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Toronto Ontario History - Post World War II Growth



Kensington Market, an ethnic hub Following the Second World War, refugees from war-torn Europe, poor areas of Italy and Portugal, and Chinese fleeing the unrest there came to Toronto. When race-based immigration policies were reformed in the late 1960s, immigration grew from all parts of the world. Toronto's population was 1 million in 1951, when Toronto began expanding into the suburbs in all directions. The city doubled to two million by 1971, and by the 1980s, Toronto had outgrown Montreal to become Canada's most populous city. During this time political uncertainty, and onerous French language laws prompted many national and multinational corporations to move their head offices from Montreal to Toronto.

Toronto's New City Hall The postwar boom created a need for a coordinated land use strategy and shared municipal services to make the region more efficient. In 1954, the City of Toronto joined a regional government known as Metropolitan Toronto, which included the immediately surrounding municipalities including Etobicoke, York, North York, East York and Scarborough. The metropolitan government managed cross-boundary services including highways, water and public transit. In 1998, by the authority of the Province of Ontario, the 6 metropolitan municipal governments were dissolved and amalgamated into a single one, the current City of Toronto (colloquially, the "megacity").

In the 1950s and 1960s, the city's downtown replaced stone skyscrapers with glass towers, and underground, Toronto added the subway system to speed commuters into the downtown and across the city. To the north, in North York, Highway 401 was built with up to 16 lanes of traffic to speed cross-town automobile traffic. Just west of downtown, the CN Tower was built to handle telecommunications, and as a tourist attaction, and until 2007 was the world's tallest free standing structure.

Night-time View of Toronto from the CN Tower According to a United Nations report, Toronto has the second-highest proportion of immigrants in the world (over half were born outside Canada), after Miami, Florida. Toronto's however reflect a much more diverse cultural & linguistic mix, with a tranquility and tolerance that is the hallmark of Canadian society. The resulting proliferation of ethnic neighbourhoods, ethnic shops and restaurants representing cultures around the world is second to none.

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