Happy birthday, Toronto!
Well, re-birthday, anyway. Though the city of York had existed since 1793, it was incorporated on this day in history in 1834 and renamed Toronto.
It was a better place for Upper Canada’s capital city, much less vulnerable to attack by America than Niagara-on-the-Lake. So thought John Simcoe, the city’s founder. The first dwelling was a tent, but the governor soon oversaw the building of Fort York, which would protect the city from invaders from the south. The fort was destroyed during the War of 1812, but rebuilt after the battle, and it still stands today.
|The Act of Incorporation for Toronto|
(c) Toronto Public Library
In the early 1800s the growing city was ruled by an assembly, which was mostly controlled by an oligarchy called the Family Compact. Incorporating the town meant that a mayor would be elected, and though those on the side of the Family Compact did everything they could to stop the incorporation, it passed. Not only did it pass, but Toronto’s first mayor was a major political opponent of the Family Compact.
Toronto has grown from its tented beginnings to a city of over 2.6 million people. Destined from the first to be a capital city, it served Upper Canada in that capacity, and for several different time periods as the capital of the United Province of Canada, taking its rightful place as the capital of Ontario when it was created in 1867.
Happy Incorporation Day, Toronto!