My family has a long and storied history with the city of Toronto.
Some of my ancestors, on my mother’s side of the family, first settled in Toronto way back in the 1800’s when they arrived on Canadian shores from England.
My great-grandfather was one of Toronto’s first wholesale grocers, running his grocery business out of a warehouse down on Toronto’s Front Street in the late 1800’s.
It was in Toronto that my mother was born and raised, and where I lived during my tween and teenage years.
While I already know a great deal about Toronto, during our recent visit to Canada’s largest city (the population of the Greater Toronto Area is now over 6 million!), I discovered all kinds of fascinating facts about this vibrant city.
Here are just some of them:
30 Fascinating Facts About Toronto, Canada
- 50% of the population of Toronto was born outside of Canada
- Toronto’s shoreline stretches over 43 kilometres
- 130 languages and dialects are spoken in Toronto
- Toronto was first settled over 11,000 years ago by a wide array of Aboriginal groups
- Toronto is home to 6 professional sports teams (Jays/Leafs/Raptors/Argonauts/FC/Rock)
- The word “Toronto” comes from the Mohawk phrase “tkaronto” which means “where trees grow in water”
- Toronto’s St. Lawrence Market, one of Canada’s oldest continuously operating markets, is 213 years old (2016)
- The city’s underground PATH shopping network covers 27 kilometres underneath downtown Toronto – the largest underground shopping complex in the world
- Roughly 1,500 parks dot Toronto’s urban landscape
- Toronto’s Santa Claus Parade began in 1905 and is one of the city’s oldest traditions
- At Christmas time, Nathan Phillips Square holds a 60-foot tree decorated with 12,000 LED lights and 700 ornaments
- It takes 2 weeks to decorate the Christmas tree at Nathan Phillips Square
- Toronto’s “One of a Kind Show” is the largest consumer craft show in North America
- The all-time record for snow fall in Toronto in one day occurred on February 25, 1965 when the city recorded a snowfall amount of 39.9 centimetres
- Over one million people descend on The Village area of Toronto every June to celebrate Pride Week
- Toronto was the first jurisdiction in North America to legalize Gay marriage (since 2003)
- Massey Hall, the “grande dame” of local music halls, has been part of Toronto’s music history since 1894
- Gordon Lightfoot holds the record at Massey Hall for being the most frequently returning artist in the building’s history
- Toronto’s famous Horseshoe Tavern is 69 years old (2016)
- The Eaton Centre is the third largest mall in Canada
- The former Maple Leaf Gardens is now home to big box superstore grocery chain, Loblaws, and a sports stadium for Ryerson University
- The Rogers Centre (formerly SkyDome) is the world’s first retractable-dome stadium
- The Distillery Historic District was once the largest whisky producer in the world
- At 28 stories high, the Fairmont Royal York Hotel was considered the tallest building in the British Empire when it opened in 1929
- Designed by Finnish architect Viljo Revell, Toronto’s new City Hall was originally given the nickname of “The Eye of Government” thanks to the fact that, from the air, it looks like an enormous, unblinking eye.
- Ontario Place’s “Cinesphere” is the world’s first permanent IMAX theatre
- The CN Tower opened in 1976 and remains the tallest freestanding structure in the Western Hemisphere
- Toronto is the fourth-largest city in North America
- Since 2015 a Pedestrian Tunnel links Billy Bishop Airport on Toronto Island to the mainland. Getting from curbside in the city, to the airport check-in area, takes pedestrians less than 6 minutes. The Pedestrian Tunnel contains one of the longest escalator systems in Canada, and also contains a 153 step stairway
- The longest street in the world, Yonge Street, starts in downtown Toronto, and stretches north for 1,896 kilometres
Have you got any fascinating facts about Toronto to share? Comment below! I’d love to hear them!
And by the way…how do YOU say Toronto?
Me? I say “Tuh-ron-noh”.
Apparently, I shouldn’t be leaving the “t” out at the end, according to the second image in this post!
Disclosure: Canadian Blog House received assistance with a visit to Toronto from Toronto Tourism. All opinions are our own.