Virtual Exhibits

The History of Toronto

Toronto, on the north shore of Lake Ontario, is the largest of Canada's vibrant urban centres. It is the hub of the nation's commercial, financial, industrial, and cultural life, and is the capital of the Province of Ontario. People have lived here since shortly after the last ice age, although the urban community only dates to 1793 when British colonial officials founded the 'Town of York' on what then was the Upper Canadian frontier. That backwoods village grew to become the 'City of Toronto' in 1834, and through its subsequent evolution and expansion Toronto has emerged as one of the most liveable and multicultural urban places in the world today.

This presentation provides general audiences with a summary of the current scholarly consensus on the main themes in Toronto's past, with an emphasis on the characteristics of life here through time as well as the changes, issues, and influences that affected the shared experiences of its residents.

In addition to facts, historical studies are about interpretation, and there are many ways of viewing our heritage. Therefore, additional presentations on specialized topics will follow in the future, and we hope that other groups will use the Internet and other media to share their stories of Toronto's history in order to broaden the number of voices, increase discussion, and advance historical awareness for everyone's benefit.