The history of Toronto began in the late 18th century when the British Crown purchased its land from the Mississaugas of the New Credit. The British established a settlement there, called the Town of York, which its lieutenant governor, John Graves Simcoe, designated as the capital of Upper Canada. The city was ransacked in the Battle of York during the War of 1812. In 1834, York was incorporated as a city and renamed Toronto. It was damaged in two huge fires in 1849 and 1904. Over the years, Toronto has expanded its borders several times through amalgamation with surrounding municipalities, most recently in 1998. According to the 2011 Census, the city is the fifth-most populous city in North America.
- York is just emerging from the woods, but bids fair to be a flourishing town.
- John Bennett, the King's Printer in Upper Canada (1801) Arthur, Eric (1986). Toronto: No Mean City. University of Toronto Press. pp. 32. Retrieved on 2010-12-31.
- Houses of ill-fame in Toronto? Certainly not. The whole city is an immense house of ill fame.
- C. S. Clark, Of Toronto the Good (1898)
- It is not squalid like Birmingham, or cramped like Canton, or scattered like Edmonton, or sham like Berlin, or hellish like New York, or tiresome like Nice. It is all right. The only depressing thing is that it will always be what it is, only larger, and that no Canadian city can ever be anything better or different. If they are good they may become Toronto.
- Rupert Brooke (1913) Plummer, Kevin (2011-04-09). Historicist: A Handful of People Who Know About Books. Torontoist. Retrieved on 2011-04-11.
- Indeed I have always found that the only thing in regard to Toronto which faraway people know for certain is that McGill University is in it.
- Stephen Leacock, My Discovery of the West (1937)
- Last night I Had a dream about Toronto. I was on my bicycle, cruising about in front of the old house. And, as usual in my dreams, I was a little girl again. A little girl in Toronto, with long golden curls.
- Toronto as a city carries out the idea of Canada as a country. It is a calculated crime against the aspirations of the soul and the affection of the heart.
- Aleister Crowley, The Confessions of Aleister Crowley (1970)
- Parish's observant father had once commented to her that Toronto was a city of straight streets and square corners built by Scottish bankers to make money - not to look at the beautiful lake or the wonderful valleys and forests. He was mostly right, but Bay was a rare exception to the city's linear grid.
- Robert Rotenberg, Old City Hall (2009)