Yesteryear in York and Etobicoke

WednesdayS January 11 to March 15, 2023 10:00 am to 12 noon

ZOOM Session

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Course Coordinator: Neil Park

Course Overview

This series will explore the evolution of the communities of Etobicoke and York – from the rich forests and waterways that were home to Indigenous peoples to the modern urban landscape of today.

January 11: An Indigenous History of Etobicoke and York - The Humber River, Mimico and Etobicoke Creeks, and Lake Ontario provided important food resources and transportation routes for Indigenous peoples. Lifeways changed in 1787 as the Toronto Purchase brought settlement and conflict, and ultimately the relocation of the Mississauga of the Credit.
Presenter: Karen Travers

January 18: A History of Weston 1790 – 1920 -

After Simcoe made his first land grants in the 1790's, Weston’s first settlers were attracted by rich timber resources and the water-power potential of the Humber River. Many structures built in the 19th and early 20th centuries are still standing as part of this vibrant and historic neighbourhood.

Walking Tours information - Cherri Hurst

We have not settled on a fall walk topic yet but it will probably be in September. People should just check our website ( ) to keep abreast of events and stuff. It talks about the Society and how people can join or just get in touch with us.

There is nothing there about the walk yet but it will be.

Presenters: Cherri Hurst, Mary Louise Ashbourne

January 25: E. D. Banting and Life in Weston (1921-1973) - Ernest D. “Doc” Banting (1892-1973), a distant cousin to Dr. Frederick Banting, discoverer of Insulin, was a leading citizen of Weston in the mid-1900’s. We follow “Doc” around the town while exploring topics like small town sports, municipal politics, the Orange Order, the effects of the Depression, the birth of Canada’s unemployment system, the role of service clubs like the Lions and, last but not least, temperance.
Presenter: Richard Jordan

February 1: Kingsway & Baby Point Neighbourhoods - Robert Home Smith acquired farmland on both sides of the Humber River to develop elegant neighbourhoods that were deemed “A bit of England far from England”. Centered around the Old Mill, they offered not only a new vision of town planning but of upper middle-class life in Toronto.
Presenter: Richard Jordan

February 8: Etobicoke’s Historic Lakeshore - Etobicoke’s three lakeshore communities, Mimico, New Toronto and Long Branch, share many things, including the streetcars of Lake Shore Boulevard West and the beautiful shores of Lake Ontario, but they have very different histories
Presenter: Richard Jordan

February 15: The Villages of Dundas Street - Dundas Street is Ontario’s oldest road and it runs through the centre of two of Etobicoke and York’s most historic communities – Lambton Mills, and Islington. We travel along this road a hundred years ago and meet the people who once lived there. You may be surprised to find how many of the historic landmarks still exist today
Additional resources:
  • Mural Tour Booking - Village of Islington -
  • Joshua Glover Park, 4208 Dundas Street West
  • Etobicoke Historical Society website :
  • Lambton House 4066 Old Dundas St, York, ON M6S 2R6 open Sunday 12:30 to 4 pm
  • An online exhibit (which is also on display at Lambton House) entitled “Wading Through Time: The Humber River’s Natural Geographies” which is about the history and geography of the Humber River. See: Lambton House - Special -Exhibitions on the Lambton House website.

Presenter: Richard Jordan

February 22: Stories of Freedom and Determination: 200 Years of Black History - From the first Black landholder in 1826 to the first Black woman elected to the Parliament of Canada in 1993, Etobicoke and York have been home to countless determined people of African ancestry. The stories of these people highlight the challenges they faced and the legacy they pass on.
Presenter: Hilary J. Dawson

March 1: Chinese Communities of Etobicoke and York - After the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1885, Chinese labourers moved eastwards from British Columbia. Although Toronto's Chinatown was established by the 1910’s, economic opportunities attracted many of the Chinese community to move to Etobicoke and York.
Presenter: Arlene Chan

March 8: Mount Dennis - The history of Mount Dennis is the story of a community that has both risen and fallen, and seen prosperity, growth, decline and hope over the generations. By the mid-1800’s, Mount Dennis was home to the farms and mills that were common in the rest of York and Etobicoke. A few noteworthy residents brought in family connections to some of the greatest events in 19th century Canadian history, like Confederation, rebellion, and invasion. Mount Dennis became home to great industry and prosperity, but its fortunes changed, and this prosperity has been tempered by both adversity and resilience
Presenter: Richard Fiennes-Clinton

March 15: West Toronto Junction - The early colonial settlers of the Junction, like John Scarlett, William Gamble and Thomas Fisher have left behind some stories that can be woven into many other aspects of the history of York, early Toronto, and the rest of the province. But that’s only one aspect of the Junction’s story. Over the generations that followed were full of booms and busts that included manufacturing, commercial and residential development, and of course, the struggle to invoke and then repeal prohibition
Bibliography Growing up in the Junction (Lois Broad)
Presenter: Richard Fiennes-Clinton

Curriculum Committee Contact: Shirley Hartt