Toronto is the most populous city in Canada and the provincial capital of Ontario. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. The history of Toronto began in the late 18th century when the British Crown purchased its land from the Mississaugas of the New Credit. The settlement established there became York, which lieutenant governor John Graves Simcoe designated as the capital of Upper Canada. The city was ransacked in the Battle of York during the War of 1812. In 1834, York became a city and renamed to Toronto. It was damaged in two huge fires in 1849 and 1904. Since 1954, the city occasionally expanded its borders through amalgamation with surrounding municipalities, most recently occurring in 1998.
According to the 2011 Census, the city has 2.6 million residents, making it the fifth-most populous city in North America. However, in 2012, the municipal government published a population estimate of 2,791,140, which led to media reports claiming Toronto as the fourth most populous city in North America and the most populous Great Lakes city, surpassing Chicago.