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Simcoe decided to move the Upper Canada capital from Newark (Niagara-on-the-Lake) to York, The York garrison was constructed at the entrance of the town's natural harbour, sheltered by a long sandbar peninsula.The town's settlement formed at the eastern end of the harbour behind the peninsula, near the present-day intersection of Parliament Street and Front Street (in the "Old Town" area).By 1701, the Mississauga had displaced the Iroquois, who abandoned the Toronto area at the end of the Beaver Wars.During the American Revolutionary War, the region saw an influx of British settlers as United Empire Loyalists fled for the British-controlled lands north of Lake Ontario.

In the 1840s, an eating house at Frederick and King Streets, a place of mercantile prosperity in early Toronto, was operated by a man of colour named Bloxom.

The sacking of York was a primary motivation for the Burning of Washington by British troops later in the war.

York was incorporated as the City of Toronto on March 6, 1834, reverting to its original native name.

Reformist politician William Lyon Mackenzie became the first Mayor of Toronto and led the unsuccessful Upper Canada Rebellion of 1837 against the British colonial government.

Toronto's population of only 9,000 included escaped African American slaves, some of whom were brought by the Loyalists, including Mohawk leader Joseph Brant.

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