Toronto Harbour Then and Now

Toronto Harbour Then and Now

Posted on June 11 by admin
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I spent most of this weekend on or around lake Ontario. Saturday was spent walking, biking, sitting on patios and generally relaxing on Toronto’s Harbourfront, and Sunday I sailed around the southern side of Toronto Island with my sister.

You really get a different perspective of the city from that vantage point, in not only a physical but a historical sense. Although present-day Toronto looks almost futuristic as you approach it by water, there are remnants of a deeply entrenched past as well. Amidst the glass towers and a-symmetrical hommages to modernity dotting the shoreline are historical landmarks, factories from the turn of the century, and remnants of shipping piers that have doubtlessly seen sundry goods come and go over the centuries.

I love exploring archival photographs and documentation of Toronto (formerly York). My latest excursion on lake Ontario inspired some digging into the past of the harbour around which the town was built. At the time of the Battle of York during the War of 1812, the area was home to a mere 600 civilians, housed within ten square blocks. Toronto Island did not in fact become an island until 1858, when it was separated from the mainland by a storm. While understanding these shifts in this city’s landscape is not crucial to daily existence, it does make the ground that I walk on every day seem a little richer, and my actions a little more permanent.

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Related Titles:

THE PENDULUM OF WAR: The Fight for Upper Canada, January–June 1813

THE ASTONISHING GENERAL: The Life and Legacy of Sir Isaac Brock

YORK’S SACRIFICE: Militia Casualties of the War of 1812