Skyline of Scarborough City Centre
Location of Scarborough (red) in Toronto.
|Incorporated||January 1, 1850 (township)
January 1, 1967 (borough)
June 1983 (city)
|Changed Region||1954 Metropolitan Toronto from York County|
|Amalgamated||January 1, 1998 into Toronto|
|• Total||187.70 km2 (72.47 sq mi)|
|Population (2011)[note 1]|
|• Density||3,160.9/km2 (8,187/sq mi)|
|Time zone||EST (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|Postal code span||M1(B-X)|
|Area code(s)||416, 647, and 437|
Scarborough (//; 2011 Census 625,698) is a district and former municipality within the eastern part of the city of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Scarborough is bordered on the south by Lake Ontario, on the west by Victoria Park Avenue, on the north by Steeles Avenue East, and on the east by the Rouge River and the City of Pickering.
Over 200 years, Scarborough grew from a collection of small rural villages to become a large city with a diverse cultural community. It was named after the English town of Scarborough, North Yorkshire in 1796 by Elizabeth Simcoe, who was inspired by the Scarborough Bluffs which reminded her of white cliffs near her home. Originally Scarborough Township, it became a borough when it joined Metropolitan Toronto in 1954. Scarborough developed rapidly as a suburb of Old Toronto during the Metro Toronto years and became a city in 1983. Scarborough was amalgamated into the city of Toronto in 1998. The area is an administrative district in the new City of Toronto, and has its own community council composed of Toronto city councillors. The Scarborough Civic Centre, the former city hall, is still used by the municipal government of Toronto.
Scarborough is a popular destination for new immigrants to Canada to reside. As a result, Scarborough is one of the most diverse and multicultural areas of the Greater Toronto Area, being home to various religious groups and places of worship. It includes some of Toronto's popular natural landmarks, such as the Scarborough Bluffs and Rouge Park. Scarborough has been declared to be greener than any other part of Toronto.
The area was named after Scarborough, North Yorkshire, England by Elizabeth Simcoe, the wife of John Graves Simcoe, the first lieutenant governor of Upper Canada. The bluffs along Scarborough's Lake Ontario shores reminded her of the limestone cliffs in Scarborough, England. On August 4, 1793, she wrote in her diary, "The shore is extremely bold, and has the appearance of chalk cliffs, but I believe they are only white sand. They appeared so well that we talked of building a summer residence there and calling it Scarborough." Before that, the area was named Glasgow, after the Scottish city.
Scarborough has acquired several nicknames. The most popular is Scarberia, a portmanteau of Scarborough and Siberia, a reference to its seemingly distant eastern location from downtown Toronto. The word originated sometime in the 1960s and has remained a source of contention ever since. In May 1988, Joyce Trimmer, who was campaigning to be mayor of the city of Scarborough, said, "The city of Scarborough needs strong leadership if it is to shed its 'Scarberia' image". Scarborough has also acquired nicknames related to its diversity. Such nicknames typically use the prefix "Scar" and a suffix derived from the name of a region, nation, or ethnicity. One such nickname is "Scarlem", alluding to Harlem.
The first known evidence of people in Scarborough comes from an archaeological site in Fenwood Heights, which has been dated to 8000 BCE. The site contains the remains of a camp of nomadic hunters and foragers, and there is no evidence of permanent settlers.
In the 17th century, the area was inhabited by the Seneca at the village of Ganatsekwyagon, who were later displaced by the Mississaugas, who were themselves displaced by the settlers who began to arrive in the late 18th century. After surveying the land in 1793, it was opened to settlement by British subjects with the first issue of land patents in 1796, although squatters had already been present for a few years. The first settlers were David and Andrew Thomson. They were stonemasons who worked on the first parliament buildings for York. They each built mills. This activity led to the creation of a small village known as the Thomson Settlement. The first post office opened in 1832, in Scarborough Village.
During the early part of life in Upper Canada, local administration and justice was administered by the colonial government. From 1792 to 1841, magistrates were appointed by District Councils. There were four districts in the colony of which Scarborough was part of the Home District. Partly due to a political reorganization that was a result of the Durham Report, Scarborough gained elected representation on the Home District Council. Scarborough elected two councillors.
In 1850, Scarborough was incorporated as a township. After incorporation, Scarborough government was led by a reeve, a deputy-reeve and three councillors, each elected annually. Initially the council met in the village of Woburn but it was relocated to Birchcliff in 1922, where most of the population was then located. During the Great Depression the local government was on the verge of bankruptcy. The Ontario Municipal Board stepped in and appointed an oversight committee which prevented the collapse of local government.
The expansion of Toronto in the east, in the 19th century, led to the development of housing stock along the Kingston Road and Danforth Road corridors in Scarborough. This led to the creation of a transit line. In 1893, the Toronto and Scarboro' Electric Railway, Light and Power Company built a single-track radial line along Kingston Road to Blantyre. Over the next 13 years this was extended to West Hill. In 1904, the line became the Scarboro Division of the Toronto and York Radial Railway. Service continued along this line until 1936 when it was replaced by bus service.
As the urban area continued to expand, much of rural Scarborough was converted to suburban housing developments in the last third of the 20th century. At the start of the 21st century, growth occurred along the Highway 401 corridor at the northern end of the Scarborough RT; highrise condominium projects have increased the residential density around Scarborough City Centre.
On April 15, 1953, Scarborough was included within Metropolitan Toronto, a new upper level of municipal government with jurisdiction over regional services such as arterial roads and transit, police, and ambulance services. (Fire fighting services remained separate.) Scarborough retained its local council but gained representation on a new Metro Council. The new council had 24 members, 12 from the old city of Toronto and 12 from the suburban municipalities. The council was not directly elected but was made up of members of each of the local councils. Scarborough's contribution was its reeve who at the time was Oliver Crockford.
In 1967, Scarborough was incorporated as a borough. The reeve was replaced with a mayor. Albert Campbell, who had been reeve since 1957, became Scarborough's first mayor. The new borough's council consisted of the mayor and four members of the board of control (which functioned as an executive committee). There were also ten aldermen. The mayor and the controllers also sat on Metro Council. In 1973, Scarborough increased in size when the West Rouge area, formerly within the Township of Pickering, was transferred to it with the creation of the Regional Municipality of Durham. The borough's status was changed to city in 1983. The number of aldermen was increased to 14 and the term of office extended to three years from two.
In 1988, there was a reorganization. The board of control was abolished. Alderman was changed to councillor. Six additional metro council positions were created and these were elected separately for the first time. Scarborough's council consisted of a mayor, 14 local councillors and six Metro councillors.
Scarborough's borders are Victoria Park Avenue to the west, the Rouge River, the Little Rouge Creek and the Scarborough-Pickering Townline to the east, Steeles Avenue to the north, and Lake Ontario to the south.
Topographically, Scarborough is dominated by two watersheds, Highland Creek and the Rouge River. Highland Creek lies almost entirely within Scarborough and occupies approximately 70% of its total area. It occupies the western half of Scarborough while the Rouge River flows through the eastern portion. Both of these rivers flow into Lake Ontario on Scarborough's shore. Due to the location of the Lakeshore CN railway right-of-way, both river deltas are constricted to narrow channels where they flow into the lake.
Highland Creek is the most urbanized watershed in the Toronto area without about 85% of its land use devoted to urban uses. Some sections of the river run through parks and remain in a fairly natural state, while other parts run through industrial or residential districts where the flow is often diverted or channelled. Sections of the creek are marked by deep ravines and valleys, which contain little or no urban development. The deep valley the creek cuts in its bottom sections remains primarily parkland, with little or no development taking place within the valley.
Scarborough is home to an earthen cliff formation known as the Scarborough Bluffs. The Bluffs can be found along the shore of Lake Ontario, stretching about 14 kilometres (8.7 mi), and reaching heights of more than 60 metres (200 ft) in places. They are part of a much larger formation known as the Iroquois Shoreline, most of which is located somewhat further inland. The Iroquois Shoreline marks the extent of a prehistoric lake, Glacial Lake Iroquois, whose level was quite a bit higher than present-day Lake Ontario's. It shrank in size at the close of the last ice age.
Erosion has been a problem along the Scarborough Bluffs. Properties located near the brink have been abandoned, and houses condemned, as the brink wears back away from the lake. Since the 1980s, large areas of beach at the base of the Bluffs have been reinforced with limestone breakwaters and construction rubble infilling.
Scarborough is also notable for the Rouge River Valley, parts of which are still in a natural, wooded state. The valley is home to a great variety of wildlife including deer, foxes, and the occasional coyote, while the river hosts salmon and catfish.
Scarborough's climate is moderate for Canada due to its southerly location within the country and its proximity to Lake Ontario. It has a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfb), with warm, humid summers and generally cold winters. Mean temperature and precipitation tends to be slightly lower than the downtown core or south Etobicoke for instance, due in part to the weather station being farther from the moderating influence of the lake and also because of its more northeast location. Conditions vary based on proximity to the lake, with fog more common in the south and areas close to the lake far noticeably cooler on hot summer days.
|Climate data for Scarborough (Malvern) 1981−2010|
|Record high °C (°F)||13.0
|Average high °C (°F)||−2
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−5.5
|Average low °C (°F)||−9
|Record low °C (°F)||−31.5
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||51.8
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||21.1
|Average snowfall cm (inches)||30.7
|Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.2 mm)||13.9||11.3||12.4||14.0||13.1||11.3||10.6||10.1||11.8||13.8||13.9||13.9||150.0|
|Avg. rainy days (≥ 0.2 mm)||4.9||4.1||8.5||12.5||13.1||11.3||10.6||10.1||11.8||13.8||12.6||7.4||120.6|
|Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.2 cm)||9.9||8.5||5.6||2.2||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.33||2.5||9.2||38.2|
|Source: Environment Canada|
A significant portion of Scarborough's population is composed of immigrants and descendants of immigrants who have arrived in the last four decades. In 2006, 57% of residents were foreign born. Visible minorities make up 67.4% of the population. South Asian residents make up 22.0% of the population, Chinese residents account for 19.5% of the population, Black Canadian residents make up 10.3% of the population, while Filipino Canadian residents account for 6.5%. The remaining visible minority groups each represent less than 2% of the population. The immigrant population has created vibrant multicultural locales in various areas of Scarborough. One of the more notable among these is the heavy concentration of Chinese businesses and restaurants in the Agincourt neighbourhood. Many of Scarborough's main arteries, including segments of Kingston Road, Eglinton Avenue East and Lawrence Avenue East, feature Caribbean, Chinese, and East African Indian restaurants and shops, as well as businesses representing the other ethnic groups in the area. Scarborough also has several Sri Lankan Tamil-owned businesses that cater to the community.
Eye Weekly has noted that most media in the Greater Toronto Area has long portrayed Scarborough as an "embarrassment" and a "gang-infested wild, wild east". For instance, the Toronto Life article “The Scarborough Curse”, by Don Gillmor, nicknamed the former city "Scarlem" and described it as "a mess of street gangs, firebombings and stabbings". In 2005, a series of gang-related shootings in some Scarborough neighbourhoods led to the portrayal of Scarborough in the media as crime-ridden. As well, based on an informal survey of people on the streets in the Greater Toronto Area, a reporter noted that most respondents associated Scarborough with "crime" or "ghetto". However, long term trends show that Scarborough is less prone to violent crime than the rest of Toronto. Between 1997 and 2006, the ratio of violent crime in Scarborough averaged 20.4% despite making up on average 23.6% of the population over that period. Murder rates for Scarborough and Toronto show no particular trend. Between 1997 and 2006, the ratio of murders in Scarborough as compared to the rest of Toronto ranged from a low of 8.8% to a high of 32.2%. According to Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair, "[42 Division is] the safest division in the city"; this division includes north Scarborough. The safest part of Toronto is north Scarborough from Victoria Park Ave. to the Pickering border, north of Highway 401.
In 2008, councillors Norm Kelly and Michael Thompson argued that the media was distorting how crime was reported in Scarborough. They noted that whenever a shooting occurred in the rest of the city the location was given as the nearest major intersection, while when a shooting happened in Scarborough the location was given as 'Scarborough'. According to the councillors, this gave people an erroneous impression of Scarborough as 'crime-ridden'. They proposed that news outlets sign a 'media protocol' so that all crime locations were given as intersections. However, the city's Executive Committee turned down the request citing this as a form of censorship. Mayor David Miller said "It’s not city council’s role to tell the media how to do their job".
Scarborough is a former borough of the former Metropolitan Toronto, and as such, its economy is an integral component of the economy of Toronto. Compared to the City of Toronto as a whole, industry in Scarborough is similar in all labour force categories, save for manufacturing which is higher in Scarborough, and professional, scientific and technical services which are lower. Notable companies that have their headquarters in Scarborough include Toyota Canada Inc., Eli Lilly Canada Inc., Thomson Carswell, Bell Media, Teva Canada, Cinram, Royal Doulton, SKF, Alfa Laval, President's Choice Financial, Aviva, Yellow Pages Group, Telus, and Lee Kum Kee Canada. The pizza chains 241 Pizza and Pizza Nova have their headquarters in Scarborough.
Several points of attraction exist between the McCowan RT station and the Midland RT station, including Scarborough Town Centre, Albert Campbell Square, Canadian government buildings, offices, and new condominiums in recent years. The area has become one of Toronto's new central business districts in the outer boroughs.
Most of the Scarborough-based news media have been either weekly or monthly publications. The earliest newspaper was the Scarborough News and Advertiser which was published weekly starting in September 1921. It lasted until the 1930s. Other short-lived papers and magazines included The Enterprise (1945–1966), Scarborough Mail (1946–1955) and The News (1952–1995) and 54east magazine (2005–2009). The only remaining English language local newspaper is the Scarborough Mirror, which started publication in 1962 and was later acquired by the Toronto Star's community news division, Metroland. A Scarborough edition of the Toronto-wide photography publication SNAP Scarborough was launched in 2009. Ming Pao Daily News is a Chinese language newspaper whose headquarters are in Scarborough. They started production in 1993.
In 1970, Trillium Cable started to provide cable TV service to Scarborough. It was purchased by Shaw Cable in 1995. During the early days of the company, they produced several local shows for their own cable channel. These shows were produced by volunteers and showed a wide variation in quality. These shows were satirized by Mike Myers in his comedy film Wayne's World.
Scarborough residents have developed their own unique sense of humour, as evidenced by Myers, whose Wayne's World character was inspired by growing up in the area. Other Scarborough natives include Eric McCormack (Will & Grace), John Candy (Second City, SCTV), and musical group Barenaked Ladies. Actor Jim Carrey also lived in Scarborough during his teen years. Scarborough has also been the home of prominent hip hop artists, including Maestro Fresh-Wes, Choclair, Kardinal Offishall, Saukrates, and the group BrassMunk.
According to the list of largest shopping malls in Canada, the Scarborough Town Centre is the tenth largest in the country and the fourth largest in the GTA. It is located next to the Scarborough Civic Centre, Albert Campbell Square, and Consilium Place. This area was developed as a city centre under the old City of Scarborough government. The Scarborough Walk of Fame is also located in the Town Centre, consisting of plaques embedded in the floor to honour notable residents, past and current. The inaugural inductees included National Basketball Association player Jamaal Magloire, Olympic gold medalist Vicky Sunohara, and eight prominent residents who contributed to advances in medicine, arts, and the community.
In 1974, the Toronto Zoo was moved from its original downtown location to its current location in the Rouge River valley. The new location enabled the zoo to increase its overall area from 3 hectares (7.4 acres) to over 300 hectares (740 acres). The zoo was transformed at that time from a 19th-century zoo with a few animals cramped behind iron bars into a zoo where space was provided to animals and the setting attempted to duplicate the animals' natural environments.
The topography of Scarborough has provided the area with an abundance of golf courses. There is a mix of public and private courses. Dentonia Park is a public course established in 1967 and is situated in the Taylor-Massey Creek ravine beside the Victoria Park subway station. Formerly a private club, the Tam O'Shanter Golf Course was established in 1973 as a public course and is located alongside Highland Creek. Private clubs include the Toronto Hunt Club which was the first golf course in Scarborough, established in 1895 alongside Lake Ontario. and the Scarboro Golf and Country Club was established in 1912. The Cedarbrae Golf & Country Club was established in 1922 and moved to its current Rouge River Valley location at Steeles Ave East in 1954.
On May 17, 2006, the Nike Malvern Sports Complex was opened in the Malvern neighbourhood. Nike Canada donated $500,000 to build the complex, which includes a basketball court, a practice soccer pitch, and a running track. The track was constructed from 50,000 used running shoes. The complex was built on the grounds of the Blessed Mother Teresa Catholic Secondary School and is open to the public. Olympic hurdler Perdita Felicien was on hand at the opening to encourage youth to participate in sports.
Scarborough is one of the prominent destinations for Sri Lankan Tamils in the Greater Toronto Area, who came from Sri Lanka during the civil war. Efforts to integrate Sri Lankan Tamil culture include establishing cross-cultural and cross-national alliances and the building of many Tamil schools across the GTA.
Scarborough is home to several local arts organizations. Scarborough Worldwide Film Festival is an annual celebration of multicultural films held every first week of June. Scarborough Music Theatre, Scarborough Players, and Scarborough Theatre Guild work together under the name Theatre Scarborough. The Scarborough Choral Society performs one full-scale musical and a Christmas concert each year.
Scarborough's first schoolhouse opened in 1805 on the Thomson farmstead. In 1847 Egerton Ryerson recommended that 11 school districts be created. By 1904, 28 schools had been built throughout the township. In 1914, Agincourt Continuation School offered education from up to grade 12.
Both Agincourt Collegiate Institute and R.H. King Academy claim to be the oldest secondary schools in Scarborough. Agincourt Collegiate Institute opened in 1915 as the Agincourt Continuation School. It became a high school in 1954. R.H. King Academy opened in 1922 as the Scarborough High School being the first high school for in the Scarborough area at that time and became a collegiate in 1930.
In 1954, the Scarborough Board of Education was established to operate the English-language, secular public schools in Scarborough. In 1998, the board was merged with the other Metro boards to form the Toronto District School Board. As of 2008[update], there are 28 secondary schools in Scarborough. In 1953, the Metropolitan Separate School Board, now known as the Toronto Catholic District School Board was formed to operate public anglophone separate schools in Metropolitan Toronto. As of 2013[update], Scarborough's Mary Ward Catholic Secondary School is one of two self-directed learning schools in Ontario, and one of seven in Canada.
Two post-secondary institutions were established in Scarborough. The University of Toronto expanded in 1964 and built the University of Toronto Scarborough, which has an enrolment of 10,000 students as of 2006. Centennial College was opened in 1966. It was the first community college to open in Ontario. Starting from one campus in Warden Woods, it grew to three campuses across Scarborough (and a fourth in East York).
Scarborough is represented by five ridings for the Provincial government and five full ridings plus one partial riding for the Federal government. The Federal riding of Pickering—Scarborough East straddles the border between Scarborough and Pickering. Municipal riding boundaries were harmonized within the City of Toronto to match the provincial boundaries in 1999 through provincial legislation called The Fewer Municipal Politicians Act of 1999. This took effect on December 1, 2000. Each provincial riding is split between two city councillors. Thus Scarborough is represented by ten councillors.
After amalgamation with Toronto, community councils were formed to process issues considered local to their community. Scarborough's community council, made up of Scarborough's ten councillors, meets once a month at the former offices of the city of Scarborough just south of the Scarborough Town Centre. The council deals with a variety of local issues such as outdoor patio applications, neighbourhood traffic plans, and exemptions from certain by-laws such as retail signs, fences, trees and ravines. Decisions made by community council are approved by Toronto City Council in order to take effect.
Scarborough is at the eastern terminus of the Bloor-Danforth line of the Toronto subway and RT system. There are three subway stations in Scarborough: Victoria Park, Warden, and Kennedy. Beginning at Kennedy station, a separate line called the Scarborough RT runs north and east toward Scarborough City Centre. It runs at grade for two stops until Ellesmere Road where it becomes elevated until it reaches its terminus at McCowan Road. The system is nearing the end of its life and the city is reviewing replacement options, including turning it into a light rail transit line or an extension of the subway. In addition to the subway and RT, the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) runs an extensive bus network throughout Scarborough. Many of the bus lines run to and from the subway and RT stations.
The GO Transit authority has two major commuter train lines running through Scarborough, and operates seven GO train stations. The Lakeshore East line runs across the south end of the city, while the Stouffville line runs in a more north-south fashion in the centre of Scarborough. GO Transit also has a few bus stations and stops in Scarborough.
Roads and highways
The arterial roads of Scarborough were laid out on a grid system of north-south and east-west. Kingston Road and Danforth Road were laid out prior to the surveying of the township, and both run diagonally in a southwest-northeast direction across the south end of Scarborough. From north to south, the major east-west arterial roads are Steeles Avenue, Finch Avenue, Sheppard Avenue, Ellesmere Road, Lawrence Avenue, Eglinton Avenue and St. Clair Avenue. From west to east, the major north-south arterial roads are Victoria Park Avenue, Warden Avenue, Birchmount Road, Kennedy Road, Midland Avenue, Brimley Road, McCowan Road, Markham Road, Neilson Road, Morningside Avenue, Meadowvale Road and Port Union Road.
Kingston Road was formerly Ontario Highway 2, and was the main highway through Scarborough until the building of the Highway 401, which runs east-west across the middle of Scarborough, with six to eight lanes in each direction. The short, minor freeway Highway 2A runs parallel to Lake Ontario in the eastern part of Scarborough. In the 1960s, Metropolitan Toronto planned to build a second east-west highway across Scarborough. It was intended to link Highway 2A with an eastern extension of the Gardiner Expressway. The highway, known as the Scarborough Expressway, was cancelled due to public opposition.
Water, sewage and hydro
Scarborough's drinking water is supplied by the R.C. Harris Filtration Plant at the foot of Victoria Park Avenue and the F.J. Horgan Filtration Plant. The F.J Horgan Filtration Plant was built in 1979 and was formerly known as the 'Easterly Plant'. Upgrades completed in 2011 allows it to process up to 800 Megalitres/day and it will also be the first plant to replace chlorine with ozone as its primary cleansing method. Wastewater for Scarborough is treated at the Highland Creek Water Pollution Control Plant. This plant was constructed in 1954 and started processing in 1956. It has undergone continual expansion to meet ongoing demand. Electricity is mainly provided in Scarborough by Toronto Hydro.
Early garbage collection in Scarborough was performed by individual communities and dumped in local landfills which were located in nearby ravines. In 1967 waste collection was reorganized. Local landfills were closed and most of the garbage was directed to a new landfill on Beare Road in eastern Scarborough. This dump was eventually closed in 1981. A waste transfer site was constructed near Markham Road and Sheppard Avenue East. From there garbage was trucked to the Keele Valley dump in Vaughan and the Brock Road dump in Pickering. In 2002 the Keele Valley landfill was closed. As part of Toronto's overall waste management, garbage was then trucked to Michigan. This arrangement lasted until 2010 when garbage was sent to the new Green Lane landfill site in Elgin County.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Scarborough, Ontario.|
- Scarborough Historical Society and Scarborough Archives
- Scarborough section of Toronto Archives
- Scarborough Walk of Fame