Little York

Posted on Feb 17, 2016
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Toronto History Main

The history of Toronto, Ontario, Canada begins several millennia ago. Archaeological finds in the area have found artifacts of First Nations settlements dating back several thousand years. The Wyandot people were likely the first group to live in the area, followed by the Iroquois. When Europeans first came to Toronto, they found a small village known as Teiaiagon on the banks of the Humber River. Between visits by European explorers, the village was abandoned by the Iroquois, who moved south of Lake Ontario and the Mississaugas, a branch of the Ojibwa settled along the north shore of the lake.

The French first set up trading posts in the area, including Fort Rouillé in 1750, which they abandoned as the British conquered French North America. In 1788, the British negotiated the first treaty to take possession of the Toronto area from the Mississaugas. After the United States War of Independence, the area north of Lake Ontario was held by the British who set up the province of Upper Canada in 1791. In 1793, Lieutenant Governor moved the capital of Upper Canada to Toronto, which he named York, not wanting an aboriginal name. Simcoe originally planned for York to be a city and military outpost and set up a capital in the area of London, Ontario, but he abandoned the plan and York was named the permanent capital in 1796. The Mississaugas set up a settlement reserve in the area of Port Credit, Ontario to the west of York, and eventually moved further to the west.

Simcoe only lived in York for three years, but he directed its initial settlement on a gridiron layout near the mouth of the Don River. In 1797, the garrison which became Fort York was built at the entrance to Toronto Harbour. Tensions between the British and Americans persisted and war broke out in 1812. In 1813, the garrison was attacked and overrun by the Americans forcing the British to retreat. The Americans, who lost their commanding officer in the battle, sacked the town and burned down the government buildings, but did not take possession of York. Peace came after only two years of the war which ended in a stalemate. During peacetime, York steadily grew in population, although its infrastructure lagged, leading to the nickname of "Muddy York". As the village grew, tensions grew between the ruling class in York and growing merchant and worker classes who advocated for reforms. York was incorporated and renamed Toronto in 1834, leading to the first Toronto elections. Toronto's first mayor William Lyon Mackenzie, a reformer, persisted in his efforts to reform Upper Canada, culminating in his organization of a rebellion in 1837. Upper Canada forces defeated the rebels, and Mackenzie and others fled to the United States.

Peace again returned to Toronto and the city steadily grew during the 19th century, a major port of distribution as Upper Canada was settled. Toronto businesses grew including the meat packing business, leading to the nickname of "Hogtown". Toronto continued to grow by annexing outlying villages up until the early 1900s. After World War II, another major influx of immigrants came to the region, leading to the growth of numerous suburban villages. However, the suburban villages did not have the tax base to build the infrastructure to support the growth in population. To support the suburban growth, the Government of Ontario set up Metropolitan Toronto, a regional government encompassing Toronto and its suburbs, in 1954. The regional government built roads, water treatment and highways in Toronto, although the central city remained the largest municipality and occasionally defeated regional projects, such as the Spadina Expressway and other expressways and the clearing of the Toronto Islands. In the second half of the 20th century, Toronto surpassed Montreal as Canada's largest city and became the economic capital of the country. In 1998, the "megacity" of Toronto was formed by the dissolution of the regional government and the amalgamation of the Toronto municipalities into one municipality.
Whitby junction station 1918
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Liberty village looking east from above 1980 1998
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Hillcrest park  october 17  1913
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High park catfish pond   north from centre road  february 18  1913
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Fairbank area  york township  1911
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St. clair avenue west from dufferin street  july 19 1912
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Church street widening  near wellesle  july 2 1929
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Kingsview village the westway towers and backyards
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Smith  robert home  house  edenbridge drive  n.w. cor. edenbrook hill. 1930
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Dairy inspection  etobicoke 1958
Centennial Park
Downtown oakvillethe oakville basket factory
Downtown Oakville
Erchless estate
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The west toronto diamond in january 1975
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Thistletown  late 1960s
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Toronto hunt club   kingston rd south side feb. 4 1956
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Exterior of the belsize theatre and adjacent shops  1942 resized
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Kids playing in the creek in wychwood park in 1916 resized
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New toronto hotel  1935
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Islington railway station  c.p.r.   islington ave.  w. side  n. of bloor st. w.1954
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Thorncliffe park from the air  looking downtown  early 1970 s
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The bayview theatre at 1605 bayview avenue  in leaside  was built by harry davidson in 1936
Toronto island airport  hanlan s point.1940
Toronto Island
The grange in 1907  when it was the home of goldwin and harriet smith.
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The 1845 city hall at front and jarvis street . the centre section of this building forms part of the present day st. lawrence market. the side sections  pediment and cupola were demolished
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Bloor street viaduct  panorama  feb. 26  1918
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Paintings of toronto  in the good old summer time. a summer day in the kensington market  on baldwin street  in 1982.  resized
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Mary pickford theatre on the left   originally the auditorium theatre   opened 1906   1910
Alexandra Park
Whitchurch 1872   vandorf public school resized
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Pine grove park in woodbridge after hurricane hazel struck canada as an extratropical storm. october  1954.
Shepheardson hotel  yonge street thornhill inscribed in pen and black ink 1910
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Ontario s old church  located at the intersections of fred varley drive and main street unionville.
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John galloway house   4 david gohn circle markham
The old schomberg and aurora railway station station at oak ridges  pictured as a fish and chip restaurant in the 1950s.
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Port Dalhousie


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