Toronto At A Glance

Canada’s largest city, and the fourth-largest in North America, Toronto is a global business, entertainment and tourism hub, famous for its progressiveness and diversity.


  • Toronto is the capital city of the province of Ontario, Canada’s most populous province.
  • Centrally located between New York City, Chicago and Montreal, Toronto’s within a 90 minute flight for over half the U.S. and Canadian population.
  • Toronto sits on the northern shore of Lake Ontario (the easternmost of the Great Lakes) and has a shoreline stretching 43 kilometres featuring sandy beaches, marinas and working ports.
  • Two major rivers flow through Toronto into Lake Ontario: The Humber River on the west side of the city and the Don River on the east side. Each has tributaries that create a vast ravine system of forests and trails throughout the city.

The People

  • The population of the City of Toronto is 2.9 million, ranking fourth in North America, behind Mexico City, New York City and Los Angeles, and just slightly ahead of Chicago. The Greater Toronto Area has a regional population of approximately 6.3 million.
  • Famous for its diversity, Toronto may be the world’s most global city, with 50 per cent of the population born outside of Canada.
  • More than 200 languages and dialects are spoken in Toronto; The City of Toronto publishes information for residents in 79 languages.


  • First settled more than 11,000 years ago, the area that now makes up Toronto was home to a wide array of Aboriginal groups for centuries.
  • The word “Toronto” comes from the Mohawk phrase “tkaronto” meaning “where trees grow in the water” and refers to a time centuries ago when the shores of Lake Ontario reached much further north. Eventually variations of “Lac Taronto” (now Lake Simcoe) showed up on many French maps from the 1680s to the 1760s. In the 1720s a French fort was identified as Fort Toronto, where the City of Toronto stands today.
  • The British established a settlement and fort in the late 1700’s, calling the settlement York. The Battle of York was a key battle in the War of 1812 and left the fledgling town badly damaged. In 1834 the city was incorporated and named Toronto.
  • Over two centuries Toronto has attracted large waves of immigration from Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa. In the early 1980s, on the strength of sustained immigration, it surpassed Montreal as Canada’s largest city.

Canada's Centre of Business and Entertainment 

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