from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Nickname : TO, The Big Smoke
Nocturnal view of the Harbourfront and Downtown Toronto, in the center of the CN Tower
Nocturnal view of the Harbourfront and Downtown Toronto, in the center of the CN Tower
Toronto Coat of Arms
coat of arms
Toronto flag
Motto : Diversity Our Strength
("Diversity is our strength")
Location in Ontario
Toronto (Ontario)
Toronto (43 ° 39 ′ 40.86 ″ N, 79 ° 22 ′ 59.11 ″ W)
State : CanadaCanada Canada
Province : Ontario
Region : Greater Toronto Area
Coordinates : 43 ° 40 ′  N , 79 ° 23 ′  W Coordinates: 43 ° 40 ′  N , 79 ° 23 ′  W
Height : 76  m
Area : 630.18 km²
Inhabitants :
Metropolitan Area :
2,731,571 (as of 2016)
5,928,040 (as of 2016)
Population density : 4,334.6 inhabitants / km²
Time zone : Eastern Time ( UTC − 5 )
Municipality number: 416 and 647
Postal code : M1B - M9W
Foundation : 1793 (as York )
Mayor : John Tory
Website :
Toronto skyline
Toronto skyline

Toronto ( English pronunciation [ təˈɹɒn (t) oʊ̯ ]; regionally also  [ təˈɹɒnə ] or [ ˈtɹɒnoʊ̯ ]) is the largest city in Canada and the capital of the province of Ontario with a population of 2.96 million . 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) rose 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. Please click to listen!Play

The city is located on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario, the smallest of the five Great Lakes with an area of ​​18,960 km² . By incorporating a number of suburbs that had already merged with Toronto ( Etobicoke , Scarborough , York , East York and North York ), Toronto was enlarged several times in the late 1990s. 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 1970s, after Montreal had been assigned this role for decades .



Toronto satellite image

Toronto is located on the northwest shore of Lake Ontario and is part of the Québec-Windsor Corridor , the most densely populated area in Canada. In its immediate vicinity to the west are the places Mississauga and Brampton , which are counted as part of the Regional Municipality of Peel . A little further to the east is the Regional Municipality of Halton with its headquarters in Milton . To the north lie Vaughan and Markham ( Regional Municipality of York ). To the east is the city of Pickering , which is part of the Regional Municipality of Durham . In addition to the metropolitan area, these four regional administrations ( Regional Municipality ) belong to the Greater Toronto Area (GTA ).

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

To the north of the urban area, from the Niagara strata to around Peterborough, the approximately 1900 km² Oak Ridges Moraine area , an ecologically significant green corridor , extends .


The Scarborough Cliffs: Scarborough Bluffs

Toronto is traversed by the Humber River on the western edge, the Don River east of downtown on the opposite side of the port 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 flow into Lake Ontario have created numerous forested canyons . These canyons affect city 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 urban area was under Glacial Lake Iroquois , an ice reservoir . Terrain breaks dating back to this time can be seen from Victoria Park Avenue, which runs east of downtown, at the mouth of Highland Creek. The Scarborough Bluffs are rugged cliffs up to a height of 65 meters for a length of 14 kilometers along the shoreline of Lake Ontario. Toronto has no significant surveys. The lowest point is on the shores 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

Waterfront promenade on Lake Ontario: the lake supplies Toronto with water

The Water Toronto based, as well as the York Region , on Lake Ontario. From 1843 to 1873 a private company ensured the water supply, and the city administration has taken on this task since 1873. Today it pumps an average of 2.9 million cubic meters of water through the supply network every day. Since 1949 the steel pipes have been at least 750 mm in diameter and are enclosed with cement and concrete. Since the lake has 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 process for air conditioning in office buildings. Since the water temperature at the bottom of the very deep Lake Ontario is constant all year round at four degrees Celsius, it can be used to cool the city center.


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 considerable differences in temperature, 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 near the shore. At certain times of the year the temperate climate of the lake can turn into extreme local and regional weather situations, such as the so-called lake effect snow , which delays the beginning of spring and creates autumnal conditions.

The winters in Toronto are cold, with short phases that bring extreme temperatures below −10 ° C with them, which are perceived as even colder by the wind . The lowest temperature was measured on January 10, 1859 at −32.8 ° C. You can expect snow 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 climates. The average daytime 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.

The precipitation is spread over the whole year. The focus is usually on summer, the wettest time of the year; 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 annual sunshine duration averages 2038 hours.

Average monthly temperatures and rainfall for Toronto
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. Temperature ( ° C ) −1.1 −0.3 4.2 11.9 17.9 24.2 26.8 25.9 21.6 15.3 7.8 1.2 O 13
Min. Temperature (° C) −7.7 −7.3 −2.9 3.2 8.4 14.1 16.8 16.2 12.3 7.1 1.8 −4.8 O 4.8
Precipitation ( mm ) 46 46 57 64 66 69 77 84 74 63 70 66 Σ 782
Hours of sunshine ( h / d ) 2.8 3.9 4.7 6.0 7.2 8.5 9.1 8.3 6.6 4.9 2.7 2.5 O 5.6
Rainy days ( d ) 15th 12th 12th 12th 12th 9 9 9 9 9 13 13 Σ 134
Water temperature (° C) 3 2 2 3 6th 12th 19th 21 18th 13 9 6th O 9.5
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Source: temperature, hours of sunshine, rainy days and water temperature: the international climate index , precipitation:

City structure

See also: List of Districts of Toronto

Map of Toronto with major transport routes

Due to the diversity and, in many cases, the very distinctive identity of Toronto's numerous districts, the city is sometimes referred to as the City of Neighborhoods . The 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 is also where the business and administrative center is located.

Since January 1, 1998, the metropolis has consisted of the six boroughs (parishes) Old Toronto (subdivided into Downtown Core (Central), North End, East End, West End), North York , Scarborough , Etobicoke , York and East York , the are in turn subdivided into a total of 140 districts (English: neighborhoods , here: "quarters" or "residential areas"). The 140 districts are combined in a total of 44 administrative districts (English ward ), which are presided over by a councilor . For meetings, the 44 wards are divided into the four community 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, insofar as these affect their districts.

Borough Residents surface
East York 115.185 21.3 km²
Etobicoke 345,000 123.9 km²
North York 608.288 176.9 km²
Old Toronto 676.352 97.2 km²
Scarborough 593.297 187.7 km²
York 143.255 23.2 km²
Toronto 2,481,677 630.2 km²


Pre-European settlement

The 20 m high Taber Hill in Scarborough , an Iroquois mound. The remains of around 472 people from around 1250 were found there.

The oldest traces of human settlement in the area of ​​today's city of Toronto are 11,000 years old. Pre-Indian peoples moved 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 a place of gatherings or meeting place . The name goes back to Lake Simcoe , where the Wyandot trees planted and fished, and a much-used portage route from Lake Simcoe to Lake Huron (Toronto Carrying-Place Trail) .

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

European discovery and settlement

Map of the area around Lake Ontario, Vincenzo Maria Coronelli 1688

French merchants founded Fort Rouillé on the site of today's Exhibition Place in 1750 , which was demolished again in 1759. British settlers poured into the region during the American War of Independence . 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 exchanged 101,528 hectares of land in what is now Toronto for 140 barrels of goods and 1,700 British pounds . However, this trade was reversed in 1805.

In the 18th century, the fur hunters used the meeting place very successfully for their business, until the British Governor Simcoe had the commercial transshipment point converted into a fort and founded York in 1793 . The settlement developed slowly; the then seat of government of Upper Canada was still in Niagara-on-the-Lake . (→ History of Ontario ) It was not until 1797 that York became the capital of Upper Canada. During the British-American War , a battle broke out between the United Kingdom and the United States on April 27, 1813. Around 1700 British invaded York. The six-hour battle ended after the British side blew up their ammunition depot and retreated to Kingston. After the battle, which was costly for both sides, the Americans occupied York for six days. The fact that they were unable to hold their own is seen as one reason why the British were able to stay in Canada. As a result, there were further armed conflicts that did not end until 1815. (→ War and influence with the USA )

After York was renamed Toronto

Toronto in 1854: View of Front Street
Map of Toronto 1894

King George IV. Founded on March 15, 1827 today as University of Toronto known King's College , with which the city continued to grow after 1819 already a bank had opened, the Bank of Upper Canada which existed until 1866. In 1832 the seat of government in Upper Canada moved from Kingston to York. On March 6, 1834, York was renamed Toronto to better 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, when he led rebels against the provincial government. But two days later he and his followers had to surrender.

On February 10, 1841, the British colonies of Lower Canada and Upper Canada became the province of Canada , the capital of which was Toronto 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 , the capital of which was Toronto from the beginning.

Industrialization developed in the city in the second half of the 19th century . On December 19, 1846, Canada's first telegraphic message was sent from Toronto to Hamilton, some 60 kilometers away . Ten years later, on October 27, 1856, the rail link between Toronto and Montreal was opened. In 1861 the first trams 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, ran to meet the growing demand. Due to the good transport connections, the national agricultural fair Canadian National Exhibition has been held annually in Toronto since 1879.

In the 1850s, the majority of the residents of this British colony came from the United Kingdom and the majority of the population was Protestant at around 73% . British dominance lasted for about another half century. Protestantism was not a homogeneous religious community, but was divided among other things into followers of the Evangelical Baptists and the Anglican community . The religious differences led to violent tensions, which were reflected in several riots between 1867 and 1892. Most of the time, Catholics and Protestants from Ireland were involved in the clashes.

Toronto in 1901

The 1901 census showed that eight percent of Toronto's population was non-UK. The largest group of these came from Germany with 6,866 immigrants , followed by 3,015 from France; 3,090 people had Jewish ancestors, 1,054 came from Italy, 737 from the Netherlands, 253 from Scandinavia, 219 from Asia and 142 from Russia. The city now had a population of over 208,000. The multicultural society of Toronto was already in its infancy at the turn of the 20th century. Economically, Toronto had overtaken Quebec as early as the 1870s and was the second largest force in Dominion Canada after Montreal . On April 19, 1904, the major Toronto fire destroyed over 100 buildings in the city center. In 1906, the electrification of the city began with the generation of electricity at Niagara Falls .

Completion of the Canada Life Building (around 1930)

Within 20 years the population more than doubled and in 1921 it reached over 522,000 inhabitants. After that, the growth rate weakened somewhat. In the first half of the 20th century a number of important buildings and facilities were built. 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 returnees from the European theater of war from 1918 onwards caused enormous problems; About 100,000 of them came from the greater Toronto area alone. With the pretext of Greece entering the war late, the anger discharged against the Greeks. These were a small group with 3000 people, but were very present in the cityscape with businesses and restaurants. On August 2, 1918, the anti-Greek riots broke out in Toronto . Several 10,000 Toronto residents stormed the Greek Quarter on Yonge Street and destroyed 20 restaurants alone. About 50,000 people were involved in the street fighting, which only ended after three days.

Excavation on the site of the former Grand Trunk Railway station

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

During the Great Depression , the unemployment rate rose to 30% by 1933, and capital and personal assets were destroyed. At the same time, the 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 then had 629,285 inhabitants, celebrated its 100th birthday.

As in World War I , Canada was also an opponent of the German Reich in World War II , primarily as a supplier of war material. Deprivations in the form of food rationing and cut-off times for electricity and water characterized the war economy, which created numerous jobs in the production of war materials. After 1945 the economy had to be converted back to civilian products.

On September 17, 1949, a disaster occurred in the port of Toronto when the passenger steamer Noronic , which anchored at Pier 9 overnight during a Great Lakes cruise, went up in flames and burned out within a short time. 122 passengers were killed.

Development to a metropolis

CN Tower, Rogers Center and the Gardiner Expressway facing west

As early as the 1950s, Toronto's population reached the million mark. Immigration from Europe and Asia is mainly due to the destruction there in the Second World War. With this development, living and working spaces moved well outside the city limits: by 1946, 90% of York County's industrial operations were in the city. In 1954 it was 77%. The constantly improving traffic and transport routes followed this trend and made it even stronger. However, the city in Canada was still only in second place behind Montreal in terms of both population and economic power .

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

As early as 1965, more national authorities had their headquarters in Toronto than in Montreal. In addition, separatism in Québec encouraged the migration of business enterprises to Toronto. The population of the Toronto metropolitan area 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 moved onto the international political stage. In 1988 Toronto hosted the 14th G7 conference .

On January 1, 1998, the boroughs were reformed profoundly, merging autonomous boroughs 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 a Swiss-run New York. Toronto is considered to be the safest city in Canada. (→ crime )

On August 10, 2008, a major explosion occurred at the Sunrise Propane Industrial Gases propane facility in the North York borough . As a result, around 100 houses remained uninhabitable. (see Toronto explosion 2008 )

The fourth G20 summit took place in Toronto from June 26 to 27, 2010 . The day before, the 36th G8 summit was held in Huntsville , which should originally have also hosted the G20 meeting.


Political structures

Seat of the city government: City Hall in Nathan Phillips Square

Toronto's city administration is single-tier , the system of government consists of mayors and city councilors. This administrative structure is enshrined in the City of Toronto Act . The city has only officially had a mayor since York was renamed Toronto. Before that, the Chairman of the General Quarter Session of Peace presided over the place. The mayor is directly elected by the city population and is chairman of the city government. The Toronto City Council is a one-chamber legislature with 44 councilors representing the boroughs. The mayor and city councilors have been elected for a four-year term since the 2006 election, previously it was three.

Rob Ford was the 64th mayor from 2010 to 2014 . In November 2013, Ford was stripped of most of its official powers by city councilors. Previously, allegations of nepotism had been raised for years, and in 2013 it was also revealed that he had consumed crack cocaine and was in contact with known criminals. Ford remained formally in office and was able to carry out representative tasks, but no longer has any political functions. John Tory has been the 65th mayor since 2014 . He was elected to succeed Rob Ford with 40.27% of the vote.

The Mayor of Toronto: John Tory

Since the beginning of the legislative period in 2007, the city government has consisted of seven commissions, each with a chairman, a deputy and four city councilors, all of whom are nominated by the mayor. An executive committee consists of the committee chairmen, the mayor, his deputy and four other councilors. The councils also monitor the transport authority of the city of Toronto ( Toronto Transit Commission ) and the police force of the city (Toronto Police Services Board) . The city government has its seat in the New City Hall on Nathan Phillips Square.

There are around 40 sub-commissions, advisory bodies and round tables that also belong to the city government. These institutions are formed by city councils and volunteer citizens. There are also four other municipal councils who make recommendations to the city councils, but have no independent decision-making powers. A member from the local council reports to each city council. Toronto had a budget of EUR 7.6 billion 2006 dollars . The city is funded by the Ontario provincial government through taxes and duties. The city's spending is broken down as follows: 36% goes to provincial programs, 53% goes to civic functions such as the Toronto Public Library and the Toronto Zoo , and 11% is used for borrowing and unrestricted expenses.

badges and flags

The coat of arms represents the two towers of the City Hall and the blue sky in the shape of a T for Toronto
City signet with the silhouette of the town hall

The flag of the city of Toronto was designed by the then 21-year-old student Rene De Santis. This design won a design competition in 1974. The flag shows the stylized two towers of City Hall on a blue background with the Canadian national symbol, the red maple leaf, at its base. After the territorial 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 draft, which in October 1999 led to the now valid flag. 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 in the course of the 1998 territorial reform. It shows a beaver on the left and a bear on the right, facing each other and holding the city sign. Both animals stand on a green hill with a blue T for Toronto on a gold background. There is also a crown and an eagle on the coat of arms. 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 there 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 regional reform in 1998.

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

Twin cities

Town partnerships exist with:

China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China Chongqing , China. Chongqing and Toronto signed three commercial agreements worth $ 50 million in May 2006. The partnership has existed since March 27, 1986.

United StatesUnited States Chicago , Illinois , United States. Former Mayor Art Eggleton and Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley signed the partnership agreement on the Chicago Stock Exchange in 1991.

GermanyGermany Frankfurt am Main , Germany. Since the beginning of the partnership, regular exchange programs have been run with Frankfurt am Main, for which the contract was signed on September 26, 1989 by the then Mayor of Frankfurt, Volker Hauff, and the mayor of Toronto, Art Eggleton, in the Römer town hall of Frankfurt . In May 1991, for example, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra played in the Jahrhunderthalle . In addition to the cultural exchange, there is also cooperation on a scientific level through study visits by professors and students and joint seminars. The University of Toronto and the Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main signed a formal cooperation agreement in 2012 to intensify their collaboration in research, teaching and administration.

ItalyItaly Milan , Italy, since June 30, 2003

No longer existing city partnerships Toronto had with the cities of Amsterdam , Wuxi and Indianapolis . Toronto is friendly with Ho Chi Minh City ( Vietnam ), Kiev ( Ukraine ), Rostov-on-Don ( Russia ), Quito ( Ecuador ), Sagamihara ( Japan ) and Warsaw ( Poland ).


Population development

Toronto population development

In 1820 Toronto had 1,250 inhabitants, and many Indian villages were considerably larger. On the one hand, Toronto managed to break the strong position of Montreal in the banking sector, and on the other hand, the city promoted industrialization early on. Steam engines were first manufactured in Toronto in 1833 with 80 employees, locomotives were produced from 1857 and a wide range of supplying companies was established.

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, where a telegraph connection already existed in 1847. Most of the capital to build the railways that linked Canada's metropolises between Halifax and Vancouver came from Great Britain, which is where most of the immigrants came. In doing so, 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 increasing separatism of Francophone Canadians prompted many companies to move to Toronto.

When Montreal became the center of the railway industry, the capital of Ontario began to rely on the electrical industry and car construction, later on aircraft construction, in the decades around the turn of the century. This made Toronto one of the beneficiaries of the war economy in 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 burst the city limits and larger organizational units, such as the metropolitan region, emerged. The core city had quintupled its population from 1901 to 1951.

Finally, the share of employees in the service industries rose sharply, which soon became by far the largest employers. Since many of these businesses managed without trained staff 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.

Toronto's population since 1834, counted according to the applicable borders
year Urban area CMA GTA
1834 9,254 - -
1861 65,085 193,844 -
1901 238.080 440,000 -
1951 1,117,470 1,262,000 -
1971 2,089,728 2,628,045 -
1976 2,124,295 2,803,101 -
1981 2,137,380 2,998,947 -
1986 2,192,721 3,733,085 -
1991 2,275,771 3,893,933 4,235,756
1996 2,385,421 4,263,759 4,628,883
2001 2,481,494 4,682,897 5,081,826
2006 2,503,281 5,113,149 5,555,912
2011 2,615,060 5,583,064 6.054.191
2016 2,731,571 5,928,040 6.234.202

Results of the 2001 census and population development until 2006

The 2001 census identified 2,481,494 inhabitants, and in 2006 the population was estimated at a good 2.6 million. About 5.5 million people lived in the greater Toronto area. Almost half of 2.5 million live in the city center, the rest is spread over 24 communities with a total area of ​​7,125 square kilometers. From 1996 to 2006, the city grew by 1.8% annually, 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. Because of the high density in the city center, the municipalities in the surrounding area are growing in particular. Brampton, Vaughan, Richmond Hill, Markham, Ajax, Whitby saw an overall increase of 20% from 2001 to 2006. The strong growth is mainly due to international immigration. Between 2001 and 2006, 447,900 people immigrated to the city region from abroad. The share of foreign-born residents was 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 rate of immigration makes the housing market more expensive, which is why immigrants are increasingly settling in the surrounding cities. The neighboring cities of Markham with 56.5% and Mississauga with 51.6% have the highest proportions of non-Canadian-born citizens .

According to a 2001 survey, 43.7% of the urban population is non-Canadian; this proportion has increased steadily in recent years - in 1991 the proportion was still 38%. The large number of population groups is reflected in the many urban districts that are shaped by one group, such as B. Chinatown, Little Italy, Greektown or Koreatown. The inhabitants who come from South Asia make up the largest proportion with 12.0%; followed by Chinese people with 11.4% and African Americans with 8.4%.

2011 census results

In the 2011 census, 14.1% of the city's population said they were descended from English immigrants. 13.2% said their family's country of origin was Canada. Other important groups of descent were the Chinese (10.8%), Indian (10.3%), Scottish (9.9%), Irish (9.8%) and Italian (8.6%) as well as the Germans of origin (4.8%). According to the 2011 census, 42.9% of the population of Toronto belonged to “visible minority groups” (i.e. all non-whites with the exception of First Nations , Inuit and Métis ): 15.1% of the total population were of South Asian origin, 9.6 % Chinese , 7.2% Black and 4.2% Filipinos .


The predominant language in the city is English . Canada's second official language, French , is the mother tongue of only around 1.4% of the population. Other languages ​​that have significant speakers in Toronto include Chinese, Portuguese, and Italian in particular. Only a minority of 2.1% are bilingual in English and French .

Native speaker in Toronto (2006)
language English Italian Chinese Cantonese Punjabi Tagalog Portuguese Spanish Urdu Tamil Polish French
number 2,849,285 194,620 175,900 170,490 137.730 113,875 113.015 112,875 105,555 98,265 81,975 72,590

Jewish immigrants and refugees

Jews have been recorded in Toronto since the 1830s, and 18 families lived in the city in the 1850s. The first synagogue was built in 1856. Pogroms prompted Eastern European Jews to emigrate to Canada. According to the countries of origin (exclusively Orthodox) congregations, Yiddish theaters, afternoon schools and a newspaper were created. The immigrants from Great Britain lived east of Yonge Street, while the Eastern Europeans lived in the little-regarded St. John's Ward district . The area around Spadina Avenue / Kensington Market remained the core area of ​​the fragmented Jewish community until the 1950s , after which many moved further north. Nevertheless, the Jewish community remains rooted in downtown, where the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Center was also established. There is also its own Downtown Jewish Community Council .

With the Great Depression, the Conservative government under Richard Bedford Bennett in the early 1930s drastically restricted immigration that had previously been encouraged. This was accompanied by a selective principle, according to which immigrants from Northern and Western Europe as well as 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 resulted in only around 12,600 Jewish immigrants being accepted into Canada between 1930 and 1940; 4000 of them came from Germany. In Toronto, the Jews were the largest ethnic group that served as a scapegoat, especially during times of crisis. They were in some cases forbidden from accessing restaurants or events, and Jewish shops were even boycotted. No university was willing to expand its range of 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. In October 1945 the status of the refugees and internees had not yet been finally clarified. By then Canada had taken in around 3,500 refugees, including 966 internees.


The neo-Gothic St. James Cathedral was completed in 1844

According to the multicultural population structure, the city has a large number of different religious affiliations. The Christian denominations form the largest group with a good 50%. The Roman Catholic Church belongs to the Archdiocese of Toronto . The share of non-denominational people is 18.7%.

According to surveys from 2011, religious affiliation is distributed as follows:

  • Catholic Church: 30.4%
  • All other Christian faiths: 9.1%
  • Islam: 7.7%
  • Hinduism: 5.9%
  • Judaism: 3.0%
  • Buddhism: 2.2%
  • Sikhism: 2.9%
  • Belonging to no religion: 21.1%

See also: St. Sava Church (Toronto) , Serbian Orthodox

Social problems

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

In 2002 alone, 31,985 people were registered at least once in a homeless asylum . This number has increased by 21% since the 1990s and by as much as 40% since 1988. In 1988, 91.3% of them were individuals, but that number had fallen to 81.3% by 1999. 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. To this end, the Let's Build housing project was launched, into which around $ 10.6 million flowed by 2001. As a result, 384 affordable apartments were created for around 660 low-income tenants. Upon completion of the project, the city continued Let's Build with around $ 11.8 million. In addition, there were other measures aimed at combating poverty and providing comprehensive medical care for the homeless.


Ontario Provincial Police patrol car in Toronto

A low crime rate has earned the city a reputation as one of the safest major cities in North America. In 1999 the homicides rate was 1.9 per 100,000 people. For comparison, this rate in the same year was 34.5 in Atlanta , 5.5 in Boston , 7.3 in New York, 2.8 in Vancouver and 45.5 in Washington DC The previous maximum homicides were recorded in Toronto at 3 in 1991 .9 per 100,000 inhabitants. Even with the robberies is the town compared to other North American cities, very low at 115.1 robberies per 100,000 population. Dallas had 583.7 offenses per 100,000 population, 397.9 in Los Angeles and 193.9 in Montreal . The general crime rate was 48 crimes per 100,000 inhabitants. This comparative figure is also significantly lower than in other large cities, such as Cincinnati with 326, Los Angeles with 283, New York with 195 and Vancouver with 239.

Economy and Infrastructure

Financial and economic capital of Canada

The Gooderham and Worts distillery, circa 1860

Toronto was an important economic and trading center as early as the 19th century. The stepbrothers James Worts and William Gooderham founded the Gooderham and Worts distillery at the harbor in 1830 , which not only produced spirits but also antifreeze . It developed into the largest distillery in Canada and rose to become the world's largest whiskey distillery in the 1860s. In 1862 the company produced all year round for the first time and produced around 700,000 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, Which made the company the most famous in the country and the largest in the British Empire. In 1987 the company was sold to a British group, the distillery was closed in 1990 and the 52,000 square meter area was transformed into the pedestrianized Distillery District . 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.

Commerce Court West: the financial district of Toronto

Toronto is Canada's most important commercial 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 financial district on Bay Street . The Toronto Stock Exchange is the eighth largest stock exchange in the world by market capitalization and third in North America. (→ History of the Toronto Stock Exchange ) 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 authority ( Toronto's Film and Television Office ) has the task of promoting and supporting film and television production.

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

The following companies, among others, have their headquarters in Toronto: 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 outside the city limits, most of the wholesalers and distributors in these industries are located in the city. The city's strategic importance in the Québec-Windsor Corridor favors the nearby production sites for motor vehicles, iron, steel, food, machinery, chemicals and paper. In addition, Toronto has been accessible from the Atlantic Ocean by the St. Lawrence River since 1959 . 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).

The city's estimated gross operating expenses in 2008 were $ 8.17 billion. Most of the household income came from property taxes , with $ 3.322 billion. The 2007 unemployment rate was 7.87%, higher than the average in the province of Ontario, which was 6.38%. In 2008 the unemployment rate fell slightly to 7.52%. The average household had an annual income of $ 68,120.

Educational institutions

Hart House is the University of Toronto's student center

There are a number of universities in Toronto : the University of Toronto , which is spread across various branches in 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 the largest in Ontario and, after Harvard University and Yale University, is one of the most renowned in the field of biomedical research. 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, in northern Toronto. It has the largest library of law 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 in 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 preaching seminar .

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) maintains a total of 558 public schools, including 451 elementary schools and 102 secondary schools. This makes the TDSB the largest school board in Canada. In 2008, the school authority was awarded the Carl Bertelsmann Prize for efforts to promote equal opportunities and integration . Schools affiliated with the Catholic Church are administered by a separate authority, the Toronto Catholic District School Board . In addition, Toronto 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 eleven million media.


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 of the foreign visitors came from the USA and Asia.


CTV's historic transmitter building, which houses several studios

Toronto is home to a wide 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 read primarily in Ontario . Other major newspapers in Toronto are the daily newspaper founded in 1844 , The Globe and Mail , the conservative newspaper National Post and the Toronto Sun . There are also newspapers in Chinese and Hebrew and a variety of magazines and periodicals.

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


Air travel

Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport

Toronto has the largest airport in the country, Toronto Pearson International Airport , which handles a third of Canada's air traffic. Originally far outside the city, it is now located on the north-western outskirts of the city, around 20 kilometers from the center, mainly in the area of ​​the neighboring city of Mississauga . A small airport, Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport , is located on the Toronto Islands off the city . The Toronto / Downsview Airport , a former Air Force Base, is mainly as a test airport since 1994 , Bombardier Aerospace uses. There are a total of nine airports and ten heliports in the Greater Toronto Area .

Local public transport system

Tram in Toronto

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

The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) operates in the urban area three metro lines ( Subway ) , a light rail line ( Scarborough-line ) , eleven tram lines ( Toronto Streetcar ) and about 140 bus lines. The tram and bus lines are mostly arranged in a grid.

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

Starting from the main station Union Station , there is a seven lines rapid transit system of GO Transit , supplemented by own bus lines. With the double-decker trains you can reach distances of around 60 kilometers in the vicinity of downtown.

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

Ship and ferry traffic

Spirit of Ontario I ferry, which is no longer operating today

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

Train traffic

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

Individual transport

Traffic on Lake Shore Boulevard

There are several motorways in east-west and north-south directions for individual traffic. The main artery is Highway 401 , a little north of the city center , which in certain sections has the highest traffic density in North America. On the shores of Lake Ontario, the Gardiner Expressway city ​​motorway connects the western suburbs with the city center. At the east end, the Don Valley Parkway connects the Gardiner Expressway with Highway 401. The toll highway 407 ETR runs parallel to Highway 401 . The 108 km long motorway connects the cities of Burlington with Pickering ; the toll is collected with the help of automatic license plate recognition and radio transmitters. 401 and 407 are crossed by northbound highways 400 and 404. The 21 km long Highway 427 also runs in a north-south direction. It heads north from the Gardiner Expressway past Toronto Pearson International Airport to Vaughan . Another branch of the 427 at its south end opens into the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW), which leads to Niagara Falls on the east bank 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

Turntable ladder vehicle for the Toronto Fire Department

Of the more than 20 hospitals, around half have belonged to the university clinic's network since 1999 . Toronto General Hospital , founded in 1812, is the main hospital for the university clinics.

The Toronto Fire Department , Toronto Fire Services , was established in 1874. Before that time, volunteers carried out the fire fighting. With the territorial reform of 1998, the fire brigades of the city districts form an organizational unit. The Toronto Fire Department is the largest in Canada with around 3,100 emergency services, 81 stations and well over 100 vehicles 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 is located in the Parliament Building on Queen's Park . The 107 members are determined by majority vote in the individual constituencies of Ontario .

The city has three courts that deal with violations of Ontario provincial law.

Culture and sights

Toronto is considered one of the three largest cultural centers in Canada.

Cityscape and architecture

Toronto skyline at dusk: in the middle the CN Tower , next to it the Rogers Center with the movable, white domed roof

Toronto's architectural tradition began in the mid-19th century. Many of the leading architects have designed buildings in Toronto, such as Frank Gehry from Toronto , 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 what is known as the Bay and Gable style. These are very narrow, partially 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 (English: bay window ) and a pointed gable (English: gable ). The Victorian style houses sometimes contain neo-Gothic elements. Most of the Bay and Gable properties can be found in The Annex , Cabbagetown, and Little Italy neighborhoods .

In Toronto, the tallest buildings are concentrated in the Downtown area

The road system is largely laid out in a checkerboard shape. One of the most important streets is Yonge Street . It was intended as a military supply line; nowadays, economic and cultural life is mainly along this street. It begins at a distance of more than 1,800 kilometers in the hinterland and ends at Lake Ontario, making it one of the longest roads in North America. The city center ( Central Business District ) extends in the north to Bloor Street , in the south to the Harbourfront district , in the west to Spadina Avenue and in the east to Parliament Street. The multi-lane city motorway Gardiner Expressway runs between Union Station and the Harbourfront . In the downtown area, the city motorway mostly runs on a bridge construction for reasons of space. Outside the city center, small houses shape 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 30 meters; This means that 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 more than 100 meters tall. The tallest skyscraper in Toronto is First Canadian Place at 298 meters 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 the city center are the Toronto Islands , four artificially extended islands in Lake Ontario and shield the harbor from the lake. On the westernmost island there is a small airport ( Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport ), which can be reached via a ferry from the city center. The other islands are designed as a park with smaller lakes, watercourses, pier, beach and amusement facilities. The islands are closed to private motorized traffic and can be reached in around ten minutes by passenger ferries from Queen's Quay Terminal .

CN Tower

Tower cage of the CN Tower

The tallest free-standing structure on the American double continent, dominant in urban development and landmark is the Canadian National Tower, or CN Tower for short, completed in 1976 . From its completion to the topping-out ceremony for the Canton Tower in May 2009, it was the highest 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 at 828 meters. In addition to a revolving restaurant and a viewing platform at heights of 342 and 346 meters, the tower has a second viewing platform ( sky pod ) below the antenna mast at a height of 447 meters, which will be the highest viewing platform in the world until 2008.

Sports facilities and event halls

Rogers Center illuminated at night

The former SkyDome , which opened in 1989 and renamed the Rogers Center on February 2, 2005, is adjacent to the CN Tower . The 54,000-seat arena is home to the BlueJays ( baseball ) and the Argonauts ( Canadian football ) and when it opened, it was the first sports arena in the world to have a fully retractable roof and the largest video board in the world. 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 on the south side of the railway lines is the multi-purpose arena Air Canada Center , which, in addition to concerts and theater performances, also serves as the home game 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 . Depending on the event, the hall can accommodate up to 19,800 spectators.

To the west of downtown is Canada's largest football stadium, BMO Field , completed in April 2007 , for around 20,000 spectators.


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

The PATH tunnel network, which is over 28 kilometers long and connects underground office complexes and over 1200 shops and offices, is located below the district . The north-south axis of this network extends from the Royal York Hotel and Union Station to well beyond Queen Street West. In the east-west axis, the underground stations of the yellow line St. Andrew and King form the extreme points of this world's largest underground city .

Allen Lambert Galleria: built by Santiago Calatrava

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), is also connected to the PATH . This complex was planned by the Toronto architecture firm Bregman + Hamann Architects with the assistance of Santiago Calatrava, who designed the six-story Allen Lambert Galleria . This gallery , including a large, light-flooded atrium , which is closed by an arch-like strut construction, connects the two skyscrapers.

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

The Toronto-Dominion Center is a 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 them 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-story shopping center with over 300 shops, 17 cinemas, discos and a luxury hotel that is frequented by up to a million people every week. It was named after the Irish immigrant Timothy Eaton who opened a general store on the site in 1869. From this a mail order company known throughout Canada emerged. The south entrance is on the corner of Queen Street West and Yonge Street; the mall stretches north to Dundas Square and is also connected to the PATH below the surface. The Eaton Center was designed with the help of the German architect Erhard Zeidler together with Bregman + Hamann Architects.

To the east of the south entrance of the Eaton Center, on the corner of Queen Street West and Bay Street, is the avant-garde building complex of the New City Hall of Toronto , built by the Finnish architect Viljo Revell in the early 1960s . The two buildings are 20- and 27-storey high-rise buildings with a curved floor plan. The two high-rise buildings are connected to one another 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 . To the west of the town hall is the Osgoode Hall . The former courthouse was built between 1835 and 1855 and is named after the first Chief Justice William Osgoode of Upper Canada .

The Cathedral Church of St. James is just under 93 meters high church Toronto and after the Saint Joseph's Oratory in Montreal is the second highest in Canada. The Anglican Church, completed in 1844, is one of the oldest parishes in the city and stands a bit away from the city center on Church Street, where many other churches in Toronto are located.

South of St. James Park is St. Lawrence Market with a south and a north building. The southern building served the city 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 over 120 traders offer their products , especially in the northern market hall .

Outside downtown

Casa Loma in winter

To the north of the city center is Casa Loma , a “European” style castle that Sir Henry Pellatt built in early 1900. Today it is a museum with 98 rooms, secret passages, an old swimming pool and a botanical winter garden.

Bilingual street sign in Chinatown

The Chinatown Toronto 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 immediately west of Yonge Street. The quarter dates back to 1878. Back then, hundreds of immigrant Chinese helped build the Canadian Pacific Railway . Toronto recorded the greatest increase in Chinese immigrants from 1947 to 1960. When construction of the new City Hall on Nathan Phillips Square began in 1961, the Chinese Quarter shifted from the intersection of Queens Street and Bay Street to the west.

East of Don Valley Parkway is Greektown (Toronto) , a district on Danforth Avenue, in which mainly Greek immigrants live. In the 1970s and 1980s, the neighborhood was considered the largest Greek neighborhood in North America. In the neighborhood along Danforth Avenue and Pape, there are bilingual street signs in English and Greek . With around 125,000 Greeks, Greektown is now the second largest Greek community outside of Greece . Danforth Avenue, lined with Greek and Canadian flags, is home to numerous restaurants and cafes serving Greek cuisine and music.

Ontario Place , which opened on May 22, 1971, is located on three artificial islands in Lake Ontario . It is located around four kilometers west of downtown. In addition to various wild water courses and water slides, a large IMAX cinema is one of the attractions.

Parks and gardens

In the urban area there are well over 200 parks and gardens with over 90 kilometers of walking paths.

Autumn day in the high park

The largest park with 161 hectares is the High Park in 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 a local recreation area and a 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 play areas for various sports such as tennis, soccer or volleyball.

The HTO Park in the Harbourfront south of the Rogers Center is a city beach 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 houses around 5000 animals and 460 species. Its predecessor, the Riverdale Zoo , opened in 1888. The zoo has around 1.2 million visitors annually.

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

The offshore Toronto Islands , which can be reached by ferry, offer 230 hectares of extensive walking paths, beaches and sports facilities. Over 1.2 million visitors annually take advantage of the Toronto Island Park.

Music and theater

Roy Thomson Hall concert venue

The city has a concert hall called Roy Thomson Hall for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra , Massey Hall (predecessor of 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 Theater , which opened in 1907, achieved particular fame . 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 was opened, an opera house with over 2000 seats south of the new town hall. The building, which was built for $ 181 million, replaced the large opera house from 1874, where the Canadian National Ballet and the Canadian Opera Company perform. Toronto is the home of the renowned baroque orchestra Tafelmusik .

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

Art and museums

The Crystal extension of the ROM

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

The Royal Ontario Museum , usually only known as ROM , is Canada's largest museum. It has collections on the natural sciences, archeology, art and cultural history as well as on the First Nations . It became world famous through its art collection from the Far East . Since June 2007 the ROM has had ten extended galleries. The new building and the old building were nested into one another. The new exterior facade, The Crystal, has a jagged, crystal-like shape that can be attributed to deconstructivism , consisting of 25% glass and 75% aluminum. The main entrance to the museum is located in the facade facing Bloor Street West. The new building designed by the architects Bregman + Hamann and Daniel Libeskind cost 270 million dollars.

The Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art presents contemporary art.

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

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

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

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

About eleven kilometers northeast of downtown is the Ontario Science Center , a science museum that opened in 1969. It shows scientific relationships based on experiments that can be carried out by the visitors themselves. It has around 1.5 million visitors annually.


Game between the New York Yankees and the
Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Center

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 Ice Hockey League National Hockey League (NHL), the Toronto Maple Leafs are among the most successful ice hockey teams in North America with 13 overall victories and 21 finals at the Stanley Cup . The Toronto Marlies serve as the farm team for the Toronto Maple Leafs in the American Hockey League (AHL). In the basketball league of the National Basketball Association (NBA) play Toronto Raptors as the only basketball team outside the United States. Like the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Toronto Raptors play their games in the Scotiabank Arena . The Toronto Blue Jays baseball team , also the only Major League Baseball (MLB) team outside the United States, and the Toronto Argonauts , active in Canadian football, play in the downtown Rogers Center, which is visible from afar . The Canadian Football League (CFL) championship, the Gray Cup , has already taken place 48 times in Toronto. Because of this special position in the most important professional sports leagues in the United States, Toronto is considered - from a sporting point of view - the most Americanized city in Canada.

Other notable teams 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 , which, along with the Vancouver Whitecaps, also from Canada, in the Major League Soccer (MLS) plays. Toronto is also a rugby stronghold in Canada. There are over 70 traditional rugby clubs in the entire metropolitan area. The Ontario Blues , which compete in the domestic Canadian Rugby Championship (CRC) and the international Americas Rugby Championship (ARC) against teams from North and South America and with the Toronto Arrows , have their own franchise team within the rugby league Major League Rugby (MLR), are of national importance. put. 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 hosted 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 Summer Olympics in 1996 and 2008 , but lost to Atlanta and Beijing, respectively. The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC), based in Toronto, then considered applying for a third time.

Since 1990, the Rogers Masters , one of the tournaments of the ATP Masters Series, has been held in Toronto, alternating annually with Montreal . In 1993 the 4th World Indoor Athletics Championships took place there. A year later, Toronto hosted the basketball world championship next to Hamilton . In 2000 the Du Maurier Open 2000 was held in Toronto. The Toronto Waterfront Marathon has also been held in the city center every autumn since 2000 . Toronto also hosted the 2015 Pan American Games, along with the Golden Horseshoe region .

Regular events

Canadian National Exhibition

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 international film festival IFCT Festival , which takes place at various locations, took place in Toronto in 2002.

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

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

The International Caravan , an ethnic and cultural festival, has been taking place in Toronto since 1968 . It consists of musical and folkloric events in the form of concerts and theatrical performances in more than 30 pavilions in the city area.

The Pride Week end of June each year, one of the largest Gay Pride festivals worldwide. Highlights are the Dyke March and the Pride Parade, in which up to over a million people take part.

Every summer since 1989, the four-day Beaches International Jazz Festival has been held as an open-air event in The Beaches district of Old Toronto , with the main act on a stage in Kew Garden . At the same time, bands play a two-kilometer stretch along Queen Street East. There has also been the Toronto Jazz Festival in June / July since 1987 . In June there has been the North by Northeast (NXNE) music and culture festival 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 a fair and an agricultural fair. The event has been taking place on Exhibition Place , a square west of downtown, from mid-August to Labor Day since 1879 . 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 as well as 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 six kilometers from downtown Toronto. It has been televised nationwide since 1952.

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 or 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 , responsible for film and television, reports about 200 productions in 2005, including 39 feature films, 44 television films and 84 television series.

In particular, the futuristic-looking city 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 , next to which the film plays, among other things. at Nathan Phillips Square where the finale is taking place. In the horror film Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004), Toronto City Hall serves as the town hall of the fictional city of Raccoon City , while Exhibition Place is referred to as the National Trade Center in the film . In the episode All Our Yesterdays (1969) from the science fiction television series Spaceship Enterprise , the town hall is a portal of the aliens. And in the action comedy The Tuxedo , it serves as the headquarters of an intelligence agency.

The film dramas M. Butterfly (1993) by director David Cronenberg and Das süße Jenseits (1997) directed by Atom Egoyan were partly set in Toronto, as was Take This Waltz by Sarah Polley (2011). M. Butterfly had its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival. The movie comedy series Police Academy was partially shot in Toronto , the third part almost entirely. The film is apparently set to take place in a major US city, but you can see the striking Toronto skyline several times. The title of the film Am Highpoint, the crowd freaks out, refers to the tower cage of the CN Tower , where the showdown takes place. To depict the fall of the antagonist , stuntman Dar Robinson jumped from the tower with a parachute.

The Toronto-based cowboy junkies have had a major impact on the alternative country style. On November 27, 1987, they recorded the album The Trinity Session at the Church of the Holy Trinity in Toronto . 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 best-known song Informer in the early 1990s.


Neil Young was born in Toronto

Toronto is the birthplace of numerous prominent personalities, including Robert Baldwin (1804-1858), an important politician for the founding of Canada . As the Canadian capital for film, music and media, a particularly large number of 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. The Toronto-born rock musician Neil Young is famous around the world . Comedian and actor Jim Carrey did not grow up in Toronto . Already at the age of 15 he appeared on various stages of clubs in Toronto. The Portuguese-Canadian singer Nelly Furtado grew up partly in Toronto . The rock band Rush and their singer and bassist Geddy Lee come from Toronto . The eminent pianist and music author Glenn Gould was born in Toronto and died there at the age of 50 after a stroke.

Frank Gehry , who works as an architect and designer worldwide , was also born in Toronto in 1929. The Pritzker Prize -carrier received in 1998 from the University of Toronto , the honorary doctorate . The university even named its own chair for visiting professors, which change annually, after him. Gehry's only work in Toronto is the redesign of the Art Gallery of Ontario in 2008. Former Prime Minister Lester Pearson was born in Newtonbrook in what is now Toronto in 1897 and grew up in Toronto. He studied at Victoria College and 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 was in office from 2006 to 2015, was born in Toronto and grew up in the city. Newcomer Shawn Mendes is also from Toronto . He lives with his parents and sister in a suburb of Toronto.

A number of famous scientists also worked in Toronto. The doctor Frederick Banting studied and worked there. For the discovery of insulin he received the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1923 together with John James Richard Macleod, who was also researching in Toronto . Arthur L. Schawlow , who completed his studies in mathematics and physics at the University of Toronto in 1941, received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1981 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 university professor in Toronto and received the 1986 Nobel Prize in Chemistry . The physicist Walter Kohn received his Masters in Applied Mathematics at the University of Toronto in 1946 and the 1998 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. 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.


English-language literature

  • A. Rodney Bobiwash: The History of Native People in the Toronto Area. An Overview , in: Frances Henderson, Heather Howard-Bobiwash (Eds.): The Meeting Place. Aboriginal Life in Toronto , Native Canadian Center of Toronto, Toronto 1997, pp. 5-24 ISBN 978-0-9682546-0-8 .
  • GP deT. Glazebrook: Story of Toronto. University of Toronto Press, Toronto 1971, ISBN 0-8020-1791-6 .
  • Derek Hayes: Historical Atlas of Toronto , Douglas & McIntyre 2008, ISBN 978-1-55365-290-8 .
  • Key Porter Books Limited (Ed.): Toronto: A City Becoming , Key Porter Books 2008, ISBN 978-1-55263-949-8 .
  • Sean Stanwick, Jennifer Flores: Design City Toronto , Academy Press 2007, ISBN 978-0-470-03316-6 .
  • E. R. A. Architects: Concrete Toronto , Univ. of Chicago Press 2007, ISBN 978-1-55245-193-9 .
  • Ronald F. Williamson: Toronto: A Short Illustrated History of Its First 12,000 Years , James Lorimer & Company Ltd., 2008, ISBN 978-1-55277-007-8 .
  • Julie-Anne Boudreau, Roger Keil , Douglas Young: Changing Toronto Governing Urban Neoliberalism , University of Toronto Press 2009, ISBN 978-1-4426-0133-8 .

German-language literature

  • Heike Schiewer: Urban planning in a multicultural society: Planning role understanding and planning processes in Toronto / Canada , Information Circle for Spatial Planning 1999, ISBN 978-3-88211-108-8 .
  • Julia Czerniak: Downsview Park Toronto , Prestel 2002, ISBN 978-3-7913-2536-1 .
  • Detlev Ipsen : Toronto - Migration as a Resource of Urban Development , University of Kassel 2005, ISBN 978-3-89117-152-3 .
  • Genevieve Susemihl: '… and it became my home.'. The assimilation and integration of the German-Jewish refugees from Hitler in New York and Toronto , Lit-Verlag 2004, ISBN 978-3-8258-8035-4 .

travel Guide

Web links

Commons : Toronto  - album with pictures, videos and audio files
Portal: Toronto  - Overview of Wikipedia content on the topic of Toronto
Wiktionary: Toronto  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wikivoyage: Toronto  Travel Guide

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This article was added to the list of excellent articles on March 29, 2009 in this version .