A City in the Making: Progress, People and Perils in by Frederick H. Armstrong

By Frederick H. Armstrong

A urban within the Making examines certian of the occasions that came about within the 19th century Toronto, paying specific recognition to those that carved a thriving city out of the frontier put up that used to be the city of York. (1989)

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The strict application of this thesis to North American metropolitan centres, as Gras himself notes, should be undertaken with a certain amount of caution since there are marked differences between London and the newer North American cities. 4 The real divergence between Europe and North America concerns the manufacturing and transportation stages as they evolved in Britain and on this continent, for in many cases it could be argued that they began here before the marketing phase was complete. For instance, in Britain, where the market phase was complete and manufacturing improvements preceded communication systems, the stages to a large extent followed each other; metropolitan communications could not be improved until William Symington had invented his steamboat or John MeAdam his road-surfacing methods.

Conversely, trade would flow the other way as the west developed. 2 Originally, the merchants of Toronto planned to build a railway to Lake Simcoe only, possibly with the idea that another group in that area would carry the line on to Lake Huron. This course was soon abandoned, and in its place some of the more adventurous entrepreneurs substituted a second route that ran directly to Georgian Bay, bypassing Lake Simcoe completely. Thus, the railway would not only fail to connect the city with its direct hinterland up Yonge Street, and thus possibly leave that area open to exploitation by rival centres; but also it would run through virtually unsettled territory with no local traffic to bear the operational costs.

Beginning with the Courier of Upper Canada in 1829, these tended to become semiweekly. The Royal Standard, which flourished briefly in 1836-37, was the first daily in the province. Newspapers were important to the growth of the city's influence because most papers of province-wide interest — or hopeful of attaining province-wide interest — tended to locate in Toronto. The Gazette, as noted, had followed the capital from 40 Newark; William Lyon Mackenzie's Colonial Advocate came from Queenston in 1824; Thomas Dalton's Patriot moved from Kingston in 1832; and George Gurnett had relocated his Courier from Ancaster in 1829.

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