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In 1867 Toronto became a city within a country instead of a colony when New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and the United Province of Canada formed the 'Dominion of Canada' within the British Empire (and with the united province dividing into Quebec and Ontario). The new nation grew quickly with the acquisition of the great northern and western interior by 1870, followed by the entry of British Columbia and Prince Edward Island into Confederation in 1871 and 1873 respectively (to be followed later by the acquisition of the Arctic from Britain in 1898 and the entry of Newfoundland in 1949).
The creation of the dominion in 1867, the demise of the old united province, and the concurrent formation of modern Ontario (and Quebec) resulted in Toronto becoming the capital and the largest urban centre in the most populous province of the new nation. Those changes further solidified the city's already-dominant influence in the region. At the national level, the growth of the country opened new markets for Toronto manufacturers, especially after the 'last spike' of the Canadian Pacific Railway was pounded into the ground in 1885 to open a rail connection to the Pacific Ocean. Another national advantage for Toronto manufacturers (including branch plant operations set up by British and American owners) came with the protective tariff implemented by the federal government in 1879. It fostered local industries by making imports too expensive to be competitive, although it disadvantaged consumers in the process.
ESPLANADE EAST, 1894
The coming of the railways transformed the city's environment, as can be seen here with the tracks of the Grand Trunk Railway along the waterfront, as well as by a number of industrial buildings that had been constructed to be close to the rail lines. By the latter 1800s, industrialization had become a driving force in Toronto's urbanization, with 2,401 manufacturers in place by 1891, compared to 530 in 1871.
The Golden Griffin Dry Goods Emporium [Ca 1872] Notman and Fraser. Ca 1872. Photograph. 23.7 x 19.1 cm. TPL (TRL) Acc. E 2-28a
This store was located on the north side between 33 to 37 King Street East in 1872, near Market Street. Across the street was the office of The Leader, a daily newspaper.
On Toronto Harbour in 1886 William Armstrong. Pastel and watercolour. 25.1 x 35.7 cm. TPL (TRL) Acc. 964-5-1
Ice boating was a popular winter pastime.
Toronto street scenes in 1890s (2 Images) a) Nipissing House Albumen prints. 9.8 x 13.0 cm. TPL (TRL) Acc. B 11-31a
b) The Craven Arms Albumen prints. 10.1 x 17.4 cm. TPL (TRL) Acc. B 11-31b
Commercial buildings and street scenes typically found in Toronto in the 1890s. Some of the buildings date back to 1825 and 1830. The sidewalks are planked, but the streets appear to be dirt. The Craven Arms photograph shows a peddlar's pushcart in the lower right. Pushcarts were a way for many immigrants to start businesses of their own.
Toronto street scenes in 1890s (2 Images) a) Crispi's Tavern Albumen prints. 11.0 x 18.1 cm. TPL (TRL) Acc. B 11-44a
b) Mills' Tea Albumen prints. 11.0 x 18.3 cm. TPL (TRL) Acc. B 11-44b
The photographs show a transition period, for both gas street lamps and electric light poles are visible.