IS LIVING IN TORONTO WORTH IT?
In short, Yes!
Why? This is why…
If you are looking for a vibrant city that has access to everything you need and a healthy lifestyle, Toronto should be on top of your list.
Boasting the largest population in Canada at approximately 2.9 million people in the city centre and 6.7 million when including the Greater Toronto Area, it is a hub for multiple things. Often called New York North, the city offers the perfect blend of business, culture, and entertainment.
But because many celebrities are able to slide under the radar, many of us don’t realize that a ton of celebrities have owned or currently own homes in Toronto.
Let’s explore this amazing big city to the north, which has so much to offer to the world, from its very interesting and little ventured history, to its big and awesome parks, its amazing world class professional sports teams, and to the great and vibrant business, cultural and entertainment life it boasts today.
Have real estate questions about Toronto? If you’re thinking of buying or selling property in the area, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team for guidance, advice, or top representation.
History of Toronto
Why did people first settle in Toronto?
The land at the shore of a vast lake abundant with a rich variety of nutritious fish such as the Atlantic salmon, bluegill sunfish, brook trout, to name a few, attracted some of the earliest people to it many thousands of years ago. This land is now known as Toronto. First Nations
fishing camps were established around the waterways of Toronto as early as 1,000 B.C. By 500 A.D, up to 500 people lived along each of the three major rivers of Toronto (Don, Humber, and Rouge River).
Early on, First Nations communities had developed trails and water routes in the Toronto area. This all started somewhere between 7,000 and 2,000 years ago when Indigenous peoples discovered an overland shortcut between Lake Ontario and Georgian Bay. Later known as the “Toronto Passage,” this trail was an important north-south route for both the Indigenous peoples and the Europeans.
French fur traders had known about the Toronto Passage since the early 1600s, and in 1720 they built a small store on the Humber River. This post failed financially and was abandoned in 1730. In 1750, the French built another small trading post called Fort Rouillé (or Fort Toronto), located in Toronto’s present-day Exhibition Grounds. It was burned in 1759 by its French garrison during a retreat from British forces.
Following the British Conquest in 1759, the Toronto site witnessed minor trader and Mississauga encampments. However, The American Revolution pushed Loyalists northward to remaining British territory. Their settlements along the upper St. Lawrence and lower lakes led to the creation of the province of Upper Canada in 1791. The province’s first governor, John Graves Simcoe planned a centrally located town at what is now Toronto. Simcoe used the site as a commanding post for a naval and garrison base to guard a troubled American boundary. By 1793, he saw to it that the town be laid out by the harbour, which he named York, in honour of the Duke of York, son of King George III. Soon he was using York as the capital of Upper Canada, erecting parliament buildings and cutting roads inland. In 1796, Yonge Street, named by Simcoe for then-British Secretary of State for War Sir George Yonge, was opened. The street had its origins in the Toronto Passage, and like the original trail, it ran northward to the Holland River, giving access to Lake Simcoe and on to Georgian Bay.
York’s official governmental position and garrison attracted merchants, craftsmen and labourers, while the spreading rural settlement outward made it a local market centre. By 1812, this frontier village still had only 700 residents, but regardless of its small population, its governing role, its harbour and its rough roads to the interior of Upper Canada gave it an initial economic advantage in the Lake Ontario area.
What were the Upper Canada land surrenders?
By the mid-1830s, the colonial government had made treaties with Indigenous peoples for the surrender of their territories, covering most of the arable lands
in Upper Canada. One of these treaties was the Toronto Purchase (also known as Treaty 13). First drawn up in 1787 and a revision of the agreement was made in 1805 between local First Nations and colonial authorities.
The Purchase covers much of present-day Toronto, from Lake Ontario to the city’s western and northern limits and this purchase was disputed until not long ago in 2010 when a settlement was made between the Government of Canada and the Mississauga’s for the land and other lands in the area. The Williams Treaties covered Toronto’s eastern portion and was signed in 1923.
What was Toronto like in the 1800s?
During the War of 1812
York was twice raided and pillaged by US forces (1813), leaving a pro-British populace with strong anti-American sentiments. After the war, the village became the recipient of a rising wave of British immigration to Upper Canada and by pursuing trade with expanding farming frontiers, York became the province’s banking centre.
By 1834, the fast-growing town of over 9,000 inhabitants was incorporated as the city of Toronto, with an elected civic government led by the city’s first mayor, William Lyon Mackenzie
. Very soon after his election as mayor of Toronto, this prominent Reform journalist and politician tried to seize the city by force in the Upper Canada Rebellion of 1837, but his attempt collapsed, more from confusion than bloodshed, and strengthened Toronto’s loyalist leanings.
In the 1840s, Toronto increased its commercial presence. Gas lighting and sewers on main streets and steamboat port activity marked its urban rise. In the 1850s, railway development connected Toronto to New York and Montreal, the upper lakes at Georgian Bay, and across western Upper Canada leading towards Detroit and Chicago. Toronto was made capital of the new province of Ontario at Confederation in 1867, and by the 1870s it was becoming increasingly industrialized. The city’s population grew by five times between 1831 and 1891.
In the 1880s Hart Massey‘s agricultural machinery firm, clothing factories, publishing plants and metal foundries grew substantially. The city’s growth was aided by industrial tariff protection after 1879 and the promotional drive of leaders such as railway builder Casimir Gzowski and department store builder Timothy Eaton.
The settlement of the Canadian West and the tapping of Northern Ontario’s forests and mines, in the 1890s and 1900s, opened further markets and resources to Toronto. Commerce from the North and West flowed into Toronto in turn dealing with either Montreal or New York as outlets or as suppliers back to the North and West making Toronto an important hub.
Major firms such as Eaton’s furthered their mail-order business into the West. Hydroelectric power from Niagara Falls (1911), produced by the Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario, provided cheap energy that spurred more factory growth. All this commercial and industrial growth and activity further propelled the influence of Toronto’s banks, investment into Toronto grew, and Toronto based insurance companies spread to regions well beyond Ontario.
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What was Toronto like in the 1900s?
By 1914, although the older and larger Montreal
was still the leading city, Toronto’s financial head offices, factories and stores had made it Canada’s second national metropolis. World War 1 expanded Toronto’s investment and manufacturing scope. Manufacturing in Toronto ranged from large-scale meat processing to munitions of which both industries were advanced by businessman Sir Joseph Flavelle.
In the prosperous 1920s, development continued as new suburban municipalities rose around a vastly overflowing city of approximately half a million people. This growth was slowed by the Great Depression of the 1930s. Gold and silver mining in Northern Ontario helped some financial sectors stay in above-average health, but overall the city was hard-hit as construction slowed considerably and unemployment skyrocketed. Although the employment rate slowly began to improve in 1934, high unemployment was only ended by the start of World War 2. The war revived growth, shaping electronic, aircraft and precision-machine industries. In the postwar era Toronto’s economy boomed, fuelled by consumer spending, the baby boom, house construction and the Korean War of 1950–53. The city’s population swelled further, to over a million in Greater Toronto, by 1951.
The service needs of this urban complex and its suburbs led to a metropolitan government. Set up in 1953, under a vigorous first chairman, Frederick Gardiner, the Metropolitan Toronto Authority handled area-wide requirements while the old jurisdictions attended to local concerns. The subway system, (initiated by the city in 1949) was expanded, parks and drainage projects were undertaken and arterial roads were constructed. In 1967, small suburbs were amalgamated, forming a Metro structure of the city of Toronto and five boroughs, of which all but East York had become cities by 1991.
All these boroughs-turned-cities lost their individual municipal structures in 1998 when the new “megacity” of Toronto came into existence. Toronto eventually gained priority over Montreal as a national (and international) financial hub. It also now leads Canada in its concentration of specialized services, including professional facilities and advertising, and it has a major hold on information media as well as an increasing presence as a North American film hub.
Is Toronto worth visiting?
Not only is Toronto a great place to visit but it is also a great place to live in, so much so that many celebrities, many who will surprise you, have made Toronto and the GTA their home at many given points in time.
We already know about Drake and The Weeknd who’s connections to the 6ix are pretty obvious.
But you might not have known that Elton John owns property around the GTA, or that Mark Wahlberg has a condo in Yorkville. So here is a list of celebrities, besides the obvious ones like Drake and The Weeknd, who lived, currently live, or own property in the GTA:
In 2013, Mark Wahlberg purchased a 4,600-square-foot penthouse in Yorkville.
Though the former pop icon is no longer with us, back in the early 2000s Prince called Toronto’s Bridle Path home. The insane mansion had six bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, a chef-inspired kitchen, tennis court, pool, heated cabana and even a purple room!
While Elton John doesn’t live right in Toronto, he does live in the GTA outskirts which gives him a better view of the city than any other celeb. He can see the entire skyline from his Stouffville mansion! While the home isn’t overly extravagant on the outside, the interior is beautiful! The singer and his husband also own an insane amount of land around the property.
The Toronto-born DJ may have recently sold his Toronto condo, but he still kept extremely close to home. You can catch DeadMau5 enjoying downtime at his new $5 million estate located in Campbellville, Ontario.
The Globe and Mail revealed in 2014 that the talented director currently resides in Toronto. It’s rumoured that his house is somewhere in the east end of the city.
Rachel McAdams decided to buy property in Toronto when she realized that not all movies are filmed in LA anymore. While she owns a mansion in Los Angeles, her Toronto home is much more tamed and more culturally appropriate. While she still lives in a more wealthy part of the city, Harbord Village, her Victorian style house is cute and casual.
While Megan Markle had to sell her home in Toronto when she traded the city life for royalty, her downtown home was nothing less than beautiful. It was all the rage when people realized Prince Harry had visited the home multiple times.
Having mentioned just some of many world-famous celebrities who have made Toronto and the GTA their home, let’s explore why it is that this amazing metropolis has attracted celebrities of such calibre.
Does Toronto have a big film industry?
Toronto is one of the top five screen-based industries in North America with a full scope of industry connections, services, suppliers, talent, crew, facilities and locations delivering everything required for success in pre-production through post-production.
Toronto also witnessed an amazing growth in its film industry in 2021 setting a record-breaking $2.5 billion CAD in direct spending and its screen production industry was set to experience even greater growth and momentum again in 2022. In 2021, the city saw 1,468 productions and 7,800 production days in Toronto.
So now we know why big celebrities are flocking to this amazing city but what does Toronto have to offer for the rest of us not lavished in celebrity, stardom and fame?
What are some good parks in Toronto?
For the rest of us who want to live a more understated, simple and healthy lifestyle, Toronto has many amazing green spaces, from the orderly oval of Queen’s Park to the 400-acre High Park and its trails, sports facilities and zoo.
This city contains a vast amount of parks where people can enjoy outdoor summer activities such as biking, hiking, running, swimming in pools, lakes and tanning on beaches, as well as paddle boating and horseback riding. Likewise, in the winter, many of these parks provide outdoor winter activities such as Skiing, cross-country skiing, and ice skating both on ice rinks and frozen ponds such as the one in High Park. There are so many amazing parks in this city that it is impossible to list them all here without writing a book therefore here is a slimmed down list of parks one can visit in Toronto:
This access to so many beautiful parks is why Toronto, even though it is the most populated city in Canada and filled with so many tall skyscrapers, can also provide its residents with plenty of healthy outdoor activity options.
Besides so many parks to visit, what other things can one do in Toronto?
The incredibly long list of diverse things to do in Toronto is so big that we will have to provide a very condensed version. This list ranges from going to world-class museums such as the ROM, to riding world-record-breaking roller coasters at Canada’s Wonderland, to dining in world-class restaurants, to watching some of the best professional sports teams and so much more. So let’s get started!
Museums to visit in Toronto?
The best museums in Toronto celebrate everything that makes Canada great, from diversity to hockey and everywhere in between. Throw in some fascinating history, avant-garde art and ghosts, and you’ve got yourself a cultural colossus that demands visiting. Here is a list of 10 museums one can visit in Toronto today:
Toronto has the tallest dive coaster in the world?
For those crazy about high-speed thrills, Canada’s Wonderland, located north in the Greater Toronto Area, boasts some of the world’s tallest, fastest and most thrilling amusement park rides such as the Yukon Striker. At a height of 68 metres (223 ft), Yukon Striker shares the record as the tallest Dive Coaster in the world, with Valravn, a Dive Coaster in Cedar Point.
These types of thrills are definitely not for the faint of heart therefore if you’re looking for a more relaxing activity to partake in, Toronto has just the right thing for everyone such as world-class fine dining.
Do any Toronto restaurants have MICHELIN Stars?
Thirteen restaurants in Toronto have been awarded a MICHELIN Star, including Sushi Masaki Saito, which received two MICHELIN Stars, making Toronto the first Canadian city to be recognized in the MICHELIN Guide, solidifying its position as a top culinary destination with a spectacular breadth of diverse cuisine and food-related experiences. Altogether 74 Toronto restaurants have been recognized, including 17 Bib Gourmand restaurants and 44 recommended restaurants. Here is a list of some of the top MICHELIN Star restaurants in Toronto:
Now that we have explored one of Toronto’s finer aspects, some of you might be thinking that maybe you need something just a tad bit more down to earth like enjoying a live sports event featuring a top world-class sports club. No worries as Toronto has just the right thing for you, the sports lover.
What are the 7 major sports teams in Toronto?
Toronto is the only Canadian city which boasts having teams in most of the top-tier North American major league sports organizations with the NFL being the only exception. With all four Toronto clubs winning championships in the NBA, NHL, MLB and MLS, Toronto is definitely a sports powerhouse. Here is a list of the 7 major sports teams in Toronto:
So here it is, Toronto, a world-class city with so much to offer to the world and still growing in its influence and scope. Here we only touched the tip of the iceberg in regards to this amazing city but the answer may be much more clear to you now that we have explored just a bit of its brilliance. So let’s get back to the question; Is living in Toronto worth it? I have a feeling if you weren’t certain before you now can agree that yes, Toronto is worth living in!
More About Toronto
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