North York Area Overview
North York is a former municipality within the current city of Toronto. Geographically, it comprises the central part of the northern section of Toronto. As of the 2006 Census, it has a population of 635,370. 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 merge these municipalities into a single, new amalgamated City of Toronto. North York is one of the most diverse areas of Toronto, as it contains some of the most affluent areas of the city (The Bridle Path, Hogg's Hollow, York Mills, Willowdale, Bayview Village) and some of the poorest (Jane and Finch, Flemingdon Park and Lawrence Heights).
The Township of North York was formed on June 13, 1922 out of the rural part of the Township of York. The rapidly urbanizing parts of the Township remained in that township. As North York itself became more urbanized, it became the Borough of North York in 1967, and then on February 14, 1979, the City of North York. To commemorate receiving its city charter on St. Valentine's Day, the city's corporate slogan was "The City with Heart". It now forms the largest part of the area served by the "North York Community Council", a committee of Toronto City Council.
Originally, North York was known as a regional agricultural hub composed of scattered villages. The area boomed following World War II, and by the 1950s and 1960s, it resembled many other sprawling North American suburbs. Of note is the community of Don Mills.
Major shopping malls in North York include the Yorkdale Shopping Centre and Fairview Mall. Smaller locations include Centerpoint Mall, Bayview Village, Yorkgate Mall, Shops at Don Mills, Steeles West Market Mall, Jane Finch Mall and Sheppard Centre. It is also home to campuses of York University, Seneca College, Osgoode Hall Law School, and Tyndale University College and Seminary.
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, a regional cancer centre and regional trauma centre are located in North York.
An aircraft manufacturing facility and a former military base are located at Downsview. With the end of the Cold War, much of the land was transformed into a large park now called Parc Downsview Park. Also located in the former airfield is Toronto Aerospace Museum.
Black Creek Pioneer Village, an authentic nineteenth-century village, and the Ontario Science Centre, which boasts over 800 science-oriented exhibits, are North York's primary attractions. Not far from Black Creek Pioneer Village is York University's main campus.
Along North York's Bathurst Street is one of the world's largest urban Jewish communities, with a significant population of Holocaust survivors.
A small plaza containing Chinese restaurants and supermarkets is located at the intersection of Finch Avenue and Leslie Street. It first developed in the 1980s to serve the ethnic Chinese community, though its patronage has now diversified.
There are a multitude of North York sports clubs including the North York Storm, a girls' hockey league, Gwendolen Tennis Club in the heart of North York near Yonge and Sheppard, and the venerable North York Aquatic Club, which was founded in 1958 as the North York Lions Swim Club and has produced many Olympian swimmers.
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