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December 31, 2009
Toronto’s 175th anniversary celebration concludes
This year marked the 175th anniversary of the civic incorporation of the City of Toronto. The milestone brought together Torontonians of all ages and was celebrated in many ways throughout 2009, thanks to the support of joint partnerships with various organizations, including museums and cultural centres.

“The City of Toronto’s 175th anniversary was not just an event at City Hall, it was year-long festival of events - some big, some small - that marked the anniversary,” said Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone (Ward 19 Trinity-Spadina). “The City of Toronto worked with various organizations that came forward with thoughtful ways to celebrate Toronto’s heritage, unity and diversity.”

On March 6, 2009, City Hall threw open its doors and invited the public to join the City of Toronto for a day of literature, dance, film, music, photography, visual arts, archival displays and multimedia exhibits.

City Hall was transformed into an exhibition venue with highlights that included Toronto's first mayor, William Lyon Mackenzie, challenging Toronto Mayor David Miller to a debate. Various Toronto schools participated in the discussions and about 6,000 members of the public attended the festivities during that event.

Looking back at how Toronto has developed as a city, the book Toronto's Visual Legacy - Official City Photography from 1856 to the Present was launched as part of the celebrations on March 6. The publication, comprising about 200 City of Toronto archival photographs, celebrates Toronto's history and documents attitudes expressed by City officials over the years. The City of Toronto Archives partnered with various organizations, including the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, St. Lawrence Market and the Hudson’s Bay Company on Queen Street to promote Toronto’s heritage. The first edition print run is almost sold out.

Doors Open Toronto, which celebrated its 10th anniversary during 2009, produced a special commemorative program entitled Lit City-Toronto Stories, Toronto Settings. Doors Open Toronto expanded its annual roster to 175 buildings and complemented Lit City programming by connecting books and authors with architecture. About 30 of the participating venues offered readings by authors, which focused on Toronto’s history and experiences. More than 250,000 members of the public celebrated Toronto’s built heritage in 2009. Approximately 50,000 audience members took part in the special Lit City programming.

Launched at the beginning of 2009, the Toronto 175 song contest invited songwriters to celebrate the city’s diversity, unity and heritage by submitting their original Toronto song. Hundreds of songwriters submitted their works online. More than 21,000 Torontonians voted for their favourite song and 10 semi-finalists were chosen to compete for the top prize of $5,000 at The Canadian National Exhibition.

Celebrity judges such as City of Toronto Mayor David Miller, Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone, CP 24, Matte Babel, as well as Traci Melchor and Andy McLean from NXNE, voted for their favourite song. George Axon and Aidan Mason proved to be the winner. The song, entitled Love to Live in Toronto, has been professionally recorded and performed by Divine Brown (2009 Juno winner for best R&B album) and Dane Hartsell. A limited number of CDs have been made available to City councillors, Tourism Toronto, the Office of Partnerships and all Parks and Recreation arenas and rinks.

The public can obtain a free mp3 of Love to Live in Toronto by visiting .

In September, as part of Toronto’s largest film festival, the Toronto International Film Festival marked Toronto’s 175th anniversary by showing movie trailers featuring key Toronto films and film coverage of seminal events before most screenings. An anthology publication featuring contributions by Piers Handling, Matt Hays, Brenda Longfellow and Wyndham Wise, along with a list of significant Toronto films, were also available for purchase. Pearson International Airport featured a selection of film stills from the Toronto 175 trailers and the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Jackman Hall exhibition presented a film series of Toronto filmmakers’ memorable films shot in Toronto exploring the dynamics of urban living.

The internationally acclaimed Via Salzburg Chamber Ensemble, under the direction of Mayumi Seiler, hosted a special concert entitled Toronto Suite created by David Macfarlane. Twenty musicians from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds came together to perform. Toronto Suite was a musical narrative where Toronto history met the present and was explored through musical voices and electronic soundscape. The performance blended classical with improvisational, traditional with contemporary, sacred with popular, and gave a musical expression to this city.

Also celebrating a significant milestone in 2009 was the St. Lawrence Market, which came alive in November for its 205th anniversary. Torontonians of all ages enjoyed a day full of live entertainment, heritage theatre, buskers, storytellers and children’s activities. Toronto’s 175th anniversary was incorporated significantly into these celebrations and “175 meal deals” were available to visitors.

The City of Toronto unveiled the 175th anniversary picture postage stamp on November 12 with support from Canada Post. Tourism Toronto funded this initiative and purchased 8,000 stamps, of which 4,000 were donated to the City of Toronto. These limited edition picture postage stamps were available to the public for free at the Canadian National Stamp Show at the exhibition grounds. The stamps were also given away at Cavalcade of Lights (presented by Scotiabank) and at City of Toronto Historic Museums on December 5 and 6.

To mark the start of the holiday season, a snowman float featuring the Toronto 175th logo and a holiday brochure (highlighting the Toronto 175th anniversary free weekend at Toronto’s Historic Museums) was included in this year's Santa Claus Parade. More than 600,000 people of all ages got into the holiday spirit by coming out for the parade.

The City of Toronto would like to acknowledge the partnerships of other great organizations that celebrated Toronto’s heritage, unity and diversity. Partnerships included the St. George’s Society of Toronto, Center for Spanish Speaking Peoples, Masala! Mehndi!, Masti!, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, Brown's A Short Man's World of Fashion, York Pioneers, Science Rendevous, Horticultural Society of Parkdale and Toronto, Dominion Modern Gallery, Allstream Centre, DVxT Theatre, City Sonic, Vizaria, Toronto Public Library, Vortex, West Toronto Junction Historical Society, Royal Ontario Museum, Garden Club of Toronto, Dominion Modern Gallery, the Dominion Institute, Heritage Toronto, Toronto Arts Council and the Hudson’s Bay Company on Queen Street.

For more information about any of these partnerships, visit .

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. 2009 marked the 175th anniversary of Toronto's incorporation as a city. Toronto's government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

Media contacts:
Tina Hurl-Priestley, Program Development Officer, 416-392-9315,
Kerri MacDonald, Special Events, 416-395-7381,



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