Queen Street, Toronto

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Queen Street was one of the most important streets when John Graves Simcoe, the first Governor of Upper Canada, and his staff, laid out the town-site for York, Upper Canada, his capitol.[1] Eventually, it was extended east and west, and remains a major arterial road in both Toronto, and the neighbouring municipalities within the Greater Toronto Area.

In the late 18th Century Queen was the northernmost of the five east-west streets within York. Simcoe divided the land north of Queen into narrow lots, that ran north 1.25 miles (2.01 km) to the next concession, currently Bloor Street, Toronto|Bloor]].[1] The lots were 6600 feet by 660 feet -- 100 acres. 32 lots were mapped out between Lansdowne and the Don River. Simcoe, and subsequent Governors, rewarded prominent citizens, who had stepped forward to take a role in Provincial administration, with grants to these lots. At the time of York's founding these lots were covered with the original Boreal forest, and would have to be cleared, to have practical value. But they would hold value, eventually, if the Governor, and the prominent citizens he issued these grants to, succeeded in developing York into a thriving city.

York did grow. In 1934 York became the City of Toronto. As Toronto annexed smaller communities its downtown moved from the original townsite, and was centred roughly on Yonge and Queen. Once Yonge became the city's main north-south artery, street addresses on Queen, and other streets, were renumbered, so they increased from Yonge. This required distinguishing addresses on Queen Street West from Queen Street East.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Jane E. MacNamara. "Simcoe's Gentry: Toronto Park Lots". Ontario Genealogical Society, Toronto Branch. Retrieved 2017-04-08. These 100-acre “Park Lots” were located just north of the town. They had narrow frontages (660 feet) on Lot Street (today’s Queen Street), to allow all owners access to the town and harbour.