Like most cities around the world, Toronto was born because of its geographical location. Its sits on the banks of Lake Ontario which makes it ideal for settlement and trade, attracting immigrants from many countries, who came to seek their fortune in the New World. This allure has driven Toronto’s success since its inception, and today, the city ranks as one of the world’s most diverse and vibrant communities.
Native Americans had known about Toronto long before the arrival of Europeans. This was the entrance to the Toronto Trail, a major shortcut between the Upper and Lower lakes. A French fur trader was the first European to travel the trail in 1615, but it wasn’t until 1720 that the French finally established a trading post at the site, which they called Fort Toronto.
Right from the start, Toronto found itself in the middle of the fight between the French, the British and the Americans. After the British had deposed the French from the area, they began to build Fort York on the site of present-day downtown Toronto. During the War of 1812, American troops invaded York and blew up the fort along with the parliament buildings.
During the early 1800s, immigrants from Ireland, Scotland and other Nonconformists areas began to pour in to settle the farmland around Toronto. When the Erie Canal was extended to Lake Ontario, it opened up a direct trading route with New York and things really started to take off. The foundations of an industrial city were quickly laid with a modern water works, gas and public transportation system put into effect.
The 1960s saw an urban revival, as many people moved from the suburbs back to the city. Toronto was the fastest-growing city in North America during the 1970s and fortunately, the residents fought hard to preserve the character and heritage of their city. As development continued, the city’s heart remained intact, resulting in the Toronto we know today: a modern, culturally active metropolis with a lot of historical charm.