As CBC noted yesterday, 180 years ago yesterday Toronto was incorporated as a city.
[L]ike the entirety of Canada, the Toronto area has been inhabited for many centuries prior to European arrival, as Iroquois had settlements here before the 1500s.
But the official recognition of the City of Toronto, as it’s now known, came after several other settlements.
That history begins with the contentious purchase of the land that would become metropolitan Toronto from First Nations. In the Toronto Purchase of 1805, the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation were given 10 shillings for the land — somewhere in the area of $45 today.
In an earlier land deal in 1797, the Brandt Tract Claim, Mississaugas were given less than had been agreed upon for parts of Toronto.
The British settlement formally began with John Simcoe, who renamed Toronto in 1793, proclaiming the town of York and centring around Fort York, which was located in the area around the present-day St. Lawrence Market. It would be 41 years and one five-day American invasion later that York would revert to its native name, Toronto, on March 6, 1834.
William Lyon Mackenzie, a Scottish reformer, became Toronto’s first mayor upon its incorporation. He was not successful in his mayoralty, and later planned an armed rebellion against British ties to Toronto and Upper Canada in 1837.
blogTO’s Chris Bateman notes (“5 things to know about Toronto on its 180th birthday”) some interesting facts about how Toronto got its name and its streetcars and its nickname of Hogtown. Torontoist’s Jamie Bradburn has an extended essay (“Toronto is Born”) surrounding the circumstances of Toronto’s incorporation.
By the dawn of 1834, York was growing fast. Its population had quadrupled in six years, going from around 2,200 residents in 1828 to 9,200. Such growth, unfortunately, magnified the flaws of the existing governance structure: the Town of York was part of the larger Home District, which by 1834 consisted of portions of present-day Durham, Peel, and York Regions. The district was governed by an appointed committee of part-time magistrates known as the Courts of Quarter Sessions of the Peace. Becoming a magistrate was a reflection of one’s social status, which meant the ranks were dominated by the Family Compact and its allies.
As York grew, the magistrates found they couldn’t keep up with its infrastructure demands. Unable to raise tax rates above absurdly low levels, they borrowed money to build courthouses, jails, and markets. Police funding was scant, and volunteers were recruited to provide fire service. Inadequate attempts to build a sewer system contributed to several outbreaks of cholera during the 1830s.
York needed help.
By 1830, provincial attorney-general Henry John Boulton had proposed that York be incorporated as a city with an elected municipal government possessing increased powers of taxation. The usual unproductive partisan bickering between Reformers and Tories delayed the process until a committee drafted a bill in 1833.
[. . .]
Renaming York as Toronto angered some provincial legislators. During a March 1, 1834 debate in the assembly, detractors like William Jarvis claimed the change would cause confusion. John Willison felt it disrespected the memory of the most recent Duke of York, and pointed out that neither the state nor the city of New York had changed its name. Proponents of Toronto pointed out the name’s aboriginal origins and its meaning, which was then believed to be “meeting place,” and so was well suited to the seat of provincial government. Some legislators, such as William Berczy, felt Toronto rolled off the tongue better than York (“the sound is in every respect better”).
The dunes of the Prince Edward Island National Park are both beautiful and vulnerable, as the Parks Canada website makes clear.
Prince Edward Island National Park protects a portion of the Maritime Plain Natural Region, which is characterized by sand dunes, barrier islands and beaches, sandspits, and associated wetlands. The diverse habitats in the Park provide a home for a variety of plants and animals. The woods and shores of the Park are filled with over 300 species of birds and a large variety of plants.
[. . .]
The sandbars, barrier beaches, and dunes that you see throughout the Park today were formed by the accumulation of sand from eroding sandstone. Sand dunes are created by the wind and waves that carry dry sand up onto the beach where it collects behind rocks or clumps of seaweed. The gradual build-up of sand that forms a dune would be blown away if it were not for the sand-loving marram grass, whose roots and rhizomes form a living net, which helps to slow the movement of sand. Once stabilized, a variety of other plants and many different animals can make the dunes their home.
Sand dunes are an important natural habitat and act as a natural protective barrier against the effects of storms and waves. Research on dunes and all its associated features – vegetation, wildlife, and wetlands – helps us to understand and protect them better.
Thus, all my photography was done from the level of the beach.
(I know some of these pictures aren’t of dunes. Class them under the category of “edges”.)