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Toronto > Local > Info > City History >

Local: Toronto History - Native Indians & Early Explorers

Archaeological evidence shows that native peoples had hunting camps and small villages along the Credit and Humber river valleys since 8000 B.C.

At the time of European contact in 1615, both Iroquoian and Algonquian-speaking peoples inhabited this area, but by 1700, an Ojibwa (Anishnabe) group known as the Torontos had moved south from Lake Huron and had driven the Iroquois south of Lake Ontario. The name "Toronto" is believed to mean "river of the north of many mouths," referring to a river of that name in Northern Ontario which drains into Lake Huron.

The first European to visit the area was the French explorer and fur trader Cavelier de la Salle and Louis Joliet, who arrived at nearby Burlington Bay in 1669 via the Grand River from Lake Erie on their return from Lake Superior. In the 1720s, the French established trading posts around Lake Ontario, including one near the mouth of the Credit River, named for the custom of trading with the Torontos on credit.

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