North York forms the central part of the northern half of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Until 1998, North York was one of six municipalities that comprised another larger municipal structure called Metropolitan Toronto. That year, the provincial government of Ontario passed legislation to force these municipalities to merge into a single, new amalgamated City of Toronto.
Originally, North York was known as a regional agricultural hub comprised of scattered villages. The area boomed following the second world war, and by the 1950's and '60's, it resembled many other sprawling North American suburbs. Of note is the community of Don Mills.
While much of the area still retains its mostly suburban nature, efforts led by former Mayor of North York and Toronto Mel Lastman were made to intensify development along Yonge Street between Finch and Sheppard Avenues, coinciding with the path of the TTC's Yonge-University Spadina subway line.
Along this central North York corridor, condominiums and expensive retail and high-rise office buildings can be found, particularly centred around the old City Hall. Directly beside the old City Hall is the Toronto Centre for the Arts. Thanks to a new subway line along Sheppard Avenue, more high-rise condominiums are being built along the Sheppard East Corridor.
The central area is gradually ceasing to be suburban, resembling a smaller version of the city's downtown. World-reknowned corporations have built their own office towers along Yonge Street in central North York, including the Canadian head offices of Procter and Gamble, Nestle and Xerox. McDonald's of Canada is also located in North York, although not along this corridor.
The section of Highway 401 which traverses North York is the busiest section of freeway in North America, exceeding 400,000 vehicles per day. Driving time to the United States via Niagara Falls is approximately 90 minutes.
North York is the northern extent of the Carolinian forest zone.
Two of the largest malls in Ontario, the Yorkdale Shopping Centre and Fairview Mall are located here. It is also home to York University and Osgoode Hall Law School.
Major health-care facilities, such as North York General Hospital, Humber York-Finch Hospital and the massive Sunnybrook complex which includes a veterans' residence and regional trauma center are located here.
A military base and aircraft manufacturing facility is located at Downsview, although the end of the Cold War is seeing much of the land now being transformed into a park.
Black Creek Pioneer Village, an authentic nineteenth-century village, and the Ontario Science Centre, which boasts over 800 science-oriented exhibits, are North York's primary attractions.
Along North York's Bathurst Street is one of the world's most important Jewish communities, with a significant population of Holocaust survivors.
The population of North York is well over half a million.