About Toronto

Toronto from 1800-1900

Initially known as the York in the early 1800s, it was renamed Toronto in 1834 and was a small city in both area and population. This same year the population was at 9252, with the city containing over 1000 homes and 100 stores, in addition to government offices and the Toronto police force established just two years prior. During this time, the main sources of immigrants were coming from the United Kingdom, Ireland due to the famine, and there were a smaller number of African-Americans coming from the United States. Immigration had been paused during the War of 1812 between the British and Americans, recommencing after its end in 1814. The population grew exponentially between 1831 and 1891 five times larger to 181 220 people. This made it the second largest city in Canada at the time, behind Montreal. After Confederation, Toronto was named the capital city of Ontario. In the years following Confederation until 1973, Toronto entered a prosperous period before entering a “commercial depression” that included unemployment and bankruptcies with its effects and repercussions that lasted until 1897.


A Nation of Immigrants : Women, Workers, and Communities in Canadian History, 1840s-1960s. Edited by Paula Draper, Franca Iacovetta, and Robert Ventresca. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1998.

Bumsted, J.M. The Peoples of Canada: A Pre-Confederation History. Ontario: Oxford University Press Canada, 2010.

Canadian Encyclopedia - Toronto

Grainger, Patricia. The Census: One Hundred Years Ago

Macdonald, Norman. Canada : Immigration and colonization,1841-1903. Aberdeen, Scotland: Aberdeen- University Press, 1968.
Toronto from 1900- 1970

Toronto from 1900-1970

Toronto happens to be one of he most diverse cities in the entire world. When examining the city of Toronto and it’s people, it is extremely important to look at the cities demographic history and significant events that took part in shaping the Toronto we know today.

From 1900 to 1970 the population of Toronto increased dramatically from around 5.4 million to 21.6 million people . There are many factors that explain the massive population spike every year during this time period. One of those factors is mortality vs. longevity. From 1920 to 1970 the infant mortality rate (mortality vs. live births with infants) has dropped from 102 to 18 . This proved to be even more important because of the fertility rates in Toronto. Up until 1947, fertility rates steadily declined. It was in 1954 however, where there was a massive baby boom in a thriving Toronto economy following the Second World War . In 1947 and in 1954 fertility rates in Toronto were at 18.9 births per every 1000 population, an all time high in the city . Immigration during this this time period consisted mainly of immigrants from Europe (92% up until 1961) . There were two main immigration waves during this time period. One was from 1901 to 1911 and the other was from 1941 to 1961 . The first wave consisted of almost exclusively European immigrants who mainly moved to the west where free land was offered, but a lot settled in Toronto . The second migration waved happened during the Second World War and its end and once again featured almost exclusively European immigrants.

When looking at Toronto’s population and demographic you must look at the significant events that were happening at the time in Canada as a whole. The three main events that impacted Toronto greatly were the First and Second World Wars and the Great Depression. During the Great depression happening in Canada, growth in Toronto’s population was almost entirely based around natural growth . In both Post War periods the immigration residency in Toronto was largely based in its suburbs . Compared to population following the Wars, the GTA’s smaller municipalities had a higher flow of immigration then Toronto. Toronto actually had the smallest percentage of immigrants when compared to East York, York, Scarborough and North York. These are just some examples how significant events in Canada changed the demographic of Toronto.

City of Toronto Social Administration Files

Canadian Encyclopedia