Toronto has a varied, wonderful and rich history...

Here is a timeline with summaries and links to further readings on the wiki.

Toronto Timeline: Earlier : 2000 : 2001 : 2002 : 2003 : 2004 : 2005 : 2006 : 2007 : 2008 : 2009 : 2010


1600s - The Indian populations of much of this part of North America were devastated by diseases brought to the new world by European explorers and settlers. As Indian tribes were reduced by disease, tribes feuded with each other for their very survival. Indeed, some tribes did not survive.

This was the state of affairs in the southern Ontario region for much of the 1600s as Iroquois battled with Hurons.

1615 - First European to reach the Toronto area may have been Etienne Brule, who had served under Samuel de Champlain. Tradition has it that Brule discovered the Toronto site in 1615. However, numerous scholars question whether Brule ever reached Lake Ontario at Toronto.

1660 - 1670s - Roman Catholic missionaries working with local natives. Seasonal traders begin to regularly pass through the area, the most famous of whom was the explorer Rene-Robert Cavelier de La Salle.

1688 - The Iroquois, who had moved into the Toronto area, were in displaced by the French, gradually being displaced by European settlers.


1720 - Fort Douville was erected on Baby Point. It was a small, two-storey square log building protected by a barricade large enough for three soldiers to live in. It was also known as a magasin royal (royal store).

1749 - At the mouth of the Humber River, Fort Portneuf was built. This fort, larger than Fort Douville, was also referred to as a magasin royal.

1750 - 1759 - The French establish Fort Rouillé trading post also known as Fort Toronto. An outline of the fort and an obelisk mark site on the CNE grounds. This is the third fort established by The French and is often mistaken as the first european settlement in Toronto.

1793-07-29 - Town of York founded, later becomes Toronto in 1834. Fort York established by Lord Simcoe.

1797 - Original Parliament building, King's Park built at corner of Parliament Street and Berkeley Street.

1781 - Jean-Baptiste Rousseau built his house on the site of Fort Portneuf, at the mouth of the Humber River.


1803-11-03 - St. Lawrence Market opens as the city's first public market.

1813-04-27 - Americans attack and burn Fort York, Parliament

1818 - In-between Garrison Reserve and King's Park, a public promenade known as The Walks and Gardens established

1820 - Parliament building rebuilt at Berkeley location, four years later in 1824, it's burned down by fire

1831 - Windmill Line established to check industrial sprawl

1832 - Front Street and Simcoe Street becomes home to the third Parliament of Upper Canada

1834-03-06 - The growing Town of York with a population 9,252 is incorporated as the City of Toronto.

1834-03-27 - First Toronto Election

1837-12-04 - Upper Canada Rebellion begins with a march down Yonge Street

1841-12-28 - Regular service of gas streetlights begins

1853 - Walks and Gardens design plan by John Howard sees a grand public park along the lakeshore

1853 - South of Bay and Front Streets, first Toronto rail station built at lake shore

1853 - Windmill Line abandoned. Demolition of James Warts Windmill

1856 - Railway relocated from Front Street to The Esplanade

1858-04-13 - Toronto Island created when storm destroys western peninsula

1858 - Original Union Station constructed at bottom of York Street

1860-07-30 - Toronto passes By-law 322. Archery is no longer allowed in Public Places. Snowballs are no longer allowed in Public Parks

1861-09-11 - First horse-drawn streetcar goes into service

1870s - Queen's Hotel is build where the Royal York Hotel stands today

1873 - Union Station 2.0 is built

1876 - Toronto's population is 68,000

1879 - What becomes known as the Toronto Industrial Exhibition is held for the first time, precursor to the Canadian National Exhibition

1892-08-15 - First electric Streetcar goes into service

1892 - Queen's Park becomes home to the provincial Legislature, grounds leased from the University of Toronto for 999 years at $1/year, post-secondary tuition begins to rise, co-incidence? hmmmm......

1894 -

1899-09-18 - Old City Hall opens


1900-12-31 - First time residents of Toronto hear the monumental bells pealing from the Old City Hall Clock Tower.

1901 - Toronto's population is 208,000. About triple what it was in 1876.

1901-05-23 - Toronto Star founder and publisher Joseph E. Atkinson daringly turns over the entire newspaper to women, who publish a special Victoria Memorial Edition. The move raises eyebrows in the newspaper trade, where a common Victorian view is that women are best suited to cooking, scrubbing floors, boiling laundry and raising children. But the editions sells out, and helps to open the door to future women journalists.

1903-04-30 - Emily Howard Stowe 1831-1903 dies; first Canadian woman admitted to practice medicine in Canada (1880).

1904-04-19 - Great Toronto Fire of 1904

1904 - Housing By-Law restriction outlaws wood-frame buildings throughout the city to reduce threat of future fires. Ironically, most of the houses in Toronto today are made of wood.

1905 - There are a total of exactly 4 apartment buildings in the entire city.

1906-07 - Alderman for Toronto Ward 4 William P. Hubbard serves as Acting Mayor. Son of freed slaves from Virginia, he becomes Toronto's first black deputy mayor

1911 - To coordinate public works for urban industrial expansion, the Royal Harbour Commission is created

1912 - Waterfront Parks Plan released by Frederick Law Olmstead calling for parks encircling Toronto Islands and the Port. Only Coronation Park and Union Station see light of day

1913 - Toronto now has a total of 113 apartment buildings.

1913-07-13 - Plane flies over the city for the first time

1913-08-13 - The original St. Clair Streetcar right-of-way starts service

1914 - Union Station 3.0 begins construction

1917 - Front Street, then the edge of the waterfront, sees completion of Harbour Commission Building

1919 - Marcus Garvey founds Toronto's Universal Negro Improvement Association Building at 355 College Street. Black musicians stayed here when many Toronto Hotels did not welcome blacks as patrons

1919-08-23 - Prince Edward Viaduct opens

1921 - Toronto's population reaches 522,000. Apartments represent just 4% of all dwelling units.

1922 - West of Exhibition Grounds sees opening of Sunnyside Amusement Park

1926 - Cold storage facility built, still known as Queen's Quay Terminal

1927-08-06 - New Union Station 3.0 opens

1928 - At the foot of Bathurst Street is built the Canada Malting Plant

1929 - Royal York Hotel opens, is the tallest building in the British Empire and the largest hotel as well

1930 - Toronto Chamber of Commerce places sign over Humber Bridge announcing, Welcome to Toronto, City of Homes.

1931 - Toronto's population hits 631,000. Immigrants represent almost 40% of the city's residents, the highest such proportion on the continent. There are 20,000 rental apartments units throughout the city.

1933-08-16 - Long hot summer of bigotry and hate boils over in the form of the Christie Pits Riot

1934 - Battery Park and Coronation Park open to the public

1938 - A small residential community on the Toronto Islands is razed to the ground to make way for an Island Airport, its existence has been debated ever since

1939 - At the foot of Bathurst Street, a sandbar is remade into the Port George VI Airfield, it later becomes the Toronto City Centre Airport

1942-04-30 - Toronto Stock Exchange Index hits wartime low of 84.8 on news of German victories.

1945 - City begins building Regent Park, Canada's first large scale public housing project.

1947-06-19 - TTC introduces electric trolley buses

1954-03-30 - Yonge Subway Line opens and is Canada's first subway, the train not the sandwich

1954-10-15 - Hurricane Hazel floods local rivers and kills 81 people. Force of hurricane carves up the single Toronto Island into several smaller islands

1955 - Goodbye South Parkdale :-( , neighbourhood destroyed to make way for Gardiner Expressway

1956 - Goodbye Sunnyside :-( , Amusement park neighbourhood destroyed to make way for Gardiner Expressway

1958-08-08 - First phase of the Gardiner Expressway opens, Parkdale residents begin being cut off from waterfront

1958 - Construction of breakwater for the Outer Harbour begins, dubbed the Leslie Street Spit

1959 - Exhibition Stadium opens

1961 - Jane Jacobs publishes The Death and Life of Great American Cities. Jacobs would later migrate to The Annex neighbourhood from New York City

1961 - Harold Ballard takes ownership of the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey franchise

1961 - Report on the Need for A Long Range Waterfront Plan drafted by Metro planners, mixed-use planning on waterfront kicks in

1961-08-03 - Don Valley Parkway, aka the DVP, open to the driving public

1963-02-28 - University Subway Line opens

1965-09-13 - New City Hall opens

1966-02-26 - Bloor-Danforth Subway Line opens

1967-05-02 - Last time Toronto Maple Leafs win the Stanley Cup

1967-05-27 - GO Transit begins service

1968 - Project Toronto proposed by Buckminster Fuller would see a giant pyramid developed along the waterfront

1969 - Old City of Toronto holds referendum on full amalgamation of all the jurisdictions which make up Metro Toronto. 82 % of Torontonians vote Yes. Nevertherless, the Provincial Government refuses to redraw the city's boundaries.

1970 - Harbour City proposal calls for canal housing constructed in the lake

1971 - Ontario Place is built as the only element of the Harbour City to be realized

1971-07-03 - Ontario Premier Bill Davis cancels the Spadina Expressway

1972 - HArbourfront Centre opens

1975 - First waterfront hotel/residence opens, the Westin Harbour Castle

1976-06-26 - The completed CN Tower opens

1978-01-28 - Spadina Subway Line opens

1979 - Bay Street Ferry Terminal begins operation alongside opening of Harbourside condominiums

1983-03 - North York Mayor Mel Lastman justifying his suggestion that North York switch to Daylight Savings Time a month earlier starting in March rather than April when the rest of Central Canada does so, he says, Well, there are more car accidents at night.

1983 - Queen's Quay Terminal converted into condominiums on top floors, retail shops on bottom two floors

1984 - Metro Toronto Convention Centre is open for business

1984-04-30 - Strong winds across Exhibition Stadium cause a 30 minute delay, then cancellation of a Blue Jays game with the Texas Rangers

1985-03-24 - Scarborough Rapid Transit opens

1989 - Serial Diners visit the AC Ranch Cafe on St. Clair Avenue West, begining a decades long goal of visiting and dining at every restaurant alphabetically listed in the Toronto Yellow Pages, one Friday evening at a time. They are currently working through restaurant names beginning with the letter I.

1989 - Spadina Roundhouse demolished. Skydome built on rail lands

1992 - BLue Jays win World Series

1993 - BLue Jays win World Series part deux

1996 - A coffee chain store tries to move into The Annex by taking over the lease where Dooney's Cafe is. The neighbourhood rallied to save Dooney's, the coffee chain did an about face and moved in across the street some time later

1997 - Addition to Metro Toronto Convention Centre built underneath the rail lines connects front of convention centre to the newly completed Roundhouse Park

1998 - At Spadina Quay, the Music Garden opens to the public

1999 - Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation established, job is to oversee planning for the Port Lands, central waterfront, and East Bayfront

Toronto Timeline: Earlier : 2000 : 2001 : 2002 : 2003 : 2004 : 2005 : 2006 : 2007 : 2008 : 2009 : 2010