By Frederick H. Armstrong
A urban within the Making examines certian of the occasions that came about within the 19th century Toronto, paying specific awareness to those that carved a thriving city out of the frontier submit that was once the city of York. (1989)
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Extra resources for A City in the Making: Progress, People and Perils in Victorian Toronto
Water connections had developed rather earlier than land transportation. The steamboat appeared on Lake Ontario with the Frontenac in 1817, and by 1826 one newspaper reported that there were no less than five steamboats on the lake and "the routes of each are so arranged that almost every day of the week the traveller may find opportunities of being conveyed from one extremity of the Lake to the other in a few hours/'15 In 1834 there were seven boats running from Toronto, five making a full circuit of the lake — which usually took a week—and two others providing more localized connections: one with Niagara, the other with Rochester, New York.
By 1830 the Town of York was rapidly becoming a city and the forests around it were giving way to cultivated fields. Its leading merchants were seriously considering ways in which they could both consolidate their hold over the counties of York and Simcoe to the north and, at the same time, exploit the advantages of the old French trade route to the upper Great Lakes and the rapidly developing American west. The ultimate result was the City of Toronto and Lake Huron Railway, or, as it was known after 1858, the Northern Railway.
By the early 1830s Toronto had quite an adequate system of communications in light of the technology of the period. The lake steamers, by far the most pleasant method of travel, regularly linked the city with all the major ports of Lake Ontario and the world beyond; but such boats at best could operate only from early April until November. For the rest of the year, both traveller and shipper were forced to rely on the stagecoaches and the roads. A fairly extensive system of roads radiated out from the city: Yonge Street to the north, Kingston Road to the east, and Dundas Street and the Lakeshore Road to the west.