festivals and public events, entertainment districts, national historic sites, and sports activities, attract over 43 million tourists each year. Toronto is known for its many skyscrapers and high-rise buildings, in particular the tallest free-standing structure on land outside of Asia, the CN Tower.

The city is home to the Toronto Stock Exchange, the headquarters of Canada’s five largest banks, and the headquarters of many large Canadian and multinational corporations. Its economy is highly diversified with strengths in technology, design, financial services, life sciences, education, arts, fashion, aerospace, environmental innovation, food services, and tourism. Toronto is the third-largest tech hub in North America after Silicon Valley and New York City, and the fastest growing.

Shops in Distillery District © flickr.com - Larry Koester/cc-by-2.0 St. Lawrence Market © unsplash.com - Jeff Smith Financial District © Arild Vågen/cc-by-sa-4.0 Toronto skyline from Snake Island © Jchmrt/cc-by-sa-4.0 Toronto skyline © Aaron Davis/cc-by-sa-4.0 Art Gallery of Ontario © flickr.com - John/cc-by-sa-2.0 Toronto-Nathan_Phillips_Square-flickr_com-Jeff_Hitchcock-cc-by-2Nathan Phillips Square © flickr.com - Jeff Hitchcock/cc-by-2.0.0 Ontario Legislative Building © DXR/cc-by-sa-4.0
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Shops in Distillery District © flickr.com - Larry Koester/cc-by-2.0
The Financial District in Toronto centres on Bay Street, the equivalent to Wall Street in New York. The city hosts the headquarters of all five of Canada’s largest banks, Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto-Dominion Bank, Scotiabank, Bank of Montreal and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, and was ranked as the safest banking system in the world between 2007 and 2014 according to the World Economic Forum. Toronto’s economy has seen a steady boom in growth thanks to a large number of corporations relocating their Canadian headquarters into the city, and Canada’s growing cultural significance, resulting in a number of companies setting up shop in Toronto.

Toronto is one of the centres of Canada’s film and television industry, due in part to the lower cost of production in Canada. The city’s streets and landmarks are seen in a variety of films, mimicking the scenes of American cities such as Chicago and New York. The city provides a diversity of settings and neighbourhoods to shoot films, with production facilitated by Toronto’s Film and Television Office. Toronto’s film industry has extended beyond the Toronto CMA into adjoining cities such as Hamilton and Oshawa (Hollywood North: Toronto).

Toronto is a large hub of the Canadian and global technology industry, generating $52 billion in revenues annually. In 2017, Toronto tech firms offered almost 30,000 jobs which is higher than the combination of San Francisco Bay area, Seattle and Washington, D.C. The area bound between the Greater Toronto Area, the region of Waterloo and the city of Hamilton was termed a “digital corridor” by the Branham Group, a region highly concentrated with technology companies and jobs similar to Silicon Valley in California. It is the third largest center for information and communications technology in North America, coming in behind New York City and Silicon Valley, with over 168,000 people and 15,000 companies working in the Toronto technology sector alone. Toronto is also home to a large startup ecosystem. In 2013, the city was ranked as the 8th best startup scene in the world and 3rd when it came to performance and support.

Real estate is a major force in the city’s economy, Toronto is home to some of the nation’s—and the world’s—most expensive real estate. The Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB), formerly the Toronto Real Estate Board, is a non-profit professional association of registered real estate brokers and salespeople in Toronto, and parts of the Greater Toronto Area. TRREB was formed in 1920. Many large real estate investment trusts are based in Toronto.

Toronto’s theatre and performing arts scene has more than fifty ballet and dance companies, six opera companies, two symphony orchestras and a host of theatres. The city is home to the National Ballet of Canada, the Canadian Opera Company, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Canadian Electronic Ensemble, and the Canadian Stage Company. Notable performance venues include the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, Roy Thomson Hall, the Princess of Wales Theatre, the Royal Alexandra Theatre, Massey Hall, the Meridian Arts Centre (formerly the Toronto Centre for the Arts), the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatres and the Meridian Hall (originally the “O’Keefe Centre” and formerly the “Hummingbird Centre” and the “Sony Centre for the Performing Arts”). Ontario Place features the world’s first permanent IMAX movie theatre, the Cinesphere, as well as the Budweiser Stage (formerly Molson Amphitheatre), an open-air venue for music concerts. In spring 2012, Ontario Place closed after a decline in attendance over the years. Although the Budweiser Stage and harbour still operate, the park and Cinesphere are no longer in use. There are ongoing plans to revitalise Ontario Place. Each summer, the Canadian Stage Company presents an outdoor Shakespeare production in Toronto’s High Park called “Dream in High Park”. Canada’s Walk of Fame acknowledges the achievements of successful Canadians, with a series of stars on designated blocks of sidewalks along King Street and Simcoe Street. The production of domestic and foreign film and television is a major local industry. As of 2011, Toronto ranks as the third largest production centre for film and television after Los Angeles and New York City, sharing the nickname “Hollywood North” with Vancouver. The Toronto International Film Festival is an annual event celebrating the international film industry. Another prestigious film festival is the Take 21 (formerly the Toronto Student Film Festival), which screens the works of students 12–18 years of age from many different countries across the globe. Toronto’s Caribana (formerly known as Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival) takes place from mid-July to early August of every summer. Primarily based on the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival, the first Caribana took place in 1967 when the city’s Caribbean community celebrated Canada’s Centennial. More than forty years later, it has grown to attract one million people to Toronto’s Lake Shore Boulevard annually. Tourism for the festival is in the hundred thousands, and each year, the event generates over $400 million in revenue into Ontario’s economy. One of the largest events in the city, Pride Week takes place in late June, and is one of the largest LGBT festivals in the world (Culture in Toronto, Annual events in Toronto, List of festivals in Toronto, and Recreation in Toronto).

Toronto’s buildings vary in design and age with many structures dating back to the early 19th century, while other prominent buildings were just newly built in the first decade of the 21st century. Lawrence Richards, a member of the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Toronto, has said, “Toronto is a new, brash, rag-tag place—a big mix of periods and styles.” Bay-and-gable houses, mainly found in Old Toronto, are a distinct architectural feature of the city. Defining the Toronto skyline is the CN Tower, a telecommunications and tourism hub. Completed in 1976 at a height of 553.33 metres (1,815 ft 5 in), it was the world’s tallest freestanding structure until 2007 when it was surpassed by Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Toronto is a city of high-rises, and had 1,875 buildings over 30 metres (98 ft) as of 2011. Through the 1960s and 1970s, significant pieces of Toronto’s architectural heritage were demolished to make way for redevelopment or parking. In contrast, since 2000, amid the Canadian property bubble, Toronto has experienced a period of condo construction boom and architectural revival, with several buildings by world-renowned architects having opened. Daniel Libeskind‘s Royal Ontario Museum addition, Frank Gehry‘s remake of the Art Gallery of Ontario, and Will Alsop‘s distinctive OCAD University expansion are among the city’s new showpieces. The mid-1800s Distillery District, on the eastern edge of downtown, has been redeveloped into a pedestrian-oriented arts, culture and entertainment neighbourhood. This construction boom has some observers call the phenomenon the Manhattanization of Toronto after the densely built island borough of New York City (Architecture of Toronto, List of oldest buildings and structures in Toronto and List of tallest buildings in Toronto).

Toronto has a diverse array of public spaces, from city squares to public parks overlooking ravines. Nathan Phillips Square is the city’s main square in downtown, contains the 3D Toronto sign, and forms the entrance to City Hall. Yonge–Dundas Square, near City Hall, has also gained attention in recent years as one of the busiest gathering spots in the city. Other squares include Harbourfront Square, on the Toronto waterfront, and the civic squares at the former city halls of the defunct Metropolitan Toronto, most notably Mel Lastman Square in North York. The Toronto Public Space Committee is an advocacy group concerned with the city’s public spaces. In recent years, Nathan Phillips Square has been refurbished with new facilities, and the central waterfront along Queen’s Quay West has been updated recently with a new street architecture and a new square next to Harbourfront Centre. In the winter, Nathan Phillips Square, Harbourfront Centre, and Mel Lastman Square feature popular rinks for public ice-skating. Etobicoke’s Colonel Sam Smith Trail opened in 2011 and is Toronto’s first skating trail. Centennial Park and Earl Bales Park offer outdoor skiing and snowboarding slopes with a chairlift, rental facilities, and lessons. Several parks have marked cross-country skiing trails. There are many large downtown parks, which include Allan Gardens, Christie Pits, Grange Park, Little Norway Park, Moss Park, Queen’s Park, Riverdale Park and Trinity Bellwoods Park. An almost hidden park is the compact Cloud Gardens, which has both open areas and a glassed-in greenhouse, near Queen and Yonge. South of downtown are two large parks on the waterfront: Tommy Thompson Park on the Leslie Street Spit, which has a nature preserve, is open on weekends; and the Toronto Islands, accessible from downtown by ferry. Large parks in the outer areas managed by the city include High Park, Humber Bay Park, Centennial Park, Downsview Park, Guild Park and Gardens, Sunnybrook Park and Morningside Park. Toronto also operates several public golf courses. Most ravine lands and river bank floodplains in Toronto are public parklands. After Hurricane Hazel in 1954, construction of buildings on floodplains was outlawed, and private lands were bought for conservation. In 1999, Downsview Park, a former military base in North York, initiated an international design competition to realize its vision of creating Canada’s first urban park. The winner, “Tree City”, was announced in May 2000. Approximately 8,000 hectares (20,000 acres), or 12.5 percent of Toronto’s land base is maintained parkland. Morningside Park is the largest park managed by the city, which is 241.46 hectares (596.7 acres) in size. In addition to public parks managed by the municipal government, parts of Rouge National Urban Park, the largest urban park in North America, is in the eastern portion of Toronto. Managed by Parks Canada, the national park is centred around the Rouge River and encompasses several municipalities in the Greater Toronto Area (List of Toronto parks).

Read more on Toronto, DestinationToronto.com, Wikivoyage Toronto and Wikipedia Toronto (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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