Toronto celebrates its 180th birthday

March 6, 2014 marks Toronto's 180th birthday. The city was renamed Toronto in 1834. (Ryersonian file photo)

March 6, 2014 marks Toronto’s 180th birthday. The city was renamed Toronto in 1834. (Ryersonian file photo)

It is Mar. 6, 1834 and  York has just been renamed Toronto. William Lyon Mackenzie, politician and influential journalist, is the first mayor of the young town. The population is small, by today’s standards – just 9,000 people. The area calling itself Toronto is smaller too, extending from the harbour up to Bloor Street, and from Dufferin in the west to The Beach in the east.

More than a century later, Toronto has become North America’s fourth largest city. It is home to more than 2.7 million residents and is known as the world’s most multicultural city.

March 6 marks the 180th birthday of the thriving city. It also marks the first “City of Toronto Day” after city council voted to rename the day in February.

Torontonians can celebrate the occasion at a series of events called “Happy Birthday Toronto.” The first event will be held on Thursday at the Steam Whistle Brewery, across from the CN Tower and the Rogers Centre.

“We wanted to celebrate Toronto’s achievements and its future,” said Micayla Doria, event director. “We realized [a celebration] is what Toronto is missing, and we started planning.”

“Happy Birthday Toronto” promises an elegant atmosphere with jazz bands, electro swing bands, cabaret and visual presentations that will illustrate Toronto’s past, present and future.

MD Art & Design, Doria’s commercial art company, will host the event. Planning began almost seven months ago. Doria said she anticipates 500 people to attend, including deputy mayor Norm Kelly and current mayoral candidate Karen Stintz.

“Happy Birthday Toronto” starts at 7:30 p.m. and proceeds will go to Evergreen Brick Works, a Toronto community centre that encourages environmentally-sustainable programs.

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