North York forms the central part of the northern half of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It has a population of around 650,000. 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 force these municipalities to merge into a single, new amalgamated City of Toronto.
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.
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, Nestle Cadbury Adams, Lindt, Equifax, and Xerox. 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.
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.