East Toronto

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For the former federal riding, see Toronto East.
Map of East Toronto in 1908, just prior to being annexed to Toronto

East Toronto, Ontario (Incorporated 1888, annexed by Toronto in 1908) was an incorporated community in what is today a part of the city of Toronto, Canada.[1] It covered much of what is today the Upper Beaches neighbourhood, stretching up to Danforth Avenue in the north. The central street in the community was Main Street, running south from Danforth to Kingston Road. The main commercial centre of the town was located at the intersection of Main and Lake View (now Main and Gerrard).[2][3] As Toronto's true main street was named Yonge, the name Main Street was maintained even after amalgamation with the city of Toronto. This explains why Toronto's "Main Street" is far from the city centre.

History[edit]

The area, after being colonized by British settlers, was occupied in about 1850, when it was a considerable distance from the city of Toronto. It was incorporated as a village in 1888 when there were about 800 people living in the area. The area began to grow rapidly and in 1903 it was elevated from a village to a town. The southern part of the community by the lake became one of Toronto's most popular travel destinations, and became home to hotels and amusement parks. The northern section, by contrast, was an industrial centre, home to the Grand Trunk Railway's main yards.[2] These facilities stretched along most of Gerrard Street, and employed several hundred workers.

When East Toronto was annexed to city of Toronto in 1908 it had a population of about 5,000 people.[1] The CN freight yards closed down in that same year of 1908 and relocated to Belleville and Etobicoke, a move that forced the area into a transition from a railway-based small town into a commuter-based neighbourhood within a city. The trunk yards themselves were essentially abandoned for over 90 years until a housing development was built on most of the land they once occupied[2]

Today East Toronto commonly refers to the portion of the old city of Toronto east of the Don River. This includes neighbourhoods such as Upper Beaches, Riverdale, Leslieville, East Danforth, and the Beaches.

Street name changes[edit]

With the annexation by the city of Toronto in 1908, many East Toronto street names were changed, as the city of Toronto already had streets by those names. The following tables show the changes made, with the names of changed streets in bold text.

North/South streets[edit]

Street names
Pre-annexation Present
Elm Avenue Willow Avenue
Beach Avenue Beech Avenue
Balsam Avenue Balsam Avenue
Spruce Avenue Spruce Hill Road
Howard Avenue MacLean Avenue
(between Lake Front and Queen only)
Catherine Street Pickering Street
Hannaford Street Hannaford Street
Charles Street Malvern Avenue
John Street Wayland Avenue
Edward Street Osborne Avenue
Walter Street Walter Street
Mary Street Kimberley Avenue
Main Street Main Street
Enderby Road Enderby Road
Norwood Road Norwood Road
Lee Avenue Lee Avenue
Woodlee Road Woodlee Road
Elliot Street Barrington Avenue
Donald Street Westlake Avenue
(south of The Danforth only)
Morton Road Morton Road

The following North/South streets were technically outside the village limits of East Toronto, but were also included in the annexation, and also had their street names changed.

Street names
Pre-annexation Present
Birch Avenue Silver Birch Avenue
Maple Avenue Scarborough Road
(between Queen and Kingston only)
Cockburn Avenue Scarborough Road
(between Swanwick and Gerrard only)

East/West streets[edit]

Street names
Pre-annexation Present
Queen Street Queen Street East
Cedar Avenue Cedar Avenue
Pine Avenue Pine Avenue
Kingston Road Kingston Road
Lyall Avenue Lyall Avenue
Benlamond Avenue Benlamond Avenue
Swanwick Avenue Swanwick Avenue
(between Enderby and Pickering only)
Lake View Avenue Gerrard Street East
Stephenson Avenue Stephenson Avenue
Danforth Avenue Danforth Avenue
Lansdowne Avenue Coleman Avenue

The following East/West streets were technically outside the village limits of East Toronto, but were also included in the annexation. Streets that had their names changed are in bold text.

Street names
Pre-annexation Present
Glenfern Avenue Glenfern Avenue
Balmy Avenue Balmy Avenue
Barwick Avenue Swanwick Avenue
(between Lawlor and Scarborough only)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b MikeFiley (2008). Toronto: The Way We Were. Dundurn Press. p. 209. ISBN 9781550028423. Retrieved 2014-02-20. The request was approved and came into effect on January 1, 1888. The newly incorporated Village of East Toronto initially had a population of about 800, with that number increasing dramatically over the next few years, thanks in great measure to the presence of nearby railway yards. In 1903 the village became a town, a status it held until December 15, 1908, when, with a population of 4,800, the Town of East Toronto vanished into the history books to become part of the City of Toronto's Ward One. 
  2. ^ a b c Ron Brown (2013). Rails Across Ontario: Exploring Ontario's Railway Heritage. Dundurn Press. p. 19. ISBN 9781459707542. Retrieved 2014-02. Many wonder why there is a "Main Street" in Toronto's east end. This too came about when the GT selected a tract of land to create another sea of railway sidings. While it named its yard "York," the town that grew nearby was incorporated as "East Toronto" and the commercial main street became "Main Street."  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  3. ^ Edward Relph (2014). Toronto: Transformations in A City and its Region. University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved 2014-02-20. The names of many of the old municipalities have been preserved in business improvement areas, and, for example, Main Street subway station refers to the main street of East Toronto. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 43°40′51″N 79°17′40″W / 43.6808°N 79.2944°W / 43.6808; -79.2944