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North York forms the central part of the northern half of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. As of the 2006 Census, it has a population of 624,610. The official 2001 census count was 608,288. Until 1998, it was the second-largest of six municipalities that comprised another larger municipal structure called Metropolitan Toronto. The previous year, the provincial Government of Ontario passed legislation to merge these municipalities into a single, new amalgamated City of Toronto.
The Township of North York was formed on June 13, 1922 out of the rural part of the Township of York. The rapidly-urbanizing parts of the Township remained in that township. As North York itself became more urbanized, it became the Borough of North York in 1967, and then on February 14, 1979, the City of North York. To commemorate receiving its city charter on St. Valentine's Day, the city's corporate slogan was "The City with Heart". It now forms the largest part of the area served by the "North York Community Council", a committee of Toronto City Council.
Originally, North York was known as a regional agricultural hub composed of scattered villages. The area boomed following World War II, and by the 1950s and 1960s, it resembled many other sprawling North American suburbs. Of note is the community of Don Mills.
In 2001, the population of North York was 53% White, 11% Chinese, 9% South Asian, 9% Black, 3% Filipino, 3% Latin American, 3% West Asian, 2% Southeast Asian, 2% Korean, 1% Arab, and 4% Other.
Development of North York Centre
While much of the area still retains a suburban nature, efforts led by former Mayor of North York and Toronto Mel Lastman were made to intensify development in the North York Centre area along Yonge Street between Finch and Sheppard Avenues, coinciding with the path of the Toronto Transit Commission's Yonge-University Spadina subway line.
There are many stores and high-rise office and condominium apartment buildings along this central North York corridor, particularly centred around the old North York City Hall. Directly beside the old City Hall is the Toronto Centre for the Arts. Thanks to a new subway line along Sheppard Avenue, more high-rise condominiums are being built along the Sheppard East corridor.
The central area is gradually ceasing to be suburban, resembling a smaller version of the city's downtown. World-renowned corporations have built their own office towers along Yonge Street in central North York, including the Canadian head offices of Procter & Gamble, Nestlé, Cadbury Adams, Lindt & Sprüngli, Equifax, and Xerox, while the Government of Canada maintains offices north of Sheppard Avenue. McDonald's of Canada is also located in North York, although not along this corridor. This particular area is the region in the foreground of this photograph. Many more office and condo towers have sprouted in the area of this photo since it was taken.
The section of Highway 401 which traverses North York is the busiest section of freeway in North America, exceeding 400,000 vehicles per day.
In the 1980s, the administration of Mel Lastman transformed North York. The former North York City Hall looks out upon a reflecting pool. Directly south of the city hall in the same complex is the former North York Board of Education building (now home to the Toronto District School Board. To the north and east of the complex are two large malls connected by an underground passage with subway access. The northern mall is connected to the North York Central Library, the largest full-service Toronto Public Library building in Toronto (second to Metro Reference in square footage). The library is a part of a much larger facility including a school board work station, swimming pool, snack bar, veterans centre and large hotel, the rooms of which look onto the inside of the mall. The more recently-built eastern mall (called "Empress Walk") is built around a large multi-story cathedral-like hall and contains an Empire Theatres movie theatre and a Loblaws supermarket.
North York is the northern extent of the Carolinian forest zone.
Major shopping malls in North York include the Yorkdale Shopping Centre and Fairview Mall. Smaller locations include Centrepoint Mall, Bayview Village, Yorkgate Mall, Jane Finch Mall and Sheppard Centre. It is also home to both campuses of York University and Osgoode Hall Law School.
Major health-care facilities, such as North York General Hospital, Humber River Regional Hospital (Finch Avenue Site previously called York-Finch Hospital) and the massive Sunnybrook Hospital complex which includes a veterans' residence and regional trauma centre are located in North York.
A military base and aircraft manufacturing facility is located at Downsview, although with the end of the Cold War, much of the land is now being transformed into a park.
Black Creek Pioneer Village, an authentic nineteenth-century village, and the Ontario Science Centre, which boasts over 800 science-oriented exhibits, are North York's primary attractions. Not far from Black Creek Pioneer Village is York University's main campus, and the infamous Jane and Finch neighbourhood.
Along North York's Bathurst Street is one of the world's most important Jewish communities, with a significant population of Holocaust survivors.
There are a multitude of North York sports clubs including the North York Storm, a girls hockey league, Gwendolen Tennis Club in the heart of North York near Yonge and Sheppard, and the venerable North York Aquatic Club, which was founded in 1958 as the North York Lions Swim Club and has produced many Olympian swimmers.
- North York Rangers
- North York Storm
- Gwendolen Tennis Club
- North York Aquatic Club
- North York Astros
- Trichy Sankaran, Carnatic percussionist and educator
- Darrin O'Brien, Reggae/hip-hop artist
- Gary Roberts, professional ice hockey player
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