Toronto: Economy and People

The city is a port of entry and an important commercial, financial, and industrial hub as well as Canada's banking and stock-exchange center and chief wholesale-distribution point. Its importance as a port and transshipment point has increased since the opening (1959) of the St. Lawrence Seaway. Ontario's wealth of raw materials and hydroelectric power make Toronto an industrial powerhouse. The city and surrounding area produces more than half of Canada's manufactured goods.

Toronto's industries include slaughtering and meatpacking, printing and publishing, and the manufacture of aircraft, farm implements, electrical machinery, and metal products. The city has the country's leading service sector and attracts a growing amount of high-tech businesses. It is also a major tourist center. The influx of many Arab, Asian, African, and Caribbean immigrants has dramatically diversified the ethnic composition; roughly a tenth of the population is now ethnically Chinese. Suburbanization and redevelopment of the downtown and waterfront have changed the city's character.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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