Toronto History

Toronto 175 (1834-2009)

175 logoToronto's 175 was a year-long festival of events, some big, some small that marked the anniversary, said Joe Pantalone - Deputy Mayor and Chair of the Toronto 175 Steering Committee.

The City of Toronto, worked with various organizations in 2009 to create a celebration that allowed residents to reflect upon Toronto’s many attributes and accomplishments. It linked Toronto's past, its present and future into one anniversary year.

Since Toronto's incorporation in 1834, the city has grown into a world class urban centre that is recognized around the world for its quality of life, environmental stewardship and multiculturalism.

Torontonians love their city and we learnt that they're eager to celebrate Toronto's heritage, unite with their fellow Torontonians and share their diverse experiences with one another. Over 900,000 people took part in Toronto 175 events.

“Love to Live in Toronto”

Toronto Song Contest

Axon and Aidan MasonGeorge Axon and Aidan Mason were named the winner of the Toronto Song Contest and awarded the grand prize of $5,000.

  • Listen to the new re-recorded version of "Love to Live in Toronto", featuring vocals by Divine Brown and Dane Hartsell.

A live finale performance took place at the CNE, where all 10 finalists performed their original songs.

About 20,771 votes were submitted online by Torontonians in support of their favourite song, which made up 20 per cent of the final decision. The remaining votes were cast by celebrity judges, Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone; co-host of CP24 Breakfast Matte Babel; Etalk reporter Traci Melchor; and Managing Director of North By Northeast Music & Film Festival and Conference (NXNE) Andy McLean.

On March 6, 2009, City Hall opened its doors and invited the public to join the City of Toronto for a day of literature, dance, film, music, photography, visual arts, archival displays and multimedia exhibits. Highlights included:

  • Toronto's first Mayor, William Lyon Mackenzie, portrayed by Eric Peterson challenged the Mayor, David Miller, to a debate using the City Council chambers as a theatrical venue.
  • Well and Good and Manifesto, presented an art exhibit showcasing street art in all its forms and the impact on the city's neighbourhoods.
  • School without Borders presented, My City My Story a photo exhibit by Toronto based youth. New media artist, Faisal Anwar, presented 360-Extended an art installation created for the My City campaign inside the City Hall rotunda.
  • Several films were showcased: Toronto in Silent Cinema, 9 Months, 6 Blocks, Tkaronto, Behind the Bohemian Embassy and Let’s All Hate Toronto.
  • The rotunda featured artists: Tej Hunjan. Chris Church. Yoshi and Chie, Michelle St. John, the Council Fire Youth Drum Group.
  • Nathan Phillips Square featured presentations by a number of service organizations:
    • Toronto Police Service exhibited vintage vehicles, police dogs and motorcycles.
    • Emergency Medical Services showcased a number of vehicles including a 1954 Henny Packard Deluxe Ambulance, a 1966 Superior Pontiac Consort Ambulance, as well as a 1991 Dodge Van Ambulance.
    • Toronto Fire Services also displayed vintage vehicles once used by the fire department.

Toronto's visual legacy bookcover, Toronto 175 celebrationsToronto's Visual Legacy - Official City Photography from 1856 to the Present Launched during March 6, celebrations. This publication is comprised of archival photographs provided by the City of Toronto archives.

Toronto's Visual Legacy celebrates Toronto’s history, documents attitudes and provides insight into Toronto values expressed by Council. The first edition print run is almost sold out. Visit your bookstore or contact the City of Toronto archives.

Doors Open Toronto, celebrated its 10th anniversary and produced a special commemorative program entitled Lit City-Toronto Stories, Toronto Settings. Doors Open Toronto expanded its annual roster to 175 buildings and complimented Lit City programming by connecting books and authors with architecture.

Toronto's 175 comemorative stamp from Canada PostThe City of Toronto unveiled the Toronto 175 limited edition, Canada Post Picture Postage anniversary stamp on November 12, 2009. Tourism Toronto funded this initiative and donated 4,000 stamps to the City of Toronto. These stamps were distributed to the public for free at City of Toronto events. The public was also allowed to purchase full sheets from the Canada Post Picture Postage website until December 31, 2009.

The Toronto International Film Festival held special events, including:

  • Film trailers featuring key Toronto films and film coverage of seminal events were played at TIFF theatre venues.
  • An Anthology book publication featuring contributions by Piers Handling, Matt Hays, Brenda Longfellow and Wyndham Wise, along with a list of significant Toronto films is also available for purchase.
  • Pearson International Airport featured a selection of film stills from the Toronto 175 film trailers.
  • The Art Gallery of Ontario (Jackman Hall) presented a film series of memorable films shot in Toronto, by local Torontonian filmmakers, which explored the dynamics of urban living until the end of 2009

St. Lawrence Market turned 205. During the markets birthday bash, Torontonians enjoyed a day of live entertainment, heritage theatre, buskers, story tellers, children's activities, $1.75 meal deals and more.

Highlights included performances by:

  • Human Statues
  • Dirty Dishes
  • Shibaten Spirits
  • Afterhours
  • Chris McKool
  • 2009 Juno nominee, Jorge Lopez
  • Mysterion the Mentalist
  • Peter Jarvis
  • Max T Oz
  • Batman
  • Dylan Studibaker
  • Brent Matthews

Toronto's 175 snowmanTorontonians experienced the magic of the holiday season. Seen all over the world, this parade consisted of 24 floats including the Toronto 175 snowman, 24 bands and 1,700 participants. Toronto's Historic Museums featured its holiday brochure highlighting the Toronto 175, free weekend in December. 

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