This week marked Toronto\’s 184th birthday. Known as \”Toronto the Good\” in world wide circles, the rest of Canada tends to have a love/hate relationship with our largest city. I myself was born in Toronto, and lived there until my early teens, Though it\’s been many years since I lived there, I still have close ties to it. My paternal side has ties to Toronto for at least 4 generations.
In honour of Toronto\’s birthday, this week\’s post highlights some Toronto genealogy resources. But first a little history.
There has been archaeological evidence that settlement here goes back to the First Nations over 1,000 years ago. The name Toronto itself has evolved from an a Mohawk word, \”tkaronto\”, which means \”where the trees are standing in the water\”.
Europeans first started inhabiting the area in the 1600\’s and 1700\’s, when fur traders started setting up posts. It wasn\’t until 1793, when John Graves Simcoe established York, that the first permanent European settlement was established. He established the naval base and garrison to keep an eye on the boundary between the province of Upper Canada and the new United States.
York was burned twice by the Americans during the War of 1812. Fort York, which still stands in the heart of Toronto, is a National Historic site.
Toronto as a city was incorporated in 1834. Through the 1800\’s and the first half of the 20th century, Toronto grew larger. It\’s location made it a gateway to both Western and Northern Ontario. As a result, it became both a financial and industrial powerhouse. By 1967, Toronto consisted of the city of Toronto, and the five boroughs of Scarborough, Etobicoke, York, North York, and East York. Each of the six areas had their own municipal governments. In 1998, it became the megacity of Toronto, and the six separate municipal governments became one.
Today the Greater Toronto Area consists of Toronto and four surrounding regions: Halton, Peel, Durham and York. According to 2016 statistics, it has a population of over 6 million. Doesn\’t seem like a lot compared to cities in other countries. But when you realize that the newly incorporated city of Toronto in 1834 had only 9,000 people, you see just how fast it grew in less than 200 years.
If you\’d like to see a more compete timeline of the city, check out these pages:
- The Canadian Encyclopedia
- Fort York National Historic Site
- CTV News: Timeline: 180 years of Toronto historyThe History of Toronto: An 11,000 year Journey
- Over 1 million photographs
- City Directories
- Assessment Rolls
- Council Proceedings
- Building Permits
- Government Records
- Non-Government Records
Toronto Island Community
A web page devoted to genealogy and the history of the Toronto islands.