The Toronto Day Thread

Welcome to the day thread live pre-scheduled from Hogtown, Tronnah, the Centre of the Universe, the 6ix, Muddy York, or, if you really insist, Toronto, Ontario.

Yes, it’s my first day thread, and if you’ve ever read my comments here, you probably know that I live in Toronto and that I’m a pretty big fan of this city. Seeing as we celebrated our 184th birthday this week, it seems as good a time as any to talk a little more about the place.

Located on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario, Toronto was first settled by the Huron people, who were later displaced by the Iroquois sometime around the 16th century. In the mid-18th century, the French established a small fort in the area, but abandoned it less than a decade later. It wasn’t until 1793 that a permanent European settlement was founded in the area, when the British established the Town of York. In 1834, it was incorporated as the City of Toronto, the named derived from the Iroquois word “tkaronto“, which means “place where the trees stand in water.”

For much of its history, Toronto was Canada’s second city, with Montreal being larger and more economically important. But in the 1960s, with French language laws making practicing business there more difficult, Toronto began rising to prominence as Canada’s corporate hub. The CN Tower, completed in 1976, became the icon of Toronto’s skyline, and was the world’s tallest freestanding structure (at 553 metres in height) until 2009.

Downtown Toronto, 1967. The black Toronto-Dominion Centre, designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, was the city’s first modern office tower.

Today, Toronto is a city of 2.7 million people, the fourth largest in North America, and is at the centre of the Golden Horseshoe, a region containing over 9 million people. It is an incredibly diverse city, with 47.5% of the population being foreign-born, and just over 50% identifying as a visible minority.

The city is known for its distinct neighborhoods scattered across the city, which can make wandering the streets a fascinating experience as simply turning a corner can be enough to completely change the character of the city.

The eclectic Kensington Market is just a block away from Chinatown West.

Of course, it’s not all buildings and neighborhoods, either. Toronto is crisscrossed by a series of rivers and ravines that define the city’s geography, something I once heard described as being “like San Francisco, but in reverse.” These ravines are mostly free from development to prevent damage from flooding, and the big upside to this is that throughout most of the city, you’re never too far away from a bit of greenspace.

The Don Valley in the fall.

I could go on for a lot longer if I wanted to, but I’ll stop myself here before I start rambling. Thanks for reading and happy Friday!