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Toronto Timeline

1834 York, the colony’s largest commercial centre, is incorporated as the “City of Toronto.” Sir William Campbell dies, John Howard becomes Toronto’s first surveyor and William Lyon Mackenzie is elected as the city’s first mayor. For 9,250 people, there are seven published newspapers—a sure sign of Toronto’s cultural growth.

1853 The first railway car runs out of Toronto, heralding the coming of industrialization; population around 31,000. Slowly, a recognizably modern city begins to take shape, with distinct residential and commercial neighbourhoods, gas lighting and piped water.

1884 Ontario allows women to attend university. Unwed women who own property are allowed to vote in municipal elections. The railway across North America is complete and Standard Time is adopted.

1894 The steady march toward modernization continues as more than 100 kilometres of the city’s famed streetcar track are converted from horse-driven power to electricity.

1901 Queen Victoria dies on January 22 at age 82. At the time, Toronto is—both economically and culturally—Canada’s second city after French-speaking Montreal. Toronto’s population this year is 208,000; it grows to 667,500 by 1941. Today, it tops out at 2,481,494.

1904 The Great Fire destroys part of the downtown core, gutting the wholesale district south of King Street bounded by Yonge, Bay, Front and Melinda streets.

Step back in time with a visit to one of city’s historical homes in 6 Homes of the Century.

—Viviane Kertész

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