A few things you don’t have to know before you come here, but are interesting nonetheless!
From big moments in baseball history to a wine cellar in the clouds, here are a few little-known facts about Canada’s largest city.
The Toronto Islands weren’t always islands
Now accessible by ferry or via a pedestrian tunnel that opened in 2015, the Toronto Islands were once a peninsula. Two powerful storms in 1852 and 1858 separated the islands from the mainland and created the body of water now known as the Eastern Gap.
Babe Ruth hit his first professional home run here
The year was 1914, and the legendary slugger was a 19-year-old rookie playing for the minor league Providence Grays. The play happened at Maple Leaf Park at Hanlan’s Point, where a historical plaque now marks the event.
In 2016, two capybaras escaped from the High Park Zoo
The rodents of extraordinary size (picture a 100-pound guinea pig) were on the lam for over a month before being trapped and returned to the zoo. Bonny and Clyde, as they’re now known, made international headlines.
It’s the only city in Canada with seven major-league sports teams
Basketball, football, hockey, baseball, rugby, soccer and lacrosse — if you’re a sports fan, this is your city. This year, an 18-foot statue paying homage to the 2019 champion Raptors was unveiled at City Hall.
There are mass graves in St. James cemetery
Every city has its dark side. During the cholera outbreaks of 1832 and 1834, hundreds of Torontonians who perished from the disease were quickly buried in a corner of the cemetery on Parliament Street.
Toronto has over 10 million trees
The oldest is believed to be a 300-year-old red oak in North York that was the subject of a recent media storm when the house whose land it sits on was put up for sale. The City of Toronto stepped in to save the tree.
Toronto is home to the world’s highest wine cellar
No surprise — it’s in the CN Tower. Designed to look like it’s underground although it checks in at 351m above ground, 360 Restaurant’s wine cellar made Guinness World Record history when it opened in 1997.
Canada’s final hanging happened at the Don Jail
Capital punishment was officially abolished from Canada’s Criminal Code in 1976. The last two prisoners to be executed were Ronald Turpin and Arthur Lucas, both convicted of murder. They were hanged on December 11, 1962.
Drake didn’t invent the term “The 6ix”…
…although he did popularize it. There are two theories on the origin of the term: one is that it refers to the six boroughs that amalgamated to form Metro Toronto (Etobicoke, Scarborough, York, East York, North York, and the City of Toronto); the other is that it references the city’s area codes, 416 and 647.
The home of the city’s first mayor is very, very haunted
…or so the legends say. Mackenzie House on Bond Street — just next to the Bond Hotel — is haunted by stories of ghost sightings, a piano that plays itself, and an antique printing press in the basement coming to life in the dead of night. All this despite the fact that the city brought in an exorcist when the house was donated in 1960. It now operates as a museum — go and visit if you dare.
One thing’s for sure — there’s more to Toronto than meets the eye!