Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. With over 5 million residents, its metropolitan area is the seventh largest urban region in North America. Toronto is at the heart of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), and is part of a densely populated region known as the Golden Horseshoe, which is home to approximately 25% of Canada’s population.
As Canada’s economic hub and one of the top financial centers in the world, Toronto is considered an alpha world city by the Globalization and World Cities study group. It is home to the Toronto Stock Exchange, the world’s seventh largest stock market in terms of market value. Toronto contains more corporate headquarters than any other Canadian city. Toronto’s leading economic sectors include finance, business services, telecommunications, aerospace, transportation, media, arts, film, television production, publishing, software production, medical research, education, tourism, engineering and sports industries.
Although people have lived in the area since shortly after the last ice age, Toronto is a modern city. Toronto’s history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy. The settlement was later established as the Town of York and proclaimed as the new capital of Upper Canada by its lieutenant-governor, John Graves Simcoe. The city was ransacked in the Battle of York during the War of 1812, and damaged in two great fires in 1849 and in 1904. In 1834, York was incorporated as a city and renamed Toronto. Since its incorporation, Toronto has repeatedly expanded its borders through amalgamation with surrounding municipalities, most recently in 1998. Toronto’s population is cosmopolitan and international, reflecting its role as an important destination for immigrants. Toronto is one of the world’s most diverse cities by percentage of non-native-born residents, with about 49% of the population born outside Canada.
According to Forbes, Toronto is the tenth-most economically powerful city in the world and one of the fastest growing among the G7 nations. PricewaterhouseCoopers ranks the city as the world’s second-best metro powerhouse. In 2010, 2thinknow ranked Toronto twelfth in the world and fourth in the Americas for economic innovation. Toronto is also consistently rated as one of the world’s most livable cities by the Economist Intelligence Unit and the Mercer Quality of Living Survey.