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Canada facts & history in brief

Toronto is the Capital of the Ontario province, sitting in the centre of the Great Lakes region of Canada, on the shore of Lake Ontario.
The city is Canada's chief manufacturing, financial, and communications centre, business capital and largest city.
It leads all Canadian cities in printing, publishing, and television and film production and leading cultural centre.
The city has Canada's largest museum and public library system.
During the 1600's and 1700's, the Seneca and Iroquois Indians lived in the Toronto area before white people arrived.
In the early 1700's, the French set up a fort, a mission and fur trading post.
In 1759, the French burned Fort Toronto, also known as Fort Rouille down to keep the British from capturing it.
In 1763, the Treaty of Paris gave all Canada to Great Britain.
In 1791, John Graves Simcoe became lieutenant governor of the new British colony of Upper Canada (now Ontario).
He chose the present day Toronto site of for his colonial capital to replace Newark, which was the capital until then.
In 1793, he named the settlement York after the Duke of York.
During the 1812, war Americans captured and held York for six days, looting and razing the town.
The British struck back by attacking Washington and torching what is now known the White House (it was painted white to hide the burn marks).
In 1834, York was renamed Toronto, a Huron Indian term for 'meeting place' and received its city charter.
During the late 1800's, Toronto developed as a manufacturing and transportation centre.
In 1904, a large fire burnt more than a hundred buildings down in the inner city.
In the early twentieth century the city became known as 'Toronto the Good' for its highly moral, mannered culture, a tag that only began to fade in the 1970s.
World War I and World War II brought great industrial expansion to the Toronto area.
During the Depression years between the two WW Toronto went through a very bad patch.
Anti-immigrant hostilities ran high, with anti-Semitic riots.
After World War II, hundreds of thousands of European immigrants settled in Toronto.
In 1954, the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto became North America's first metropolitan government federation.
The Municipality consisted of Toronto and 12 of its suburbs.
In 1998, when five surrounding suburbs were incorporated into the city, Toronto became the largest city in Canada and the fourth-largest in North America.
Toronto has three of the world's tallest buildings, the 72-storey Bank of Montreal Tower rises 285 metres, the 68-storey Scotia Plaza building is 276 metres tall and the Commerce Court West, with 57 stories, rises 239 metres.
Nearby is the CN (Canadian National) Tower, that rises 553 metres and is the world's tallest free-standing structure.
The downtown area is surrounded by bohemian, ethnic and historic neighbourhoods and Lake Ontario on the south.
Toronto has a warm summer and a cold winter (Averaging between 2 and -10C.

Some of Toronto's many attractions are;
Yonge St., the main thoroughfare, stretching about 18 km north from Lake Ontario through the central downtown area and beyond the city's northern boundary.
Bloor and College Sts. are the main east-west streets.
On the lake shore is the semi-developed Harbourfront area.
Downtown Toronto has many of Toronto's most significant and easily accessible attractions.
The CN Tower, at 533m (1748ft) the highest free standing structure in the world since 1976 and Toronto's best known landmark with a Revolving Restaurant instead.
The SkyDome next door, features the world's first fully retractable dome roof and large enough playing field to park eight 747s.
The Old Town of York has the city's oldest and best-preserved buildings can be found here, including the Flatiron Building, with its triangular shape and famous mural, and the St. Lawrence Market, with the interesting clock tower.
Nearby is the St. James Cathedral with its beautiful stained glass, a grand organ and the tallest spire in Canada.
The Harbourfront area has many galleries and cultural centres, the Mackenzie House, Osgoode Hall, Campbell House, and the restored grandeur of the Elgin & Winter Garden Theatre Centre.
Chinatown centred around Dundas St., west of Yonge St., where many ethnic restaurants and shops are.
North of Chinatown is the busy university area and Yorkville.
It is a trendy shopping and gallery district, with numerous museums, collections, galleries, restaurants, nightspots and outdoor cafes.
Little Italy is west of the University of Toronto, with various outdoor cafes, bars, bakeries and fine ristoranti and the authentic Corso Italia, with the real Italian cinemas, smoky espresso cafes and pool halls. North of Bloor St. is the Caribbean area.
Koreatown and multi ethnic Bloor Village is towards the west of downtown. Nearby is the small Ukrainian Museum of Canada, a Tibetan Buddhist temple, the Casa Loma, 'House on a Hill', a 98-room medieval-style castle built by the wealthy Sir Henry Pellat in the early 20th century and Spadina House, an Art Nouveau mansion built in 1886 and lit by working gaslights with attractive Edwardian and Victorian gardens.
Cabbagetown, is just east of downtown, was so called as the sandy soil proved ideal for growing cabbage and was a Irish neighbourhood who came here fleeing the potato famine of 1841.
The area has a nice collection of fine Victorian architecture beautifully restored houses and carefully tended gardens and the tall red brick Toronto Dance Theatre & School, the Witches' House, the Chapel of St. James-the-Less, an old English country type church.
Often been called one of the most beautiful buildings in Canada.
To the north of Cabbagetown is Rosedale, one of the city's wealthiest areas for almost a century where almost every house has been listed by the Ontario Heritage Foundation for architectural or historical significance, especially the two ornate faces of No 88 and the ornamental iron porch of No 93.
Toronto's splendid islands were formed in 1858 when a storm created the Eastern Channel.
Centre Island Park has several amusements, including the Centreville Amusement Park, the Far Enough Farm, a hedge maze, Hanlan's Point Beach, and a boathouse.
Algonquin Island Park and Ward's Island, have small artistic communities living there and enjoying their unique way of life. All islands are interconnected by bridges or footpaths.
Niagara Falls, Canada's top tourist attractions, drawing over 12 million people annually is about a two-hour drive from Toronto.
Buses run every two hours or so and trains run twice a day.
Kitchener-Waterloo, centres of Canada's Amish and Mennonite religious farming communities is about an hour's drive west of Toronto, and the route is serviced by train and bus.
These religious sect were established in the 16th century Switzerland, and arrived in North America around 1640, after William Penn's promise of religious freedom.
These sects agree on the freedom of conscience, separation of church and state, refusal to take oaths, using cars, machinery and on practical piety.
The central Farmers' Market operated since 1839 featuring Mennonite products, such as breads, jams, cheeses, sausages; and handicrafts such as quilts and simple, well-made furniture.
About half Kitchener-Waterloo's residents are of German ancestry, making its nine-day Oktoberfest an event not to be missed.
A town named Stratford, located on a river called the Avon is the heart of England transplanted to Canada, with a world-famous Shakespearean festival.
Stratford over two hours to drive to from Toronto, and trains and buses connect through Kitchener-Waterloo.
The Niagara Peninsula Wine Country is only about 2 hours drive from Toronto with regular bus services.
Many wineries are open daily year-round and offer tours and free wine tastings.
Ohsweken, the Six Nations of the Grand River Reserve is southeast of Brantford, and larger than the city itself was established in the late 18th century.
Many different gatherings are held during the year, including the Six Nations Pageant, a summer theatre program and an annual handicraft bazaar.
Toronto has many festivals and events between May and October.
The city is great for walking, swimming, windsurfing, sailing, bicycle riding, in-line skating, golfing, ice-skating and skiing.
Toronto is served by two airports, Pearson International Airport and the main bus terminal is near downtown on the corner of Bay and Dundas Sts, are handling a large number of national and international services.
The city also have an excellent integrated bus, subway and tram (Streetcar) system, Ferries run to the Toronto Islands, and GO Trains leave from Union Station for points throughout the Toronto suburbs.
Toronto has an area of 632 sq km and has a population of about 3 million.

First I visited Toronto in 1996, in the middle of one night and had some trouble finding a place to stay. In desperation I hoped in a Taxi to be taken to an expensive 'pigsty' (literally).
In 2002 I have returned with Hui Chin.
Following our arrival from Niagara Falls by bus we were a bit confused and we also got turned down from about ten small nearby Hotels, (History repeats?!).
After a while we got our 'sea legs' and managed to get on the right tram and find our way to the Alexandra Hotel.
The rates were a bit high for us, but being turned away so many places we accepted it reluctantly.
We enjoyed the conducted city tour and we did enjoy our stay at the hotel and in Toronto in general.
After our conducted tour we done a lot of walking.
Down at grass roots level, where we can really get the feeling of the city, any city or any place really.
We enjoyed our stay so much, we spent a few more days after our return visiting the eastern cities Montreal, Ottawa and Quebec City.

You can click on these photos for an enlargement.


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