Toronto, Canada 2020

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Toronto is by far the most populous city in Canada and the fourth most populous city in North America. Although not the nation’s capital, Toronto has established itself as Canada’s answer to the world’s most influential cities. Today, Toronto rivals cities like Los Angeles, London, New York and Tokyo in influence, arts, culture and commerce. Toronto is the capital of the Canadian province of Ontario.

Geography and Climate of Toronto

Aerial view of the city of Toronto.

Toronto covers approximately 630 km2, of which 46 km straddles the northwest shores of Lake Ontario. Toronto is located approximately four hours from Canada’s capital, Ottawa, as well as the Canada-US international border in Michigan. The town is located approximately 1 hour from Niagara Falls, Ontario.

Toronto experiences a humid continental climate, with hot summers and cold winters. The hot season lasts from early June to mid-September, with an average temperature between 25°C and 16.2°C. The cold season lasts from the beginning of December to mid-March, with an average temperature between -7.7°C and -1.1°C. The city receives an average rainfall of 28.11 inches and an average snowfall of 47.8 inches annually.

Brief history of Toronto

Legislative Assembly of Ontario located in Queens Park, Toronto
The Legislative Assembly of Ontario is located in Queens Park, Toronto.

The Mississauga First Nations occupied the lands that make up modern Toronto during the first European settlements in the 1600s. Mississauga numbers dwindled in later centuries due to European disease as British Loyalists fleeing the War of American independence settled around modern Ontario. The British Constitutional Act of 1791 divided British Canada in two. Modern Ontario and western Quebec became Upper Canada, and eastern Quebec became Lower Canada. Upper Canada’s first governor, John Graves Simcoe, considered many places to replace Newark (modern Niagara) as the capital. London, Ontario was considered, and Simcoe even visited York, present-day Toronto. He eventually settled in York, later renamed Toronto in 1834. Toronto would not be chosen as the national capital during the consolidation of British territories into Canada in the mid-19th century. That honor went to Ottawa in 1857, a decade before formal Canadian Confederation in 1867, which most Canadians regard as the nation’s de facto independence.

During the War of 1812, American forces entered Toronto and occupied it for about a week. The Americans ransacked the city and burned down several buildings. The economic toll of the Napoleonic Wars from 1803 to 1815 saw many immigrants arrive in York, most of whom arrived from the United Kingdom. The Irish Potato Famine of 1854 saw many Irish immigrants settle in Toronto. Many of these immigrants were Protestant and formed the Orange Order of Canada. The Orange Order dominated politics and social life in Toronto, and the Protestant British colonial authorities were more than happy to comply. The following century would see increased sectarian tensions, violence and corruption between Protestants and Catholics. The worst example of violence was the Jubilee Riots of 1875, where pitched battles allegedly took place between religious factions on the streets of Toronto.

Toronto was sometimes called the “Belfast of Canada” for his strong Protestant and Unionist influence during this period. Elsewhere in the social dynamics of Toronto, there were segregationist practices against blacks and people of color. While the United States, particularly the antebellum South, was infamous for segregation, the Ontario government also endorsed and/or condoned segregation within their institutions until in the middle of the 20th century. Many schools were segregated, as well as places of business and some public places. There was also strong anti-Semitic sentiment in Toronto in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Toronto’s anti-Semitism came to a head during the Christie Pits riot of 1933. Nazi sympathizers attended a local baseball game and waved Nazi flags at Christie Pits. Furious Jewish attendees, along with anti-Nazi allies, clashed with the Nazis, and massive fights broke out in and around the baseball field. Although no one died in the riot, the incident shed light on strained race relations in Canada and the country’s history of racism. This incident is still remembered today by Canadians across the country.

During the Second World War, Toronto became a rallying point for Canadian military personnel, as well as the manufacturing industry that contributed to its fight against Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and Imperial Japan. This increased the city’s prestige and economic output. In the mid-20th century, Toronto’s population began to grow exponentially. People from all over the world began moving to Canada’s second largest city, and by 1951 Toronto had surpassed one million people. The increase in population also meant the growth of the city’s economy and the growth of the city itself, as it incorporated townships and villages in the surrounding area to accommodate the growing population. Toronto overtook Montreal in terms of population in the 1970s and began to become the central economic center of Canada. Canada’s largest banks are now located in Toronto, along with some of its most powerful corporations. Toronto was sadly hit by massive snowstorms in January 1999, when the Canadian Army was called in to help clear the snow. Toronto became the site of the largest mass arrests in Canadian history as police and security forces suppressed large-scale protests surrounding the 2010 G20 summit. Toronto is currently recovering from its near-death shutdown. one year of economic activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After largely reopening in the summer of 2021, the city has faced rising unemployment, rising substance abuse issues and tense street protests against vaccination mandates and mask-wearing laws. .

Toronto’s population and economy

View of Nathan Phillips Square and the Toronto sign downtown at night in Toronto, Ontario
View of Nathan Phillips Square and Toronto sign in downtown at night in Toronto, Ontario.

The population of Toronto stands at approximately 2,794,356. Toronto is approximately 50% White, 12% East Asian, 8% Black and 7% Southeast Asian. The remaining 30% of the city is made up of several ethnic groups from around the world, including 1.5% of mixed-race population. Toronto is currently one of the most diverse cities in the world and the most diverse in all of Canada. Toronto leans slightly towards a female cis population, at around 52%. The remaining 48% in Toronto identify as cis men. However, despite Toronto’s strong Protestant roots in the 19th and early 20th centuries, modern Toronto is a majority Christian-Catholic city. About 28% of religious Torontonians follow the Catholic tradition, followed by various forms of Protestantism at 11%. The largest non-Christian population is that of the Muslim community. About 8% of religious Torontonians adhere to Islam, while 3% practice Judaism. Buddhism is believed to have followers representing 2% of Toronto’s religious population. It is considered that approximately 24% of Torontonians do not identify with any religion.

Bay Street looking north from Dundas Street West in Toronto
Bay Street looks north from Dundas Street West in Toronto. Editorial credit: JHVEPhoto / Shutterstock.com

Toronto is the industrial, financial and commercial center of the entire Canadian nation. Toronto is the centerpiece of the Canadian banking industry, Canada’s largest banks are all headquartered in Bay Street, Toronto. Being the largest city in Canada and one of the largest in North America, Toronto naturally has a thriving media scene that employs many employees. Tourism around Toronto’s attractions, with the CN Tower, its restaurants and its sports scene, is particularly profitable. Finally, real estate is lucrative in Toronto as it is home to some of the most expensive properties in the world, while population growth creates more homes to sell and build.

Attractions in Toronto

Aerial view of Toronto Island Airport and CN Tower
Aerial view of Toronto Island Airport and CN Tower. Editorial credit: Eltonlaw / Shutterstock.com

As the largest city and darling of the entire Canadian nation, Toronto’s attractions are almost worth an article on their own. The most notable attraction that can be seen even from miles away is the CN Tower. Completed in 1976, the Canadian National Railway company wanted to create a radio tower to solve communication problems in and around Toronto. The large scale of the tower was also meant to show Canada’s prestige, industrial and architectural capability. However, it has long since transcended this goal as it has become Ontario’s most significant tourist attraction, both literally and in terms of money earned. The tower houses several exhibits, memorabilia, a restaurant and, of course, incredible views from almost every angle.

Royal Ontario Museum on Bloor Street in Toronto, Canada
Royal Ontario Museum on Bloor Street in Toronto, Canada. Editorial credit: JHVEPhoto / Shutterstock.com

One can also visit the Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, home to countless forms of marine life that can be seen in person. The Royal Ontario Museum has exhibits that will satisfy art lovers, history buffs and nature lovers. Those wishing to slow down are encouraged to visit Toronto Island Park. There are many hiking trails, seaside and beautiful views of the Toronto Islands. Sports fans can visit the Hockey Hall of Fame. Legends of the sport of ice hockey are commemorated in this building, and the history of ice hockey and the NHL is celebrated.

Hockey Hall of Fame, Toronto, Canada
View of the Hockey Hall of Fame, dedicated to the history of ice hockey, with displays of players, teams, NHL records, memorabilia and trophies. Editorial credit: Kiev.Victor / Shutterstock.com

Toronto is Canada’s ambassador to the world. Toronto faces issues that many other major cities face, such as the high cost of living and rising crime. However, the city has survived sectarian and racial violence, multiple economic downturns, and even invasions. Today, Toronto is one of the most profitable and prestigious cities in the world. Toronto’s mere presence has become a boon to many Southern Ontarians, as just being close to the provincial capital means a growing population, a diverse economy, and ever-increasing demand for real estate. Therefore, whatever problems the world throws at Toronto, be it pandemics, crime or political tensions, it is sure to emerge stronger than before.


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