( Originally Published 1933 )
Where a great city of more than 600,000 people now stands, a forest once covered the land down to the shores of Lake Ontario. Long before the coming of the white man, Indian tribes met here each spring, calling their rendezvous, "Toronto," an Indian word meaning "a place of meeting."
Like many others cities in Canada, Toronto began as a fort and fur-trading post. In 1749, the French established Fort Rouille, which was abandoned and burned to save it from capture by the British ten years later. A village developed, which by 1793 had grown to a population of 800, when Sir John Graves Simcoe, the first Governor of Upper Canada, named it York in honor of the second son of George III, and established the seat of the Provincial Government there. A most interesting monument of these early days is the Old Fort, still well preserved. This was built by the Governor in 1793, and although destroyed by fire in 1813 by the American General Dearborn, it was rebuilt a few years later on the same plan.
From this small settlement a town of nearly 10,000 inhabitants grew, which was incorporated in 1834 as the City of Toronto. Since then, progress has been rapid, and the city is now noted for its many fine public buildings, its parks and shade trees. It is the Capital of Ontario, the business of the Province being carried on in the Parliament Building, an imposing brownstone structure beautifully situated in Queens Park. In the heart of the city is the University of Toronto, dating back to 1827, the largest university in Canada. It is famed for its research activities.
Along the shore of Lake Ontario, for a distance of one and one-half miles, stretches Exhibition Park, where is held each year the Canadian National Exhibition, which was started by pioneers in 1796. It is the largest annual exhibition in the world, and its attendance during two weeks amounts to about two million people.
Because of its geographical situation, its cheap electric power, and its proximity to forest, mining and agricultural and recreational areas, Toronto is one of Canada's chief industrial and commercial centers. It has become a well-developed port of the Great Lakes, and its water front, ten miles long, has been remade into hundreds of acres of new industrial areas, and miles of boulevards and parks.