Toronto is the most populous city in Canada, the provincial capital of Ontario, and the centre of the Greater Toronto Area, the most populous metropolitan area in Canada. In the 2011 census, Toronto had a population of 2,615,060, making it the fifth largest city in North America. A population estimate from a city report released in 2013 shows the city is now the fourth most populous city in North America, after Mexico City, New York City, and Los Angeles. An established global city, Toronto is an international centre of business, finance, arts, and culture, and widely recognized as one of the most multicultural and cosmopolitan cities in the world. Aboriginal peoples have inhabited the area now known as Toronto for thousands of years. The urban history of the city dates back to 1787, when British officials negotiated the broadly disputed Toronto Purchase with the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation that saw the surrender of their ancestral lands to the British Crown.
Located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario, Toronto is situated on a broad sloping plateau intersected by an extensive network of rivers, deep ravines, and urban forest. It anchors the Golden Horseshoe, a densely populated region surrounding the western end of Lake Ontario that is home to 8.7 million people,or around 26% of the entire population of Canada.