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Don Mills is a new town and neighbourhood in Toronto, recognized as the first planned and fully integrated post-war community developed by private enterprise in North America. It is credited with being the blueprint for post-war suburban development in Toronto and contemporary residential neighbourhoods.

The project to create the Don Mills community was announced on March 11 , 1953 by its financial backer, businessman E.P. Taylor . It was initially to be called Yorktown, [1] and built on about 8.35 square kilometres (2,100 acres) of farmland centred at the intersection of Don Mills Road and Lawrence Avenue East. Development was headed by the Taylor-owned Don Mills Development Company with an expected cost of $200 million. Taylor had acquired the land over the previous six years in anticipation of a lucrative business opportunity. He was right, as Don Mills became an immediate critical and commercial success.

The design of Don Mills was influenced by Ebenezer Howard 's Garden City , and by the principles of two American town planners, Clarence Stein and Henry Wright , who developed the garden city community of Radburn, New Jersey . The Don Mills project was designed by a young urban planner, Macklin Hancock , who had studied at Harvard and who envisioned a self-contained community distinguished by consistent design principles and a modernist style.

The design was based on five planning principles, which had not been implemented in Canada before:

  1. The neighbourhood principle , which broke down the community into four neighbourhood quadrants, all surrounding a regional shopping centre, Don Mills Centre , at the southwest corner of Don Mills and Lawrence. Each quadrant was to contain a school, a church, and a park.
  2. Separation of pedestrian and vehicle traffic , which was accomplished through the creation of a network of pedestrian paths providing easy access through parks to area schools and the town centre, while roads were designed to slow vehicular traffic through the use of winding roads, T-intersections, and cul-de-sacs.
  3. Promotion of modernist architecture and the modern aesthetic. Don Mills Development controlled the architectural design, colours, and materials of all buildings in Don Mills. As well, the corporation insisted that builders use company-approved architects, who had been educated according to Bauhaus principles, to prevent the project from deteriorating into a typical post-war subdivision of builder's homes.
  4. Creation of a greenbelt linked to a system of neighbourhood parks that would preserve the beauty of the surrounding ravines.
  5. Integration of industry into the community , which followed Howard's ideals for the Garden City. Planners felt that it was important for residents to live and work in the same satellite town so that Don Mills would not become a bedroom community. A sizeable number of high residential densities -- rental townhouses and low-rise apartments -- was essential if the town were to attract a cross-section of residents working in local industries.

The local high school is the Don Mills Collegiate Institute , which opened in 1959. In 2003, the parkette at the corner of Don Mills and Lawrence was renamed the Macklin Hancock Parkette.


East York is a former suburb of Toronto , East York was a borough within Metropolitan Toronto before East York, North York , York , Scarborough , Etobicoke and Toronto were amalgamated into the new megacity of Toronto in 1998 . One of East York's claims to fame was that, before the amalgamation, it was Canada 's only borough .


High Park is one of the largest parks in Toronto. It spans 161 hectares (398 acres , 1.61 km 2 ) in the city's West End. It stretches south from Bloor Street West, west of Parkside Drive and east of Ellis Park Road and Grenadier Pond. At its southern end, the park is separated from Lake Ontario by Lake Shore Boulevard West, the Gardiner Expressway , the Canadian National railway line, and The Queensway .


Leaside is a neighbourhood in Toronto. Settled by the Lea family in the early years of the nineteenth century , the Town of Leaside was officially incorporated on April 23 , 1913 . In 1967 Leaside was absorbed into the Borough of East York ; in turn, East York merged with five other municipalities and a regional government in 1998 to form the new City of Toronto .

Present day Leaside is bordered by Sunnybrook Park to the north, Bayview Avenue to the west, Laird Drive and Wilket Creek Park to the east, and Moore Avenue to the south. Demographically, the Leaside community is made up predominantly of single-family homes housing upper-middle class families.

The most famous house in Leaside is James Lea's, located at 201 Sutherland Drive. Built in 1909, it is unique in that the back of the house faces Sutherland Drive. It was originally built to face a street that no longer exists.

Due to city expansion, Leaside has become prime real estate with the GTA, and has attracted many local celebrities, such as NHL goaltender Trevor Kidd , Maple Leafs winger Darcy Tucker and comedian Colin Mochrie and his actress wife Deb McGrath.


Markham ( 2006 Population 261,573 [1] ) is located in York Region , directly north of Toronto , and is part of Toronto's CMA . It is larger than many Canadian cities. Despite its qualifications regarding population, it has not had the title of city conferred upon it by the province, and retains its legal status as a town. Markham is part of the Greater Toronto Area , and is one of the fastest-growing communities in Canada.

Markham was first surveyed as a township in 1793 by William Berczy (Johann Albrecht Ulrich Moll 1744-1813), first settled in 1794 and incorporated as a town in 1972. Markham is the fourth-most populous municipality in the Greater Toronto Area, and home to many cultures. It claims to be Canada's Hi-Tech Capital with a number of key companies in the area, such as IBM, Motorola, Lucent, Apple, and home to the head office of graphics card producer ATI now part of AMD.


North York forms the central part of the northern half of Toronto. It has a population of around 650,000. The official 2001 census count was 608,288. Until 1998 , it was the second-largest of six municipalities that comprised another larger municipal structure called Metropolitan Toronto . The previous year, the provincial Government of Ontario passed legislation to force these municipalities to merge into a single, new amalgamated City of Toronto.

The Township of North York was formed on June 13, 1922 out of the rural part of the Township of York. The rapidly-urbanizing parts of the Township remained in that township. As North York itself became more urbanized, it became the Borough of North York in 1967, and then on February 14, 1979, the City of North York . To commemorate receiving its city charter on St. Valentine's Day , the city's corporate slogan was "The City with Heart". It now forms the largest part of the area served by the "North York Community Council", a committee of Toronto City Council.

Originally, North York was known as a regional agricultural hub composed of scattered villages. The area boomed following World War II , and by the 1950s and 1960s , it resembled many other sprawling North American suburbs . Of note is the community of Don Mills .


Scarborough is the area that forms the eastern part of the City of Toronto. It was a separate city for over 200 years, but has been part of the 'East District' of Toronto since 1998 . The Scarborough name is still used by most local residents, and is recognized by Canada Post as a municipality name. Scarborough has characteristics of a suburb of old Toronto , but retains much of its own character and flavour. Certain neighbourhoods in Scarborough are popular destinations for new immigrants to Canada, who bring part of their own culture to that of Scarborough. Because of the topography of the Bluffs , the Rouge Valley and the other creeks and many minor tributaries, Scarborough is said to be the greenest and leafiest 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."


Thornhill is a former village in Ontario, directly north of Toronto and about 25 km (15 miles) north of Downtown Toronto , and is currently shared by two municipalities, the city of Vaughan having the portion west of Yonge Street and the town of Markham having the eastern portion.


Toronto is the largest city in Canada and the provincial capital of Ontario , located on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario . The city had a population of 2,503,281 and its census metropolitan area (CMA) had a population of 5,113,149 at the 2006 Canadian census. [1] The Greater Toronto Area (GTA), a provincial planning area that differs from the federal CMA, had a population of 5,555,912 at the 2006 Canadian Census. [3] Toronto is the economic centre of the Greater Golden Horseshoe , a large urbanized region of 8.1 million people, [4] spreading outwards from the western shores of Lake Ontario. Residents of Toronto are called Torontonians .

As Canada's economic capital and a major global city , Toronto has highly developed finance , business services, telecommunications , aerospace , transportation , media , arts , publishing , software production , medical research , education , tourism and sports industries. [5] [6] The city is home to a majority of the country's corporate headquarters and transnational corporate offices as well as the Toronto Stock Exchange , the world's seventh largest stock exchange . [5] Toronto is home to top professional teams like the Maple Leafs , Toronto Raptors , Toronto Blue Jays , and the Toronto Argonauts . Defining the Toronto skyline is the CN Tower , the world's tallest building and free standing structure. The city is also an important international cultural player with hundreds of world-class museums , galleries , performance venues and festivals . Toronto's population is cosmopolitan and international , which reflects its role as a major destination for immigrants to Canada . [7] Because of its low crime rates, [8] clean environment and generally high standard of living, Toronto is consistently rated one of the world's most livable cities by the Economist Intelligence Unit [9] and the Mercer Quality of Living Survey . [10] In 2006, Toronto was rated as the most expensive city in Canada to live in.

When Europeans first arrived at the site of present-day Toronto, the vicinity was inhabited by the Huron tribes, who by then had displaced the Iroquois tribes that occupied the region for centuries before c. 1500. The name Toronto is likely derived from the Iroquois word tkaronto , meaning "place where trees stand in the water". [12] It refers to the northern end of what is now Lake Simcoe , where the Huron had planted tree saplings to corral fish. A portage route from Lake Ontario to Lake Huron running through this point led to widespread use of the name.

French traders founded Fort Rouillé on the current Exhibition grounds in 1750, but abandoned it in 1759. [13] During the American Revolutionary War , the region saw an influx of British settlers as United Empire Loyalists fled for the unsettled lands north of Lake Ontario. In 1787, the British negotiated the Toronto Purchase with the Mississaugas of New Credit , thereby securing more than a quarter million acres of land in the Toronto area. [14]

In 1793, Governor John Graves Simcoe established the town of York on the existing settlement, naming it after Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany . Simcoe chose the town to replace Newark as the capital of Upper Canada , believing the new site would be less vulnerable to attack by the Americans . [15] Fort York was constructed at the entrance of the town's natural harbour, sheltered by a long sand-bar peninsula. The town's settlement formed at the eastern end of the harbour behind the peninsula, near the present-day Parliament Street and Front Street.

In 1813, as part of the War of 1812 , the Battle of York ended in the town's capture and plunder by American forces. The surrender of the town was negotiated by John Strachan . American soldiers destroyed much of Fort York and set fire on the parliament buildings during their five-day occupation.

York was incorporated as the City of Toronto on March 6 , 1834 , reverting to its original native name. Reformist politician William Lyon Mackenzie became the first Mayor of Toronto, and led the unsuccessful Upper Canada Rebellion of 1837 against the British colonial government. The city grew rapidly through the remainder of the 19th century, as a major destination for immigrants to Canada. The first significant population influx occurred with the Irish potato famine between 1846 and 1849 that brought a large number of Irish diaspora into the city, some of them transient and most of them Catholic . By 1851, the Irish-born population had become the largest single ethnic group in the city. Smaller numbers of Protestant Irish immigrants were welcomed by the existing Scottish and English population, giving the Orange Order significant influence over Toronto society.

Toronto was twice for brief periods the capital of the united Province of Canada first from 1849-1852, following unrest in Montreal and later 1856-1858 after which Quebec became capital until just a year prior to Confederation , since then it has been Ottawa . As it had been for Upper Canada from 1793, Toronto became the capital of the province of Ontario after its official creation in 1867 and has remained so since with the Ontario Legislature located at Queen's Park . Because of its capital status, the city has also always been the location of Government House , the residence of the vice-regal representative of the Crown .

The city began to rapidly industrialize in the middle of the 19th century. An extensive sewage system was built, and streets became illuminated with gas lighting as a regular service. Long-distance railway lines were constructed, including a route completed in 1854 linking Toronto with the Upper Great Lakes. The Grand Trunk Railway and the Great Northern Railway joined in the building of the first Union Station in downtown. The advent of the railway dramatically increased the numbers of immigrants arriving and commerce, as had the Lake Ontario steamers and schooners entering the port. Horse-drawn streetcars gave way to electric streetcars in 1891, when the city granted the operation of the transit franchise to the Toronto Railway Company later re-named the current Toronto Transit Commission , now with the third highest ridership of any city public transportation system in North America.

The Great Toronto Fire of 1904 destroyed a large section of downtown Toronto, but the city was quickly rebuilt. The fire had cost more than $10 million in damage, and led to more stringent fire safety laws and the expansion of the city's fire department.

The city received new immigrant groups beginning in the late 19th century into early 20th century, particularly people from various parts of Eastern Europe . They were soon followed by other people from Eastern European nations, as the Irish before them, many of these new migrants lived in overcrowded shanty type slums, such as the "the Ward" which was between Bay Street , now the heart of the country finances and the Discovery District, considered one of the world's most advanced medical research zones. Despite its fast paced growth, by the 1920s, Toronto's population and economic importance in Canada remained second to the much longer established Montreal . However, by 1934 the Toronto Stock Exchange had become the largest in the country.

Following the Second World War , refugees from war-torn Europe arrived as did construction labourers particularly from Italy and Portugal . Following elimination of racially based immigration policies by the late 1960s, immigration began from all parts of the world. Toronto's population grew to more than one million in 1951 when large-scale suburbanization began, and doubled to two million by 1971. By the 1980s, Toronto had surpassed Montreal as Canada's most populous city and the chief economic hub. During this time, many national and multinational corporations moved their head offices from Montreal to Toronto and other western Canadian cities. [16]

In 1954, the City of Toronto was federated into a regional government known as Metropolitan Toronto . [17] The postwar boom had resulted in rapid suburban development, and it was believed that a coordinated land use strategy and shared services would provide greater efficiency for the region. The metropolitan government began to manage services that crossed municipal boundaries, including highways , water and public transit . In 1967, the seven smallest municipalities of the region were merged into their larger neighbours, resulting in a six-city configuration that included the old City of Toronto and the surrounding municipalities of East York , Etobicoke , North York , Scarborough and York . In 1998, the metropolitan government was dissolved and the six municipalities were amalgamated into a single municipality, creating the current City of Toronto.


Willowdale is an established community in the former City of North York , now part of Toronto. It was originally called "Lansing". North York was merged with five other municipalities and a regional government to form the new "City of Toronto" in 1998.

Willowdale was originally a village centered at the intersection of Willowdale Avenue and Sheppard Avenue East, where a number of small business and commercial buildings still remain. The boundaries of the current neighbourhood extend as far east as Bayview Avenue, west to Senlac Avenue, south to the 401, and north to Finch Avenue or even Cummer Avenue. The neighbourhoods abuts Bayview Village to the east and Newtonbrook to the north. North York Centre is centred at the intersection of Yonge Street and Empress Avenue and is commonly thought to be a part of Willowdale, though its high-rise residential and commercial development sets it apart from much of the rest of Willowdale.

The Willowdale neighbourhood consists of single family homes, condominium townhouses and high-rise condominium towers. The high density development is restricted along Yonge Street while the single family homes range in age from the original 1910 to 1950 construction (one and two-storey pre-war houses and modest one-and-half storey postwar houses) to very large replacement two-storey luxury homes constructed by tearing down the original houses. It is in this neighbourhood that the term "monster homes" was first applied by Torontonians.

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