The roots of Toronto are ancient, as the native Hurons named the city for the translated meaning “meeting place.” In the 1600s the French Jesuit Etienne Brule discovered portage routes along the Humber and Don rivers that spill into Lake Ontario. Toronto passed to British control in 1763, and the creation of an urban community began 30 years later when colonial officials built Fort York and laid out a town site.
When the British arrived they renamed their trading post to York and the locals dubbed the town “Muddy York” for its sloppy road conditions. That community became the capital of the province of Upper Canada (now Ontario). It also grew as an important commercial centre, and, in 1834, with 9,250 residents it was incorporated as the ‘City of Toronto.’
The population continued to expand: when Canada became a country in 1867, the city was home to 50,000 people. By 1901, 208,000 people lived there. Today, with well over two million people, Toronto is Canada’s largest city, the heart of the nation’s commercial, financial, industrial, and cultural life, and is one of the world’s most livable urban centers.