York, Toronto

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York, Toronto
This time capsule outside the York Civic Centre is intended to be sealed for 196 years. It also depicts the city's logo and coat of arms, which contains the city's motto in Latin. The other former municipalities of Metropolitan Toronto all have mottoes in English.
This time capsule outside the York Civic Centre is intended to be sealed for 196 years. It also depicts the city's logo and coat of arms, which contains the city's motto in Latin. The other former municipalities of Metropolitan Toronto all have mottoes in English.
E singulis communitas (Latin for "From individuals, a community")
Location of York (red), as compared with the rest of Toronto.
Location of York (red), as compared with the rest of Toronto.
Country Canada
Province Ontario
MunicipalityToronto Toronto
Incorporated1793 (township)
1 January 1967 (borough)
June 1983 (city)
Changed Region1954 Flag of Metropolitan Toronto.svg Metropolitan Toronto from York County
Amalgamated1 January 1998 into Toronto
 • CouncillorsJosh Colle, Joe Mihevc, Frances Nunziata, Cesar Palacio
 • MPsCarolyn Bennett, Julie Dzerowicz, Marco Mendicino, Ahmed Hussen
 • MPPsLaura Albanese, Mike Colle, Cristina Martins
 • Total23.49 km2 (9.07 sq mi)
 • Total145,662
 • Density6,284/km2 (16,280/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC-5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
Area code(s)416, 647

York is a former city within the current city of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is located northwest of Old Toronto, southwest of North York and east of Etobicoke, where it is bounded by the Humber River. As a separate city, it was one of six municipalities that amalgamated in 1998 to form the current city of Toronto. The City of York was created by the amalgamation of several villages, including the present-day neighbourhoods of Lambton Mills and Weston.


York Township was incorporated by Canada West in 1850 (Canada West later became Ontario in 1867, due to Confederation), bounded in the west by the Humber River, in the east by what would become Victoria Park Avenue, and in the north by what would become Steeles Avenue. Etobicoke Township and Scarborough Township were located west and east, respectively, while the townships of Vaughan and Markham bordered on the north.

York Township was home to one of the original Black communities in the Toronto area, which was populated by many African American fugitive slaves.[1] By 1861, the township had the second-largest Black population in the Toronto area, after St. John's Ward, most of whom lived in York Township West (located west of Yonge Street and north of Bloor Street).[1] The legacy of York's original Black community continues today; as of the 2011 Census, 15.9% of York's population is Black, the largest percentage of all six former boroughs.[2]

Humewood–Cedarvale was developed in the 1910s to attract development in the growing township. Oakwood–Vaughan was also developed during this time. In the 1920s, the character of the township changed, with its southern reaches abutting the city of Toronto taking on a more urban character, compared with the very rural character of the north. The decision was made to split the township in two, with the northern, rural portion becoming North York. The remaining, two pockets of unincorporated urban development at the north end of the city, were split by the village of North Toronto, which was by then a part of the City of Toronto. Within years, the Province of Ontario saw that this arrangement of having an exclave was impractical, and further subdivided York, creating the township of East York out of the eastern pocket. The Township of York contracted streetcar and bus services from the Toronto Transportation Commission (later became Toronto Transit Commission in 1954), but remained independent from Toronto. During this time, American novelist Ernest Hemingway resided in the Humewood–Cedarvale community, writing for the Toronto Star.

North and west of Oakwood–Vaughan is the Fairbank community. Silverthorn is west of Fairbank. Silverthorn (and Fairbank) is described as "Toronto's hidden San Francisco" in reference to its "steep streets, staircases, and unusual views of houses built in what must be the hilliest part of the city."[3] This is due to Toronto's topography being shaped by its deep ravines being similar to the hills of San Francisco.

York's first public library was the Mount Dennis branch, which operated out of rented premises since 1923.[4] In 1945, the Township of York Public Library Board was established, and proceeded to build three new library buildings, that opened in 1951, including the Jane/Dundas library, Main Library (Eglinton Avenue near Dufferin Street; the library was later renamed after head librarian Maria Shchuka and rebuilt a few years afterwards in 2003), and the Mount Dennis Library.[4][5][6] Oakwood Village Library was York's newest library; it was opened one year before the 1998 amalgamation.

York was part of the Federation of twelve suburban municipalities that joined Toronto in 1954 to form Metropolitan Toronto. In 1967, it absorbed the town of Weston, and became the Borough of York, later known as the City of York. (The map shows this area in red). York was amalgamated into the new City of Toronto on 1 January 1998. Its former council and administrative building, York Civic Centre, is located at 2700 Eglinton Avenue West, between Black Creek Drive and Keele Street.


Runnymede Collegiate Institute on Jane Street, York Memorial Collegiate Institute at Eglinton Avenue, George Harvey Collegiate Institute on Keele Street, Weston Collegiate Institute on Pine Street and Vaughan Road Collegiate Institute (renamed Vaughan Road Academy in 1997) on its namesake road served as the high schools in the former city of York. Before the 1998 Amalgamation, the York Board of Education oversaw public secular schools in the former city. As with the other school boards in Metro Toronto, they were amalgamated as the Toronto District School Board in 1998.

Vaughan Road Academy closed in 2017 due to its lack of student population resulting from students in the local catchment area attending other nearby high schools. Vaughan Road Academy is repurposed as a temporary elementary school for students in the Yonge and Davisville area in Midtown Toronto since the 2018–19 school year to accommodate the construction of a new school building.[7][8]

Public transit[edit]

Opening ceremony of the Rogers Road streetcar line by the Township of York in 1924

York is served by the Toronto Transit Commission's buses and subway system. It formerly had its own bus and streetcar service until it was absorbed by the Toronto Transit Commission. Of the Toronto subway system, only the Heath Street exit of St. Clair West station on the Yonge–University line is in the former city of York. The Rogers Road streetcar line served the namesake street as well.

Line 5 Eglinton[edit]

The TTC once had plans to construct the Eglinton West subway line along Eglinton Avenue in the former city of York. However, it was cancelled in 1995 under premier Mike Harris and there had been no serious discussion about reviving the line until 2007, when Line 5 Eglinton (then known as the Eglinton Crosstown LRT) was proposed as part of Transit City.

When Rob Ford became mayor in 2010, he immediately announced the cancellation of Transit City. However, city council spared a few lines, including the Eglinton Crosstown LRT, from cancellation, despite Ford's objections.

Since 2013, the new LRT is being constructed and is expected to be opened in 2021.

GO Transit[edit]

The Weston GO Station along the Kitchener line is the only GO Transit train station within the former city of York. There are also plans to construct the Caledonia GO Station along the Barrie line, which would connect with Line 5's Caledonia station, along with the Mount Dennis GO Station along the Kitchener line to connect with Line 5's Mount Dennis station.

Reeves and mayors [edit]

Following the 1966 election, the chief magistrate of York, formerly known as the reeve, assumed the title of mayor.

The following are the reeves of the Township of York:

  • George Stewart Henry (1906–1910) — later as Premier of Ontario
  • R.J. Stuart (1934–1935)
  • W. Marsh Magwood (1936–1937)
  • F.J. MacRae (1938–1946)
  • C.J. McMaster (1947–1948)
  • William George Beech (1949–1951)
  • Fred W. Hall (1952–1956)
  • Chris A. Tonks (1957–1960) — father of Alan Tonks
  • Fred C. Taylor (1961)
  • Walter Saunders (1962)
  • Jack Mould (1963–1966)

The following individuals served as York's mayor:

Deputy mayors[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Reverend Mitchell Harriet Tubman Institute. Accessed on 28 February 2016.
  2. ^ Toronto Neighbourhoods List City of Toronto. Accessed on 28 February 2016.
  3. ^ Micallef, Shawn (26 September 2014). "A walk with Ward 12 candidate Lekan Olawoye". Toronto Star. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
  4. ^ a b "History". Mount Dennis. Toronto: Toronto Public Library. 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-25.
  5. ^ "History". Jane/Dundas. Toronto: Toronto Public Library. 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-25.
  6. ^ "History". Maria Shchuka. Toronto: Toronto Public Library. 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-25.
  7. ^ "New School". 10 May 2011.
  8. ^ http://schoolweb.tdsb.on.ca/Portals/davisville/docs/Davisville%20Relocation-Mar18BULLETIN%20V2.ppt

Coordinates: 43°41′23″N 79°28′41″W / 43.689829°N 79.478066°W / 43.689829; -79.478066