Toronto is the largest city in Canada and the provincial capital of Ontario, located on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. The city had a population of 2,503,281 and its census metropolitan area (CMA) had a population of 5,113,149 at the 2006 Canadian census. The Greater Toronto Area (GTA), a provincial planning area that differs from the federal CMA, had a population of 5,555,912 at the 2006 Canadian Census.
The city is intersected by two rivers and numerous tributaries: the Humber River in the west end and the Don River east of downtown at opposite ends of the Toronto Harbour. The many creeks and rivers create large tracts of densely-forested ravines, and provide ideal sites for parks and recreational trails. However, the ravines also interfere with the city's grid plan, and this results in major thoroughfares such as Finch Avenue, Leslie Street, Lawrence Avenue, St. Clair Avenue and Keele Street terminating on one side of ravines and continuing on the other side. Other thoroughfares such as the Bloor Street Viaduct are required to span above the ravines. These deep ravines prove useful for draining the city's vast storm sewer system during heavy rains but some sections, particularly near the Don River are prone to sudden, heavy floods. Storage tanks at waste treatment facilties will often receive too much river discharge causing them to overflow, allowing untreated sewage to escape into Lake Ontario.
Toronto's climate is moderate for Canada due to its southerly location within the country and its proximity to Lake Ontario. It has a humid continental climate, with warm, humid summers and generally cold winters, although fairly mild by Canadian and many northern continental U.S. standards. The city experiences four distinct seasons with considerable variance in day to day temperature, particularly during the colder weather season. Due to urbanization and other factors Toronto has a fairly low diurnal temperature range, at least in built-up city and lakeshore areas. At different times of the year, the proximity to Lake Ontario and the other Great Lakes has various localized and regional impacts on the climate, including lake effect snow.
The City of Toronto encompasses a geographical area formerly administered by six separate municipalities. These municipalities have each developed a distinct history and identity over the years, and their names remain in common use among Torontonians. Throughout the city there exist hundreds of small neighbourhoods. Former Municipalities: East York | Etobicoke | North York | Old Toronto | Scarborough | York.
The inner suburbs are contained within the former municipalities of York and East York. These are mature and traditionally working class areas, primarily consisting of post-World War I small, single-family homes and small apartment blocks. Neighbourhoods such as Crescent Town, Thorncliffe Park and Weston consist of mainly high-rise apartments which are home to many new immigrant families. Recently, many neighbourhoods have became ethnically diverse and have undergone gentrification, as a result of increasing population and a housing boom during the late 1990s and 2000s. The first neighbourhoods affected were Leaside and North Toronto, gradually progressing into the western neighbourhoods in York. Some of the area's housing is in the process of being replaced or remodelled.
Commerce Court is a cluster of four office buildings located in the financial district on King Street and Bay Street. The first building, now known as Commerce Court North, was built in 1930 as the headquarters of the Canadian Bank of Commerce, a precursor bank to the current main tenant. Designed by the firm Pearson and Darling, the 34-storey tower was the tallest building in the British Empire/Commonwealth until 1962. At the time of its construction, the building was one of the most opulent corporate headquarters in Canada. In 1972, three other buildings were erected, thus creating the Commerce Court complex: Commerce Court West designed by I. M. Pei (the tallest building in the complex, at 57 storeys, and the tallest building in Canada from 1972-1976), Commerce Court East (14 storeys), and Commerce Court South (5 storeys).
Toronto is a major international centre for business and finance. Generally considered the financial capital of Canada, Toronto has a high concentration of banks and brokerage firms on Bay Street, the city's main financial street. The Toronto Stock Exchange is the world's sixth-largest stock exchange by market capitalization. All of the Big Five banks of Canada are headquartered in Toronto.
The city is an important centre for the media, publishing, telecommunications, information technology and film production industries; it is home to Thomson Corporation, CTVglobemedia, Rogers Communications, Alliance Atlantis and Celestica. Other prominent Canadian corporations in Toronto include Four Seasons Hotels, the Hudson's Bay Company and Manulife Financial.