Toronto, Ontario, incorporated as a city in 1834, population 2,731,571 (2016 c), 2,615,060 (2011 c). As Ontario's capital city, Toronto has a vibrant history of change and growth, ranging from its early occupation over 1,000 years ago to its current status as North America’s fourth largest city. Toronto is Canada's largest municipality and is made up of the former cities of Toronto, North York, Scarborough, York and Etobicoke, and the former borough of East York. The city is home to a large immigrant population, and is a national and international hub for finance, communications and cultural life.2
Guelph, Ontario, was typical of small Canadian cities during the First World War. Of its population of about 16,000, more than a third, 5,610, volunteered for military service; 3,328 were accepted. Today, 216 of their names are engraved on the city’s cenotaph. While Guelphites served overseas, the war had a profound and lasting effect on their hometown — an experience that provides an insight into wartime Canada.
Vaughan, ON, incorporated as a city in 1991, population 306,233 (2016 c), 288,301 (2011 c). The City of Vaughan — which includes the five constituent communities of Maple, Kleinburg, Concord, Woodbridge and part of Thornhill — is located in the York regional municipality, next to the northwest boundary of metropolitan Toronto. The city traces its name to Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe, who, in 1792, named the then township after British diplomat Benjamin Vaughan, a co-negotiator of the 1783 Treaty of Paris that ended the American Revolutionary War. Traditionally an agricultural and milling community, Vaughan’s economy diversified over the latter half of the 20th century as immigration increased and the township developed into a city. Today, Vaughan is a multicultural community with a growing metropolitan core.
Kensington Market is an open-air food and clothing market in downtown Toronto. This multicultural marketplace is known for its independent spirit, colourful shop fronts, vibrant murals, charismatic locals and people-friendly Pedestrian Sundays events. The eclectic businesses located here sell fresh produce, cheese, meats, bread and desserts, bulk spices, nuts, flowers, marijuana and vintage clothing. The area also teems with a variety of restaurants, cafés and bars. The shops in Kensington Market spill out onto the sidewalk, giving the area a vibrant street culture unique to the city of Toronto. It is bordered by Spadina Avenue in the east, Bathurst Street in the west, Dundas Street in the south and College Street in the north.1
Halton Hills, ON, incorporated as a town in 1974, population 61,161 (2016 c), 59,013 (2011c). Halton Hills is located approximately 45 km west of Toronto and was created by the amalgamation of Acton, Georgetown and Esquesing Township. It is also encompasses several hamlets — Ballinafad, Glen Williams, Stewarttown, Limehouse, Glen Lawson, Speyside, Ashgrove, Crewson’s Corners, Bannockburn, Henderson’s Corners, Whaley’s Corners, Mansewood, Hornby, Silver Creek, Terra Cotta and Norval. From 1926 to 1935, Norval was home to Lucy Maud Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables.
Ottawa, Ontario, incorporated as a city in 1855, population 934,243 (2016 c), 883,391 (2011 c). The City of Ottawa is the capital of Canada and is located on the Ottawa River on Ontario's eastern boundary with Québec, about 200 km west of Montréal. The name "Ottawa" is thought to derive from an Algonquian-speaking First Nation of the same name, probably from a word meaning "to trade" (see Odawa). Amalgamation, on 1 January 2001, merged "old" Ottawa with 11 area municipalities and the Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton to create a “new” city. The amalgamated city encompasses the municipalities of Ottawa, Vanier, Nepean, Kanata, Gloucester and Cumberland; the townships of Rideau, West Carleton, Goulbourn and Osgoode; and the village of Rockcliffe Park.
Guelph, Ontario, incorporated as a city in 1879, population 131,794 (2016 c), 121,688 (2011 c). The City of Guelph, the seat of Wellington County, is located on the Speed River in south central Ontario, 96 km west of Toronto and 28 km east of Kitchener-Waterloo. This industrial and educational centre is set in the heart of a highly productive agricultural region.
St. Catharines, ON, incorporated as a city in 1876, population 133,113 (2016 c), 131,400 (2011 c). The City of St. Catharines is the principal city of the Niagara Region. It lies south of Toronto across Lake Ontario (111 km by the Queen Elizabeth Way), 19 km inland from the international boundary with the United States, along the Niagara River. The city is named after Catharine Hamilton, wife of Robert Hamilton, an influential merchant of Queenston and a landowner with mills on Twelve Mile Creek; the growing community, then known as The Twelve or Shipman's Corners, was renamed in her honour after her death in 1796. After 1876, as the urban area of St. Catharines expanded, it was permitted to annex parts of the surrounding Grantham Township, culminating in 1961 in the complete amalgamation of the township as well as the adjacent towns of Merritton and Port Dalhousie. In 1970, the rural township of Louth to the west was split between St. Catharines and the new town of Lincoln.
Niagara Falls, Ontario, incorporated as a city in 1904, population 88,071 (2016 c), 82,997 (2011 c). The City of Niagara Falls possesses a fame and name that are based on the stunning, world-famous Niagara Falls on the Niagara River. Growth has combined tourism and gambling with railhead developments at this Canadian–US border crossing. In the past the manufacturing industry (including electrochemicals and abrasives) dominated, fuelled by cheap and readily available hydroelectric power.
The twin cities of Kitchener-Waterloo are located in central southwestern Ontario, 105 km southwest of Toronto. Each retains its own political culture within a common historical framework and with similar, but by no means identical, socio-economic developments. Kitchener (originally named Berlin), the larger of the two, was the county seat (1853), judicial and financial centre of Waterloo County from 1853 to 1973. It continues to have a predominant influence in the Regional Municipality of Waterloo, which was formed in 1973 by combining several communities and cities, including Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge.
Hamilton, Ontario, incorporated as a city in 1846, population 536,917 (2016 c), 519,949 (2011 c). The City of Hamilton is situated at the west end of Lake Ontario, on Burlington Bay, 68 km southwest of Toronto, and 66 km west of Niagara Falls and the American border. As part of the reorganization of municipal governments in Ontario, the boundaries of the city were enlarged in 2001 to include much of the surrounding suburban and rural area, including the former towns of Ancaster, Dundas, Flamborough and Stoney Creek, and the former township of Glanbrook. The city is Canada's largest steel producer and a major Great Lakes port.2