The city of Toronto was established in 1793, but the area was inhabited for centuries before that point. Earliest records place the Iroquois as the first settlers in the region, living there for some time prior to 1500, however around the beginning of the 16th century they were largely displaced by the Huron tribes, who were living in the region when European settlers arrived. The name "Toronto" probably derives for the Iroquois word "tkaronto", though this has been debated. Permanent occupation of the region, however, was largely inconsistent, despite the efforts of both native groups and the French, who established a small fort in the region in 1750. By 1760 they had been largely driven from the area by the British. The small British city established there began to swell in the aftermath of the Revolutionary War, as Loyalists from the United States fled to the British-held regions of the continent. In July of 1793 the fledgling city, then called York, was selected as the new capital of Upper Canada. In 1813, the War of 1812 spilled into Upper Canada, and York was partially burnt by American troops who set fire to the magazine in Fort York. A much strengthened Fort York was rebuilt soon after the attack, and was able to easily repel another American attack in 1814.
In March of 1834 the town was incorporated, and once again assumed the name of Toronto, to distinguish it from the other Yorks of the time. In 1837, Toronto was a hotbed of revolutionary activity during the Upper Canada Rebellion; among the leaders of the Rebellion was Toronto's first mayor, William Lyon Mackenzie. In 1845 a potato famine hit Ireland, causing a million Irish inhabitants to emigrate. Thousands of these immigrants landed in Toronto, where the protestant minority was welcomed into the upper echelons of the predominantly British and Scottish society. Catholics, by far the majority among the immigrants, were largely discriminated against. This discrimination resulted in a series of riots that took place between 1858 and 1878, the largest of which were the Jubilee Riots, which took place in 1875. By 1890 the Irish Catholic population had been stabilized somewhat by the addition of German and French Catholics, and the Irish Catholics were instrumental in establishing a number of charitable and educational organizations in the city that exist to this day as a central part of the city.
By 1891 the total population of the city of Toronto had reached 181,000 people, not including the people living in what is now termed the Greater Toronto Area. The city began to develop an extensive public transit system, including the streetcar network, which is still in use, radial lines, and the trains of the Grand Trunk and Great Northern Railways. These rail lines, along with the ports on Lake Ontario, brought more immigration into Toronto, as well as lucrative trade. To the east and west the city was bounded by the Don and Humber Rivers, respectively. Part of the Don River was reconfigured in 1888 because of sanitary issues, as many of the major waterways were used as open sewers. At the beginning of the 20th Century, the city was hit by the Great Toronto Fire of 1904, which claimed 104 buildings and caused $10,000,000 in damage, though killed no one. The destroyed section of the city was quickly rebuilt. In 1919 the Prince Edward Viaduct was constructed to deal with the steep ravine of the Don River, and to connect Bloor Street with Danforth Avenue on the other side of the ravine, expanding the city. In 1927 Union Station, which dealt with rail travel, was opened, and remains a transit hub to this day.
In 1954 the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto was created, incorporating several smaller municipal governments into one. Also in 1954, the first subway line in the city, which ran between Union Station and Eglinton Station, was opened. That same year, Hurricane Hazel swept through the city, an exceedingly rare occurrence, causing flooding, destroying Raymore Drive, which was a side street, and killing 81 people. The 1970s saw a major swell in construction in the city, as a number of skyscrapers began to be constructed. All of these tall buildings began to interfere with the television and radio signals in the city. To counter this, the tallest building in Toronto, the CN Tower, was built to relay radio and television signals throughout the city. It was completed in 1976, and remained the tallest freestanding structure in the world for the next 34 years.
Up until 1998 Metropolitan Toronto had been composed of six municipalities. In 1998 the Ontario Provincial Government amalgamated these six municipal governments into the City of Toronto. January of 1999 saw a massive snowstorm hit the city that buried a number of buildings and resulted in the Canadian Forces being called in to deal with the accumulated snow. This remained a sore point for many Torontonians, and a source of hilarity for the rest of the country, for some time after the incident. In 2002 the two largest municipal workers' unions in the city went on strike, an action which coincided with a visit to the city by Pope John Paul II. This strike resulted in garbage piling up on the streets and a number of other governmental institutions, such as libraries, being unavailable to the public. In 2003 the SARS epidemic arrived in Toronto, and caused a major dent in tourism despite the fact that the outbreak was largely confined to hospitals in the region. The city held a concert, colloquially called SARSStock, to recoup some of the losses suffered. Shortly after, the city was hit by the 2003 North America blackout, which caused widespread chaos and partying in the streets. The city remained in the dark for upwards of 12 hours.
In late June of 2010 the city played host to the G-20 Summit. The Summit attracted a great deal of criticism in the press, and resulted in widespread protests and, in some isolated incidents, rioting and looting. Most of this violence was the result of black bloc protestors, and was mostly contained to fast food restaurants and chain stores in Downtown Toronto. The Toronto Police Service attracted a great deal of criticism after the event, mainly related to allegations of misconduct from peaceful protestors and media personnel. Investigations into these allegations are mostly pending. In June 2014, Toronto played host to World Pride.
Toronto is the largest city in Canada, currently containing a population of just over 2,503,000. Just under half of the total population of the city is foreign born. 52.6% of the population is of British, French, Irish, or Italian descent. 12% is South Asian, 11.4% is Chinese, 8.4% is Black, 4.1% is Filipino, 2.6% is Latin American, and 0.5% belongs to an Aboriginal group. The largest proportion of the city is Christian: just over 61% reports being a member of a Christian denomination. There are also small populations of Muslims, Hindus, Jews, Buddhists and Sikhs. Just over 18% of the population reports no religion. The Greater Toronto Area, which has Toronto as its centre, is composed of the four surrounding regions of Durham, Halton, Peel and York. Combined, the GTA has a total population of over 5.6 million people and covers over 7,124 kilometres.
Toronto is located in the province of Ontario, which lies between Quebec to the east and Manitoba to the west. It lies in the south of Ontario, on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario, one of the Great Lakes. It covers 630 square kilometres. Toronto contains six former municipalities: East York, Etobicoke, North York, Scarborough, York, and the Old City of Toronto. These municipalities are further divided into several dozen neighbourhoods, which include a number of ethnic neighbourhoods, such as Chinatown, Cabbagetown, and Greektown.
As arguably one of the most famous cities in Canada, Toronto has often become the default city for media featuring urban Canadian life. As such, there are a number of comics that are set in the city, and a number of characters who hail from there. What follows is a partial list of such comics and characters.
Comics set in Toronto include:
Characters from, or living in, Toronto include:
Creators from Toronto
- Adrian Alphona
- Kalman Andrasofszky
- Mark Askwith
- Andy Belanger
- J. Bone
- Kent Burles
- MIchael Cho
- Darwyn Cooke, currently alternates between Toronto and Florida
- Gene Day
- Anthony Del Col
- Mike Del Mundo
- Valentine De Landro
- Ray Fawkes
- David Finch
- Ed Furness, a member of the Canadian Comic Book Hall of Fame
- Agnes Garbowska
- Scott Hepburn
- Kathryn Immonen
- Stuart Immonen
- Dale Keown
- Leonard Kirk, American born but lives in Saint Catharines, Ontario
- David Lapp
- Marvin Law
- Ken Lashley
- Jeff Lemire
- Jeff Longstreet
- Francis Manapul
- Alex Milne
- Dean Motter, a former resident of Toronto
- Bryan Lee O'Malley, who currently lives with his wife, Hope Larson, in North Carolina
- Marco Rudy
- Ramon Perez
- Dave Ross
- Gibson Quarter
- Seth, who currently lives in the nearby city of Guelph.
- Cameron Stewart, originally from Toronto, currently residing in Montreal
- Doug Sneyd, many of his famous work on Playboy was done in his Toronto studio
- Marcio Takara (Former resident. Returned to his native country Brazil)
- Mariko Tamaki
- J. Torres
- Noel Tuazon
- Ty Templeton (Now lives in Mississauga and works in Toronto)
- Marcus To
- Michael Walsh
- Christopher Yao
- Richard Zajac
- Jim Zubkavich
Real Toronto Locations Related to or Featured in Comics
"Degrassi" is a Canadian teen drama franchise that centres around a group of teens who live and attend school on or around De Grassi Street. The real De Grassi Street is located in south Riverdale, a Toronto neigbourhood.
Casa Loma (Spanish: Hill House) is a castle-like house that was constructed between 1911 and 1914 by Canadian financier and soldier Sir Henry Mill Pellatt. It is located on Spadina Road, in the Casa Loma neighbourhood. It is currently used as a museum, and is a well-known landmark. It appeared in Scott Pilgrim as the location of Scott's fight with Lucas Lee.
Honest Ed's is a discount store that is located on the corner of Bloor and Bathurst Streets, and takes up the entire city block. It was founded in 1948 by Canadian businessman and philanthropist Ed Mirvish, who ran it until his death in 2007. It is noted for the hand-painted, humorous signs that cover the outside of the building, marketing stunts, and the anniversary street parties at which free food and live music is provided by the store. It remains a well-known and charitable pillar of the Toronto community. It appeared as the scene of Scott's first fight with Todd Ingram in the Scott Pilgrim series.
The Beguiling is a comic book store located at 601 Markham Street, behind Honest Ed's. Toronto's premier comic book retailer, the store carries comics, as well as original art from local talents like Bryan Lee O'Malley and indie icons like Paul Pope. It appeared in the second issue of two-part miniseries Wolverine & Doop, written by Peter Milligan.
The Canadian National Tower, commonly referred to as the CN Tower, was constructed in 1976 to act as a radio and television tower. From its construction until 2010 it was the tallest freestanding building in the world. Currently it stands at third tallest. Despite this reduction in status, it's stature makes it the most recognizable building in Toronto's skyline. It has appeared in a number of comics, as one of the more recognizable buildings to people not familiar with the city. It is located next to the Rogers Centre in Downtown Toronto.
Dragon Lady Comics
Dragon Lady Comics is a comic book store located at 609 College Street, in the Little Italy neighbourhood of Toronto. It was once frequented by writer/artist Darwyn Cooke. Local artist J. Bone illustrated their current business card. To show appreciation to the shop, Cooke and Bone placed The Dragon Lady comic shop in Peter Milligan's Wolverine & Doop miniseries.
The Drake Hotel is located at 1150 Queen Street West, and is a hot spot for the indie culture in Toronto. In 2001 it was purchased by Jeff Stobe, who intended to attract a Bohemian following to the hotel-turned-nightclub. Currently it hosts a number of themed parties, including those based around musical artists such as Madonna, Michael Jackson and Prince.
The Labyrinth is a comic book store located at 386 Bloor Street West. It sells a number of mainstream comics, graphic novels and manga, mainly in the form of trades and graphic novels, as well as posters, films, instructional DVDs and books, toys and prints, among other comics- and fan-related merchandise.
Lee's Palace is an alternative nightclub located on Bloor Street. It has a stage used to host various bands, and a bar. As such, patronage is mostly restricted to those above the legal drinking age in Ontario, 19. However, some all-ages events are also held in the venue. It is noted for the extensive and brightly coloured mural that covers the front of the building. It was the setting of the fight between Matthew Patel and Scott Pilgrim in the Scott Pilgrim series.
The Ontario College of Art and Design
The Ontario College of Art and Design, known by the acronym "OCAD", is both the largest and oldest art-based university in Canada. It was established in 1876. Famous alumni include Peggy Adam, Ed Furness, and Gregory "Seth" Gallant. It is currently most recognizable for the Sharp Centre for Design, a large black and white box located four stories above the ground, which is supported by a series of colourful pillars placed at odd angles. The Sharp Centre was completed in 2004. It is located next to the Art Gallery of Ontario, on McCaul Street,
The Rogers Centre
The Rogers Centre, originally and still occasionally referred to as the SkyDome, is a multi-purpose stadium that was opened to the public in 1989. It is the first major North American stadium to feature a fully retractable roof, which takes about 20 minutes to open or close. It currently hosts the Toronto Blue Jays, a Major League Baseball team, and the Toronto Argonauts, a Canadian Football League football team. It has also been used to host conventions, concerts and fairs. It was purchased by Rogers in 2004. It is located at 1 Blue Jays Way, at the base of the CN Tower.
The Royal is a cinema located at 608 College Street, in the heart of the Little Italy neighbourhood. It was opened in 1939, and remains a popular and cherished cinema in Toronto despite its relatively small size. The films screened at his cinema are often lesser-known films, catering to a niche market. It is one of the venues for the Hot Docs documentary film festival in Toronto. It appeared in the Wolverine & Doop miniseries.
The Scotiabank Theatre
The Scotiabank Theatre is one of the largest theatres in Toronto, located at 259 Richmond Street West. It has played host to films shown during the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). It is noted for the large Rubik's Cube-like structure on the top of the building.
It appeared in a panel of Free Scott Pilgrim.
Silver Snail (Original)
The Silver Snail is a popular comic book store located at 367 Queen Street West. It also sells action figures, statues and card games, among other items. It is noted for the large mural on the front and side of the store which depicts a number of comic book characters, and for the front window display. It has become a tourist attraction because of this lavish decoration. It appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #3 Hit and Run special.
Second Cup Coffee Houses
Second Cup is the largest coffee retailer in Canada. It was founded in suburban Toronto in 1975, and currently operates over 360 locations throughout Canada. It also operates franchises in thirteen other countries. Currently, it is headquartered in Mississauga, a city in the Region of Peel, a part of the GTA. Stacey Pilgrim, from the Scott Pilgrim series, works at a Second Cup.
Sneaky Dee's Resturant and Concert Venue
Sneaky Dee's is a bar and nightclub located at 431 College Street, on the corner of College and Bathurst. It was originally located on Bloor Street, but moved to its present location in 1990. It is popular with students, and has a restaurant area on the first floor that offers Tex-mex food. The second floor houses a concert venue that has hosted a number of popular and well-known bands. The exterior is covered in graffiti making it easy to recognize. It appeared in the Scott Pilgrim series as the location of a gig for Sex Bob-omb, and a fight between Scott and one of the Katanayagi twins robots.
Suspect Video is an indie video store located at 605 Markham Street. It is located between Honest Ed's and The Beguiling. It appeared in Peter Milligan's Wolverine & Doop miniseries.
Toronto General Hospital
Located at 200 Elizabeth St., The Toronto General Hospital is part of the UHN (University Health Network). Many of Toronto's core and specialized hospitals are located in the area along University Street, creating a network of healthcare providers believed to provide some of the the best quality healthcare for the citizens of Toronto. The Toronto General Hospital appeared in Marvel's Alpha Flight #106 in 1992.
Toronto Reference Library
The Toronto Reference Library is located at 789 Yonge Street. It was opened in 1977, and is currently the largest reference library in Canada, with 1.5 million volumes and 2.25 million other materials. The Toronto Comics Art Festival (commonly referred to as "TCAF") is held there yearly.