Toronto

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Template:Canadian City

Toronto is Canada's largest city and the provincial capital of Ontario. Toronto's population is 2,518,772 (Statistics Canada, 2004). The population of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) is 5,203,686 (Statistics Canada, 2004). Residents of Toronto are called Torontonians (in French: Torontois). The city is part of the Golden Horseshoe region of Ontario, a densely populated region of around 8 million people. Approximately one-quarter of the Canadian population lives within the Golden Horseshoe, and about one-sixth of all Canadian jobs lie within the city limits.

Toronto is a global city, exerting significant regional, national, and international influence, and is one of the world's most multicultural cities. Toronto is Canada's financial centre and 'economic engine,' as well as one of the country's most important cultural, art, and health sciences centres. In January 2005, it was designated by the federal government as one of Canada's cultural capitals. It is one of the safest cities to live in North America: its violent crime rate is lower than that of any major US metropolitan area and is one of the lowest in Canada.

The current City of Toronto was – in 1998amalgamated from its six prior municipalities and regional government. The current mayor of Toronto is David Miller. His predecessor, and first mayor of the amalgamated city, was Mel Lastman. The last mayor of the pre-amalgamated city was Barbara Hall.

History

Main article: History of Toronto

The Toronto area was home to a number of First Nations groups who lived on the shore of Lake Ontario. The first European presence was the French trading fort Fort Rouillé established in 1750. The first large influx of Europeans was by United Empire Loyalists fleeing the American Revolution. In 1793 Toronto, then known as York, was named capital of the new colony of Upper Canada. The city steadily grew during the nineteenth century, becoming one of the main destinations of immigrants to Canada. In the second half of the twentieth century Toronto surpassed Montreal as the economic capital of Canada and as its largest city.

Demographics

Main article: Demographics of Toronto

Toronto is one of the most multicultural cities in the world. There is an urban legend among Torontonians that UNESCO has proclaimed the city as the world's most multicultural city, but ranking or proclaiming cities as the most multicultural is not a practice that UNESCO has ever undertaken. While the 2001 Canadian census indicates 43% of Toronto's population being of a visible minority, Statistics Canada projected in March 2005 that this proportion will comprise the majority in both Toronto and Vancouver by 2012.

According to the metropolitan census, the majority of Torontonians claim their ethnic origins as from Britain and Ireland, either in whole or in part. As well, there are significant numbers of Chinese, Italian, Vietnamese, Tamil, French, German, and Black peoples in Toronto.

Due to the various ethnic origins of Torontonians, there are enclaves of Italian, Irish, Portuguese, Greek, Polish, Russian, Asian, and Chinese peoples throughout the city, resulting in a unique combination of communities that are often strikingly different from one another. Owing to this, some 1.6 million non-Whites, or 40% of Canada's minority population, live in Toronto; of this, almost 1.2 million originate from Asia alone.

As of the 2001 census, the racial makeup of Toronto (including its six former municipalities) is as follows:

Racial group Population %
White 1,405,680 57.2
Visible minorities * 1,051,125 42.8
* comprised of: Chinese 259,710 10.6
South Asian 253,920 10.3
Black 204,075 8.3
Filipino 86,460 3.5
Hispanic 54,350 2.2
West Asian 37,205 1.5
Southeast Asian 33,870 1.4
Korean 29,755 1.2
Arab 22,355 0.9
Japanese 11,595 0.5
Other minorities 37,985 1.5
Total 2,456,805 100

Source: [1]

Almost 20% of the population is under 14 years of age, whereas those who are over 65 constitute 11.2% of the population. The annual population growth rate is 1.9%. Roman Catholicism is the largest faith in the city, followed by the Anglican Church, but the city has well established Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, Buddhist, Sai and Sikh communities.

While English is the predominant language, Statistics Canada reports that there are several other languages with a large number of speakers, such as Chinese and Italian. Only 1.4% of Torontonians claim French (Canada's other official language) as their mother tongue.

Toronto has a population density of 3,939.4 residents/km2. Its total land area is 629.91 km2. Toronto's population grew 4.0% between 1996 and 2001. The St. James Town community of Toronto is also the most densely populated area in Canada, with over 30,000 people in a few city blocks.

Geography and climate

File:TorontoSkyline.jpg
Toronto's urban skyline from its harbour


The City of Toronto covers an area of 641 km² (247 square miles) and is bounded by Lake Ontario to the south, Etobicoke Creek and Highway 427 to the west, Steeles Avenue to the north, and the Rouge River to the east.

The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) extends beyond the city boundaries and includes the regional municipalities of Halton, Peel, York and Durham.

The GTA is part of a larger, natural ecosystem known as the Greater Toronto Bioregion. This ecosystem is bounded by Lake Ontario, the Niagara Escarpment, and the Oak Ridges Moraine, and includes several watersheds that drain into Lake Ontario. It is also located at the northern extent of the Carolinian forest zone.

Toronto's climate is moderated by Lake Ontario; its climate is among the mildest in Canada east of the Rocky Mountain range. It receives less snowfall during the winter than most other Canadian cities, and mild periods occur throughout the winter due to regular melting, so there are periods with little or no snow on the ground. However, recent years have shown a trend towards varying winter weather. During the winter months, daytime high temperatures average just at or below freezing, average January maximum is -1°C (30°F) (although residents usually endure two or three bitter cold snaps each year).

A typical snowfall during the winter will be no more than 10 cm (4 inches). Due to its location the northwest shore of Lake Ontario it is not so prone to heavy, wind whipped lake effect snow squalls experienced more often in nearby American cities such as Buffalo and Syracuse, NY or elsewhere in Southern Ontario, i.e. Barrie and London. Despite this, there is usually at least one heavy snowfall of 20cm (8") during each winter season. Heavy snows are often accompanied by strong east or north-east winds fetching additional moisture from Lake Ontario. Average winter snowfall is 133cm (52").

Summer maximum temperatures typically range from 25–32°C (77–90°F) and are usually accompanied by moderate to high humidity, though temperatures as high as 36°C (97°F), and sometimes higher, are not unexpected. Such intense "heat waves" generally last no more than a few days, and are usually coupled with high humidity and smog. On June 14, 2005, with summer still approaching, Toronto recorded its 21st "smog warning" of the year, surpassing the previous annual record of 20, set in 2001. Sunshine is abundant through summer, but severe thunderstorms are a regular occurrence and can popup quickly, especially west and north of the city.

Spring and Autumn feature varied, changable weather with typically alternating periods of dry, sunny weather and rain. Nights are generally cool, but frosts are rare in the city. Snow can fall in early spring or late fall but usually melts quickly or even before making contact with the ground. Along the Lake Ontario shoreline, spring days tend to be much cooler than further inland, whereas from late summer to early winter, nights are warmer the closer you are to lake, but this not always the case along the immediate shoreline.

The highest temperatures in Toronto was 41°C (105°F) recorded on 3 consecutive days from July 7-July 9, 1936. The coldest -33°C (-25°F) was recorded on January 10, 1859. Annual precip. average is 834mm (32.8").

Government

Torontonians elect representatives to the federal, provincial, and municipal levels of government. 22 Members of Parliament (MPs) representing Toronto sit in the House of Commons in Ottawa, and another 22 Members of Ontario's Provincial Parliament (MPPs) sit in the Legislative Assembly in Queen's Park, located in Toronto. Being Ontario's capital, many provincial offices are located in the city.

Toronto's local government consists of 44 elected councillors (representing around 55,000 people each), who along with the mayor, make up the Toronto City Council. Toronto elects a new government every three years, in November. The City of Toronto represents the fifth largest municipal government in North America, and has an operating budget of $7.1 billion CDN. This operating budget is comprised of $2.5 billion dollars of funds from the Government of Ontario for purposes they mandate such as Toronto Public Health, $2.0 billion for special purpose bodies including the Toronto Public Library and Toronto Zoo, $1.7 billion of directly controlled money, and $0.9 billion for capital financing and non-programs [2].

The current municipal government is rooted in the creation of the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto (known more popularly as "Metro") in 1954. This new regional government, which encompassed the smaller communities of East York, Etobicoke, Forest Hill, Leaside, Long Branch, Mimico, New Toronto, North York, Scarborough, Swansea, Toronto, Weston, and York, was created in light of the need for more coordination of city services. The postwar boom resulted in suburbanization, and it was felt that a coordinated land use planning strategy, as well as shared services, would be more efficient.

These thirteen townships, villages, towns, and cities continued to exist independently of the regional government, and continued to provide some local services to their residents. Gradually, the Metro government began taking over management of services that crossed municipal boundaries, most notably highways, water, and public transit.

On January 1, 1967, several of the smaller municipalities were amalgamated with larger ones, reducing their number to six. Forest Hill and Swansea became part of Toronto; Long Branch, Mimico, and New Toronto joined Etobicoke; Weston merged with York; and Leaside amalgamated with East York.

This arrangement lasted until 1998, when the regional level of government was abolished and the six municipalities (Toronto, Etobicoke, North York, East York, York, and Scarborough) were amalgamated into a single municipality or "megacity". Many people criticized this change, which came on top of a massive "downloading" of provincial services to the municipal level, with little to no new revenue available. A plebiscite indicated that a majority of the citizens of Toronto opposed amalgamation, but criticisms were raised about the leading nature of the question asked. In Canada (and Ontario), plebiscites are not legally binding. The Province of Ontario under Premier Mike Harris had the power to ignore the result and did so. Mel Lastman, the long-time mayor of North York before the amalgamation, was the first mayor of the new "megacity" of Toronto.

Politically, Toronto has been known to be a liberal city by North American standards. It has been described by many experts as even the most liberal city in North America surpassing the liberal bastions of San Francisco and Boston. It is the Stronghold for the Liberal Party both federally and provincially, except in the downtown area where the NDP is strong. The Conservatives have no Toronto members in either the federal or provincial legislatures, however, most of the right wing members of the Liberal Party are from Toronto. Toronto has also been known to support the right wing government of Mike Harris during the 1995 and 1999 Ontario elections, and a right wing Mayor, Mel Lastman during the 1997 and 2000 Toronto elections. While labour unions have considerable influence, they are generally not the catalyst for the liberal nature of Toronto; the high immigrant population and the strength of activist groups are the main reasons. Toronto has been a magnet for progressive, socialist and collectivist immigrants for many years, attracting such diverse immigrants ranging from British Fabians to Eastern European Marxists to US Vietnam War Draft Dodgers. Toronto is the core of support for liberal causes like same-sex marriage and interventionist policies such as gun control in Ontario (and Canada), which puts it at odds sometimes with the rural and suburban areas, and even the rest of Canada (excluding Quebec) which are far more conservative. Toronto also forms the core of support for government intervention policies such as Universal Medicare, Universal Daycare, and Canadian Content and Ownership Laws in the media. Recently, prominent federal politicians including Paul Martin and later Jack Layton (NDP leader and for 20 years a Toronto City Councillor) began promising a "new deal for cities", and large banks began issuing papers on it. As of July 2005, signs point to some degree of awareness towards the problems facing the city by the two senior levels of governments, though willingness to address them remains uncertain.

Economy

File:TSX outside.jpg
Exterior view of the Toronto Stock Exchange, in the heart of Downtown; the Toronto-Dominion Centre was partially built around and incorporated the TSX

Toronto is a port of entry, as well as being an important commercial, financial, and industrial hub. It is the banking and stock exchange centre of the country, and is Canada's primary wholesale and distribution point. Its importance as a seaport increased after the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway, but has since diminished and is disused (see: Waterfront). Ontario's wealth of raw materials and hydroelectric power have made Toronto a primary centre of industry. The city and its surrounding area produces more than half of Canada's manufactured goods.

Until the 1970s, Toronto was the second largest city in Canada, after Montreal. The economic growth of Toronto was greatly stimulated by the development of the auto industry and of large mineral resources in its hinterland, and by the completion in 1959 of the St. Lawrence Seaway which allowed ships access to the Great Lakes from the Atlantic Ocean. Further growth in the Toronto area is often attributed to the rise of Quebec separatism, though the extent of its influence is still contested by some, who argue that its effect was exaggerated by the English media. During the 1970s, the Quebec Liberal Party and the Parti Québécois enacted a series of French-language laws, which were perceived as unfavourable towards English-language businesses (especially Multinationals, whose markets extended far beyond Quebec's borders) and English-speaking Montrealers, and most of the former and many of the latter relocated to Toronto where French is not necessary for business. In Montreal, this migration is often referred to as the Exodus.

In recent years, Toronto has become one of the centres of Canada's film industry, along with Vancouver, due to the lower cost of producing films and television shows in Canada. The city's streets and landmarks can be seen in a variety of different films, mimicking the streets of major American cities such as Chicago and New York.

As the business and financial capital of the country, Toronto hosts the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX), the third largest stock exchange in North America by market capitalization and seventh in the world. The TSX has led North American exchanges by being the first to trade electronically and become listed publicly; in the last decade, it has also generally outperformed various major stock exchanges worldwide. The Toronto financial industry is based on Bay Street, the city's equivalent to Wall Street in New York.

A number of major corporations are based in the city, including the Hudson's Bay Company, TD Canada Trust, Celestica, Four Seasons Hotels, Rogers Communications, MDS Inc. and many others. Numerous other companies are based in the Greater Toronto Area outside of the city limits, such as Nortel, IBM Canada, and Magna International.

The City of Toronto's GDP is $225 billion and Metropolitan Toronto's GDP is $305 billion, making it one of the richest cities on earth.

Education

Toronto is home to a number of educational institutions, including the largest university in Canada, the University of Toronto, which has a student population of more than 60,000 across three campuses (one downtown, one in Scarborough, and another in Mississauga).

York University, the third largest university in Canada, has a student population of more than 50,000 students across two campuses. It houses Glendon College, the only educational institution in the country where all students receive education in both English and French.

Toronto is also the site of Ryerson University, home to approximately 20,000 full-time students.

Other schools include the Royal Conservatory of Music and its associated Glenn Gould Professional School are internationally-recognized centres for musical training and the highly respected Ontario College of Art and Design, the fourth-largest art school in North America. Toronto also has four post-secondary community collegesSeneca College, Humber College, Centennial College, and George Brown College—scattered across 29 campuses. Recently, Toronto's community colleges have begun either offering their own bachelor's degree programmes or operating joint degree programmes with neighbouring universities.

Toronto also has several private and independent schools, at the secondary and post-secondary levels. These include the International Academy of Design and Technology and Tyndale University College and Seminary. There are also specialty schools such as the Ontario Science Centre Science School.

Toronto, like many other Canadian cities, hosts a growing number of private English as a Second Language (ESL) schools and is home to as many as 10,000 ESL students at a time. These students come primarily from Latin America, East Asia and German-speaking Europe with surprisingly few coming from nearby French Canada. These schools are represented by the Canadian Association of Private Language Schools.

Toronto's public schools are operated by the Toronto District School Board and the separate Toronto Catholic District School Board. In addition there are serveral well known private primary and secondary schools including Upper Canada College (UCC), Havergal College, Bishop Strachan School (BSS), De La Salle College, Branksome Hall, Crescent School, Royal St. George's College (RSGC), St. Clement's School, University of Toronto Schools (UTS), and Toronto French School (TFS).

Transport

Railways

File:Union Station, Toronto.jpg
The main entrance of Union Station.

Toronto is served by intercity VIA Rail, Ontario Northland, and Amtrak trains through Union Station, a grand neoclassical structure in the heart of the city's downtown, which is shared with GO Transit's commuter trains. Toronto may soon have its own high-speed airport to downtown rail link with the proposed construction of the Blue22 transit route.

Highways

See also List of Toronto, Ontario significant roads

There are a number of freeways that serve the city and the Greater Toronto Area. Forming part of Toronto's municipal expressway system, the Don Valley Parkway (or colloquially, the DVP or sarcastically as the 'Don Valley Parking Lot') connects the city's eastern and northern suburbs to downtown, while the Gardiner Expressway (or colloquially, "the Gardiner") connects its western suburbs to the downtown core. Extending northward from the Don Valley Parkway is Highway 404, towards Markham, Richmond Hill, Aurora, and Newmarket. Extending westward from the Gardiner Expressway is the Queen Elizabeth Way (often called the QEW), which heads towards Hamilton, Niagara, and Buffalo, New York.

Highway 401 (or simply, "the 401") acts as a by-pass of downtown Toronto, and is one of the most congested highways in North America. It connects to Highway 427 (an important connector highway, leading into downtown Toronto), Highway 400 (towards Barrie and Ontario's "cottage country"), Allen Road, and Highway 409 (a connector route to Toronto Pearson International Airport).

Highway 407 ETR does not operate within Toronto proper, but is a major highway in the Greater Toronto Area acting as a secondary by-pass around the northern end of Toronto. It is an electronic toll road with no physical toll booths, instead depending on automatic recognition of license plates or electronic toll collection.

Public transport

Within the city, the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) operates an extensive system of subways, buses, and streetcars, covering 1,200 km (754 miles) of routes and heavily used by people who live in or near the city. A single flat fare is good for any trip within the city regardless of distance or transfers required. Toronto has the second highest transit system ridership in the US and Canada (after New York).

The backbone of the TTC is a relatively simple subway system with two main lines, the U-shaped Yonge-University-Spadina Line and the east-west Bloor-Danforth Line, running along principal streets and connecting Toronto's outlying areas with its downtown core. Each line also connects to a secondary feeder near one of its outer ends: the Sheppard subway line in the north and the Scarborough RT in the east.

The rest of the city is primarily served by a network of about 150 bus routes, many of them forming a grid along main streets, and almost all of them connecting to one or more subway or RT stations. A more distinctive feature of the TTC is the streetcar system, one of the few remaining in North America with a substantial amount of in-street operation. Most of the 11 streetcar routes are concentrated in the downtown core, and all connect to the subway.

Interregional commuter train and bus service is provided by GO Transit. GO trains and buses connect the city to the rest of the Greater Toronto Area.

Airports

Main article: List of airports in the Greater Toronto Area

Toronto's primary airport is Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ), mostly located in neighbouring Mississauga and straddling Toronto's western boundary. Pearson's air traffic is just under 30 million passengers annually [3] and it is the world's largest originator of air traffic into the US. The city also has a smaller commercial airport, the Toronto City Centre Airport (YTZ). Situated on the Toronto Islands, the City Centre Airport is primarily a general aviation airport, but Air Canada Jazz does operate commercial flights. In recent years the destinations served from YTZ have been reduced, and currently Ottawa is the only desination for commercial flights. It is connected to the mainland by a short ferry that is free to airline passengers.

The Hamilton International Airport is an alternate, relief airport to Pearson, but not in the GTA. Situated in Hamilton, 85 km (53 miles) southwest of Toronto, it is also a terminus for low-cost carrier, charter airline, and courier traffic. There are a number of other general aviation airports in and around the city, including Buttonville Municipal Airport, Markham Airport, Oshawa Airport, Brampton Airport, and Burlington Airpark.

Other

Passenger ferry service to the Toronto Islands is provided by the city's Parks, Forestry and Recreation division. Ferries run year-round from the Toronto Ferry Docks at the foot of Bay Street to Hanlan's Point, Centre Island, and Ward's Island.

A high-speed passenger/vehicle ferry service across Lake Ontario to Rochester, New York was launched on June 17, 2004, using the vessel Spirit of Ontario I. The service was marketed using the name "The Breeze", however it was suspended after operating 11 weeks when the company ran into financial difficulties. The vessel was subsequently purchased in a bankruptcy sale by Rochester Ferry Company LLC, a subsidiary of the City of Rochester, and the vessel returned to service June 30, 2005, operated by Bay Ferries Great Lakes Limited, using the marketing term "The Cat".

Seaboard Flights operated a hydrofoil service between Toronto and the Niagara Region. The service has since ceased to operate.

Attractions

File:Skydome-sm.jpg
Overhead view of Rogers Centre (formerly SkyDome), with the roof closed, as seen from the CN Tower
File:Torontoatnight.jpg
Night view of the city, as seen from the observation deck of the CN Tower

Perhaps Toronto's most famous landmark is the CN Tower, a 553 metre (1815 feet) tall steel and concrete transmission tower, the tallest free-standing land structure in the world. Directly west of it is the Rogers Centre (formerly SkyDome), the world's first sporting arena to feature a fully retractable roof. It is currently home to the Toronto Blue Jays and the Toronto Argonauts. Nearby, the Air Canada Centre is the home of the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Toronto Raptors, and the Toronto Rock. It was originally built to replace the legendary Maple Leaf Gardens.

Toronto's City Hall is one of the city's most distinctive landmarks. Built to replace its predecessor — now known simply as Old City Hall — its modernist style still impresses today. (It is frequently used as a backdrop in American films to depict a city of the future.) Directly in front of City Hall is Nathan Phillips Square, a public space that frequently houses concerts, art displays, a weekly farmers' market, and other public events. It is also the site of a reflecting pool that, during the winter, becomes a popular skating rink. Dundas Square, nearby, is the city's newest and flashiest public square, located across the street from the Eaton Centre, a large and popular shopping mall. Queen's Park, a historic scenic park and public space, surrounds Ontario's Legislative Assembly.

The Toronto Islands form part of the largest car-free urban community in North America. Accessible by ferry, "the Islands" include a public park and a children's amusement park, Centreville. The Islands are also home to the Toronto City Centre Airport. The city has several large parks, the best known being High Park to the west of downtown. The city is crisscrossed by a network of ravines that are still almost wholly undeveloped.

Other popular attractions include the Hockey Hall of Fame, the Ontario Science Centre, the Leslie Street Spit, the Toronto Zoo, Little Glenn, and the city's oldest cathedrals, the Roman Catholic St. Michael's Cathedral and the Anglican St. James' Cathedral, both on Church Street. Casa Loma, a castle overlooking downtown Toronto, is one of the city's most popular tourist attractions.

Culture

Exhibits

Toronto has a world-renowned museum, the Royal Ontario Museum (frequently referred to as "the ROM"), and one of North America's largest art galleries, the Art Gallery of Ontario (also known as the "AGO"). Exhibition Place is the home of the Canadian National Exhibition (the CNE or "the Ex"), an annual event that takes place in August. Nearby Ontario Place is a popular amusement park on the waterfront. It has a vibrant visual arts scene, with artist-run venues such as Mercer Union and YYZ Artists' Outlet presenting important exhibitions of contemporary art from both the local area and abroad.

Performing arts

Toronto is home to Canada's most active theatre scene, and is considered to be the third largest centre for English language theatre in the world, behind New York City and London. It is home to both acclaimed works by companies as Soulpepper, the Canadian Stage, and Tarragon and large Broadway style musicals. Several Broadway theatrical hits originated in Toronto, such as the 1993 revival of Show Boat and Ragtime. Venues for theatre include the Canon Theatre (formerly Pantages Theatre and Pantages Cinema), the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatres, the Princess of Wales Theatre, the Royal Alexandra Theatre, the Poor Alex Theatre, and the Harbourfront Centre. It is the mandate of Theatres such as The Factory Theatre and Theatre Passe Muraille to produce distinctly Canadian Theatre and support local artists. Canadian Artists that have started in these theatres include George F. Walker, Michael Healey and Ann Marie MacDonald.

Musical venues in Toronto include the Toronto Centre for the Arts in North York; Roy Thomson Hall, home to Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO); and Massey Hall. The National Ballet of Canada is based in Toronto and performs at the Hummingbird Centre and formerly at the Walter Carsen Centre. It and the Opera will move to the Four Seasons Centre in 2006.

As Canada's largest city and the main centre of its recording industry, Toronto is also home to many Canadian pop, rock, and hip hop artists. This includes both musicians native to Toronto and those who have moved to Toronto from other towns and cities. The live music scene in Toronto is centred primarily in the Queen Street West area, part of what is known as the Entertainment District, although not all of Toronto's music venues are in this neighbourhood. More established acts play at venues such as Lee's Palace, The Opera House, The Horseshoe Tavern, The Mod Club, The Phoenix Concert Theatre, and Kool Haus (formerly known as the Warehouse). Major concert tours by stars are usually booked into larger venues such as Air Canada Centre, Hummingbird Centre, the Rogers Centre and the Molson Amphitheatre at Ontario Place.

Literature

The Greater Toronto Area is the centre of English Canadian literature and many of Canada's best known writers, such as Margaret Atwood and Michael Ondaatje, write and set their books in Toronto. Other prominent Toronto-based writers include Rohinton Mistry, Morley Callaghan, and George Elliott Clarke. Canada's publishing industry is based in Toronto. It is home to both the major companies, such as McClelland and Stewart and the smaller firms like House of Anansi Press and Coach House Books.

Both of Canada's national newspapers (the National Post and the Globe and Mail) are based in Toronto, as is Canada's largest-circulating daily newspaper (The Toronto Star) and many other major magazines and periodicals. The city is thus home to a large number of Canada's journalists. As a nexus of multilingual activity, Toronto has 79 ethnic periodicals.

Events

Toronto plays host to a variety of different events year-round. At the end of June annually, Toronto hosts one of the world's largest Gay Pride celebrations. In July, Caribana, the largest Caribbean festival in North America, attracts more than one million celebrants for the concerts, the food, the King and Queen of the Bands competition, and the very popular Caribana parade. The Molson Indy is also held in Toronto every year in July. In September, Hollywood celebrities, actors, writers, directors, and producers from around the world descend on the city for the Toronto International Film Festival.

Tourism

Toronto has a thriving tourism industry as it has many landmarks and attractions, the most popular of which is the CN Tower. The city has largely recovered from the 2003 SARS outbreak; however, the tourism industry had to make certain cuts, with some elements not having yet returned to the status quo.

One of Toronto's major annual attractions is the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE), attendance to which is a family tradition for some. Regular sporting events, such as home games of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Blue Jays, Toronto Raptors, Toronto Marlies and Argonauts, also bring many tourists to the city every year.

The city of Toronto recently launched a tourism campaign called Toronto Unlimited. However, the new branding campaign has been criticised by many locals and outside commentators.

Sports

Current professional franchises

Logo Club League Venue Established Championships Toronto Argonauts logo Toronto Argonauts Canadian Football League Rogers Centre 1873 15 Toronto Maple Leafs Logo Toronto Maple Leafs National Hockey League Air Canada Centre 1917 13 Toronto Blue Jays Logo Toronto Blue Jays Major League Baseball Rogers Centre 1977 2 Toronto Raptors logo Toronto Raptors National Basketball Association Air Canada Centre 1995 0


Toronto Rock logo Toronto Rock National Lacrosse League Air Canada Centre 1999 5 Toronto Marlies logo Toronto Marlies American Hockey League Ricoh Coliseum 2005 0 Toronto Lynx logo Toronto Lynx USL First Division Centennial Park Stadium 1997 0

Current semi-professional franchises

Logo Club League Venue Established Championships St. Micheal Majors logo Toronto St. Michael's Majors Ontario Hockey League St. Michael's College School Arena 1996 4 Toronto Maple Leafs (baseball) Intercounty Baseball League Christie Pits 1969 7

Major sporting venues

City issues

Crime

Crime (including violent crime) in Toronto has been generally decreasing over the past decade. Toronto's violent crime rates are extremely low compared to many cities in the US (in 1999, Toronto had 1.3 homicides per 100,000 people compared to Houston's 13.4, Chicago's 15.65 (2004), and Washington, DC's 35.7 (2004) [4]) and comparable to rates in larger European centres, and are low even compared with other Canadian cities.

Due to a spike in gun-related crimes/murders over the summer of 2005, largely attributed to illicit weapons smuggling from the US (noted in October 2005 by prime minister Paul Martin when meeting with US state secretary Condoleezza Rice regarding various bilateral issues), concern over gun- and gang-related crimes has received increased local media attention recently. There have been calls for increased policing, gun control, and stiffer sentences to help deal with the problem. American gang experts have been brought in and increased funding for programs in troubled neighbourhoods have been recently initiated.

Although it has relatively low levels of violent crime, Toronto has a comparable or higher rate of car theft than various US cities, although this is lower than in some other Canadian cities. Much of this has been attributed to organized crime, with stolen vehicles ending up being shipped overseas for sale.

Homelessness

Toronto is also struggling to come to grips with a nagging homeless problem which has ebbed and flowed throughout the years. Toronto has a considerably larger homelessness problem than many cities of similar size. In 2003, 31,985 individuals stayed at least once in a Toronto homeless shelter. [5]. Many programs and responsibilities have been recently downloaded to the city from the provincial and federal governments, with many arguing that the city must come up with new ways to raise revenue to fund these new responsibilities.

Waterfront

Main article: Toronto waterfront

For decades, the disuse of the Toronto portlands and lack of development of the Toronto waterfront (also known as the harbourfront, though not to be confused with Harbourfront Centre), has been a major issue. Toronto's central business district is separated from the waterfront by an elevated highway, the Gardiner Expressway. Many contend that a series of condominium towers built along the waterfront in the 1990s and 2000s contribute to this separation. Parts of the formerly industrial area are now vacant and awaiting redevelopment. In 2004, investements from the Ontario government were made to encourage further development. Currently, a movie studio is being built on the site of the R.L. Hearn Power Plant.

Computer leasing inquiry

A dominant issue in Toronto's municipal politics in recent years has been the Toronto Computer Leasing Inquiry, which has been investigating allegations of impropriety involving computer contracts between the city and MFP Financial Services.

Garbage

Another important issue is the city's garbage. As the city's last remaining landfill site, Keele Valley, neared capacity during the 1990s, it was found that no other municipality in Southern Ontario was willing to accept the garbage, but there was also no political support for a change to incineration. A deal was eventually made to ship Toronto's garbage to the Adams Mine, an abandoned open pit mine in Northern Ontario, once the Keele Valley site closed. But objections grew into vociferous controversy as the time neared, and eventually the agreement was cancelled.

By the time the Keele Valley site closed at the end of 2002, the city had made a new deal: its garbage is now shipped by truck to a site in Michigan.

But concerns with the border, and opposition from residents in Michigan, have promoted the need to look for alternate sites or expand the recycling program. Toronto's contract with Michigan lasts until 2008, and includes an option to expand to 2010, but the city is actively seeking options to close the contract sooner. Even with 60% diversion through the green bin and recycling programs, residual waste from the Greater Toronto Area would amass 2 200 tonnes a day or 800 000 tonnes a year.

Besides the blue box recycling bin (plastic and metal) and grey box (paper) programs, the city has been phasing in a green bin program to recover compostable materials; this will extend city-wide by the fall of 2005. However, the green bin program has come under criticism by watchgroups due to its cost, which is three times per tonne more to operate than currently shipping to Michigan.

Recently the Ottawa-based Plasco Energy Group has formulated a plan to process garbage, turning it into a synthetic gas. The conversion process has pristine environmental performance. Using the company's "plasma arc" system of a 8 000-degree Celsius plasma flame, 100 000 tonnes of trash can produce 12 megawatts of power. Emissions are filtered with active carbon, and the only waste byproduct of this process is slag, which can be mixed with asphalt and used in road construction. Although this plan has yet to be approved, consent has been given to build a demonstration facility in Ottawa, and Toronto city councillors have indicated their support for the program. [6]

Greenbelt

In March 2005, the provincial government unveiled the boundaries of a greenbelt around the Greater Toronto Area, a 7,200-square-kilometre area stretching from Niagara Falls to Peterborough. The greenbelt is designed to curb urban sprawl and to preserve valuable farmland surrounding the city. The decision remains controversial, as farmers and other critics say that the "development embargo" being placed on such lands forces down the value of farmland within the greenbelt, without providing compensation to its owners. Many cities have implemented growth boundaries of some kind, including Ottawa, Portland, Oregon, Frankfurt, Germany, and London, England, as a method of restricting urban growth.

Toronto and area

City suburbs and neighbourhoods

Main article: List of neighbourhoods in Toronto

Before 1998, Toronto was a much smaller municipality and formed part of Metropolitan Toronto. When the city amalgamated that year, Toronto grew to encompass the former municipalities of York, East York, North York, Etobicoke, and Scarborough. Each of these former municipalities still maintains, to a certain degree, their own distinct identities, and the names of these municipalities are still used by their residents. The municipality that existed as Toronto before the merger is sometimes called the "old" City of Toronto, Toronto Proper, or the Central District.

Toronto Proper is, by far, the most populous and dense part of the city. It is also the business centre of the city.

The "inner ring" suburbs of York and East York are older, predominantly middle-class areas, and are highly ethnically diverse. Much of the housing stock in these areas consists of old post-war single-family houses and high-rises. Rosedale and the Bridle Path are upscale neighborhoods located in the inner ring as well.

The "outer ring" suburbs of Etobicoke, Scarborough, and North York are much more suburban in nature.

Toronto has over 200 neighbourhoods within its borders, which is why it is sometimes referred to as the "city of neighbourhoods."

Toronto's "905" exurbs

For more information on the municipalities surrounding Toronto, see Greater Toronto Area.

Before 1993, the telephone area code 416 included the entire Golden Horseshoe region from Clarington to Niagara Falls, Ontario. The area code was then split, with Metropolitan Toronto (now Toronto) alone remaining in 416, while the rest of the area became 905. In informal usage in Toronto, "905" quickly began to be used as shorthand for the belt of suburbs and exurbs surrounding the city, but not for places like Niagara Falls or Hamilton. Toronto itself may similarly be referred to as "416". (Subsequently both area codes 416 and 905 were overlaid with new codes, 647 and 289 respectively, but popular usage has not been affected by this.)

Toronto's exurbs, the major "905" municipalities surrounding the city (roughly from west to east), are:

File:Toronto Landsat.jpg
A simulated colour image of Toronto c. 1985, taken by Landsat 7

West
Halton


Peel

North
York

East
Durham

Nomenclature

Nicknames

Nicknames for Toronto include:

  • T.O. – from Toronto, Ontario (or Toronto); pronounced "Tee-Oh"
  • T-dot – short for "T-dot, O-dot"
  • The Big Smoke – a nickname it shares with many other cities
  • Hogtown – referring to its importance in the 19th century as a site for growing, trading, and marketing livestock
  • Toronto the Good – from its history as a bastion of 19th century Victorian morality
  • Methodist Rome – similarly, an analogy implicating the city as a centre for Canadian methodism, akin to Rome's role in Catholicism
  • Hollywood North – due to the many TV and movie productions in the city (shared with Vancouver)
  • Queen City – a reference most commonly used by francophone Quebecers ("La Ville-Reine")
  • Muddy York – derived from Toronto's previous name, York, and the weather's effect on its once-largely unpaved streets
  • The 416 – 416 is the original telephone area code for much of the city (the other area code in Toronto is 647; 905 is used in the surrounding GTA exurbs)
  • The Centre of the Universe – a derogatory nickname often used by rural and other Canadians
  • Hockeytown – due to the popularity of ice hockey in the city, and the fact that the Toronto Maple Leafs are the home team
  • The Economic Engine of Canada
  • The Most Multicultural City on Earth
  • New York run by the Swiss – a take on Peter Ustinov's oft-quoted reference of the city to reporter John Bentley Mays in The Globe and Mail on 1 August 1987: "Toronto is a kind of New York operated by the Swiss." When reminded of this later at a reception in June 1992, he responded (again cited in The Globe), "I've learned it's really run by the Canadians."

Similarly:

Pronunciation

The stress is on the second syllable.

Locals sometimes pronounce the city's name as "Toronno" or "Tronno", "Tronto", "Toranna", "Taranna", "Chronno" (with ch as in chime, not chrome), "Chranna" or even "Terawhnna" (Template:Audio). However, this is merely a reflection of the varieties of Canadian pronunciation and does not represent a unique pronunciation for the city name itself.

For instance, many Canadians pronounce the number "ninety nine" as something between "9-D-9" and "9-E-9", whereas many Britons or East Indians will distinctly pronounce "9-T-9". Thus while it is natural that many Canadians will say "Toronno", speakers whose dialects pronounce the "T" distinctly in words like "ninety nine" should do likewise when pronouncing "Toronto". In each case, the speaker merely pronounces "Toronto" in the way that is most natural in his or her dialect. Some Torontonians would often identify a local if he/she says "Toronno".

Even for Canadian speakers it is never outright incorrect to pronounce distinctly the second t in Toronto, and some local pedants do so. However, pronouncing it "Tor-on-toe" (with equal stress on each syllable) in casual speech is usually seen as a sign of someone who is not a native of the city. Canadian francophones pronounce it, "To-ron-to", in three syllables, with the french nasal on on the second syllable, and the accent on the third syllable.

See also

External links

Official Websites

Tourism Websites

Other Websites

Related Wiki Links

North: Vaughan, Richmond Hill, Markham, Thornhill
West: Brampton, Mississauga, Hamilton Toronto East: Pickering, Oshawa
South: Lake Ontario

Template:Canada capitals Template:Ontario

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