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About Toronto

About Toronto

Toronto is one of the southernmost city’s in Ontario and situated on the northwest border of Lake Ontario. Being the provincial capital, Toronto is home to over 2.5 million people, making it the fifth most populated city in North America.

Toronto is known for being a multicultural society. Almost half of the city’s inhabitants are immigrants. Although English is the primary language spoken in Canada (followed by French as secondary), a large number of languages can be heard throughout Toronto.

Toronto has been labelled as one of the safest cities in Canada because of its low crime rate and high living standards. Toronto’s main economic sectors are telecommunications, finance, media and tourism.

Toronto History

The history of the land goes way back to the Huron tribe. The origin of the name “Toronto” has always been the topic of discussion. The word “Taronto” used to refer to a channel of water that flowed through Lake Simcoe. The city’s name is also said to originate from a native village called Tarantou, but its location was closer to Quebec.

Later, Fort Toronto would become the first settlement for that area. John Graves Simcoe would go on to name it the capital of Upper Canada.

Toronto Neighbourhoods

Toronto is divided into unique regions and areas; North End, West End, East End, Downtown (Central), and Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Each region has its own list of unique Toronto neighbourhoods.

Popular regions include the Toronto Islands and the Beaches, which carry their own unique cultures. Staying true to diversity, there are also places in Toronto dedicated to specific cultures. Little Italy is full of Italian shops, bars and restaurants.

Check out the other Toronto neighbourhoods posted on Totally Toronto!

Toronto Festivals

City-wide festivals celebrate each season in Toronto. In the summer, look for the CNE, Caribana and Pride Week. Fall festivals include the International Film Festival and Word on the Street. Although it is often cold during the winter, that doesn’t stop Torontonians from celebrating Icefest, Winterlicious, and Toronto’s Cavalcade of Lights. Toronto comes alive in spring with festivals like the Spring Fling.

If you are hoping for a dip in Toronto waters, the lakes in northern Ontario are clean and fit for swimming. The area known as “Cottage Country” to Torontonians has recently expanded over the past few years. Cottages are available for rent during most seasons and the industry is quite popular.

Toronto Restaurants and Food

The restaurant choices available to someone in Toronto are extensive. Depending on what you are craving, you can have authentic Chinese, Indian, or Sushi cuisine all within a few blocks of each other.

There is also a wide range of entertainment dining such as Medieval Times. Another great example is The Sultan’s Tent, where you are served authentic Moroccan cuisine while experiencing t professional belly dancers.

You can also dine at home and make your own great cuisine after shopping at the St Lawrence Market. This is one of the best farmer’s markets in Toronto and carries the freshest produce Ontario has to offer.

Toronto Hotels and Accommodation

If you are looking for accommodation in Toronto, there are a wide range of lodging available to fit your budget and criteria. From luxury to budget hotels, you can find great deals and friendly resting spots throughout the city. Some of the more expensive hotels can be found in the heart of Downtown Toronto, such as The Fairmount, which is Toronto’s oldest hotel.

Toronto Entertainment and Nightlife

No matter what the temperature is in Toronto, its entertainment and nightlife is always strong. Like the other diverse sections of the city, the diverse night scene can be found throughout the city. For the majority of nightclubs (including all ages), head down to Richmond Street.

Another great area for the younger crowd is University Street and Spadina. For older crowds, the clubbing areas you want to visit include the King Street and John Street bars and pubs, which are highly popular in Toronto.

Toronto Bars and Pubs

Some of the best known bars and pubs can be found along Front Street, Queen Street or College Street. In the summer, these establishments open their outdoor patios and can be found on many corners. The Docks are a popular hangout in the summer, as well as the Harbourfront area.

No matter what season or occasion, the city of Toronto has almost everything a person could be looking for. The atmosphere of the city is both vibrant and colourful, and the people of Toronto are welcoming and respectful. Take a look around Totally Toronto and see what surprises await you, whether visiting or living in this multicultural city.

Toronto Architecture

The general style of Toronto’s architecture is hard to pinpoint. You will often see a building built in the 1800’s standing next to a modern skyscraper. Many of Toronto’s older buildings have been renovated and restored to preserve them. Most recently being the Royal Ontario Museum.

The best place to see this unique clash of periods and styles is Front St. Walking past Union Station with its large pillars and beautiful stain-glass work is breathtaking. Another area that is known for its architecture is the Distillery District. Being a historic site, it is one of the best preserved Victorian Industrial area in all of North American. It houses open art galleries, restaurants, and theatres.

Toronto Weather

Toronto enjoys a full display of seasons. Summer arrives around the end of May and brings humid weather ranging between 20C (68F) to 35C (95F). Mid-September brings a blaze of fall colours and the temperature starts to get cooler.

Wintertime in Toronto carries days of snow and frost, usually bringing a white December or a very cold one. Temperatures can get as low as -13C (8.6F). Being a relatively short season, spring in Toronto offers mild temperatures with light showers turning the city green as plants and trees spring to life.

Toronto Geography

Stretching north 13 miles and across 27 miles, Toronto is a relatively flat piece of land. Heading into the North York, altitudes can reach as high as 210m above-sea-level. When comparing that to the 75m above-sea-level along the shore of Lake Ontario, Toronto is literally located on a large downhill slope.

Totally Toronto has everything you need to know about Toronto. Browse through our site and learn more about this great city.

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Animals

Animals in Toronto differ in all shapes and sizes. While Toronto calls itself diverse, you can definitely claim the same for Toronto animals!

Torontonians take their animals very seriously, which shows in that fact that not only Toronto, but Canada is one of the leaders in Animal Rights. The Toronto Humane society is one of the best and well known shelters for animals (along with the Toronto Cat Rescue).

The Toronto Humane Society’s mission statement says it all. Not only for themselves, but these ideas are carried out in the minds of most Torontonians.

“The Humane Society of Canada works to protect dogs, cats, horses, birds, rabbits and small animals, livestock, lab animals, wildlife and the environment. We carry out hands on programs to help animals and nature, mount rescue operations, expose cruelty through hard hitting undercover investigations, work to pass laws to protect animals, support animal shelters and wildlife rehabilitation centres and spread the word about how to help animals and nature through humane education.”

— Taken from the Toronto Humane Society website.

The national animal for Canada is the beaver and the Canadian horse. But the list of Toronto animal favourites does not end there. Some of the wildlife you would see if you were to walk around Toronto would be:

  • White tailed Deer and Fawns

  • Raccoons

  • Muskrat

  • House Mice

  • Meadow Voles

  • Red Squirrel

  • Eastern Gray Squirrel

  • Eastern Chipmunk

  • Groundhog/ woodchuck

  • Eastern Cottontail Rabbit

  • Coyotes

  • Red Foxes

  • Bats

  • Minks

  • Possums

  • Striped Skunks

As cute and friendly most of these appear to be, it is always good to remember that these animals are wild. And some Toronto homeowners find out the hard way just how annoying some Toronto animals can be.

The most popular Toronto animals that tend to move into your house are raccoons, possums, squirrels and mice. Toronto promotes safe wildlife removal for the homeowners and for the critter. Most companies can be found online or through agencies such as the Toronto Humane Society and Animal Control Toronto.

There has been a large number of cat strays and dog strays over the years, and the number seems to growing. One of the issues is that pet owners do not spay and neuter their animals. This unfortunately leads to a rise in the animal population that cannot be properly contained.

Proudly, Toronto opened its first Free animal spay and neuter clinic in August 2010. It is in hopes that this will help to eliminate the large cat population especially, since pet owners reluctance came from the cost of the procedure. It usually costs around $200 CDN for your pet to be ‘fixed’.

There are, of course, animals that are more than welcome to move in! The most common house pets for people living in Toronto are dogs, cats, birds (of all varieties), rabbits, ferrets, gerbils, hamsters and mice. You have to be careful that any animal being brought into Canada is legally allowed. The Canadian government has a list available to the public of animals that are not allowed to be brought into the country.

The only jungle creature that should be in Toronto is the ones you will find at the Toronto Zoo! The Toronto Zoo is the largest zoo in North America and over 16,000 creatures are happy to call it their home.

The Toronto Zoo is spread over 710 acres and is divided into the six different geographic zones of the world. Bringing animals to Toronto that locals and tourists alike would never get to see, such as: tigers, different species of lizards, elephants, giraffes and more.

Toronto animals are able to live in a habitat that is right for them, especially in the suburb area and Greater Toronto Area. They are loved and respected as living creatures, even if they are not a pet. So please be kind to your fellow furry creatures when you visit Toronto.

Best Places to Cool Off

For better or for worse, Toronto faces its fair share of hot humid days each summer. On sweaty day like this, thoughts tend to wander towards temperature-easing solutions. Here are some of our suggestions for the best places in the city to cool-off.

Head to the Pool

On a sweltering summer day, there’s nothing better than going for a swim to cool off. It’s usually the first idea that pops into your head after the thought, “what  can I do to cool off?” 

If you’re not the type with your own pool, worry not because there are 70 municipal pools in Toronto open to the public. They come in varying shapes and sizes, and also offer a range of instructional programs. During heat waves, the city also extends their operating hours as late as 11:00 pm.

The city’s largest public swimming pool is the Sunnyside Gus Ryder Pool, located in the west-end in Sunnyside Park (just south of High Park). 

This huge facility is built right on Lake Ontario, and features enough water-space to have plenty of room dedicated to kids as well as those wanting to swim laps in peace. Other popular city pools include Alex Duff Pool, at Christie Pits Park, D.D. Summerville Pool in the Beaches, and the High Park Pool

There are also privately-run pool facilities all over the city, particularly gyms, sports clubs and newer condominium buildings. One of the most popular spots to go downtown is the pool at the Sheraton Centre on Queen Street West

Here $28 will buy you access to the largest indoor-outdoor pool in the city, as well a great poolside bar. Meanwhile, another busy spot is The Wave Pool in Richmond Hill, which features simulated waves and waterslides.

Head to the Beach

Of course, pools are not the only place to take a swim in the city. Toronto has many great beaches on Lake Ontario which have enjoyed a resurgence in recent years as the city has worked hard to improve their water quality. 

Since 2005, Toronto has been certifying its beaches under the international Blue Flag program, where they are monitored regularly to ensure they meet the high standards of the label, in both water quality and environmental management. Daily monitoring of water quality is posted on both the City of Toronto and Blue Flag websites.

The most popular stretch of sand is in the east-end neighbourhood of The Beaches. There is one long continuous length of beach stretching from Ashbridge’s Bay Park in the west to the R. C. Harris Water Treatment Plant in the east. 

However, the lakeshore is actually broken down into several different beaches. Woodbine Beach is in the west, then moving eastward it is followed by Kew Beach, and finally Balmy Beach.

In west-end, there is a long stretch of scenic boardwalk and sand along Sunnyside Beach, and another beach further west at Marie Curtis Park. Perhaps the cleanest beaches in the city belong to the Toronto Islands, which have the advantage of facing out towards Lake Ontario. There are four main beaches there, as well as a nude beach at Hanlan’s Point, if that’s your thing.

Waterslides

In the realm of cooling-off, the next level beyond swimming has to be waterslides. Kids and adults alike can enjoy the excitement of sliding down these watery tubes at high speeds. In the downtown area, Ontario Place is your best bet for waterslides, where you can find the “Soak City” waterpark.

Travelling out from the city, there are great waterslides at some of the area’s larger amusement parks. Canada’s Wonderland, located north of the city in Vaughan, has a sprawling waterpark in addition to their roller coasters, bumper cars and other rides. 

It also features the largest outdoor wave pool in Canada. Wild Water Kingdom, located northwest of the city just off Highway 427, is another large waterpark that also features recreational activities like mini-golf and rock-climbing.

Toronto Island

Only a quick ferry-ride from the downtown core, the Toronto Islands are one of the crown jewels of the Toronto park system. On muggy July day you can literally feel the temperature drop as you travel on the boat over the water of Toronto’s harbour. 

The islands are generally cooler because they don’t retain heat the way the concrete and asphalt of the city does, and the breeze off Lake Ontario helps as well.

The ferry runs across to the islands every half-hour at peak times, with a return ticket costing $6.50 for adults, $4.00 for students and seniors, and $3.00 for children under 12. Once on the island, there are many activities including boat rentals, bike rentals, beaches, volleyball nets and even a disc-golf course (also known as Frisbee-golf, or “frolf”). 

One of the best ways to check out the island’s trails and boardwalks is by bike, which can be rented on site. The islands are packed with activities for all ages, including an outdoor maze, several great beaches, and an amusement park for the kids.

Go to the Movies

In the early 20th century, movie theatres were among the first places that air conditioning was installed. People would flock there on sweaty summer days to escape the heat, adding to the overall allure of the cinema. 

However, just because these days more people have air conditioners doesn’t mean it’s not still a great place to beat the heat.

Being cultural and media hub for Canada, it should come as no surprise that Toronto has wide variety of movie theatres. There are numerous large cinexplexes scattered across the city, including Scotiabank Theatre Toronto on Richmond Street downtown, AMC Yonge Dundas 24, and Cineplex Odeon Queensway Cinemas

For movies a little more outside the mainstream, there are spots like Bloor Cinema, the Toronto Underground Cinema, and even the Bell Lightbox Theatre on King Street.

Have a Drink

If all else fails, the best solution to an excess of summer’s heat is a liberal dose of patio drinks. Toronto’s patio culture is well-established in the warmer months, and there are dozens of fabulous spots to have an ice cold beverage. 

Some of the most popular patios in the city include the Drake Sky Yard on Queen West, Café Diplomatico in Little Italy, and Allen’s on Danforth Avenue. But don’t take our word for it; explore any neighbourhood in the city and you’re bound to find somewhere great to cool off.

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Canada National Anthem

It is the first thing you hear before a hockey, football or soccer game.  It is the song they teach Canadian kids all across Canada from kindergarten and up. 

There is a stamp on the Canadian society, that whenever they hear this song, they stop and sing along.  This song is the Canadian National Anthem.

The title (wonderfully so) is called O’ Canada.  The song was written in 1880 by Lieutenant Governor of Quebec Théodore Robitaille in French.  It wasn’t until 1906 the lyrics where then translated into English and in 1980, O’ Canada officially became Canada’s national anthem.

The original lyrics did not contain any religious reference, as it was first meant to be a patriotic poem.  The English lyrics have been altered and revised along the way up to 1980, changing lines like “in all thy sons commands” to “thou dost in us command”.  While a completely new verse was written for religious purposes, Toronto voted “thou dost in us command” out and agreed to re-establish many of the original lyrics in 1990.  The French language version has remained unaltered since it was written.  

It is usually sung in the French or English version, as those are the two official Languages of Canada.  But it has also been translated into native Inuktitut.  Often you will only hear the music of the Canadian National Anthem, it depends on the event and where it is being played.

The lyrics for the Canadian National Anthem as it is today are:

O Canada

Our home and native land

True patriot love in all thy sons command

With glowing hearts we see thee rise

The True North strong and free

From far and wide

O Canada, we stand on guard for thee

God keep our land glorious and free

O Canada, we stand on guard for thee

O Canada, we stand on guard for thee

The lyrics for the Canadian National Anthem in French are:

Ô Canada

Terre de nos aïeux

Ton front est ceint de fleurons glorieux

Car ton bras sait porter l’épée

Il sait porter la croix

Ton histoire est une épopée

Des plus brillants exploits

Et ta valeur, de foi trempée

Protégera nos foyers et nos droits

Protégera nos foyers et nos droits

O’ Canada was actually in competition with other poem-turned-songs.  Its greatest competitor was called “The Maple Leaf Forever“.  By World War 1, O’Canada had taken its rightful place in the hearts of Canadians.  

The lyrics of “The Maple Leaf Forever” are as follows:

In Days of yore,

From Britain’s shore

Wolfe the dauntless hero came

And planted firm Britannia’s flag

On Canada’s fair domain.

Here may it wave,

Our boast, our pride

And joined in love together,

The thistle, shamrock, rose entwined,

The Maple Leaf Forever.

CHORUS:

The Maple Leaf

Our Emblem Dear,

The Maple Leaf Forever.

God save our Queen and heaven bless,

The Maple Leaf Forever.

At Queenston Heights and Lundy’s Lane

Our brave fathers side by side

For freedom’s home and loved ones dear,

Firmly stood and nobly died.

And so their rights which they maintained,

We swear to yeild them never.

Our watchword ever more shall be

The Maple Leaf Forever

CHORUS

Our fair Dominion now extends

From Cape Race to Nootka Sound

May peace forever be our lot

And plenty a store abound

And may those ties of love be ours

Which discord cannot sever

And flourish green for freedom’s home

The Maple Leaf Forever

CHORUS

It is considered an honour to sing the Canadian National Anthem, and many contests have been held for those lucky singers who get to sing it (especially at the beginning of a hockey game).  There has also been a long line of famous Canadian singers who have sung O’ Canada proudly.  Celine Dion, the Canadian Tenors and Kreesha Turner are just some of the famous names attached to the list.  

The Canadian National Anthem is classified in the Public domain, so it is not copyrighted.  You do not need permission to use it in any way.  If you do translate it into another language, keep in mind that it will not be seen as an official version.  

There is certain etiquette for when you hear the Canadian National Anthem (or any anthem for that matter) played.  It shows a sign of respect if you stand during the whole song.   The men must remove their hats; many times you will see them place the hats over their hearts.  It is not necessary for women and children to remove their hats, but now a day’s most do.  

The Canadian National Anthem has as much history as the country itself does.  Loved by past and present Canadians, it will go into the future with pride and beauty translated into its words.  

Facts

Toronto is a great city, a city with a lot going on throughout the year! Everything from the city’s tallest skyscraper to its public transportation, there hundreds of interesting tidbits and facts available! There are also many rumours about the city, so hopefully this page will hopefully clarify the facts about Toronto.

Fact! 

There are five major regions of the City of Toronto; Downtown, East End, West End, North End, and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Within each of those you will find hundreds of smaller Toronto neighbourhoods.

Each Toronto neighbourhood has its own distinct atmosphere — and in some cases culture! Places such as Greektown, Little Italy, Koreatown, Chinatown, Little Portugal, and Little India are filled to the brim with authentic cuisine, music, and lifestyle.

There are over 100 different languages spoken within the city of Toronto. Another fact about Toronto is that Toronto is one of the most multicultural destinations in North America. 

Not only is it one of the most multicultural, but it is also the largest financial city in Canada, and 5th largest city in all of North America.

Another Toronto fact is that the city is the largest retail market in Canada, with stores and products brought in from all over the world.

Toronto’s CN Tower was the tallest free standing skyscraper in the world until quite recently. Right beside the CN Tower is the Rogers Centre. Many locals still call the Rogers Centre by its old name — the Skydome!

Toronto arts is a big industry — along with Toronto entertainment. The film industry has reached well into the city, marking its territory with events such as the Toronto International Film Festival. Find out more on this festival at www.tiff.net.

Another cool feature is that over 25% of Hollywood films are actually filmed in Toronto! Famous Toronto film and tv actors include Mike Myers, Eugene Levy, Jim Carrey, John Candy, Eric McCormack, Catherine O’Hara, and Howie Mandel. 

Toronto Musicians and famous bands from Toronto include Jim Creeggan, Steven Page, and Ed Robertson of the Barenaked Ladies, Deborah Cox, Fefe Dobson, Neil Young, and Sharon, Lois & Bram!

Toronto has one of the most respected zoos in North America and one of the largest. The Toronto Zoo is a lovely home for over 5000 creatures. It is located on the outskirts of the city in the Greater Toronto Area and open all year long! Learn more about this great attraction at www.torontozoo.com

Another fact about Toronto is that the city holds many festivals throughout the seasons which bring international visitors. The most popular of the Toronto events are the Caribana Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, and the Gay Pride Parade

An obvious fact about Toronto, especially if you are a local, is that there are four distinct seasons. The city is considered within continental Canada, so there is a summer, fall, winter, and spring. 

Temperature in Toronto summers can reach as high as 35°C and can often have high humidity due to Lake Ontario. During the hottest days of summer, people migrate to the Beaches, swimming pools, and patios located all around the city. 

Temperature in Toronto winter gets decidedly colder after the coolness of fall–which often easily reaches -10°C. But Toronto doesn’t let the snow get to it–you can have fun at any of the festivals such as Winterlicious, and Cavalcade of Lights.

Toronto public transit is easy, quick, and convenient. It is called the TTC and there are over 50 subway stations and plenty of bus routes. You can also find access to the GO bus and trains which travel outside of the city boundaries. 

You can also access the city, or leave the city, through the any of the airports. There are 3 major Toronto airports; Pearson International Airport, Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, and Toronto/Buttonville Municipal Airport

Another cool fact about Toronto is that it is completely pedestrian and cyclist friendly. For easy walking, look for the Pedestrian PATH signs. And, the new BIXY rentable bicycles can be found on almost every corner of downtown Toronto. 

Did you know that Toronto has 6 major sport teams; Toronto Blue Jays, Toronto Argonauts, Toronto FC, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Toronto Raptors

Toronto is a very active city! Not only does Toronto love to watch sports, but we love to play sports. The city is lined with hiking trails, walking paths, golf courses, and sport fields. You can always find a sports league or organization for you and your family, no matter the season.

There are so many facts about Toronto, especially since the city is so large. Find more on this wonderful city through Totally Toronto. This is truly a great city to explore.

Flag

torontoflag

Toronto like other cities in Canada has its own flag.  In 1974 the City of Toronto decided on the need for a flag to represent itself within the province and within the country.  This was also to be used for marking its members on federal and provincial councils.

A City of Toronto Flag Design Committee was appointed in August of 1974 to come up with the design for a Toronto Flag.  There were five members on this team. These members consisted of Reid Scott Q.C. Alderman, together with Alderman Paul B. Pickett Q.C as co-chairs.  Alderman Edward Negridge, Colin Vaughan and Anne Johnstone were the members.  This team was to determine a suitable design to represent Toronto in the form of a flag.

A competition was launched to the public and submissions were requested as to a design and explanation of how and why such design would encompass the City of Toronto and capture meaning in the form of a flag.

This flag would be 3’x6′ and would of course be hung at various destinations as deemed appropriate as well as of course participate in ‘flag-raising’ ceremonies.

A design submitted by a George Brown College student Renato De Santis received the most votes from City Council and on November 6, 1974. Renato was only 21 at the time of his design acceptance and his design allowed Toronto to be officially represented by it’s own flag!

Two blocks of blue color represented the Twin Towers of the Toronto City hall, while a red maple leaf in the center at the bottom of the flag depicted the Council Chambers location at the base of the two towers.  The maple leaf as a symbol was taken directly from the Canadian flag and naturally represented Canada.

Similar to other cities experiencing rapid economic and population growth in a fairly short period of time, Toronto became surrounded by boroughs that developed in pockets surrounded what was to be known at Metro or the city centre.

Soon each borough developed its own branch offices representing all areas of public service. Each borough had its own Mayor, school boards, public works etc.  This became extremely de-centralized, costly and inefficient due to the duplication in offices, staff, and lack of communications.

By 1997 a need for centralization was established and the six boroughs joined together with Metro to become amalgamated into one large city known as Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).  Need for a new flag?  With 1997 also came a bid for a new flag design.  Over 1000 submissions were submitted and declined by City Council.

Renato De Santis suggested he submit his original with some modifications to encompass the story of the amalgamation.  This again was the winning submission.  By October 1999 Toronto had a new flag approved and waving over the city.

Geography

Toronto’s geography is almost as diverse as its culture. There are distinct differences in everything from the elevation to the soil on the west and east side of the city. With its winding rivers and surrounding lakes, the geography effects parts of Toronto such as the climate and vegetation.

The city of Toronto covers an area of around 243 square miles. Toronto sits on top of sedimentary rock. It rests at the top of lake Ontario towards the west side. 

A neat thing about Toronto is the name of the city comes from the Huron word Tkaronto. It stands for fishing weir, which is a structure of trees placed in water to trap fish.

Toronto’s latitude is 43 39 N, with a Longitude of 79 23 W. The city stretches from west to east about 43 kilometres. It borders on Etobicoke just outside of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) on the west, and runs along the Rouge River on the east.

 

If you travel from the north to the south of the city, you will find that it is about 21 kilometres of downhill towards Lake Ontario. The north border ends at Steeles Avenue. The city is on a large plateau, you know you are traveling south when you are looking down on Lake Ontario.

If you were to stand at the lowest point of Toronto, it is approximately 76.5 meters (above sea level). Compared to the highest point of the city, which is Steeles Avenue, which stands at 208 meters. There is a 131.5 meter difference between the most northerly point and the most southerly point of Toronto!

The city is scored by two major rivers running straight through. The Don River follows through the East End of Toronto into the Toronto Harbour

The Humber River runs through the West End of the city and also flows into Lake Ontario from the Toronto Harbour. This all makes up the larger Waterfront area.

Toronto Harbour was created naturally out of sediment build-up. The sediment was created by the same lake currents that created the popular Toronto Islands. There are other smaller creeks that run through the city; all the water ways lead to Lake Ontario which eventually meets the Atlantic Ocean Drainage Basin.

The land directly in front of Toronto Harbour on the other hand was man made. In the late 19th century, the people of Toronto artificial made the Harbourfront area larger. 

In fact, if you visit the St. Lawrence Market you will be standing on the old dock (as well as the old City Hall). That entire end of the city was originally submerged in water.

Toronto Islands used to be connected to the mainland until the mid-1800s. During a massive storm, the islands were separated from the city. But it created a channel that still allows boats to pass through.

There are also a large number of deep ravines. They are usually surrounded by thick forests and greenery, you will often find hiking trails, parks, walkways, and picnic spots near all of Toronto’s ravines. 

There have been issues with the number of ravines in Toronto; some streets have to be divided. Look at Finch Avenue or St. Clair St, they stop on one side of the ravine and continue on the other.

The overall landscape of Toronto is not particularly bumpy. You have odd hills (most of them found in the Midtown neighbourhoods in the North End) here and there, but it is a relatively flat piece of land.

There are over 1500 parks within the Toronto borders. These include woodlots, farmlands, ravines, forests and waterfront areas. Within these wonderfully green spaces, you can explore, bike ride, hike, and enjoy.

In 2005, the Ontario Greenbelt was announced. It is about 2800 square miles of preserved greenery in between neighbourhoods. 

Because Toronto is still inland (away from any major oceans), it is considered continental. This is the reason for Toronto’s four distinct seasons. On the other hand, it sits on Lake Ontario which produces a Lake Effect.

The Lake Effect affects the climate within Toronto. During the summer, you get cool lake breezes with a lot of humidity. In the winter, the Lake Effect produces warm lake breezes, making Downtown Toronto slightly warmer then the rest of Ontario.

Regardless of where you are in Toronto, one thing for certain is the utter beauty of the entire city. Toronto’s geography is unique for North America and also helps to produce some unusual weather throughout the year! 

Take a look around Totally Toronto for more information on this great city.

Greater Toronto Area

Greater Toronto Area is the townships and neighbourhoods that do not fall into the four main cities of the Toronto regions. They are farther than the west-end, east-end, north-end and downtown districts. This was not always the case as the City of Toronto was much smaller.

 

The Greater Toronto Area stretches across 2,751 square miles. Because of the areas being mainly suburbs and farmlands in the past, huge sections of the Greater Toronto Area are comprised of forests and farmlands.

 

There are also nature conservation and parks in abundance, Rouge Park being the largest as it reaches out across 12,356 acres through the Greater Toronto Area.  The areas that are defined today by the Greater Toronto Area are; East York, Etobicoke, North York, Scarborough and York. These areas were suburbs and smaller townships.

As such, in 1940 the City of Toronto wanted the areas listed above to be part of the City of Toronto. Unfortunately, this was met with resistance from the smaller communities and a compromise was reached. It was called the Metropolitan Toronto by the 1960s and comprised of East York, Etobicoke, North York, Scarborough and York.  

After much deliberation over the next few years from these townships and surrounding regions like the City of Mississauga and the Town of Markham, the main five regions of the Metropolitan Toronto became what is now know as the Greater Toronto Area or GTA. 

East York was first made a township in 1924 and ran along the east side of Old Toronto. It officially became part of the Greater Toronto Area in 1998. East York has a population of 112,000 people and many of the inhabitants are of middle and working class. It is also where famous comedian and actor John Candy was born. 

The neighbourhoods found within East York are:

  • Bermondsey
  • Crescent Town
  • Leaside
  • Governor’s Bridge
  • O’Connor-Parkview
  • Old East York
  • Pape Village and 
  • Thorncliffe Park

Etobicoke runs along the western side of Toronto and was originally a township in 1850. Etobicoke transformed to a Borough, then to part of Metropolitan Toronto and finally became part of the Greater Toronto Area in 1998. The region has a population of 338,000 people who are mainly from the middle class. There are a few neighbourhoods within Etobicoke that have become overlooked in general care, such as Rexdale. 

The neighbourhoods found within Etobicoke are:

  • Alderwood
  • Claireville
  • Centennial Park
  • Eatonville
  • The Elms
  • Eringate
  • Humber Heights-Westmount
  • Humber Valley Village
  • Humberwood
  • Islington-Six Points
  • Kingsview Village
  • The Kingsway
  • Long Branch
  • Markland Wood
  • Mimco
  • New Toronto
  • Princess Gardens
  • Rexdale
  • Richview
  • Smithfield
  • Stonegate-Queensway
  • Sunnylea
  • Thistletown
  • Thorncrest Village
  • West Humber-Clairville
  • West Deane Park
  • Willowridge. 

North York was its own township in 1922 and became part of the Greater Toronto Area in 1998. The population of North York is around 635,000 and can be characterized as having the most multicultural Toronto neighbourhoods. North York also is known for having some of both the wealthier and poorest neighbourhoods in the Greater Toronto Area. Celine Dion was a resident of the North York Region. 

The neighbourhoods found in North York are;

  • Amesbury
  • Armour Heights
  • Bathurst Manor
  • Bayview Village
  • Bayview Woods-Steeles
  • Bermondsey
  • Black Creek
  • The Bridle Path
  • Clanton Park
  • Don Mills
  • Don Valley Village
  • Downsview
  • Emery
  • Flemingdon Park
  • Glen Park
  • Henry Farm
  • Hillcrest Village
  • Hogg’s Hollow
  • Humbre Summit
  • Humbermede
  • Jane and Finch
  • Lansing
  • Lawrence Heights
  • Ledbury Park
  • Lawrence Manor
  • Maple Leaf
  • Newtonbrook
  • NorthYork Centre
  • Parkway Forest
  • Parkwoods
  • The Peanut
  • Pelmo Park-Humberlea
  • Pleasant View
  • Uptown Toronto
  • Victoria Park Village
  • Westminster-Branson
  • Willowdale
  • York Mills
  • York University Heights.

Scarborough was a township in 1850 and morphed from borough to part of the Greater Toronto Area by 1998. Scarborough has a population of over 600,000 and much like North York, has a huge diversity. Many neighbourhoods have homes for immigrants to Canada and many places of worship throughout the area. Scarborough is dominated by the Rouge River Valley and is considered the greenest of all Toronto. 

The neighbourhoods found in Scarborough are:

  • Agincourt
  • Armadale
  • Bendale
  • Birch Cliff
  • Bridlewood
  • Brown’s Corners
  • Clairlea
  • Cliffside
  • Cliffcrest
  • Dorset Park
  • Eglinton East
  • Golden Mile
  • Guildwood
  • Highland Creek
  • Hillside
  • Ionview
  • L’Amoreaux
  • Malvern
  • Maryvale
  • Miliken
  • Morningside Heights
  • Morningside
  • Oakridge
  • Orton Park
  • Port Union
  • Rouge
  • Scarborough City Centre
  • Scarborough Junction
  • Scarborough Village
  • Steeles
  • Tam O’Shanter-Sullivan
  • West Hill
  • West Rouge
  • Wexford
  • Wishing Well Acres
  • Woburn.

York was a township in 1793 until it became a borough and then a city by 1983. York was integrated into the Greater Toronto Area in 1998. York has a population of approximately 150,000 and approximately half of that number being immigrants.  Unfortunately, York was recently labelled the murder capital of Toronto although the region has undergone a massive clean-up since 2009. 

The neighbourhoods found in York are:

  • Baby Point
  • Eglinton West
  • Fairbank
  • Humewood-Cedarvale
  • Lambton
  • Mount Dennis
  • Oakwood-Vaughan
  • Old Mill
  • Rockcliffe-Smythe
  • Silverthorn
  • Weston.

The Greater Toronto Area is where one goes to live within Toronto but away from the hustle of Downtown Toronto. What started as a divided province of Ontario has now become a unified city, with forests, lakes, city lights, of cultural and economic diversity. 

Health Care

Toronto’s healthcare system is very user friendly.  All residents of the Province of Ontario are covered by the Ontario Healthcare Act and are in possession of an OHIP card.  This stands for Ontario Health Insurance Plan.

The services covered with a health card would be paid for by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.  In order to be eligible for this service one must reside in the Province of Ontario as a Citizen or with immigrant status.  At least 153 days during a 12-month period must be spent in Ontario in order to continue receiving the healthcare benefits.

The Ministry of Health and Long Term Care will pay for a wide range of medical services, however, should the service be considered not medically necessary or cosmetic the patient will be responsible for the fee.  There are many grey areas to be accepted at the discretion of the practitioner.

For example the removal of a mole could be considered medical treatment if there is potential of cancerous development.  The removal of a mole for appearance purposes is considered cosmetic and therefore not covered.

Some ambulance charges are covered depending on the case as well by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term care.  If you are a resident of Ontario and have a valid Healthcare card your service will be covered if the doctor deems it necessary for you to have utilized such a service, and if the trip originated from within Ontario and is completed within Ontario.

The fee will also be covered if there isn’t a clinic to deliver the patient to in Ontario able to handle the case, and the patient needs to be transported outside the province or country for the procedure.   There may be a $45 co-payment fee depending on the situation.

Each person riding in the Ambulance is responsible for their health card information and will be billed accordingly.  There are variables to this — please see www.Ontario.ca for further details.

If you are travelling to Toronto from outside the Province and have health coverage in your Province you will have to pay upfront to the Provincial healthcare provider you have sought services from then submit your claim for reimbursement from your own Provincial provider.

If you are travelling Internationally, the full cost of your medical services and ambulance fees must be paid upon receipt of such ride or service.

Healthcare in Toronto does not only include medical, there are others that are provided for by various healthcare professionals:

  • immunization programs
  • addiction services
  • child health services
  • emergency services
  • ocular health
  • cancer screening
  • bone density diagnostics
  • long term care services

Depending on your age and circumstance there are various levels of coverage in each case.

The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care also cover many assistive devices. These would include:

  • hearing aids
  • walking aids
  • feeding supplies
  • oxygen and other medical aids

Routine eye exams are covered annually for children under the age of 18 and bi-annually for adults unless there are extenuating factors.

A licensed medical professional would base the factors that can vary this coverage on age, gender, ethnicity and previous screening.

For example if there was any pre-determined risk of Macular Degeneration (MD) or Open Angle Glaucoma (OAG) there would be a need for increased observation of the individuals ocular health.

Cancer screening is also included in this healthcare category.  The Ministry pays for genetic propensity routine cancer screening as well.

Dental Health is not part of this program and unless it is deemed a medical necessity and an individual requires the treatment for physical health reasons in a hospital setting there is no Ministry coverage for dental care.  (please see article on Dental Health)

The medical profession is governed by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, which in turn is governed by the Canadian Medical Association.

For further details on the Healthcare system in Toronto that is governed by the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care in Ontario, please visit or call:

ServiceOntario, Infoline at 1-866-532-3161

(Toll-free in Ontario only)

TTY 1-800-387-5559.

In Toronto, TTY 416-327-4282

Hours of operation: 8:30 am – 5:00 pm

Clinics
Dental Services
Hospitals
Ontario Health Insurance Plan
Rehabilitation

History

In the space of a couple of centuries, the history of the city of Toronto has shown that it has grown from a tiny output of the British Empire to a world class city and the largest city in Canada.

The first humans to settle in Toronto were the Iroquoians speaking people known as the Huron tribe on the north shore of Lake Ontario. The French introduced the fur trade with the native people and supplied them with essential goods making them dependent upon the French.

The first European explorer to traverse the city know named Toronto was Etienne Brule in 1615. For most of the period from 1615 to 1759 Toronto was called French Toronto and the region was very much in control of the native people. The French and Indian war lasting from 1754-1759 spelled the end of French Toronto and also the end of the entire French Empire in North America.

A revolution of an entirely different nature came to Toronto in the 1850’s via the railway system. Allowing both people and goods to be transported in hours rather than days; the railway system in a few decades would transform Toronto, transforming it from a small town into a full fledged city.

The first Canadian railways were portage lines connecting lakes and rivers by steam power. But the rail line that put Toronto on the International map was named the Grand Trunk Railway.

Conceived as a through line from the Atlantic coast to the American Midwest, it linked Toronto with Montreal in October 1856 and was completed to the United States in 1859. At this time it was the longest rail line in the world, and became part of Canadian National System, which is still the largest railway system of the world.

As Toronto grew an increasing number of those living in the surrounding region commuted into the city both for work and pleasure. A process aided and abetted by the railway and soon to be usage of street cars. 

The city began to look for a wider tax base to support its emerging infrastructure, although by the same token those living in area near the city boundaries often restricted the idea of joining the city because they did not want the increased taxes that went with such a move.

The Canadian National Exhibition, created as a showcase for Toronto’s industry and commerce is one of the reasons the city emerged as the most powerful in the country. Success requires promotion, and the Exhibition was just the thing to accomplish this. 

The Exhibition began as a display for agriculture. In 1846 the Provincial Agriculture Association and the Board of Agriculture organized an annual fair to be rotated among several cities in Canada West. The first of these fair’s were held on the grounds of the Government House in Toronto. The fair did not return to the city again until 1852 and then again in 1858. It was in the latter year that a showpiece building named the Crystal Palace was erected to house the exhibits.

In the late 1890’s until the first world war is when Toronto developed much of the infrastructure considered modern, aided by the advanced construction technology.

One of the driving forces was the wide use of electricity, which not only allowed for electric required by homes, but also provided power for the new electric street cars. The street cars suddenly increased the distance over which it was practical to commute to one’s place of work. Electric street lights had begun to be installed in 1883.

As the 19th century turned into the 20th a movement arose in England against the “dark satanic mills” of some of the industrial party of that country. Aviation in Canada began as a baling wire and canvas affair, its usefulness jolted by the 1st world war, then developed into a thriving and competitive airmail business, and finally emerged as a passenger carrying business in the 1930’s for the masses. 

The first airfield in Canada, let alone Toronto was on the present day site of the power station at Long Branch. The airfields were opened in 1915 by pioneer aircraft manufacturer Curtiss Aeroplanes. Another airfield was established in 1917 at Leaside to train pilots for the Royal Flying Corporation.

As early as 1911 plans had been created for a sub surface railway to replace the streetcars of the day, but it was an idea before its time and never materialized. The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) decided in 1942 to proceed with a subway along Yonge Street, which often became clogged with streetcars as well as automobiles. 

The current “Transit City” plan envisions a more economical widely spread network of new light rail lines with high speed streetcars running on dedicated right of way.

Local Farms

When people think of the City of Toronto, bricks, mortar and bright lights come to mind; however, the city is still green and growing. There are many local farms in the area that provide great produce to Toronto.

What started out as a bustling farm community in the 1830’s has turned into a vibrant, metropolitan city, yet you don’t have to look far to find the freshness of Toronto farms. Some of the richest soil in Canada can be found in the Toronto area.

Fresh fruit, vegetables and locally raised beef, pork and poultry are available right at the farm gate and at downtown markets. City restaurants also take advantage of the fact that they are so close to some of the best farms in the country. 

It is true that the downtown area is now dominated by big corporations, but the outskirts of the city still offer residents and visitors with a great opportunity to enjoy fresh produce and meats.

Beretta Organic Farms is just to the west of the downtown core in the community of Etobicoke. The family run business offers beef, pork, chicken, lamb, turkey, bison and authentic Canadian Maple Syrup. 

To the east of the city you will find the popular Whittamore’s Farm, where fresh berries are the claim to fame. A short drive to the north of the city and Forsythe Family Farm can provide you with pasture raised beef. 

Pingles Farm in Durham and Downey’s Farm in Dufferin have such good reputations that major newspapers have written about them. Below is a list of other nearby communities where a lot of local farms can be found:

  • Uxbridge
  • Stouffville
  • King Township
  • Oshawa
  • Caledon
  • Bradford
  • Aurora
  • Innisfil

Farm Markets

A lot of the food produced from the above areas ends up at farm fresh markets downtown. Places like the St. Lawrence Market, Kensington Market, as well as smaller markets throughout the city take pride in offering local fruit and vegetables, including organically grown items. The markets also sell home baked goods that are made from fresh, farm grown ingredients. 

Farming Treasures

In a low-lying area, just 40 kilometres outside of Toronto sits 7,000 acres of the richest soil in Canada. This land is known as the Holland Marsh. 

Dutch, European and Asian immigrants have worked the land here since the 1930’s, producing top quality vegetables and ornamental flowers. 

The marsh is the envy of many other farming communities, and Toronto residents are thrilled to have such easy access to it. About 90 per-cent of all Asian vegetables consumed in Ontario are grown in the Holland Marsh.

Even closer to the city; in Maple, is Southbrook Farms. This farm offers a unique combination of fresh vegetables and wine. The owners of Southbrook grow grapes in the Niagara region of Ontario, but sell their wine at their Maple farm market. 

Pick Your Own

Many Toronto area farmers encourage consumers to get outdoors and pick their own fruits and vegetables. In addition to getting some fresh air, picking your own is often cheaper than buying at the farm gate or at the local market. 

Picking your own apples, strawberries or blueberries for example, can be a fun outing for the whole family. To decide where to go and what to pick visit www.pickyourown.org/canadaon.htm and then click on Greater Toronto Area.

Farm Fun

Farming in Toronto isn’t all about food though; it’s about having fun. Take Riverdale Farm for example. It was established in 1894 as a small zoo, but in 1978 all the animals were transferred to what is now the Metro Toronto Zoo

The Riverdale farm became an urban farm used to teach city children about food production and rural living. Today it continues to be a very popular outdoor attraction in the city. Visit Riverdale farm at www.friendsofriverdalefarm.com.

Outside of the city, in the small farming community of Schomberg you will find a similar place called Puck’s Farm. Here kids can enjoy a petting zoo that includes domestic and farm animals, hay rides, crafts, and they can even learn how to milk a cow on their own.

Southbrook also offers fun for the family. For details you can go to www.southbrookpumpkinpatch.com.

There is a lot of enthusiasm in Toronto for farm fresh food. While many big cities focus on stories about the number of family farms dwindling, Toronto residents embrace what agricultural gems still exist close to home. 

Local Farms

There are even a number of agencies in the city that now encourage city dwellers to try growing their own fruits and vegetables. Young Urban Growers was developed to help people grow their own fresh food in an urban environment. Many Torontonians have enjoyed success with assistance from groups like this. 

As you can see, it is easy for city and country to come together if you are in Toronto.

Neighbourhoods

Known as the ‘city of neighbourhoods’ Toronto is conveniently divided into regions. Toronto of the past was just the central downtown and close surrounding area. But in 1998, the City of Toronto was revised and expanded, by a lot. The city of Toronto now has more than a whopping 240 neighbourhoods, making this great city… even greater.

The first division to look at is the four large sections; Downtown Core or Central Toronto, East End, North End and West End. There is also to take into account the large areas in the surrounding area around Toronto. These Toronto neighbourhoods will be explained at the bottom. 

The Downtown Core or Central Toronto is where most of the financial and business areas are located. It is also the main original area that was the former City of Toronto. Fast paced and open 24/7, Central Toronto is not a place for those looking for peace and quiet.

The Toronto neighbourhoods that can be found in Central Toronto are as follows (alphabetically):

  • Alexandra Park
  • The Annex
  • Baldwin Village
  • Cabbagetown
  • Cityplace
  • Chinatown
  • Church and Wellesley (The Gay Village)
  • Corktown
  • Discovery District
  • Distillery District
  • The Entertainment District
  • The Fashion District
  • The Financial District
  • Garden District
  • Grange Park
  • Harbord Village
  • Harbourfront
  • Kensington Market 
  • Moss Park
  • Queen Street West
  • Regent Park
  • St James Town
  • St Lawrence
  • Toronto Islands
  • Trefann Court
  • University of Toronto and 
  • Yorkville

The East End became part of the City of Toronto in 1908 and had a population of just 5,000 people. It is now considered one of the best areas to live in due to it not being directly located within the heart of Toronto yet still close. The beautiful old homes, new buildings and easy TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) access are also pluses for the East End.  

The East End neighbourhoods are as follows (alphabetically):

  • The Beaches
  • East Danforth
  • Gerrard St East (Little India)
  • Greektown
  • Leslieville
  • Main Square
  • Playter Estates
  • Portlands
  • Riverdale and 
  • Upper Beaches

The North End is home to older neighbourhoods and homes. It is also more financially stable then some of the surrounding regions. 

The North End neighbourhoods are listed below (alphabetically):

  • Bedford Park
  • Casa Loma
  • Chaplin Estates
  • Davisville Village
  • Deer Park (Yonge and St Clair)
  • Forest Hill
  • Lawrence Park
  • Lytton Park
  • Midtown
  • Moore Park
  • North Toronto
  • Rosedale
  • South Hill
  • Summerhill
  • Wanless Park
  • Wychwood Park and 
  • Yonge and Eglinton

The West End is rich with culture and character. This is also a great area for living, with a lot around for all ages.

 The West End neighbourhoods are listed below (alphabetically):

  • Bloor West Village
  • Bracondale Hill
  • Brockton Village
  • Carleton Village
  • Corso Italia
  • Davenport Park
  • Dufferin Grove
  • Earlscourt
  • Fort York
  • High Park
  • The Junction
  • Junction Triangle
  • Koreatown
  • Liberty Village
  • Little Italy
  • Little Portugal
  • Malta Village
  • Mirvish Village
  • Niagara
  • Palmerston
  • Parkdale
  • Pelham Park
  • Roncesvalles
  • Runnymede
  • Seaton Village
  • Swansea and 
  • Trinity-Bellwoods (Portugal Village)

The surrounding regions around the City of Toronto where not always considered part of the city. They used to known as Townships around Toronto. One by one they were pulled into the Toronto municipality, expanding the city and efficiently creating what is now known as the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).  

Most of the Greater Toronto Area is considered suburbs, with houses and apartments ranging from all prices depending on the area. But they have started to build their own stronger communities in the past few years. 

The regions for the GTA are as follows:

  • East York
  • Etobicoke
  • Scarborough
  • North York and 
  • York.

Within each region of the GTA are more villages and neighbourhoods.

Toronto is also broken up in a more diverse way. They are listed above but also deserve their own listing. As Toronto grew, more and more immigrants came to settle down. In that, they started to form their own little communities. These little communities have now grown into trademarks all over Toronto, bringing authentic cuisine, clothing, music and more.

Respectfully, they are:

  • Chinatown
  • Greektown
  • Koreatown
  • Little India (Gerrard St East)
  • Little Italy
  • Little Portugal

There are other less formal communities as well (Little Poland and Little Jamaica are a couple), all based around a group of people who came to Canada and wanted a little reminder of home.

Toronto neighbourhoods have acted like puzzle pieces. Slowly and carefully, they have shifted into place, creating the City of Toronto, as we know it today. Toronto is full of life, diversity and one great transit system (not to mention a great place for Toronto Real Estate).

News & Media

As the media capital of Canada, it’s no surprise that Toronto is the headquarters for a sizeable number of newspapers, both regional and national. Four of the top ten largest newspapers are based here, as well as a variety of smaller specialty papers.

Toronto Newspapers

Here is a breakdown of the newspapers available in Toronto.

Toronto Star

As the most prominent paper in Toronto and the highest circulation daily newspaper in the country, the Toronto Star is one of the most powerful voices in the city’s media landscape. 

It publishes seven days a week, and has a circulation of over 300,000 on weekdays; 460,000 on Saturdays. It is known as being a voice for Canadian nationalism, as well as having a centre-left political viewpoint. 

In recent elections it has generally thrown its editorial weight behind the Liberal and NDP parties. The Toronto Star is a regular winner of national and international awards in journalism and photography, including a Pulitzer Prize.

Much of the paper’s popularity can be attributed to its extensive coverage of a wide range of topics and fields. While it is known for having wide-ranging international coverage, The Star tends to focus on the Greater Toronto Area

Including the various immigrant communities that make up much of the city’s population. They regularly feature in-depth sections on travel, real estate, shopping, food, and automobiles.

Globe and Mail

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s largest nationally distributed newspaper, and second only to the Star in overall circulation. It is published six days a week Monday through Saturday. It is known domestically and internationally as Canada’s main national paper, although it does tend to focus particularly on Toronto. 

Home to arguably the best quality writing of the city’s papers, it has been traditionally been considered to be a paper of the country’s literary and business elite.

The business side of the Globe and Mail is probably the most prominent, presented through their Report on Business brand. They are also known for significant literary sections, especially on the weekends. 

In recent years they have seen noteworthy changes to their format and content, including more graphics and colour sections.

National Post

A relatively new entrant to the national print scene, the National Post positions itself on the far right side of the ideological spectrum. It is published six days a week, Monday to Saturday. 

Founded by notorious media baron Conrad Black, the goal of the paper was to address a perceived liberal bias in Canadian Media. Criticized by some for its extreme-right stances on issues such as Israel and Iran, the paper has nonetheless carved out a niche in the Toronto newspaper market. 

These days the paper is known for business, literary, and sports coverage, and has an editorial stance in line with the governing Conservative Party.

Toronto Sun

The Toronto Sun is a tabloid-style newspaper that belongs to the larger family of Sun Media newspapers found in major cities across the country. 

It is a populist paper known for its daily “Sunshine Girl” feature as well as comprehensive coverage of sports, city and crime stories. The paper is infamous for having a sensationalist perspective on news, especially crime-related issues. 

News stories tend to be much shorter and the language tends to be more conversational than language used in other newspapers. It publishes daily.

Metro

One of several free daily (weekday) papers in Toronto, Metro is owned by the large international Metro chain. The paper features quick articles on a range of topics, designed to be read by commuters on their way to, from or at work. 

On different days of the week the paper features more in-depth sections on topics such as travel, food, lifestyle, jobs and real estate. The chain generally pools its content with the other Metro papers in Canada, as well as getting some material from the Torstar chain that owns the Toronto Star.

24 Hours

Another free daily distributed by the Sun Media chain on a Monday to Friday basis. Similar in form to Metro, 24 Hours features shorter more graphics-focused content. It gets much of its inspiration from the Sun chain and British tabloid-style newspapers.

Foreign-language Papers

Home to a large population born outside of Canada, Toronto has a number of foreign-language papers. There are three Chinese-language newspapers based in the city, which all publish in broadsheet format. 

Today Daily News, World Journal, Ming Pao Daily News and Sing Tao Daily all publish seven days a week. The latter two are the largest, with circulations over 150,000.

Corriere Canadese is an Italian-language daily newspaper, published in Toronto and distributed to major Canadian cities. Other weekly papers include Salam Toronto, a Persian-English bilingual publication; Shahrvand, the largest Persian language newspaper in North America; Thamilar Senthamarai, a Tamil-language paper; and two publications for the city’s Jewish population, The Jewish Tribune and Canadian Jewish News.

Alternative Weekly

Toronto has several weekly arts-and-culture focused alternative weekly papers, the two most popular being Now and The Grid (formerly Eye Weekly).

They can be picked up in cafes, stores, restaurants, movie theatres and on the street. These papers are a great source of information about what’s happening in the city at any given time. 

They both provide in-depth coverage on music, film, theatre and culture, as well as municipal issues often overlooked by the larger city newspapers.

People

The people of Toronto are a vital part of the puzzle. They are what makes the city so unique and diverse. Although there are ethnic, language, religious, and social status differences, one thing remains the same, the heart and soul of Toronto’s people.

The population of Toronto is about 2.5 million, which equals to 25% of Canada’s total population. Out of the 2.5 million, 49% of the residents are born outside of the country. This is part of the reason why the city has such rich culture.

Toronto culture is one of the most diverse within Canada. Because there are so many different races within a small radius, you can truly experience the cuisine, art, music, language, and beliefs of many different cultures.

Some Toronto neighbourhoods are completely dedicated to different cultures; for example, Greektown, Chinatown, Little Italy, Little India, Portugal Village, and Koreatown. These neighbourhoods can be found in the North End, West End, East End, and Downtown regions of Toronto.

The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) is home to almost 40% of new immigrants to Canada. The Aboriginal community makes up over 30,000 of the GTA population (that is 2.7% of all the Aboriginals in Canada).

Immigrants to Canada must cooperate with the Canadian Immigration Requirements, but once here, the possibilities are endless. 

The current demographic of Toronto from the largest group to smallest group is; Caucasian, South Asian, Chinese, Black, Filipino, Latin American, West Asian, Southeast Asian, Korean, Arab, and Japanese.

There are five major minorities within Toronto; South Asian (298,372), Chinese (283,075), Black (208,555), Filipino (102,555), and Latin American (64,860). 

The number of visible minorities not only in Toronto but also Canada has grown four times more over the past 30 years. The number from the 2006 census was 5 million.

But culture isn’t the only thing that brings flavour to Toronto; the age range of local residents is wide. The younger crowd aged around 14 and under makes up 17% of Toronto. Although 13.6% of Toronto’s population is aged 65 and older, the medium revolving around 36 years old makes up the rest.

With such a diverse group of people, it only makes sense that there are many different languages spoken in Toronto. Although the two primary languages of Canada are English and French, there are another five languages most seen in the city; Chinese, Italian, Punjabi, Pilipino, and Portuguese.

Other (non-official) languages spoken within Toronto are Tamil, Spanish, and Chinese dialects: Cantonese and Mandarin.

Religion in Toronto is, naturally, as diverse as the residents. 

The largest religious group in Toronto is Christianity, especially Catholic. Other major religions in Toronto is Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, and Sikhism. 

There is also a huge part of the Toronto population who claim no connection to any religion. Ethnic diversity in Toronto is large; there are over 200 ethnic origins in the city. 

There is also a distinction between social statuses in many parts of Toronto. If you travel to the North End, you will find the older and wealthier residents of the city.

The West End is a mix of wealthier neighbourhoods and middle class. There are certain neighbourhoods in the West End that are low income. The same could be said for the East End; although it is majority middle class to low income.

People from all social statuses and cultures live in Downtown Toronto neighbourhoods. Whereas the Greater Toronto Area is home to a huge amount of middle class residents.

Because of the amount of diversity in culture, race, age, and religion, you can find support groups for everything. There is always a friendly face near by, Toronto support groups can be found for parents, religious organizations, education, addiction, and counselling.

Toronto people have grown over the years into a living community. We accept all backgrounds and care only about the human heart. For more information on the people of this city, browse through the Totally Toronto links.

Pets in Toronto

Toronto has a long history of being a pet friendly city. There are great animal services here, making it easy to own and care for pets in Toronto. 

Measures have been put in place to ensure the safety of people and animals in all Toronto neighbourhoods, and if you are not an animal lover, your privacy is also protected.

The municipality runs Toronto Animal Services, which includes the issuing of licenses for cats and dogs, and the operation of shelters for lost or abandoned animals. 

You can get more information on Toronto Animal Services by going to www.toronto.ca/animal_services.

If you are moving to Toronto or visiting the city with a pet you won’t have any problems adjusting to your surroundings. For example, there are lots of Toronto pet stores that have a large inventory to both feed and entertain all kinds of pets. 

There are several, reliable pet store chains, as well as small, family run pet shops with knowledgeable staff to assist you. Toronto’s largest independent pet store is located on Queen Street East

When you are searching for a pet in Toronto, you will have a lot of options. Aside from cats and dogs, you can select one of many domesticated furry or non-furry friends. 

Hamsters, Guinea Pigs, Rabbits, Gerbils, Budgies, Canaries, Finches, Rats, Geckos, Bearded Dragons, Corn Snakes, Hermit Crabs, Tropical Fish, Goldfish…the list of possible pets goes on.

Pet Care

Toronto is in close proximity to the University of Guelph; known around the world for its outstanding veterinary program. Many of the top graduates have set up practice in and around Toronto following graduation. You don’t have to worry about finding good care for your pet if you are in the city of Toronto. 

If and when man’s best friend suddenly becomes ill and the vet clinic is closed, there is no need to panic. Toronto has a 24 hour a day, 7 days a week emergency clinic to help your pet. 

VEC (Veterinary Emergency Clinic) has 2 locations and a long list of specialists ready to jump into action. Check them out at www.vectoronto.com.

Events

Some of the world’s most exciting pet events are held in Toronto. For example, the annual show featuring everything dog related; Woofstock draws people from all walks of life. 

For information on other pet related events you can go to www.petdirections.com or try www.torontopetnetwork.com.

Pet Laws

Under Toronto law all dogs and cats owned in the city must have a license. If you don’t get a license you can face a fine of over $200. Owning a prohibited exotic pet can lead to a fine in the thousands of dollars. 

Having an exotic pet can seem like a great idea, but many have proven to be inappropriate for city living. Exotic animals can be charming; however, they also have the potential to be dangerous. The city does not allow the following exotic animals as household pets:

  • Chimpanzees, Gorillas, Monkeys
  • Lemurs
  • Marsupials
  • Kangaroos
  • Wallabies
  • Opossums
  • Lizards over 2 meters
  • Snakes over 3 meters

For a complete list of prohibited exotic animals contact the City of Toronto.

Toronto Pet laws are also is place to protect those who would prefer to live a pet free life. For instance, dog owners are asked to have their pets on a leash not only to prevent their furry friends from running into the street and getting hurt, but so they don’t run onto other people’s properties. Pet owners do have the option of going to a leash free park. 

Furry friends automatically come to mind when you think of household pets, but fish are a common pet in many Toronto households. 

You can find all the supplies you need for a great aquarium here. In fact, Canada’s largest aquarium service provider is located just on the outskirts of the city in Mississauga. You can visit the service at www.masaquarium.net.

Adopt-a-pet

Sadly, Toronto is much like other major cities; it has a lot of pets that need a good home. There are a number of organizations that focus on trying to match pets with new owners. 

Getting a pet can be a big decision, but it can also be a great addition to your life. The support that the city of Toronto provides, along with all the great animal services, makes pet ownership a lot less stressful.

Phone Numbers and Area Codes

A seemingly simple thing as a phone number surprisingly involves many factors.

Canada is part of the North American country code numbering system and is reached with the country code of 1.  The USA and the Caribbean share this numbering system.

In Ontario the 416 area code was the number out of 86 such codes that was assigned to Toronto and Greater Toronto area up to 1953.  At that time the population growth to the Niagara region had developed so much that a new 519 area code was assigned to the region west of Toronto.  It was afterwards considered long distance to call Niagara, London and such, as the area code differed.

It was not until 1993 that area code 905 was introduced to cover all other areas not part of what was known as Metropolitan Toronto. This included York Region, Durham and the Halton regions as well. 

Interestingly it then became a long distance phone call from York Region to Mississauga and this created a market for long distance plans and calling cards.

In 2001, the 416 area code was exhausted for Metropolitan Toronto and the 647 area code was added as what is known as an overlay number.  With the 647 area code you could be in Mississauga or York Region and all calls 905 or 416 were local.  This became the number to have and as people changed their 416 area codes to 647, 416 area codes became available again.  Many businesses and individuals hold 905 and 647 or 416 and 647 area codes.  Some will even subscribe to a number not in their region for their cell phone in order to economize on long distance charges.  

With the popularity of cell phones with increased availability and personal ownership for all ages from the late nineties to current, numbers became even scarcer.  Now it was not only every household and every business with a number, it was that and almost every individual with at least one number at their own disposal.

In 2006, the 289 area code was introduced to the 905 area as an overlay and in March 2013 it is projected the 365 area code will be added and the Canadian Number Administrator of the Canadian Radio and Television Commission is predicting a 742 area code to be added by 2036.  According to Dennis Carmel, spokesperson for the CRTC there may not be any area codes remaining after that and another system may have to be introduced.  

In essence the current system looks like the pictograph below.

Toronto Area Codes Graph

Phone numbers also have some interesting facts. Many are related to areas that the residence or business is located.  Often one can tell the area of the city the business or resident is based on the phone numbers first three digits.  This is due to the assignment of numbers as the neighborhoods were formed.  

Then there are dedicated businesses and purposes applied with the first three digits.  Ever wonder why all the radio stations or pizza places have the same first three digits?  Thought it was coincidence that all schools no matter what area of the city or government office no matter where the branch was somehow had the same first three digits?

  • 212, 314, 325, 326,, 327, 585 are for the Government of Ontario
  • 310 for all dispatch services like pizza!! And other fast delivery places.  This service is unique actually as there is no area code specificity.  For example 416-310-8888 will get you to the same service as 905-310-8888 and 289-310-8888 and 647-310-8888!
  • 392, 393, 394, 395, 396, 397 are all dedicated to the Toronto District School Board, the Toronto District Library, The Toronto Catholic District School Board and the Toronto Transit Commission.
  • 341 has been monopolized by Rogers
  • 978 and 946 to the University of Toronto 
  • 736 for York University 
  • 979  for Ryerson University 
  • 415 for George Brown College  
  • 338, 392 will get you to the City of Toronto 
  • 974, 955, 313, 842  is Royal Bank of Canada 
  • 307, 308, 982, 983, 944  is Toronto Dominion Bank 
  • 980 will put you through to CIBC
  • 870 and 872 are known as the ‘choke exchange’ numbers and they are dedicated to the high volume destinations such as radio station contest lines and ticket agencies. 
  • The Greater Toronto Airport Association has 776 
  • Government of Canada owns 954 and 973 
  • Fort York can be connected through 203 
  • Moss Park Armoury via 635 
  • Downsview with 633 
  • 344 will put you through to the Workmans safety Insurance Board 
  • 941 is dedicated to Sears and the Eaton Centre  
  • The hospitals Toronto General at 340 and Princess Margaret with 340.  
  • And of course last but not least 808 is for the police.  

911 of course are the only three numbers that need to be dialed for emergency services from anywhere in Toronto and the GTA.

Places of Interest

There are just too many Toronto places of interest to mention them all, but like most major cities there are both modern and historical attractions that are very popular. Here is a rundown of places in the city of Toronto that both residents and visitors love.

Public Interest

The Eaton’s Centre is located in the heart of the downtown Toronto and includes over 200 stores. There is something for everyone here, no matter what your budget. The shopping centre is an architectural masterpiece with its glass domed features and large Canadian geese mobile. 

Although hugely popular, it is not the biggest of Toronto’s attractions. That title goes to the CN tower. If you are looking for a bird’s eye view of the city, then this structure is the place to visit. 

The CN Tower stands close to 2-thousand feet. It houses one of the best restaurants in the city and has an observation deck with a partially transparent floor. 

If Victorian architecture is more your style, then you might consider visiting Yorkville. The shopping and dining here is both charming and upscale. It is a favorite spot among celebrities who visit the city. 

For a more historical charm, you can visit the Distillery District. It is a pedestrian village with restored Victorian industrial buildings. Situated along Mill Street, the district features a mix of old and new. Whether it is shopping, food, entertainment or art that you desire, you will find it here.

For those who have a curious mind, the Ontario Science Centre is located in Toronto. It has eleven themed areas and covers subjects such as space, communications, energy, sports and the human body.

When you are ready for some rest and relaxation you can head to The Beaches at Kew Gardens. Not only is this one of the best summer spots in the city, it is host to the International Jazz Festival every July. You can find out more on this event by following this link: www.beachesjazz.com.

If it is the sun that you seek, you can also consider a visit to Centre Island. A short trip just north of the city and you can enjoy sandy beaches in a number of areas including; Barrie, Orillia, and Midland.

Historical Interest

Toronto points of interest include several museums, such as the Royal Ontario Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art. Thousands of people visit the two above mentioned attractions every year, but there are a few hidden gems to enjoy as well. 

The Toronto Aerospace Museum sits on the former grounds of the Downsview Airport and displays both artifacts and full-sized aircraft. For a glimpse inside check out www.casmuseum.org.

In addition to this exhibit, there are several small historic museums to explore in the city. Use www.toronto.ca/culture/museums/index.htm and click on Toronto’s historic museums to see a complete list.

Did you know that Toronto is home to a premier historic landmark? The castle, Casa Loma, was originally the home of a prominent Toronto financier, but today it is a tourist attraction and a favorite spot for wedding ceremonies and other events. 

From grand points of interest to grass roots… Riverdale Farm, located in Riverdale Park near Gerard and Carlton Street, is open to the public all year round. Its organic market is open from May to October. 

At Riverdale Farm you have access to everything country: food, arts, crafts and animals.

Worth a Look

Here is a list of some other interesting spots to see when sightseeing in Toronto:

* Canada’s Walk of Fame 

* Black Creek Pioneer Village

* Fort York

* Ontario Legislature

* The Design Exchange

* Harbor front centre

* Hockey Hall of Fame

* Yonge-Dundas Square

* St. Lawrence Market

Getting around to visit all of the great places of interest in Toronto shouldn’t be a problem. If you are the type of person who wants to see and do it all, consider taking a tour bus. Visit www.citysightseeingtoronto.com for information on the service. 

If you’d like a view from the water or sky you can log on to www.torontotours.net to read about a few good options. When busing it, you can take in some of the most beautiful architecture in the world. 

Stop for a bite to eat and do a little shopping and then hop back on your bus for more adventure. From the water you get a view of several points of interest and an outstanding skyline.

No matter what your area of interest might be, you can see from the many examples mentioned on this page that you are totally covered in Toronto.

Toronto Woodbine Beach

Temperature

Religion in Toronto is a big topic, the city has become one of the most multicultural places in North America. But with different cultures, come many different religions. The city of Toronto has tried to create a space where all religious believes and practices can live in harmony.  

Places of Worship

There are many different places of worship in Toronto. A place of worship can be a temple, church, synagogue, mosque, and more. It is a sacred place where one can connect with their religious beliefs.

You can find several places of worship in almost all Toronto neighbourhoods. Although certain city regions have a larger number of religious communities then others. The main divisions of the city are West End, North End, East End, and Downtown Toronto

West End Toronto has many churches within its boundaries. Some examples of West End churches are Church of Scientology Mission of Riverdale, The Church of God In Toronto, Good Shepherd Refuge, West End Church of Christ, West End Church of God of Prophecy Worship Centre, and St. Vincent de Paul Roman Catholic Church. 

Other Toronto West End places of Worship include Buddhist temples and Islamic mosques.

North End Toronto has a fair number of synagogues, churches, mosques, and temples. Examples of North End places of worship are Holy Rosary Church, Midtown Alliance Church, and Chabad Midtown.

East End has many cultural Toronto neighbourhoods, and in all cultures, religion can be a factor in their daily lives. You can find many different East End places of worship, including the West United Church, St. John Parish Church, Shiloh Baptist Church, and Canada PO Chai Temple.

In the centre of Toronto, you can find all places of worship, such as synagogues, churches, mosques, and temples. 

Downtown Toronto places of worship include St. James Cathedral, St. Thomas Anglican Church, Church of the Redeemer, St. George Greek Orthodox Church, Fung Loy Kok Institute of Taoism, and the Chinese Gospel Church.

Religious Diversity in Toronto

There are, respectively, eight main religions followed in Toronto. Based off Statistics Canada for the year 2001 (retrieved in May 2008), the top religion in Toronto was Christianity – Roman Catholics to be exact. 

The United Church of Canada and the Anglican Church cover about 7% each of Torontonians, with Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Sikhism following behind. 

Based off the same study in 2001, there are now about 17% residents of Toronto who have no religious connection. 

Religious Organizations

For each religion, there are different support groups and organizations. Within these groups, you can find comfort, companionship, and assistance.

 

Christian organizations in Toronto include the Christian Outreach Centre, Anglican Book Centre, Canadian Bible Society, Good Shepherd Refuge, Church in the City, and the Canadian Churches Forum for Global Ministries. 

Islamic organizations in Toronto include the Islamic Foundation, International Muslims Organization of Toronto, Muslim Canadian Congress, Toronto Islamic Centres, Toronto Muslims, and Islamic Society of Toronto. 

Jewish organizations in Toronto include Toronto Jewish Association of the Deaf, National Council of Jewish Women of Canada, UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, Prosserman Jewish Community Centre, and the Jewish Genealogical Society of Canada. 

Buddhist organizations in Toronto includes the Canadian Chinese Buddhist Ming Yuet, Buddhism in Toronto, Toronto Insight Meditation Centre, Tharpa Publications Canada, Toronto Zen Centre, and Gaden Choling Mahayana Buddhist Meditation Centre. 

Catholic organizations in Toronto includes Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto, Canadian Catholic Biblical Association, International Catholic Deaf Association, and Canadian Catholic Historical Association.

There are also support groups for those who have left their religion. If you have recently left your religion and would like to find support, you can find it in Toronto. Whether you were Muslim, Christian, Catholic, Buddhist, or any other religion, there are specific help groups for you.

The different kinds of Toronto secular support groups include Alcohol Anonymous, rehab clinics, grief counselling, and youth programs. 

A major organization in Toronto is the Centre for Inquiry Ontario, they have countless connections and outreach programs. You can learn more at www.cficanada.ca/ontario.

Religion in Toronto is as diverse as the city itself. You can find everything you need through Totally Toronto. No matter your religion or beliefs, you have a place in this city.

Toronto Contests

Weather

Toronto is a city fortunate to enjoy the four beautiful and unique seasons.  

In Toronto the temperature is measure in degrees Celsius in accordance with the metric system. The metric system was implemented into Canada and therefore Toronto in 1975.  Prior to that Canadians followed the Imperial system, as does the United States of America. 

Spring is officially welcomed on March 21st and as the saying goes ‘in like a lion and out like a lamb’ there is often a final cold blast just as spring is welcomed into the city.  

When April arrives the temperatures will find their way to approximately 8-10 degrees Celsius along with lows of 0-3 degrees Celsius.  April also brings to the city quite a bit of precipitation in the form of rain, although snow has been known to fall then as well.

The month of May brings a fair bit of sunshine as the temperature continues to rise and as spring is in full bloom, Toronto finds its gardens and city coming to life as well. 

There are many festivals surrounding the onset of spring during the month of May.  The days may be sunny and warm, but the evenings and mornings often start off quite cool.  It is wise to bring an overcoat of sorts when heading out for a full day of activity.

Summer is welcomed officially on June 21st, which is the longest day of the year.  During the months of June and July, the days are the longest with the sun gracing the city with its presence and the sun rises earlier and sets later.  

In July Toronto can find its temperatures going as high or even over 40 degrees Celsius.  The evenings may find some breeze to cool off, however don’t be surprised if you are looking for an air conditioned building to cool off in.  

Many visitors and residents find their way to the plethora of public pools or water parks in the Toronto area throughout July and August.

Precipitation in these months can be quite heavy as well, with thunderstorms and sun-showers scattering the days throughout the summer.  Often droughts have hit the city and there are water restrictions, however both are extremes and summer in Toronto is typically an enjoyable comfortable place to be. August tends to be drier than July and lawns may need more tending.

September brings the students back to school with their new fall wardrobes and cooler air.  The leaves start to change colors late in September through October.  The streets are lined with color as the leaves fall and gather along the curbs.  Some intermittent rainfall will wash away the leaves that have been left behind by the efforts of those raking the leaves. 

Temperatures dip down to a high of fourteen degrees and a low of seven degrees Celsius.  Precipitation in the form of rain is second only to the month of July.  

November is a fairly grey month, cool and rainy.  The sun is rising later now and setting earlier.  It is only with the glow of the upcoming holiday season many are cheerful during this time of year. 

Thanksgiving having passed many people are busy shopping and preparing for the month of December.  The temperatures may dip below freezing and the first snow may have arrived.

On December 23rd Toronto welcomes its’ official first day of winter and the shortest day of the year.  From December to March Toronto is quite cold and may be completely covered in snow at times.  

In recent years though it is not surprised to place wagers on whether or not the holidays will be white or the snow may wait till the New Year.  

Historically Toronto experiences great snowfalls during late December throughout January.  It has been noted however that over the most recent years there has been significantly reduced snowfall and temperature.   

February weather can still be unbearably cold, however it is the shortest month of the year and love is in the air.  Although considered a hallmark holiday the heart symbol for this month certainly helps with warming the hearts and minds of many during this chilly period, which by now may seem like it has been forever.  If not forever many are truly ready for the hot 40 degrees of July and August!

With temperatures moderated by the Lake the climate in terms of temperature and precipitation is noticeably different in the city of Toronto as it is in the Greater Toronto area. 

Along the lakefront there will be more moderate temperatures and surprisingly less precipitation.  The further north from the lake travelled, the greater the variances in temperature and also increased precipitation.  

At the lake for example, it is not surprising that there may be no snow while the snowblowers and shovels are put to regular daily routines in mid to north Toronto.  In the suburbs of York Region the chill can be quite penetrating and the heat also scalding.

Please visit Statistics Canada website for all historical data on the weather temperatures and precipitation in Toronto.