We know this great city as Toronto, but that wasn’t its original name! The City of Toronto had a different name when it was first founded and had some very interesting nicknames as well. Let’s dive in.

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From York to Toronto

city of toronto
Image via City of Toronto Archives

We have to go back to 1793 for this piece of history, when The province’s first governor, John Graves Simcoe mapped out a town laid out by the harbour, which he named York, in honour of the Duke of York, son of King George III.

Soon he was using York as the capital of Upper Canada, “erecting parliament buildings and cutting roads inland,” and in 1796, Yonge Street was opened!

So when did York become Toronto? Not until 1834. 

The fast-growing then-town of over 9,000 residents was incorporated as the city of Toronto in 1834, led by the city’s first mayor, William Lyon Mackenzie.

Toronto’s past nicknames

Muddy York was one of Toronto’s very first nicknames.

This name was common in the city’s first years before the streets were paved and rain turned the dirt roads into pure mud.

Fun fact, in the present day there is an inclusive rugby club in the city called Toronto Muddy York RFC. 

Another nickname included Dirty Little York for the same reason.

So whether you call it Toronto, York, Muddy York or anything else, it’s still our amazing home!