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Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Toronto
By Ryan D. Hogan
The hockey hall of fame, the CN Tower, and Rogers Centre are just a few of the things associated with Toronto, Ontario.
However, the provincial capital and financial center of Canada is one of North America’s most fascinating cities.
To shed some light on the mysterious metropolis, we’ve compiled a list of the 10 things your probably didn’t know about Toronto…
* Golden Horseshoe – No, it’s not the name of a steakhouse. Golden Horseshoe is the appellation of a densely populated area of Canada in which Toronto is the anchor city. This “u” shaped area of land stretches around the west end of Lake Ontario starting at Niagara Falls and ending in the town of Oshawa. Thanks to Toronto and its suburbs, the Golden Horseshoe contains over a quarter of the population of Canada.
* Take Stock in Toronto – The Toronto Stock Exchange, also known by the initials TSX, is the largest in Canada, the third largest in North America, and the eighth largest in the world. Investors flock to the TSX, a subsidiary of the TMX Group Inc., to make money in the mining, oil, and gas industries. In fact, there are more of those types of companies on the Toronto Stock Exchange than any other exchange in the world.
* Canadian National – Everyone is familiar with the CN Tower, it’s the defining landmark of the Toronto skyline, but do you know what “CN” stands for? Originally, it stood for Canadian National, the name of the railway company that constructed the 1,815 feet, 5-inch structure in 1975. However the tallest tower in the western hemisphere is now owned by the Canadian people so the “CN” is an abbreviation of “Canada’s National” as in “Canada’s National Tower.”
* Earth, Wind & Fire – Toronto has been on the bad side of two major disasters. In 1904, the Great Toronto Fire decimated the downtown area. The blaze caused $10 million in damage but led to stronger fire safety laws and an expansion of the city’s fire department. In 1954, Hurricane Hazel brought Toronto to its knees with high winds and flash floods. The storm killed 81 people, displaced 1,900 families, and caused more than $25 million in damages.
* What Is Up, Toronto? – If you don’t like heights you might want to stay away from Toronto or at least be prepared for more skyscrapers than you can shake a hockey stick at. Toronto has over 2,000 buildings over 300 feet tall. In North America, that number is second only to New York City (the Big Apple has 5,000 such buildings). Some of high-rises include First Canadian Place, Scotia Tower, TD Canada Trust Tower, Commerce Court West, and the Toronto-Dominion Tower.
* Lights, Camera, Action! – Toronto is home to the world’s first permanent IMAX theatre. It’s called the Cinesphere. You can find it at Ontario Place located on the shore of Lake Ontario, just west of downtown Toronto. The theater, with its 80 feet by 60 feet screen and its 752 seats, opened for movie buffs on May 22, 1971. It was built to look like the Spaceship Earth from Walt Disney World’s Epcot theme park. In technical terms it’s a triodetic-dome.
* Play Ball! – Toronto is the only Canadian city with a team in five major sports leagues. Obviously everyone associates the city with the Maple Leafs, the 13-time Stanley Cup champions, but the city also fields teams in Major League Baseball (Blue Jays), National Basketball Association (Raptors), Canadian Football League (Argonauts), and Major League Soccer (Toronto FC). Starting in 2008, the NFL’s Buffalo Bills play one regular season home game at Toronto’s Rogers Centre.
* Argonauts – Not only are the Argonauts part of Toronto’s vast sports landscape, they are also the oldest extant professional sports team in North America. The Argonauts, a band of heroes from Greek mythology that accompanied Jason to Colchis, were founded in 1873 by the Toronto Argonaut Rowing Club. They’ve won the CFL Championship, or Grey Cup, a record fifteen times. The Argonauts play their home games at the Rogers Centre.
* Law & Order: Toronto – Big cities are notorious for crime but not the big T.O. In fact, Toronto has a reputation for being one of the largest and safest cities in North America. In 2007, the city’s homicide rate was 3.1 per 100,000 people. New York City’s homicide rate was doubled that; Los Angeles and Boston was nearly three times as bad; and you don’t even want to know how many more murders occurred in Atlanta. Toronto also has a low rate of robberies.
* Bottom’s Up – Toronto was once the largest alcohol producer in North America. While the city no longer holds that distinction, the Distillery District contains many buildings from that era. These historic landmarks are located near the harbor and include the Canada Malting Co. grain processing towers and the Redpath Sugar Refinery. Toronto may not be distilling alcohol like it did in the 60’s (the 1860’s) but it still has a thriving microbrewery scene.