Timeline of Toronto history

Last updated

This timeline of the history of Toronto documents all events that occurred in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, including historical events in the former cities of East York, Etobicoke, North York, Toronto, Scarborough, and York. Events date back to the early-17th century and continue until the present in chronological order. The timeline also includes events taken place in municipalities bordering Toronto.


In this timeline, the name Toronto refers to Old Toronto in events listed before 1998.

Pre-founding of Toronto

1450sSeveral hundred Wyandot (Huron) live in about 21 longhouses within a fortified village located in what is now North Toronto (Castlefield Avenue, just west of Avenue Road). [1]
1450sA large Huron-Wendat village is located on a rise of land overlooking Black Creek. [2]
17th century
1615 Étienne Brûlé, with 12 Huron scouts, arrives at the mouth of the Humber River on the shores of Lake Ontario as the first European to set foot in the vicinity now known as Toronto. [3]
1650s–1700 Teiaiagon Seneca village exists on the bank of the Humber at today's Baby Point neighbourhood
1660sGanatsekwyagon (Bead Hill) Seneca village exists on the bank of the lower Rouge River. [4]
18th century
1720A magasin royal (fur trading post), known as Fort Douville, is established near the former site of Teiaiagon. [5]
1750 Fort Rouillé is established.
1759 Fort Rouillé is destroyed by its garrison. [6]
1787The Toronto Purchase occurs.
1791The lands of Etobicoke, York, and Scarborough are surveyed in preparation for settlement. [7]
1792 Joseph Bouchette is sent to Upper Canada to help survey the shores of Lake Ontario and produce maps.
1793 Fort York is established.
August 26 York (Upper Canada) is incorporated as a township.
1795 Etobicoke is named by John Graves Simcoe
1796 Scarborough is named by Elizabeth Simcoe.
1797June 1The first session of the parliament of York is held.

19th century

1803 St. Lawrence Market public market is established [8]
1806 Lambton Mills is incorporated as a village.
1813April 27The Battle of York occurs.
JulySecond looting of York by American forces
1827March 15King's College (now University of Toronto) is established. [9]
1829June 3The York General Hospital is opened as the first public hospital in York.
1830The York Mechanics' Institute is established.
1832The first post office of Scarborough is opened in Scarborough Village.
1834March 6The City of Toronto is incorporated, replacing the township of York.
1837December 7The Battle of Montgomery's Tavern occurs.
1839 or 1840The first Catholic school in Toronto is opened. [10]
1839DecemberSt. James Church becomes the cathedral church of the Anglican Diocese of Toronto. [11]
1841December 28Several Toronto streets and stores illuminated by gas as a regular service for the first time.
1844 The Globe is established.
1846December 19First telegraph message transmitted from Toronto.
1847Wave of over 30,000 Irish Immigrants arrive in Toronto to escape the famine in Ireland.
1849April 7The first Great Fire of Toronto occurs.
May 30King's College is renamed as the University of Toronto.
The Williams Omnibus Bus Line is established as the first public transit system in Toronto.
1850January 1 Etobicoke is incorporated as a township.
Scarborough is incorporated as a township.
York (Canada West) is incorporated as a township.
1853May 16First railway (Ontario, Simcoe and Huron) begins operation from Bay and Front St. depot.
Yorkville is incorporated as a village.
1856October 27The first passenger rail service between Toronto and Montreal begins.
The Armstrong, Beere and Hime panorama is created.
1858April 13The Toronto Islands sand formation modified by a storm.
The first Union Station is opened just west of York and Front Streets
1861October 25The Toronto Stock Exchange is formed.
September 11 Toronto Street Railway is established.
1869 Eaton's is established.
1872 The Toronto Mail is established.
1873July 1The second Union Station is opened.
1874August 19Establishment of an official fire department is approved by the city council.
1875March 1 Hospital for Sick Children opens at its original site. [12]
September 26The Jubilee Riots occur.
The Metropolitan Street Railway is established.
1879June 8Toronto's first telephone book published.
September 5The first Canadian National Exhibition (then known as the Toronto Industrial Exhibition) is held.
1883September 25 Toronto Electric Light Company is established.
1884March 6The Toronto Public Library officially opens following approval in 1883. [13]
Brockton Village is annexed into Toronto.
1887The Toronto Empire is established.
1889March 28 Parkdale is annexed into Toronto.
1890The Toronto and Mimico Electric Railway and Light Company is established.
Toronto Railway is established.
1892November 3The Evening Star is established.
The Toronto and Scarboro' Electric Railway, Light and Power Company is established.
1893April 4 Queen's Park and the Ontario Legislative Building opens.
1894May 17The University Avenue Armoury opens.
June 14 Massey Hall opens in 1894, holding its first concert on June 14. [14]
Toronto Suburban Railway is established.
The Toronto Mail and Toronto Empire merge to create The Mail and Empire
1896August 31The first motion picture in Toronto is screened at Robinson's Musee at 81 Yonge Street.
December 31All toll gates are abolished in York County.
1897September 26 Temple Building opens at Bay Street and Richmond Street as the tallest office building in Canada at the time.
1899September 18The Old City Hall opens.

20th century

1900January 24The Evening Star is renamed as The Toronto Daily Star. [15]
The Art Museum of Toronto opens. [16]
1903May 11 King Edward Hotel opens. [17]
1904April 19The second Great Fire of Toronto occurs.
December 12First escalator in Toronto is installed at an Eaton's store on Queen Street West.
1905December 2The first Toronto Santa Claus Parade is held.
1906November 19Electricity generated at Niagara Falls begins to be supplied to Toronto. [18]
The Toronto Professional Hockey Club is established as the first professional ice hockey team in Toronto. [19]
1909September 1A fire damages the west wing of the Ontario Legislative Building, destroying the Legislative Library. [20]
October 28The Central Reference Library opens at the intersection of College Street and St. George Street.
December 4The first Grey Cup game is held at Rosedale Field.
1911The Toronto Blueshirts are established.
1912October 7The Arena Gardens (later known as Mutual Street Arena) opens as the largest auditorium in Canada with the first artificial ice rink in Ontario.
Toronto Civic Railways is established.
1913June 13The Toronto General Hospital relocates to its present site at College Street.
1914March 11The Toronto Blueshirts win the first Stanley Cup by a Toronto team.
March 19The Royal Ontario Museum opens.
"Ranelagh Park" estate home, later to be the Guild Inn opens.
1915November 15Chorley Park, Ontario's fourth and last Government House, opens.
1916September 16The 'Ontario Temperance Act takes effect.
1917The Toronto Blueshirts are renamed as the Torontos.
1918March 30The Torontos are renamed as the Toronto Arenas.
October 18The Prince Edward Viaduct officially opens. [21]
1919December 8A statue of Timothy Eaton is unveiled on Queen Street West. [22]
The Art Museum of Toronto is renamed as Art Gallery of Toronto. [23]
The Toronto Arenas are renamed as the Toronto St. Patricks.
1920August 28The Pantages Theatre opens as Canada's largest theatre.
1921September 1The Toronto Transportation Commission is established.
December 16The Coliseum opens on the Exhibition grounds.
1922June 13 North York is incorporated as a township.
June 28 Sunnyside Amusement Park opens.
November 22The first Royal Agricultural Winter Fair opens.
1923February 8First radio broadcast of an ice hockey game is made from Arena Gardens.
1924January 1 East York is incorporated as a township.
July 19Telephone system begins switch from manual to automatic dialing.
1925June 10Arena Gardens hosts a worship service inaugurating The United Church of Canada.
1925July 29Sunnyside Pool opens at Sunnyside Amusement Park as the largest outdoor pool in the world.
August 8First automatic traffic signal begins operation at the intersection of Yonge Street and Bloor Street.
1926April 29 Maple Leaf Stadium opens as the Fleet Street Baseball Stadium.
1927February 14The Toronto St. Patricks renamed as the Toronto Maple Leafs.
June 1First liquor stores in Toronto open following repeal of the Ontario Temperance Act.
August 6The new (present-day) Union Station is open.
August 30Edward, Prince of Wales and Prince George inaugurate the new Princes' Gates at the Exhibition Grounds
1928November 3First sound film in Toronto is shown at the Uptown Theatre.
1929June 11The Fairmont Royal York is opened as the Royal York Hotel.
October 29The Toronto Stock Exchange suffers its worst loss in history.
1930January 21Cross Waterfront Railway Viaduct opens to elevate tracks from York Street to Queen Street West.
1931January 31 Commerce Court North opens as the tallest building in the British Commonwealth.
June 4The intersection of College Street-Carlton Street and Yonge Street opened.
1931November 12 Maple Leaf Gardens opens with hockey game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Chicago Black Hawks.
1933July 11Anti-fascism march, from Bathurst and Wellington Streets, to Queen's Park. [24]
August 16 Christie Pits riot occurs. [25]
1934 Fort York Guard created.
March 6 Centennial of the City of Toronto
1936 The Globe and The Mail and Empire merge to create The Globe and Mail .
1938August 29 Malton Airport opens.
1939February 4 Toronto Island airport opens.
May 22 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother visit, marking the first visit of a reigning monarch to Toronto. The island airport is renamed Port George VI Island Airport in honour of the visit
June 7 Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) between Toronto and Niagara Falls, Ontario is opened.
1944December 12The Great Snowstorm, the worst winter storm in Toronto's history, ends with nine deaths and 57 cm of snow. [26]
1947April 3The Silver Rail opens as the first bar licensed by the LCBO . [27]
1949January 18Conversion of hydro in Ontario to 60 cycles from 25 cycles begins.
September 17 SS Noronic burns at the Toronto Harbour resulting in 118 fatalities.
1951August 9 Canada Life Building's weather beacon begins operation.
October 11The future Queen, Princess Elizabeth and husband Prince Philip visit Toronto as part of a cross-Canada tour. [28]
December 1The Toronto-Barrie Highway opens.
1952July 1The Toronto-Barrie Highway is renamed as Highway 400
September 8Ontario's first television station, CBLT, begins broadcasting in Toronto.
November 1First English broadcast of Hockey Night in Canada is televised from Maple Leaf Gardens.
1953January 20The Metropolitan Toronto School Board, a school board with a federation of 11 school boards, is formed.
1954January 1 Metropolitan Toronto is created.
March 30The Yonge subway line opens as the first rapid transit line in Canada.
September 9 Marilyn Bell becomes the first person to swim across Lake Ontario.
October 15 Hurricane Hazel affects Toronto and kills a total of 81 people in Ontario.
1956August 24 Highway 401's last section in Toronto from Bayview Avenue to Highway 2 opens.
1958August 8The Gardiner Expressway from Humber River to Jameson Avenue opens.
1960October 1The O'Keefe Centre opens.
1961August 3The Don Valley Parkway's first phase, from Bloor Street to Eglinton Avenue opens.
1964February 26The Yorkdale Shopping Centre opens.
1965September 13The Toronto City Hall and Nathan Phillips Square open.
November 10 Northeast Blackout of 1965 occurs.
1966February 25The Bloor-Danforth subway line (Line 2) opens. [29]
October 21The Spadina Expressway opens.
1967May 23 GO Transit is established.
Etobicoke, East York, North York, Scarborough, and York are incorporated as boroughs.
May 2The Toronto Maple Leafs win the Stanley Cup, their most recent win.
July 1Official opening of 56-storey Toronto-Dominion Bank Tower.
1968October 28The McLaughlin Planetarium opens.
1969September 26The Ontario Science Centre opens.
1970July 5The Air Canada Flight 621 accident occurs as the deadliest aviation incident in Toronto.
1971May 22 Ontario Place opens.
June 3The Spadina Expressway project into downtown is cancelled to go no further than Eglinton Avenue.
November 6The Toronto Daily Star is renamed as The Toronto Star .
1972Toronto's first Gay Pride Week is held. It includes a dance, film night, and march to Queen's Park. [30]
1973May 2The Scarborough Town Centre opens.
1974August 15 Toronto Zoo opens (originally called Metro Toronto Zoo).
October 26 Art Gallery of Ontario relocates to its present site on Dundas Street.
1975May 18The First Canadian Place opens as the tallest building in the Commonwealth of Nations.
The 519 Church Street Community Centre is established. [31] The 519 provides services to LGBTQ2S people.
1976June 26The CN Tower opens as the tallest freestanding structure in the world.
August 3The opening ceremony of the 1976 Summer Paralympics is held at the Woodbine Racetrack.
February 11The Toronto Eaton Centre opens.
November 2 Toronto Reference Library relocates to its present site at the intersection of Bloor Street and Yonge Street.
The first Toronto International Film Festival is held (originally called the Festival of Festivals)
1979 North York is incorporated as a city.
1981February 5Police raid four gay bathhouses in Operation Soap and arrest 286 people. The next day over 3,000 people demonstrate against the raids. Smaller raids and protests continue through 1981.
May 23 Canada's Wonderland opens.
1982September 13The Roy Thomson Hall opens.
1983 Etobicoke, Scarborough, and York are incorporated as cities.
1984October 2The Metro Toronto Convention Centre opens.
1985March 22The Scarborough RT line opens.
1988MarchCanada's first stand-alone treatment facility for people with HIV/AIDS, Casey House opens its doors.
1989June 5 Rogers Centre opens (originally known as SkyDome).
1991The 1991 Toronto bomb plot is revealed.
1992May 4A riot occurs after a protest march after the police shooting of Raymond Lawrence, a young black man.
1993May 23The Princess of Wales Theatre opens.
1995August 11The Russell Hill subway accident occurs.
1998January 1 East York, Etobicoke, North York, Scarborough, Old Toronto, York and Metro Toronto are amalgamated into the new City of Toronto.
1999February 19The Air Canada Centre opens.

21st century

2002November 22The Sheppard Subway Line opens.
Toronto hosts World Youth Day.
2003April 24 2003 Etobicoke gas explosion occurs.
August 14 Northeast Blackout of 2003 occurs.
2005August 2The Air France Flight 358 accident occurs.
December 26The Boxing Day shooting occurs.
2006June 2The 2006 Toronto terrorism plot is thwarted.
June 14The Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts opens.
2008August 10 2008 Toronto propane explosion occurs.
2010June 8Final resolution of Toronto Purchase between Government of Canada and Mississaugas
June 26 2010 G-20 Toronto summit is held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
September 12Opening of TIFF Bell Lightbox permanent home for Toronto International Film Festival.
2011June 25 12th International Indian Film Academy Awards are held at the Rogers Centre.
2012July 16Two people are killed and 22 wounded in the Danzig Street shooting.
2014August 31 Flexity Outlook streetcars begin revenue service, debuting on Route 510 Spadina.
September 18 Aga Khan Museum is established.
2015June 6 Union Pearson Express opens to connect Pearson Airport to Union Station.
July 4 Luminous Veil on Prince Edward Viaduct is unveiled.
July 10–26Toronto hosts 2015 Pan American Games.
July 30Pedestrian tunnel to the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport opens.
August 7–15Toronto hosts 2015 Parapan American Games.
2016December 31 Honest Ed's closes.
2017September 20–23Toronto hosts the Invictus Games.
December 9 Toronto FC win the MLS Cup. [32]
December 17The Line 1 Yonge–University subway extension opens.
2018April 2310 people are killed and 16 wounded in a vehicle ramming attack on Yonge Street in North York.
July 22Two people are killed and 13 wounded in the Danforth shooting.
2019April 1The first legal marijuana store opens in Toronto, six months after legalization of marijuana. [33]
June 13The Toronto Raptors win the 2019 NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors in Oakland, California.
2020March 23State of emergency declared in Toronto by mayor John Tory, amid the COVID-19 pandemic in Ontario. [34]

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