International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
IVU logo
34th World Vegetarian Congress
Sharing the Vision

Toronto, Ontario, Canada • July 10-16, 2000
Hosted by the Toronto Vegetarian Association

About Toronto
Language and People | Climate | Time Zone | Telephone Service | BACK TO THE CONGRESS

In the 1600s, aboriginal people congregated on the north-western shore of Lake Ontario to trade and socialize. They called this place “Toronto,” the Mohawk word for “meeting place.” English settlers renamed the area York but when York became a city on March 6, 1834 the British settlement was renamed Toronto. York was founded as the capital of the new province of Upper Canada by Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe in the 1790s and had grown to 10,000 people by the 1830s. Today, Toronto is still the capital of the province, now called Ontario, and is the largest city in Canada. On January 1, 1998 the six municipalities that made up Metropolitan Toronto — the cities of Toronto, Etobicoke, York, North York, Scarborough and the borough of East York — became a megacity known as Toronto with a population of 2.4 million (fourth largest in North America). Approximately 4.7 million people, or 15 percent of the Canadian population, live in the Greater Toronto Area which includes the four regions surrounding Toronto: Halton, Peel, York and Durham.

Yonge Street, the longest street in the world, starts at Toronto's Queens Quay near Lake Ontario and ends 1,900 km (1,190 miles) away in Northern Ontario. It divides Toronto into east and west. Some of the major downtown intersections are Bloor and Yonge Streets., King and Bay Streets., Yonge and Dundas Streets., Queen St. and Spadina Ave.

Language and People According to the United Nations, Toronto is the world's most ethnically diverse city. It is home to people from 169 countries and 80 ethnic groups who speak more than 100 different languages. Toronto is marked by the diversity of distinct neighbourhoods, cultures and communities. English is the predominant language of Toronto, although both English and French are official languages. Among the larger ethnic populations are 350,000 Chinese, 400,000 Italians and 127,000 Greeks. These languages are prominent in many neighbourhoods. Dual language street signs can be found in areas such as Chinatown, Little Italy, Little Portugal, and other communities. (See Neighbourhoods fact sheet.)
 Climate Although we experience the four seasons, Toronto has a long winter (about five months from mid November to April), a short spring (from mid April to May) and autumn (from October to mid November) and a four month summer (from June to September). The average summer temperature is 23C (73F) and ranges from a high of 27C/80F to a low of 16C/62F in July. As Toronto also experiences high humidity in the summer, it often feels much hotter than the temperature may indicate.
Time Zone Toronto is in the Eastern Time (ET) Zone which is five hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). During Daylight Savings Time (DST), April to October, clocks are turned back one hour. This puts Toronto three hours ahead of Pacific Time, two hours ahead of Mountain Time, one hour ahead of Central Time, one hour behind Atlantic and one and one half-hours behind Newfoundland Time.
Telephone Service Metropolitan Toronto has two local area codes, 416 and 905. The City of Toronto is in the 416 area code, which need not be dialled before the seven digit phone number. Some calls to the 905 area are local calls, but require dialling 905 and then the seven digit number. When dialling long-distance numbers, start with a 1, then area code followed by seven digit number. This includes any number with an 800 or 888 prefix. If a long distance number is being billed to a Bell Canada calling card, dial 0, area code and number.

Dial 911 for all health, safety and crime emergencies. It is a free call from pay phones.

Directory Assistance/Operator Assistance
Dial 411 for an operator to aid with locating a number (charge applies). Dialling “0” will also get you an operator for general assistance.

Public Payphones 
Payphones cost 25 per call. Phones do not give change, but will return coin(s) if your call is not completed. Phone credit cards for multiple calls and long-distance calls are also available in many convenience stores.

Language and People | Climate | Time Zone | Telephone Service | BACK TO THE CONGRESS