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Toronto has a rich and storied history. To begin, Toronto was named for the Huron Indian word for ‘meeting place'. And for good reason – t he area was well used in this manner for centuries by people of the First Nations , and later by French traders, thanks to its naturally protected harbour.

In 1788, the British purchased the land from the Mississauga Indians, and a settlement slowly grew around the waterfront area. In 1793, Lieutenant-Colonel John Graves Simcoe established a military garrison and named the town York in honour of the Duke of York of the time. It was renamed Toronto when the city was incorporated in 1834.

During the War of 1812, the town was twice occupied by the Americans (both times in 1813). By 1834, its citizens, mostly British and Scottish immigrants, numbered close to 10,000. Others, such as Jews from the United States , Russia and Germany , would soon arrive, as well as some 40,000 Irish fleeing famine in their homeland. Blacks escaping slavery in the USA soon followed, at a time when the seeds of Toronto 's current multicultural diversity were already being sown.

As the population increased, so did the city's infrastructure. The University of Toronto opened its doors in 1843. Growth continued in spite of the Great Fires of 1849 and 1904. The new city included an extensive network of roads, railways, canals, shipping, and telegraph lines.

In 1867 Canada was born, and Toronto became the capital of the newly created province of Ontario . Between 1908 and 1915, arts and culture flourished as the new nation established its identity, and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the Royal Ontario Museum were established.

Waves of immigration to Canada continued and the diversity of immigrants grew, particularly in the periods following World Wars I and II. Toronto continued its transformation into a manufacturing and industrial powerhouse, thanks to its close proximity to natural resources, agricultural land, inexpensive energy, and the nearby markets of the American heartland.

With the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway in the 1950s, Toronto became a viable port and a surge of investment flowed into the city. In 1954, Canada 's first subway system was created by the Toronto Transit Commission.

Since the 1960s, immigration from Europe has slowed, to be replaced by an influx of people from Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America and Africa . With the opening and subsequent expansion of Lester B. Pearson International Airport (one of three in the city), Toronto has become Canada 's major gateway and entry point.

In 1998, Toronto and the five surrounding municipalities merged to form a new, amalgamated City of Toronto . The City is governed by a mayor and 44 full-time councillors, and Toronto 's economic and cultural influence continues to extend throughout the “Golden Horseshoe” of communities wrapping around the western end of Lake Ontario . The Greater Toronto Area encompasses the amalgamated city and the communities that border it, and continues to expand and evolve.

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Upstream Boat Cruies News:
With over 20 years of experience, let our boat cruise professionals customize everything just for you! It is our commitment to ensure that your Toronto Harbour cruise will be the one event that your guests and/or colleagues will remember!

Our retractable "dome" roof, is just one of our many features aboard our harbour boats, and makes your boat cruise an all-weather event. Dance under the stars; feel the sun's rays; Say your wedding vows amidst the tranquility of Mother Nature.

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