Toronto is the largest city in Canada and the provincial capital of Ontario. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late 18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British Crown from the Mississaugas of the New Credit. The settlement was later established as the Town of York and proclaimed as the new capital of Upper Canada by its lieutenant governor, John Graves Simcoe. In 1834, York was incorporated as a city and renamed to its present name. The city was ransacked in the Battle of York during the War of 1812 and damaged in two great fires in 1849 and in 1904. Since its incorporation, Toronto has repeatedly expanded its borders through amalgamation with surrounding municipalities, most recently in 1998.
The city has 5.2 million residents, according to the 2011 Census. It is currently the third most populous city in North America. The census metropolitan area (CMA) had a population of 11,166,128, and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) had a population of 12,108,382 in the 2011 Census. Toronto is at the heart of the Greater Toronto Area, and the densely populated region in Southern Ontario known as the Golden Horseshoe. Its cosmopolitan and international population reflects its role as an important destination for immigrants to Canada. Toronto is one of the world's most diverse cities by percentage of non-native-born residents, with about 49% of the population born outside Canada. Toronto is also consistently rated as one of the world's most livable cities by the Economist Intelligence Unit and the Mercer Quality of Living Survey.
As Canada's commercial capital, it is home to the Toronto Stock Exchange and the nation's five largest banks. Toronto is considered an alpha world city by the Globalization and World Cities (GaWC) study group. Toronto's leading economic sectors include finance, business services, telecommunications, aerospace, transportation, media, arts, publishing, software production, medical research, education, tourism, and engineering.