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The town's settlement formed at the harbour's eastern end behind the peninsula, near the present-day intersection of Parliament Street and Front Street (in the "Old Town" area).
In 1813, as part of the War of 1812, the Battle of York ended in the town's capture and plunder by United States forces. American soldiers destroyed much of the garrison and set fire to the parliament buildings during their five-day occupation.
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.
For brief periods, Toronto was twice the capital of the united Province of Canada: first from 1849 to 1852, following unrest in Montreal, and later 1856–1858.
After this date, Quebec was designated as the capital until 1866 (one year before Canadian Confederation).
The Crown granted them land to compensate for their losses in the Thirteen Colonies.
The new province of Upper Canada was being created and needed a capital.
Toronto's population of 9,000 included African-American slaves, some of whom were brought by the Loyalists, including Mohawk leader Joseph Brant, and fewer Black Loyalists, whom the Crown had freed.