Happy Canada Day!

01Jul12

Happy 145th birthday, Canada!

This year in particular is being touted as the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, although all of the good stuff happened in 1813 (the burning of Toronto) and in 1814 (the burning of Washington, DC).

If you go backwards in time a bit further, you hit the guy who put Toronto on the map: John Mitchell. He was a Virginian/British mapmaker and created a highly influential map of the North American colonies (full size).

The full map is about 11 feet by 16 feet!

Previously, Toronto was a name used for modern-day Lake Simcoe, but this map, compiled in 1750-1755, used the name Fort Toronto to label what was originally named Fort Rouillé.

The fort itself was built around 1720, abandoned in 1730, and restored around 1740 or 1749 depending on who you ask. In either case New France dominated the geography of modern-day Canada at this time. The fort did not last long; the French destroyed it when they left it in 1759 in connection with the French and Indian War / guerre de la conquête. After the war, in the late 1700s, British settlement began of the area, but it was known as York until 1834, when it was named Toronto again. In particular the 1813 attack on the area was the not the Battle of Toronto, but the Battle of York.

I have my locally biased interests, but I wish a very happy Canada Day to the whole country!

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