03/06/2014 11:44 EST | Updated 05/06/2014 05:59 EDT

Toronto celebrates its 180th birthday

Canada's most populous city and the capital of Ontario was incorporated 180 years ago today.

Of course, like the entirety of Canada, the Toronto area has been inhabited for many centuries prior to European arrival, as Iroquois had settlements here before the 1500s.

But the official recognition of the City of Toronto, as it's now known, came after several other settlements. 

That history begins with the contentious purchase of the land that would become metropolitan Toronto from First Nations. In the Toronto Purchase of 1805, the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation were given 10 shillings for the land — somewhere in the area of $45 today.

In an earlier land deal in 1797, the Brandt Tract Claim, Mississaugas were given less than had been agreed upon for parts of Toronto. 

The British settlement formally began with John Simcoe, who renamed Toronto in 1793, proclaiming the town of York and centring around Fort York, which was located in the area around the present-day St. Lawrence Market. It would be 41 years and one five-day American invasion later that York would revert to its native name, Toronto, on March 6, 1834.

William Lyon Mackenzie, a Scottish reformer, became Toronto's first mayor upon its incorporation. He was not successful in his mayoralty, and later planned an armed rebellion against British ties to Toronto and Upper Canada in 1837.

Obviously Toronto's population, area and government has changed dramatically in the last 180 years. It began at around 9,000 inhabitants and grew to the current population of 2.6 million today.

Happy birthday, Toronto!

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