Islington-City Centre West

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Islington
Neighbourhood
Towers in Etobicoke's 'downtown'
Towers in Etobicoke's 'downtown'
Islington map.png
Coordinates: 43°38′55″N 79°31′43″W / 43.64861°N 79.52861°W / 43.64861; -79.52861
Country  Canada
Province  Ontario
City Toronto Toronto
Community Etobicoke
Established 1830s Settled 'Mimico'
1860 (Postal village) 'Islington'
Changed Municipality 1998 Toronto from Etobicoke
Government
 • MP Bernard Trottier (Etobicoke—Lakeshore)
 • MPP Peter Milczyn (Etobicoke—Lakeshore)
 • Councillor James Maloney (Ward 5 Etobicoke—Lakeshore)

Islington-City Centre West (also known as Six Points or Etobicoke City Centre) is a neighbourhood in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is one of Toronto's CBDs located in the former City of Etobicoke. Islington is bounded on the north by Rathburn Road, on the east by Kipling Avenue, Mimico Creek, and Islington Avenue, on the south by the Gardiner Expressway, and on the west by Etobicoke Creek and Highway 427.

Montgomery's Inn

History[edit]

Mimico, roadside community
Historic mural on Dundas

Islington centres on a commercial strip along Dundas Street West (originally The Governor's Road, the first highway connecting Toronto to London, Ontario) which runs along an escarpment (the Lake Iroquois Shoreline, ancient shore of Lake Iroquois) across the width of Etobicoke. To the west where Kipling Avenue crosses Dundas Street West (and Bloor Street West) is the Six Points intersection, the central point in Etobicoke's grid. To the east, Dundas Street W. crosses the Mimico Creek. The original community called Mimico grew west of Montgomery's Inn, which was built in 1832[1] at Dundas St. W. and Islington Avenue (beside the Mimico Creek) to serve travellers coming or going from Toronto to western Ontario along Dundas St. Unlike the better-known Montgomery's Tavern (formerly in North York, now demolished), Montgomery's Inn was used by soldiers remaining loyal to the government during the 1837 rebellion. Etobicoke was officially incorporated as a township in 1850, first using Montgomery's Inn for its meetings until the nearby original Methodist Church was purchased. Etobicoke's first cemetery began with the burial of a traveller on Dundas who died on his way to Toronto just before reaching Montgomery's Inn. Despite the dying man's request to be buried in Toronto, he was buried beside the Methodist Church (later the Etobicoke Council Offices) in Islington. This cemetery remains a prominent historic site in the heart of Etobicoke where many of Etobicoke's early families are buried.

Administrative centre of Etobicoke
Former Etobicoke Council Offices

With the building of the first railway to Toronto from the west in 1855, Mimico, near Lake Ontario, petitioned the government for a post office to be called Mimico in 1858. In 1860, the original northern Mimico petitioned for its own post office, using the name Islington, which was suggested by the wife of Montgomery's Innkeeper who was born in Islington, England (now a part of London). A second railway was built at the bottom of the escarpment (just south of Dundas) preventing the collapse of Islington during the railway age. This neighbourhood was also the site of Etobicoke's annual rural fair. In the early 20th century, Etobicoke's urbanizing lakeshore communities separated to become independent municipalities while Islington remained a postal village, the administrative centre of rural Etobicoke Township. The Etobicoke municipal offices were greatly enlarged at this time.

Urbanization
Aerial Photograph of Islington Postal Village, 1937

Urbanization began in central Etobicoke in the 1950s post war boom with growing residential areas in Islington and to the north and industrial growth to the south. This led to Etobicoke's incorporation which separated from the County of York to form a part of the new Metropolitan Toronto in 1954, reincorporating the lakeshore municipalities into that level of government. With growing traffic along Dundas and increasing traffic fatalities in Islington, the intersections of Royal York Road and Kipling Avenue with Dundas St. W. were redesigned as highway style interchanges with bridges. The new Borough of Etobicoke in 1967 created several plans to raise the level of commercial and residential density in Islington with the aim of creating a western 'downtown' for Metropolitan Toronto. The Toronto Transit Commission's Bloor–Danforth line was extended into Etobicoke as far as Islington in 1968 with the establishment of Islington station at Islington Avenue and Bloor Street West. After the station was constructed, there was a boom in high-density office and residential development. In 1980, the Bloor-Danforth line was extended one stop west from Islington to Kipling and GO Transit's Kipling GO Station, further enhancing the neighbourhood's access to Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area.

Redevelopment
Former Legion Hall on Bloor in Islington

The physical segregation of Islington with the redesigning of the surrounding interchanges on Dundas St. W. (at Kipling Ave. and at Royal York Road), as well as the Etobicoke council's move in 1958 from the historic Etobicoke Council Offices to a new complex beside the new Highway 427, limited the success of plans for the area to be developed as a western downtown.[2] Efforts began in 1998 by the Borough of Etobicoke to intensify the Six Point area were carried over to the amalgamated City of Toronto. The Bloor Street, Kipling Avenue and Dundas Street West interchanges and the Westwood Theatre lands are to be redeveloped by the Build Toronto agency, starting in 2014 into a mixed-use development. The highway-interchange style of the intersection will be replaced by regular at-grade intersections. Dundas Street will be re-routed on a new path through the area.[3]

A heated debate over the demolition of the Montgomery's home (Briarly) beside Montgomery's Inn in the 1980s led to a greater emphasis on the historic nature of the area.[4] Montgomery's Inn has been preserved as the Etobicoke Community Museum and is open to the public and Islington has a designated Business Improvement Area known as the Historic Village of Islington[5] which has commissioned a large number of historic wall murals along Dundas St. W..

Character[edit]

Historic Home on Dundas at Six Points

Islington has a mix of single family homes in the western area with numerous apartment towers now along Bloor Street. The area north of the Bloor-Dundas intersection is also known as "Six Points". The Six Points area is a mix of single family bungalows and commercial storefronts along the main streets.

Schools[edit]

  • Etobicoke Collegiate Institute is a public secular high school on Montgomery Road, founded in 1928.
  • Islington Junior Middle School is a public elementary school on Cordova Avenue. It is the oldest elementary school in the former borough of Etobicoke.
  • Our Lady of Peace Catholic Elementary School
  • Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Elementary School
  • Michael Power/St. Joseph High School|Michael Power High School (all boys) and St. Joseph's Islington High School (all girls)

Institutions[edit]

  • Old Etobicoke Township Hall (now a Fox & the Fiddle pub)
  • Islington Post Office
  • Islington Legion Hall (closed)
  • Montgomery's Inn
  • Islington Golf Club
  • Six Points Plaza
  • Westown Plaza
  • Kipling GO Station
Churches
Islington United Church on Burnamthorpe near Dundas
  • Islington United Church[6]
  • Islington Baptist Church[7]
  • St Andrew's Presbyterian Church[8]
  • St George's-on-the-Hill Anglican Church[9]
  • St Matthew's Anglican Church
  • Our Lady of Peace Roman Catholic Church

Notes[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 43°38′28″N 79°32′06″W / 43.641°N 79.535°W / 43.641; -79.535