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Geography {{#invoke:main|main}}

A simulated-colour image of Toronto taken by the NASA Landsat 7 satellite in 2004.

Toronto covers an area of {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}},<ref name=population>Population statistics and land area, Statistics Canada (2001). Retrieved December 5, 2006.</ref> with a maximum north-south distance of {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}} and a maximum east-west distance of {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}}. It has a {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}} long waterfront shoreline, on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. The Toronto Islands and Port Lands extend out into the lake, allowing for a somewhat sheltered Toronto Harbour south of the downtown core.<ref name="northwest">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> The city's borders are formed by Lake Ontario to the south, Etobicoke Creek and Highway 427 to the west, Steeles Avenue to the north and the Rouge River and the Scarborough-Pickering Townline to the east.


The city is mostly flat or gentle hills and the land gently slopes upward away from the lake. The flat land is interrupted by numerous ravines cut by numerous creeks and the valleys of the three rivers in Toronto: the Humber River in the west end and the Don River east of downtown at opposite ends of the Toronto Harbour, and the Rouge River at the city's eastern limits. Most of the ravines and valley lands in Toronto today are park lands, and recreational trails are laid out along the ravines and valleys. The original town was laid out in a grid plan on the flat plain north of the harbour, and this plan was extended outwards as the city grew. The width and depth of several of the ravines and valleys are such that several several grid streets such as Finch Avenue, Leslie Street, Lawrence Avenue, and St. Clair Avenue, terminate on one side of a ravine or valley and continue on the other side. Toronto has many bridges spanning the ravines. Large bridges such as the Prince Edward Viaduct were built to span above wide river valleys.

Despite its deep ravines, Toronto is not remarkably hilly, but does increase in elevation steadily away from the lake. Elevation differences range from {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}} above sea level at the Lake Ontario shore to {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}} ASL near the York University grounds in the city's north end at the intersection of Keele Street and Steeles Avenue.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> There are occasional hilly areas; in particular, midtown Toronto has a number of rolling hills. Lake Ontario remains occasionally visible from the peaks of these ridges as far north as Eglinton Avenue, {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}} inland.

The other major geographical feature of Toronto are the escarpments. During the last ice age, the lower part of Toronto was beneath Glacial Lake Iroquois. Today, a series of escarpments mark the lake's former boundary, known as the "Iroquois Shoreline". The escarpments are most prominent from Victoria Park Avenue to the mouth of Highland Creek, where they form the Scarborough Bluffs. Other observable sections include the area near St. Clair Avenue West between Bathurst Street and the Don River, and north of Davenport Road from Caledonia to Spadina Road; the Casa Loma grounds sit above this escarpment.

The geography of the lake shore is much changed since the first settlement of Toronto. Much of the land on the north shore of the harbour is landfill, filled in during the late 19th century. Until then, the lakefront docks (then known as wharves) were set back farther inland than today. Much of the adjacent Port Lands on the east side of the harbour was a wetland filled in early in the 20th century. The shoreline from the harbour west to the Humber has been extended into the lake. Further west, landfill has created extensions of land such as Humber Bay Park.

The Toronto Islands were a natural peninsula until a storm in 1858 severed their connection to the mainland, creating a channel to the harbour. The peninsula was formed by lake currents taking the sediments deposited along the Scarborough Bluffs shore and transporting them to the Islands area. The other source of sediment for the Port Lands wetland and the peninsula was the deposition of the Don River, which carved a wide valley through the sedimentary land of Toronto and deposited it in the harbour, which is quite shallow. The harbour and the channel of the Don River have been dredged numerous times for shipping. The lower section of the Don River was straightened and channelized in the 19th century. The former mouth drained into a wetland; today the Don drains into the harbour through a concrete channel.


Toronto has a humid continental climate (Köppen: Dfa/Dfb), with warm, humid summers and cold winters.<ref name=Peel>{{#invoke:Citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=journal }}</ref> The city experiences four distinct seasons, with considerable variance in length.<ref name=climatedriverv1>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> As a result of the rapid passage of weather systems (such as high and low pressure systems), the weather is variable from day to day in all seasons.<ref name=climatedriverv1/> Owing to urbanization and its proximity to water, Toronto has a fairly low diurnal temperature range (day-night temperature difference). The denser urban scape makes for warmer nights year around; the average nighttime temperature is about {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}} warmer in the city than in rural areas in all months.<ref name=climatedriverv3>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> However, it can be noticeably cooler on many spring and early summer afternoons under the influence of a lake breeze since Lake Ontario is cool, relative to the air during these seasons.<ref name=climatedriverv3/> These lake breezes mostly occur in summer, bringing relief to hot days.<ref name=climatedriverv3/> Other low-scale maritime effects on the climate include lake-effect snow, fog and delaying of spring- and fall-like conditions, known as seasonal lag.<ref name=climatedriverv3/>

Winters are cold with frequent snow.<ref name=climate>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> During the winter months, temperatures are usually below {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}}.<ref name=climate/> Toronto winters sometimes feature cold snaps where maximum temperatures remain below {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}}, often made to feel colder by wind chill. Occasionally, they can drop below {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}}.<ref name=climate/> Snowstorms, sometimes mixed with ice and rain, can disrupt work and travel schedules, accumulating snow can fall any time from November until mid-April. However, mild stretches also occur in most winters melting accumulated snow. The summer months are characterized by very warm temperatures.<ref name=climate/> Daytime temperatures are usually above {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}}, and often rise above {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}}.<ref name=climate/> However, they can occasionally surpass {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}} accompanied by high humidity making it feel oppressive during these brief periods of hot weather.{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||date=__DATE__ |$B= {{#invoke:Category handler|main}}{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}[citation needed] }} Spring and autumn are transitional seasons with generally mild or cool temperatures with alternating dry and wet periods.<ref name=climatedriverv3/> Daytime temperatures average around {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}} during these seasons.<ref name=climate/>

Precipitation is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year, but summer is usually the wettest season, the bulk falling during thunderstorms. There can be periods of dry weather, but drought-like conditions are rare.{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||date=__DATE__ |$B= {{#invoke:Category handler|main}}{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}[citation needed] }} The average yearly precipitation is about {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}}, with an average annual snowfall of about {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}}.<ref name=annex/> Toronto experiences an average of 2,066 sunshine hours, or 45% of daylight hours, varying between a low of 28% in December to 60% in July.<ref name="annex" />

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