Enthroned upon the shores of Lake Ontario lies Toronto, in its way one of the finest cities of the continent. It is a city of large distances, of long streets and fine buildings ; tree-edged when the centre or business part is passed. Toronto was planned on a large scale and laid out without regard to space, unlike many Canadian cities which have grown up carelessly as it were. Yonge Street, for example which leads through the centre of the town, stretches for some miles. The residential districts are peculiarly attractive, even workmen’s houses have well-kept gardens in front of them, and the green of grass and trees abounds everywhere to delight the eye. It is essentially a city of homes and one of its great charms is partly attributable to the University atmosphere. Yet, while the picturesque is prominent, it must not be forgotten Toronto has its commercial side, for within a circle of sixty miles from the centre are produced some two-thirds of Canada’s manufactures.
Toronto with its estimated population of 402,000 is the centre of British Canadian influence, and the capital of the province of Ontario. Of the thirty-three Chartered banks operating in Canada, eleven have their Head Offices in Toronto. The magnitude of the business carried on is shown by the Clearing-house returns which in 1909 were 1,437,700,477 dollars. Seventy-six insurance companies have offices in the city, twenty-four of which are head offices.
For many years past there has been great activity in building, and whereas in 1904 the estimated value of the buildings erected was less than six million dollars, the value of those erected in 1909 was over 18,000,000 dollars. The city is well provided with open spaces, there being no fewer than thirty-nine parks and squares. Among these are High Park, covering 235 acres, Riverdale Park and Zoo (108 acres), the Island (178 acres), the Exhibition Park (233 acres), Hanlan Park, Queen’s Park, and the Allan Gardens. There is a proposal to connect the city parks with wide boulevards and drives. Toronto is well served with railways, more especially by the Grand Trunk, the Canadian Pacific and the Canadian Northern, and the facilities of these are supplemented by the radial lines which serve as feeders to the city, as well as by the water-borne traffic.
The city claims to be the chief centre of education in the Dominion of Canada. Within the University of Toronto there are four federated Arts Colleges, and the number of students registered in the University and its faculties is over 4,000. Besides the higher educational institutions, there are seventy-four Public Schools, seven High Schools and a Technical School. In addition to the Public Schools, which have nearly 40,000 registered pupils on their registers, there are nineteen Separate Schools with 6,474 pupils registered.