1902 Encyclopedia > Toronto, Canada

Toronto, Canada

xTOBONTO, the capital of the province of Ontario and the second largest city in the Dominion of Canada, is situated on a large and finely sheltered bay on the north shore of Lake Ontario, between the rivers Don and Humber. The magnetical and meteorological observatory, in the university grounds, stands at a height of 108 feet above the lake, and approximately 342 fee*, above the level of the sea, in lat. 43° 39' 35" N., long. 79° 23' 39" W. Toronto is 39 miles north-east of Hamilton, at the head of Lake Ontario, and 310 miles west-south-west of Montreal. The bay is formed by a peninsula or island about 6 miles long, enclosing a fine basin of 3'44 square miles, with a narrow entrance at the west end. This forms a safe and commodious harbour. The city stands on a thick deposit of boulder clay, overlying shaly sandstones of the Cin-cinnati or Hudson Biver group, practically equivalent in
Plan of Toronto.
10. Bay Street.
11. Y'onge Street.
12. Parliament . Build-
13. Government House
14. Upper Canada Col-
15. Osgoode Hall.
16. StMichael'sCathedral.

17. Metropolitan Church.
18. Free Library.
19. St James's Cathedral.
20. River Don.
21. Knox College.
22. University College.
23. Magnetic Observatory. 21. Queen's Park.
25. St James's Park.
1. Front Street.
2. King Street (West).
3. King Street.
4. King Street (East).
5. Richmond Street.
6. Queen Street (West).
7. Queen Street.
8. Queen Street (East).
9. York Street.
position to the Caradoc horizon of British geology. These thin-bedded sandstones crop out on the lake shore, and have been quarried for flagging and building purposes at the mouth of the Humber. In the northern part of the city the boulder clay is overlaid by stratified clays of the Bost-Glacial age, largely used in the manufacture of bricks, of which many of the houses are built. The site slopes gradually from the margin of the bay for a distance of 3 miles to a terrace or ancient lake margin immediately outside the northern limits of the city, which occupies an area of 12'83 square miles, or of 17'99 square miles including the harbour and island. The streets cross each other at right angles. Yonge Street, the main thorough-

fare running north and south, was constructed as a great military road in 1796, and extends under the same name, for upwards of 30 miles, to Lake Simcoe. It constitutes the dividing line of the city, the streets being reckoned east or west according to their relation to it.
The city is the seat of the provincial Government, with the official residence of the lieutenant-governor, the parliament buildings and Government offices, the courts of law, and the educational departmental buildings for Ontario. The provincial legislature occupies the old par-liament buildings erected in 1849, when Toronto was the capital of Upper Canada; but they have long been recog-nized as inadequate for the purpose. Plans have accord-ingly been prepared, and the new buildings are now in preicess of erection. The site is in the centre of the Queen's Park, a finely wooded park of upwards of 30 acres, originally laid out for the provincial university, and on which the old buildings of King's College stood. The new university building occupies a fine site immediately to the west. It is an imposing structure, of great architec-tural beauty, in the Norman style, with a massive central tower. The buildings of the provincial school of practical science, and of the magnetical observatory, are also erected in the university grounds. The observatory is one of the meteorological stations established by the British Govern-ment, on the recommendation of the Boyal Society, in 1840. It is now maintained by the Dominion Government.
The university, University College, and the school of practical science embrace in their conjoint teaching a comprehensive system of training in arts and science; and in them upwards of 500 students receive their training in arts, in the natural and applied sciences, and in engineering. There is also a medical faculty, reorganized under a recent Act, in conjunction with the department of science in the university. The university and college constitute unitedly the state institution maintained by public funds, and strictly secular. But it is surrounded with the theological and training colleges of different denominations in affiliation with it, the students of which pursue their undergraduate course in the university for a degree in arts. The affiliated colleges, some of which give degrees in divinity, include Knox College (Presby-terian), Wycliffe College (Church of England), St Michael's College (Boman Catholic), Macmaster Hall (Baptist), and Victoria College (Methodist). Besides the provincial uni-versity and its affiliated colleges, Trinity College (Church of England) gives instruction in divinity and arts, and confers degrees in all the faculties. Toronto and Trinity medical schools occupy convenient buildings in the imme-diate vicinity of the general hospital, the Burnside lying-in hospital, and the Mercer eye and ear infirmary. The students in medicine number nearly 500, including a small number of lady students, for whom special instruction is provided. Upper Canada College, founded in 1829, is a provincial institution analogous to one of the great English public schools. It has about 300 students. The Collegiate Institute occupies a fine building immediately to the west of the horticultural gardens. It is the higher school, forming an important feature in the provincial system of education, and is maintained, along with the free public schools, from local taxes. Its students number 443, of whom 182 are females.
Osgoode Hall, the seat of the superior courts of law and equity, is an ornate Italian building, extended at various dates. The provincial asylum for the insane affords accommodation for upwards of 700 patients; it is surrounded with recreation grounds extending to 50 acres.
The city charities are numerous and well organized. The churches include some large and handsome buildings. Among the more important public buildings are those of the educational department, including a museum and gallery of art, normal and model schools; the custom-house, a fine Benaissance building, with extensive ware-houses attached; and the post-office, also of tasteful architectural design. The free city library occupies a com-modious building in Church Street, in addition to branch libraries in different parts of the city. It contains upwards of 47,000 vols. There are 35 city public schools, occupying large and commodious buildings, with 262 teachers and 20,213 children. The separate (Boman Catholic) schools number 13, with 60 teachers and 3792 children.
Toronto is the seat of many flourishing industries, including foundries, tanneries, furniture, stove, shoe, and other manufactories, flour-mills, breweries, &c. The site of the city is favourable to commerce. It is the centre of a rich agricultural district ; and its harbour is of easy access to the largest vessels that navigate the lakes. It lies directly opposite the mouth of the Niagara river, distant 40 miles; and throughout the season of navigation well-appointed steamers maintain communication with the prin-cipal routes of travel in the United States and Canada. By means of the Grand Trunk, the Great Western, the Northern, the Canada Pacific, and other railways, it forms an important commercial centre for distribution; and it is the seat of the head offices of most of the banks and of the chief wholesale trade of western Canada. The direct route from the lower lakes to Lake Superior and the great North-West is by the Northern Bailroad to Georgian Bay, where lines of steamers maintain constant communication from Collingwood and Owen Sound to Prince Arthur's Landing and the railways to Manitoba and the North-West.
In 1861 the population numbered 44,821 ; in 1871 it had increased to 56,092 ; in 1881 to 86,415 ; and in 1887 it is believed to amount to 140,000. The actual number on the assessment rolls is 111,800. The estimated value of real estate in Toronto is $105,000,000. The assessed value in 1886 was $83,556,811. The annual revenue of the city is estimated for 1887 at $1,812,941. The amount of customs duties for the fiscal year ending 30th June 1887 was $4,273,038. The value of exports to the same date was $3,192,157, and of imports $21,020,528. The city returns three members to the Canadian House of Commons, and three to the provincial legislature of Ontario.
In the despatches of Canadian officials of Louis XIV. in the 17th century Toronto means the country of the Hurons, a region lying between Lake Simcoe and Lake Huron, about 40 miles north. The river Humber, which enters Lake Ontario immediately to the west of the Bay of Toronto, though navigable only for a short distance even by canoes, formed with its portages a line of communication between Lake Ontario and the Huron country. Hence the station near the mouth of the river became the common landing-place for trading and hunting parties bound for the region known of old as Toronto, and so received its name. A French trading post, built there in 1749, and originally named Fort Rouille, after the French colonial minister Antoine Louis Rouille, comte de Jouy, was familiarly known as Fort Toronto. The Northern Railway, the first one constructed in Upper Canada, followed the route of the old Indian trail, and established a direct line of communication, by means of steamers from Collingwood, with Lakes Huron, Michigan, and Superior. The railway passes through a fine agri-cultural country, aud is now extended into the Muskoka and Nippitsing districts, bringing an extensive lumbering region into direct communication with Toronto.
The site for the town was surveyed in 1793 by Surveyor-General Bouchette, under the instruction of the lieutenant-governor, General Simcoe; and in his narrative of the original survey Bouchette describes the untamed aspect of the scene, with the group of wigwams of a little band of Mississaga Indians who con-stituted the sole occupants of the land ; while the waters of the bay and the neighbouring marshes were the haunts of innumerable coveys of wildfowl. The first parliament of Upper Canada held its second session in May 1793 at the town of Newark, at the mouth of the Niagara river ; but in the following August the seat of government was transferred to Toronto, to which General Simcoe gave the name of York, in honour of the duke of York, the second son of George III. Under its new name the embryo metropolis

slowly progressed as the surrounding country was cleared and settled.
The entrance to the harbour was guarded by two block houses ;
provision was made for barracks and garrison stores; buildings were
erected for the legislature ; and there the members of parliament,
summoned by royal proclamation to "meet us in our provincial
parliament in our town of York," assembled on the 1st of June 1797.
Sixteen years later the population numbered only 456. The town
was twice sacked in the war of 1812. General Dearborn captured it
at the head of a force of upwards of 2000 drawn from the neighbour-
ing States. On their advance to the outworks of the garrison, the
magazine of the fort exploded, whether by accident or design, killing
many of the invaders. The halls of legislature and other buildings
were burnt, and the town pillaged. On the restoration of peace the
work of creating a capital for Upper Canada had well nigh to begin
anew. But the city advanced with the general progress of the
country. Trade centred in the little capital; the population in-
creased ; and needful manufactures were established. The organiza-
tion of Upper Canada College in 1830, with a staff of teachers nearly
all graduates of Cambridge, gave a great impetus to the city and pro-
vince. In 1834 the population of York numbered fully 10,000; and
an Act of the provincial legislature conferred on it a charter of in-
corporation, giving it for the first time an efficient system of munici-
pal government, with a mayor, aldermen, and councilmen, entrusted
with the administration of its affairs. Under this charter it was
constituted a city, with the name of Toronto. (D. W.)

About this EncyclopediaTop ContributorsAll ContributorsToday in History
Terms of UsePrivacyContact Us

© 2005-21 1902 Encyclopedia. All Rights Reserved.

This website is the free online Encyclopedia Britannica (9th Edition and 10th Edition) with added expert translations and commentaries