The largest city of Canada, and the capital of the province of Ontario, was inhabited by Iroquois, before 1800. Then Hurons the Iroquois, and were entangled in all kinds of skirmishes and wars with American and English mercenaries.
French traders had established Fort Rouille in 1750 in the region of what is today Fort York, but abandoned it for unknown reasons.
During the American Revolution, many English settlers flooded Toronto for security and more peaceful life.
Towards the end of the 18th century the English negotiated with Hurons to buy Toronto, along with neighbouring Mississauga, which today is a large city in its own right.
Shortly after, John Graves Simcoe established York, along with Fort York, which still exists, and is a historical sight.
In 1813, as part of the War of 1812 (the Battle Of York) American soldiers plundered the city.
Toronto outlawed slavery in 1834, and 26 years later (1860), Gooderham and Worts Distillery was established in what is today called the Distillery District, on the shores of Lake Ontario. At the time, Gooderham and Worts was the largest distillery of the world.
Many of the solid buildings still exist, and can be visited in the Distillery District that houses a fine brewery, and a sake brewery. There are many food shops, restaurants, fast food outlets, art stores, even a chocolate manufacturer.
Today, Toronto with a population of 2.6 million is a large, modern and cosmopolitan city with immigrants enriching the culture in waves from 1945 onwards. First Europeans arrived after World War II, and subsequently different groups of people from the Caribbean, Iranians, Somalis, Indians, just to name a few who have contributed largely towards the gastronomic richness of Toronto.
You can enjoy practically any cuisine in the city, from the Middle East to French, Italian, Spanish, German, Caribbean, South American, Japanese, Chinese, Indian and many more too numerous to mention.,
The climate is moderate by Canadian standards with “relatively” mild winters and warm to hot summers.
Architecturally, Toronto is a new, brash, rag-tag place a big mix of periods and styles.
The downtown is studded with modern tall buildings, including the CN Tower (conceived and planned as a communications tower, restaurant and tourist sight), and imposing imperial structures like the Royal York Hotel opposite the central railways station.
Toronto, on the shores of Lake Ontario, has many parks and green spots, and can be considered one of the more “green” cities of the world. Outside of downtown, most buildings are low rise residential with the exception of the highway (401) where more and more high-rise apartments are being built.
Rosedale, Cabbagetown, the Annex, Yorkville, Old Toronto are some of the neighbourhoods that are of interest to tourists, including Little Italy, Little India, and Chinatown along Dundas Street west and Spadina.
The National ballet, The Toronto Symphony Orchestra, The Opera Company, and Roy Thompson Hall offer many opportunities to enjoy theatrical and musical presentations in addition to Mirvish Enterprises operettas, shows located in the Entertainment District that is home to innumerable restaurants, night clubs and a variety of other entertainment facilities.
Toronto’s sights are relatively easy to reach on foot, from the union Station or any other downtown point – St. James Cathedral, (19th century), Victorian Gardens, St. James Park, St. Lawrence Market, the Distillery District, CN Tower, and Casa Loma.
There are many museums that deserve a visit – ROM (Royal Ontario Museum), AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario), Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Arts, Bata Shoe Museum, and Ontario Science Centre are only some that locals and visitors enjoy.
In the summer, a few individuals offer walking tours starting from he Union Station. There are also several tour companies, but one offers hop-on-hop off double-decker bus tours that make it much easier and faster to explore most of the sights.
For those interested in nightlife and entertainment, there are many nightclubs, pubs, and hotel lounges offering a range of shows.
When it comers to gastronomy, Toronto offers and almost infinite range of cuisines. There are more than 5000 restaurants in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area).
Globe Bistro caters to beer enthusiasts, Barberian’s Steak House to steak lovers, Sassafraz, Vertical, Vatican, Crush, and George are only some that come to mind.
Toronto offers hundreds of accommodation facilities at all price points, and luxury.
The city has been rated as one of the more interesting destinations in
the world, and certainly deserves a visit.
When you are in Toronto, try to visit Niagara Falls, and Niagara-on-the-Lake, a quaint town near Niagara Falls, and visit a few wineries and sample fine food.