Tag Archives: Toronto

A Brief History of Toronto

Carte des lacs du Canada – Early Map of the Great Lakes, 1744.

The City of Toronto had been called the Town of York prior to 1834 when it incorporated. But before that the first settlers were probably the Iroquoian-speaking Wendat people, who the Europeans called the Huron. These people settled on the north shore of Lake Ontario where they lived in longhouses. Wendat means peninsula-island dwellers this is because of the shape of the land on the north shore. They believed that the world was on an island resting on the back of a turtle.

Map from the attack of York 1813.

The natives used variations of the name Toronto for different areas in the vicinity, as well as for fishing tools that they used. The French then used it again when they named Fort Toronto at the foot of the Humber River. So, when the Town of York incorporated in 1834 it changed its name to Toronto. The legislative council changed York to Toronto because it was a more unique name and because of its native roots.

Drawing of Fort Toronto (uncredited)

Three weeks after Toronto incorporated, William Lyon Mackenzie was elected its first mayor. William Lyon Mackenzie was born in Scotland on March 12, 1795 and came to Canada in 1820. He was a reformer and the editor of the Colonial Advocate newspaper. He was only mayor for one year.

William Lyon Mackenzie (1834).

In 1837, Mackenzie led a rebellion in Upper Canada. The one and only battle took place at Montgomery’s Tavern. Although the battle ultimately lasted only a half an hour, and they lost, because of the rebellion the British Government realized the problems in Canada and made changes.

Drawing from the Upper Canada Rebellion showing the battle at Montgomery’s Tavern

Remaining from the old Town of York, the oldest building in Toronto is John Scadding’s cabin, which was built in 1794. It was located near the Don Valley but was later relocated, as a historical landmark to the Canadian National Exhibition grounds in 1879 by the York Pioneers Historical Society.

John Scadding’s Cabin, past and present

In 1834, the population of the City of Toronto was only 9,254. The boundaries of the city were between Lake Ontario on the South, Parliament street on the East , Bathurst street on the West, and 365 metres North of Lot street (now known as Queen street). The city was only 3.6 square kilometres. Today the population is a whopping 2.6 million people and the city covers 630 square kilometres.

City of Toronto today

by Kate Gendron (age 10)
Givin’s-Shaw Public School
Ms. Stockton’s Grade 4 Class Project
2017

Posted in Aboriginal, Architecture, Canada, Canadian Art, Canadian National Exhibition, CCT Now and Then, Historical, Ontario, Politics, Toronto | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Can you feel it, eh? I can feel it.

DanceWalkTO Ben Aaron DanceWalkTO Event June 6, 2012

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Our Vacation in Ontario comic book

Here’s a very cool tourist giveaway comic book I found a short while ago. It was created, printed and published in Canada by G.W. Hogarth and the Division of Publicity, Department of Travel and Publicity, in authority with Baptist Johnston, Printer to the Queen’s Most Excellent Majesty (no pressure) Toronto, Ontario. There is no mention of artist although there could be a signature hiding in a panel somewhere and my guess is it was published circa 1952. If anyone has any additional information, please be sure to let me know.

Reproduced below is the entire comic book of Our Vacation in Ontario, cover to cover.

Posted in Architecture, Canadian Art, Canadian Wlidlife, Canadiana, Historical, Ontario, Toronto | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

We’ve Been Framed!

Billie Hallam, Miss Toronto 1937.

Canadian Culture Thing now has Prints. These awesome prints are sure to make your environment that much better. Say, if you lived in an igloo, you could put up the Animated Map of Canada and POW! you’ve got some colour to add some pizzazz to all that white snow and ice. It might be so flashy that you’ll have to reach for your Inuktitut Snow Goggles just to look at it.

Animated Map of Canada c1935.

Or maybe you’re a Torontonian lumberjack, living up a tree in B.C. and you’re getting awfully sick and tired of all that green, all that blue sky and you need something to balance the pristine beauty of a Canadian forest. So you reach for your black and white print of Yonge Street at rush-hour, with streetcars, cars and people, oh my!

Looking north on Yonge Street from north of Queen Street. 1:15pm, January 12, 1929 Toronto.

Or maybe you’re from Vancouver and were forced at finger-point (we don’t do things at gun-point) to go work in Toronto and want to show all those people, with their inexpensive housing what trees look like…

I think you get my drift.

Posted in Architecture, Canada, Canadian Art, Canadiana, Pop Culture, Postcards, Toronto | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Art in the Park…And SCANDAL!!!

Trinity College grounds looking south towards gates at Queen Street West and Strachan Avenue. Toronto, Ontario, October 9, 1913.

I attended Art in the Park this weekend at Trinity-Bellwoods Park. Our local super-park and one-time home of Trinity College (1851-1925), was overrun by artists and art-lover’s in this annual exhibition and sale.

Trinity College gates, Queen Street West at Strachan Avenue. Toronto, Ontario, Canada c1916.

The sun was shining, children were laughing, lover’s were canoodling (that’s right, canoodling!), I had a bowl of dumplings and it seemed that everything was right with the world. But looking past the veneer of paradise, past the squirrels, black and white, gathering nuts in unity, there was subversion afoot! Not since 2001, when Mel Lastman shook hands with members of the Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club in an unfortunate photo-opt, has something so scandalous taken place in Toronto politics. Mel Lastman claimed to not know who was shaking his hand, and when told he was shocked to discover that there was a chance that the friendly hand-shaking bikers might be mixed up in illegal shenanigans (that’s right shenanigans – don’t judge me!) like drug-trafficking!

Mel Lastman shakes hand with member of the Hell’s Angel in January of 2001.

But here in Trinity-Bellwoods Park where I once saw a cat leap from the top of a tree, over the head of a reaching fire-fighter on a ladder-truck, something more shocking and unbelievable had taken place and was now on display.

Kids, cover your eyes…

While you can’t actually see the cat in the picture, believe you me, when that cat hit the ground it was well enough to run.

Allegedly, Rob Ford (Toronto’s temporary mayor) had been seen standing next to Sasquatch on the shores of Toronto Island. Artist Mike Riley had captured the event and was now displaying it for everyone to see.

“Look, isn’t that the CN Tower” by Mike Riley

Rob Ford has been known to be staunchly opposed to Gravy Trains, weekly weigh-ins and so horrified by Gay Pride that he doesn’t even want to be in the city in case he might catch homosexuality, but when graffiti artists began depicting him in an unsavoury light, Big Rob went after them.

Graffiti by Ivus

Is it possible that now that his impromptu appearance next to Sasquatch Dave is out there for the whole city to ridicule that Rob Ford may go after art in general?

Rob Ford targets art! First it was Gravy Trains, then it was weigh-ins, next it was safely operating a motor vehicle. Now he’s adding eyebrows!

Sasquatch Eddie, who was visiting from the Fraser Valley in B.C. has been facing ridicule amongst his fellow-Sasquatch at home. In a front-page story in the local Sasquatch Valley Recorder, the Sasquatch community is in an uproar about Sasquatch Dave posing alongside Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, claiming it was poor judgement on his part. In an interview with Canadian Culture Thing, Sasquatch Dave claims he was simply making a silly pose for a photo for long-time girlfriend Sasquatch Velma and he “was just as shocked as everyone else that the Toronto Mayor jumped into the frame.”

Sasquatch Dave added that he has been having trouble sleeping ever since and has been having a recurring dream, “I’m in a large pot of boiling water and there a Rob Fords dancing around it and chanting that I have to “volunteer” for his Toronto football team or I can kiss my job goodbye! It’s horrible…just horrible.”

Let me tell you, you haven’t seen sad until you’ve seen a Sasquatch cry.

Toronto-based artist Olenka Kleban’s butter sculpture depicting the mayor driving a car while reading a Margaret Atwood novel was a real crowd-pleaser at the CNE this year. Rob never wanted to lick himself so badly.
Posted in British Columbia, Canada, Canadian Art, Canadian Wlidlife, Canadiana, Current Events, Politics, Pop Culture, Rob Ford, Toronto | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment