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History of Toronto and County of York in Ontario
Part III: Township of York


YORK is by far the most populous and important township in the county from which it takes its name. It is situated in the centre of the front tier of townships bordering upon the lake, having Scarborough on the west, Etobicoke on the east, and Vaughan and Markham on the north. It is divided for purposes of Parliamentary representation into East and West York, Yonge street being the dividing line. The concessions, which run north and south, are numbered east and west from Yonge street. East York comprises four and West York seven concessions, two or three of the latter being small and broken, owing to the course of the Humber, which forms the western boundary. The city of Toronto occupies the greater portion of the water front, which would otherwise be embraced within the limits of this township, and within a radius of several miles there are numerous suburban villages within the territory of the township proper, giving it a different character from the other divisions of the county, owing to the overflow of the suburban population.

The history of York township as a distinct territorial division commences in 1791, in which year the work of survey was undertaken. Eleven townships extending along the lake front, from the Humber river to the Bay Quinte and the river Trent, were marked out, York being at the western end of the line. The name at that time bestowed upon it was Dublin. All that was then done in the way of survey was to run the dividing lines between these townships. Mr. Augustus Jones, who had charge of the work, completed it, as far as "Dublin" was concerned, on September 15th, 1791. The name was shortly afterwards changed to that which it now bears, though it seems to have also borne for a while the designation of "Toronto," as is shown by the following entry in the official records having reference to the laying out of the townships:

"Surveyor General's office, Province of Upper Canada, 26th January, 1793. Description of the township of York, (formerly Toronto) to be surveyed by Messrs. Aitken and Jones. The front line of the front concession commences, adjoining the township of Scarborough (on No. 10), at a point known and marked by Mr. Jones, running S. 74.° west from said front, and one chain for a road, and so on till the said line strikes the river Toronto Humber whereon St. John is settled. The concessions are one hundred chains deep, and one chain between each concession to the extent of twelve miles." This is the earliest official reference on record to the township of York. The work was not completed by Messrs. Aitken and Jones. Other surveyors were employed on it at subsequent dates, and it was not until 1829 that }he survey was concluded by Mr. Wilmot. The following names appear on the record of the early patentees of this township for the years indicated:

1796—Patrick Barns, Samuel Cozens, Paul Wilcott, John Ashbndge, Jonathan Ashbridge, Parker Mills, Benjamin Mosley, John Cox, John Scadding, George Playter, John Matthews, Joseph Barker, James Playter, Eli Playter, John Playter, John Coon, Hon. Peter Russell, William Deinont, D. W. Smith. William Smith, Isaac Devens, Abraham Devens, Levi Devens, John McBride, William Youman, Elizabeth Russell, Jacob Philips, Elias Anderson, Benjamin Davis, John Graves Simcoe.

1797—David Rarnsay, John Matthews, Christopher Robinson, John White, James Macauley, J. B. Bouchette, Major D. Shank, John Ilewett, Abraham Lawraway, Lewis Vail, P. DeGrassie, Mary Ridout, Rev. Thomas Radish, John Lawrence, William Cooper, John Wilson Junr., Capt. R. Lippincott James Johnson, Ephraiin H. Payne, WiUiam D. Powell, Junr.

1798—William Cooper, E. W. Smith, Robert J. D. Gray, Peter Russell, William Cooper, Hon. Alexander Grant, Lieut.-Col. D. Shank, David Barns, Alexander McNab, William Chewett, William Allan, Thomas Ridout, Elizabeth Johnson, John White, Isaiah Aaron Skinner, Hon. John Elmsley, Eleanora D.White, William Wilcox, Sr., Lieut. John McGill, James Ruggles, Lieut. James Givins, John Ross, Alexander Macdonell, Anne Powell, Hon. W. D. Powell, William Ilalton, George Cruikshank, John Wilson, Reuben Clark, Pernard Cary, Capt. Daniel Cozens, Capt. William Graham, Robert Franklin, WiUiam Jarvis, Christopher Samuel White, Charles S. White, William S. White, Joshua Chamberlain, Jr., Zekel Chamberlain, Thomas Kirgan, David Burns, Alexander Burns, Marian White.

1799—Hon. Eneas Shaw, Rev. Edmund Burke, Elizabeth Tuck, Isabella Chewett.

I800—Lawrence Johnston, Nicholas Johnson, Thomas Johnson, Joseph Kendrick, Duke William Kendrick, Abraham Johnson, Joseph Johnson.

1801—Alex Gray, Sr., John Small, John Atweil Small, Benjamin Davis, John Dennis, Angus Macdonell, Edward Gahan, Robert Henderson James Clark, William Davis, Jacob Gower, Ann Holhngshead, Elijah Huson, Jonathan Bell, Nathaniel Huson, Edward Baker Littlehales, Hugh Cameron, George Porter, Jacob Nathawdt.

1802—Stilwell Wilson, Augustus' Jones, Alex. Gray, Jr., Thomas Ridout Johnson, David Smith, IPram Kendrick, Christopher Heron, Jacob Winter, James Roch, Isaac Hohmgshead, Elsie Willard, Joseph Provost, Mary Garner, George Wickle.

1803—Thomas Gray, Hon. Henry Allcock, Robert Richardson, William Allan, Richard Gamble, William Weeks, Margaret Cockran, John Everson, John Macintosh, Alexander Montgomery, John Coun, W. Baldwin, John McDougall, Charles Field, John Cowan, Mathias Saunders, Jacob Fisher, Jr.

1804—Frederick Brown, Andrew Macglashan. Francis Brock.

1805—John Kendrick, Patrick Pern, Joseph Shepherd, John Wilson.

1806—Henry Mulholland, William Armstrong, D'Arcy Poulton, J S. Smith.

1807—Malcolm Wright, Augustus Bohen, Thomas Ruggles, Thomas Hamilton, Dorothy Arnold, James Lymburner, Joseph Philips, Alexander Macdonell, Michael Harris, Robert Lymburner, Thomas Hamilton.

1808—Richard Lawrence, William Marsh, Joshua G. Cozens.

1809 Hon. John McGill, Henry Jackson.

1810—William Halton, George Taylor Denison.

1811—William Jarvis, John Macdonell, John Eakins, Jr., Jacob Nathawait Stephen Jarvis, Cornelius Thompson, Robert Macdonell, Michael Dye.

1812—James Block, Simeon Devins, Thomas Humberstone.

1813—John Baskerville Gregg, John McLang.

Among later patentees were King's College, the Rectory of St. James, and the Canada Company.

In 1798, according to the abstracts of the town clerk's return of inhabitants m the Home District, the town of York, York township, Etobicoke and Scarborough altogether had a total population of only 749. The returns for 1802 give 659 inhabitants for York town and township and Etobicoke. The abstract of the assessment of the Home Distnct for the year commencing 8th March, 1803, gives the area of cultivated land in the township at 1,109 acres. From the same we learn that the live stock of the settlers included 68 oxen, 133 milch cows, 45 young horned cattle and 53 swine. The township at tin's lime also boasted one grist mill, a couple of saw miils and two taverns.

In 1820 York Township had 1672 inhabitants, an increase of 349 over the preceding year. In 1825 the population numbered 2412. In 1830 it was 3127. In 1842 there were 5720 inhabitants, and the rateable property in the township was assessed at £82,682. Since that time the population and wealth of York have increased steadily, though there have been continual fluctuations in the prosperity of different localities. An extensive shipping trade, for instance, was once done at the Humber river, from which as many as 84,000 barrels of flour and half a million feet of lumber have been shipped in one season. There was formerly a shipyard at the mouth of the river, where during the war of 1812 two vessels were constructed. Now it is merely known as one of Toronto's most popular pleasure resorts, its industries having long since disappeared. Other localities have sprung up, and the tendency of the railroad system has been largely to centralize commerce in Toronto and its immediate neighbourhood.

The population of York Township according to the census of 1881 was 10,748, of whom 6,491 were in the Eastern, and 6,257 in the Western division. This indicates a considerable increase during the decade of 1871-81, the numbers returned by the census of '71 being, East York, 4,390, West York, 4,112, or a total of 8,502. This is evidently due to the overflow of the city population into the suburban localities which fctill form part of the township, rather than to the normal increase of the rural population. Of the population 8,143 are of Canadian birth. In the eastern section the proportion of the English element is greater than in most localities, 3,649 being of English origin. In the eastern portion of the township the number of occupiers, according to latest census returns, is 548, of whom 357 are also owners of the land. The total acreage occupied is 26,728 acres, of which 21,409 is improved; of this 14,377 is in crops, 5,137 in pasture and i,8g5 acres occupied as garden and orchards. In West York there are 677 occupiers, of whom 418 are also owners of the soil they till. The total acreage in occupation is 34,195 acres, of which 28,999 acres is improved land—22,043 acres are in held crops, 5,218 devoted to pasturage, and 1,738 to gardens and orchards. For the whole township the figures are as follows :—Occupiers, 1.225 of whom 775 are also proprietors, acreage in occupation 60,923, of which 50,408 or as nearly as may be, live-sixths, has been improved ; crop-growing land 36,420 acres; pasture land, 13,355 acres ; and orchards and gardens 3,633.

The yield of the township in the staples of agricultural production is then as follows in the census returns of 1881: East York, wheat, 46,612 bushels; barley, 44,983 bushels; oats, 80,611 bushels; peas and beans, 10,500 bushels; potatoes, 126,312 bushels; turnips, 19,850 bushels; other root crops 64,874; hay, 5,208 tons; West York, wheat, 72,390 bushels; barley, 78,004 bushels; oats, 115,625 bushels; peas and beans, 27,707 bushels; potatoes, 112,207 bushels; turnips, 37,056 bushels; other root crops, 59,117 bushels ; hay, 8,301 tons ; total yield for the township: wheat, 119,002 bushels; barley, 122,987 bushels; oats, 196,236 bushels; peas and beans, 47,207 bushels; potatoes, 238,519 bushels; turnips, 56,906 bushels-other root crops, 123,991 bushels; hay, 13.509 tons.

It may be interesting to compare these figures of the present production of the township with the returns for the year 1849, as given b) W. If. Smith in his well-known work on "Canada—Past, Present and Future." In round numbers these are as follows:—Wheat, 142,000 bushels; oats, 123,000 bushels; peas, 43,000 bushels; potatoes, 58,000 bushels, turnips, 9,000 bushels; and hay, 4,000 tons. As compared with recent figures they indicate the change that has been going on latterly all over the country in the direction of paying less attention to wheat growing and more to other crops. It will be noticed that although the population of the township has increased by more than one-third during the interval, the wheat production has considerably fallen off, while the roots and leguminous crops have very largely increased, and barley, not mentioned at all by Smith, now exceeds the wheat crop in volume. The farmers of Canada have learned by bitter experience the folly of risking everything on one staple, and the precarious nature of the wheat market in consequence of the opening up of new grain-producing countries is likely to confirm this tendency towards a diversification of farm produce.

The report of the Ontario Agricultural Commission issued in 1881 contains some valuable information respecting the nature of the soil and agricultural capacity of the township. The general character of the soil is described as being of "all grades from drifting sand to heavy clay." About two-tenths of the area is estimated to be of heavy clay, four-tenths of clay loam, three-tenths of sandy loam, and one tenth sand. A very small proportion of the land is gravelly. The rich black loam which is so fertile in sustaining luxurant crops is only found in few localities. There is no land too stony or having rock too near the surface to be uncultivable, but about one-tenth of the total area is sufficiently hilly and broken to render tillage difficult or impossible. Two-thirds of the land is undulating, but not to a degree sufficient to interfere with cultivation. Not more than one-twentieth is low-lying, fiat land such as would be subject from ;ts location to frequent floodings which would seriously depreciate its value, and swamp land is still rarer, only about one acre in three hundred coming under this category. A still smaller proportion is classed as wet, springy land, which is not estimated to include more than two acres out of every thousand. One third of the total acreage is ranked as being first-class agricultural land, another third as second-class, one-sixth as third class and one-sixth as inferior. The township is described as being generally well watered, but the depth at which water is obtainable by digging varies from live to one hundred feet. The price of land rules from $40 to $80 per acre, but this of course in a township surrounding a great 'commercial centre is liable to be governed by other considerations than those of agricultural fitness, and the land in the immediate neighbourhood of Toronto has a speculative way owing to the rapid growth of the suburbs and the possibility of its being some day available for building purposes. One half the farms are under first-class fence. Two-thirds of the dwellings and outbuildings are of stone, brick or first-class frame. Half the farms are partially drained, principally by tile drainage. The proportion of the acreage devoted to the leading crops and the average yield per acre is given as follows:—Fall wheat, two-twentieths, twenty bushels; spring wheat, one-twentieth, fifteen bushels; barley, four-twentieths, twenty-eight bushels; oats, two-twentieths, thirty-five bushels; rye, one-eightieth, twenty bushels; peas, two-twentieths, twenty bushels; potatoes, one-fortieth, one hundred bushels; hay, four-twentieths, one and one half tons per acre. About one twentieth of the township is still timbered, a good deal of pine being mixed with the hardwood which forms the principal growth. The exact area is given at 64,399-! acres, indicating a degree of precision and scrupulous avoidance of exaggeration that cannot be too highly commended. The total number of cleared acres is set down at 56,501, and the enumeration of live stock shows 3,370 cattle, 2,728 horses, 1970 sheep and 1,520 hogs.

The first municipal record of the township relates to a meeting of the inhabitants held in pursuance of the provisions of an Act of the Provincial Legislature, passed in 1835, entitled, "An Act to reduce to one Act the several laws relative to the appointment and duty of the township officers in the Province." This Act made several important changes in the methods of municipal government. The record is as follows:—"Monday, 4th January, 1836. In pursuance of the statute passed in the filth year of the reign of His Majesty William IV., the inhabitants of the Township of York met at the house of William Cummers, when they unanimously appointed James Hervey Price, Esq., their chairman, who, in consequence of the unfitness of the house for a public meeting, adjourned to the tavern of Mr. John Marsh, on Yonge Street, when the chairman read over the Act, and the meeting proceeded by ballot to choose the township officers. David Gibson, Esq., was chosen secretary to the meeting." The candidates for the office of township clerk were John Cummer, Elisha Pease, Joseph McMullin, and John Willson, 4th. On a vote being taken, John Willson, 4th, was declared duly elected. It may be necessary to explain to modern readers that the numeral affix to his name denotes that the wearer was the fourth in the line of descent bearing the same name. The practice still obtains in the New England States. A son who is his father's namesake will sign himself "2nd," instead of "junr.," following the royal fashion. We commend this fact to those writers who are always endeavouring to prove that the Americans have still a sneaking affection for monarchical institutions. It would be just as relevant as many adduced with that object. But to return to the Township Council for 1836. The vote for councillors resulted in the return of James Davis, Daniel McDougall, and William Donaldson. James McMullin was chosen assessor. The following were then appointed by a show of hands:—Collector, Abraham Johnson; pathmasters, John Montgomery, William Kendrick, E. Pease, Robert Erwin, William Morse, John Beates, John James, Alexander Wallace, William Denison, Jacob Kertz, Richard Smith, Joseph Gale, Robert Harding, Henry Crosson, J. Griffith; John Duncan, Stephen Brunndage, Thomas Denison, George Cooper, Henry Phillips, Joseph Helliwell, George Thorn, William Milne, Alex. McCormick, James Cunningham, John Sanburn, Richard Willson, John Harris, David Cummer, Archibald Wright, Edward Brock, Henry Deverdsh, Richard Herron, Christopher Williams, Henry Earl, John Thompson, and Jonathan Ashbridge; poundkeepers, Thomas Maginn, Joseph Holby, John Montgomery, and Mr. Finch. The Treasurer's account for the year comprised the following items:—Cash received of the District Treasurer for wild lands assessment, £3 11s. 9d.; cash received for fines and costs, £7 11s. 4d.; cash received in commutation of statute labour, £1 12s. 6d. Credit—Cash paid constable for services, £3 10s. 10d.; blank book for use of the township, 9s. 6d.; for paper, etc., 5s.; balance on hand, £8 10s. 2d. Economy was evidently the rule in municipal administration in those days. In 1837 the township meeting was held on January 2nd, at John Montgomery's, destined shortly afterwards to be the scene of civil commotion and bloodshed. David Gibson officiated as chairman, Elisha Pease was chosen township clerk, Conrad Gran, Jacob Snider, and William Donaldson were elected members of the Council, .Abraham Johnson, assessor, and William James, collector. In 1838 we find the electors meeting at Montgomery's and adjourning to Anderson's tavern, York Mills, where the following officials were duly chosen:—William Hanrlton, town clerk ; Peter Lawrence, assessor; Robert Harding, Alex. Montgomery, and William Marsh, commissioners; and William Evans, collector. In 1839 John Willson, 4th, was again elected town clerk, a position which he continued to hold from that time forth until his death, which occurred in 1866. He was succeeded by his son, Arthur Lawrence Willson, who has also had a long term of office. And here some details respecting the Willson family, who have been so long and intimately connected with the township, may appropriately be given. John Willson, 1st, was a native of Surrey, England. The maiden name of his wife, who belonged to the same locality, was Rebecca Thixton. In the year 1752 they emigrated to America, settling in New Jersey. In 1776 John Willson took the Loyalist side, and obtained a captaincy m the army, his son, also John Willson by name, entering the same service as a lieutenant. The property of the family was confiscated, and they joined the large number of U. E. Loyalists who sought refuge in New Brunswick. John Willson, 2nd, was marriied at this time, his wife being Sarah Sackinan, a native of Wales. The family removed to Upper Canada at the time of Governor Simcoe's arrival, some twenty-four other families of exiled Loyalists accompanying them on their long journey to the Western wilderness. After a short residence in the Niagara District they settled on Yonge Street. Capt. Willson had four suns, John (2nd), Stillwell, William, and Jonathan. The first of these was the grandfather of the first township clerk of York. His son, Arthur L. Willson, who held the office for about a dozen years, is the author of a Municipal Manual which has been found of practical value as a guide to those requiring a knowledge of municipal law.

In 1842 the records show the election of school commissioners, viz.:— Rev. James Harris, Bartholomew Bull, James Sever, Clark Bridgland, Charles Maginn, John Andrew and James Davis. Among the names most frequently recurring in the latest records in connection with the more important positions, we rind those of William James, who was township reeve for the period 1852-60, William Tyrrell, who succeeded him in office, Bartholemew Bull, Jr., J. P. Bull, William Mulholland, Widiarn Jackes, E. Playter and R. E. Playter. The Playter family have taken a prominent part in the affairs of the township and county. They are of Loyalist stock. Their ancestor, Capt. George Playter, originally came from Suffolk, England. He settled in Philadelphia, where he married a Quakeress and became himself a member of that denomination. But his peace principles could not stand so powerful a strain as the outbreak of the war for Independence. If is recorded that when he stripped off the Quaker clothes which he wore, to put on his uniform as a loyalist soldier, he laid down the discarded apparel with the exclamation "Lie there Quaker!" and so went forth to do his part manfully in the struggle. He participated in several engagements, and when the patriots secured their Independence, he was of course among the proscribed. On first coming to Canada he resided in Kingston, but shortly after York had been selected as the capital, he moved to the township, and with his sons took up extensive tracts of land. The family did much to forward the progress of the community in various ways. His services to the Crown, during the war, received the recognition of a pension at the hands of the British Government. Capt. Playter was a gentleman of the old school. His precision of manner and old fashioned style in costume were a conspicuous survival of antique modes. He is described as habitually wearing a three-cornered hat, silver knee-buckles, broad-toed shoes with large buckles and wdiite stockings, and carrying a long gold-headed cane. His house was a short distance beyond the limits of Toronto, being immediately north of Castle Frank. Ilis son, Capt. John Playter, lived immediately across the Don. At the time of the American invasion in 1813, many of the archives of the Province were conveyed to their residences for safety, but the precaution was in vain, for the invaders found out where they had been placed and carried away all they could lay their hands on. One of the sons of Capt. George Playter, called after him, was, for some time, deputy sheriff of the Home District, and another Mr. Eli Playter at one time represented North York in the Provincial House.

The officials for the year 1884 are as follows:—Reeve, IP Duncan; Councillors, F. Turner, Joseph Watson, II. R. Frankland and Joseph Davids; being all Deputy Reeves in the order in which they are named. Clerk, J. K. Leslie; Treasurer, William Jackes. The township hall is situated in the village of Eglington, on Yonge Street, in immediate proximity to the site of the famous Montgomery tavern where Col. Moodie met his death m the outbreak of 1837. Eglington is about four miles from Toronto, and is a long straggling village of about 700 inhabitants. For many miles Yonge Street is thickly settled on both sides, so that that the numerous villages along the route are not so noticeable or distinctive m their character as where the population is more drawn to a centre. About half a mile from Eglington, to the south-west, the remains of an Indian village were discovered about twelve or fifteen years ago. The character of the relics unearthed, which were of the usual kind found about the sites of aboriginal settlements in this neighbourhood, indicated that it had been a populous village, and that it must have been a place of habitation for a long period.

Between Toronto and Eglington is the Village of Davisville, near which, on the eastern side of Yonge Street, is the Mount Pleasant Cemetery, which :s beautifully situated and very tastefully laid out in accordance with the modern idea that the last resting-place of those we have loved and lost should be. made attractive and cheerful in its surroundings, instead of sombre and repellant. Nearer Toronto, again, on the brow of the high land is Deer Park. There are a large number of handsome villa residences m these villages and the intervening spaces, most of them of quite recent construction. The land rises abruptly a short distance beyond the present limits of Toronto, and from the brow of the elevation a magnificent view of the surrounding country is obtainable. This lofty bluff which runs to the westward for some distance is known as the Davenport Ridge, and is some 250 to 300 feet above the Lake Ontario level. This ridge consists of fine rounded gravel, the beds of which all dip to the southward. Rounded lumps of fine clay are also of common occurrence among the gravel. Their presence is accounted for by supposing them to have been rolled, perhaps when in a frozen state, by the waves of the ancient lake. In a paper presented to the Geological Society of London, in 1837, Mr. Thomas Roy states the occurrence of thirteen ancient water margins between Toronto and Lake Simcoe, the lowest of which is 342 feet and the highest 996 feet above the sea level. The conclusion drawn from these investigations is that the country was at one time submerged, and that the waters have gradually, or perhaps by spasmodic changes, retired to their present level. Along the Davenport Ridge, which is beautifully wooded in parts, and affords a commanding view of the city and adjoining country, with the blue waters of the lake m the distance, are "a large number of handsome suburban residences.

Seaton Village, a thriving and rapidly growing community, is situated immediately north of the city limits, about a mile west of Yonge Street. In this vicinity there are large deposits of clay suitable for the manufacture of white bricks, an industry which is extensively carried on in the environs of the city. This clay, which extends through a considerable area of the township, is bluish when moist, but ash-coloured in a dry state. It has a distinctly-jointed structure, and is sparingly interspersed with pebbles and boulders. Over the irregularly denuded surface of this horizontally stratified clay is spread a coating of yellow clay and sand, which conforms to the undulations of the surface soil. In one section the upper stratum of yellow clay, which holds pebbles and boulders and burns to red brick, is three feet in thickness; beneath, ifc two sections, are some five to nine feet of yellow sand interstratified with yellowish and bluish clay, both burning white. Under this there is a solid blue clay, which has been penetrated to the depth of sixty feet without apparent change. To the east of Toronto clays generally overlaid by sand continue through the southern section of the township.

West of the former limits of the city of Toronto, but hemmed in to the north and west by the outlying portion of the city, formerly the village of Brockton, is Parkdale, a recently built-up suburb, possessing a separate municipal organization. It i-9 beautifully situated, overlooking the lake shore, and contains a number of handsome villa residences. Of late manufacturing enterprise has been developed, and the population is increasing rapidly. It numbered 1,170, according to the census of 1881, and its population must now be in the neighbourhood of 2,700. Mr. Hugh McMath is reeve of the village, G. S. Booth is deputy-reeve, and H. S. Langton clerk. The natural beauties of the scenery in the vicinity of the lake shore from this point westward to the Humber are greatly appreciated by residents of Toronto. Humber Bay, which is surrounded by shores wooded in portions down to the water's edge, forms almost a semicircle, and on a bright, clear day the view is a most picturesque orie. At the head of the Bay is situated High Park, one of Toronto's most delightful pleasure resorts. It comprises some 290 acres, the principal portion of which is the gift of John G. Howard, whose name ought always to be held in grateful remembrance by the people of Toronto. Other wealthy men have endowed churches, colleges, and the like, but it is questionable whether any of them has an equal title to the gratitude and esteem of posterity as the donor of High Park, who has given what was much more urgently required—a breathing-space for a densely crowded and rapidly increasing population, deprived by the stupidity or venality of the municipal representatives of the larger portion of the Queen's Park. An additional area of forty-five acres,, retained by Mr. Howard for his own use, will be added to the Park on his death. From the lake front a large marsh runs north between the*eastern and western sections of the Park. The high ground to the west rises in an abrupt, heavily-wooded slope from the marsh, like an unbroken wall of variegated verdure. A less precipitous incline on the eastern side of the marsh affords space for a shaded drive winding in and out among the trees—now along an open glade, now into the heart of some gloomy hollow, where the overhanging branches exclude the sunlight, and now on the crest of a ridge shaded by the interlacing foliage. The higher ground is reached by a succession of easy ascents, passing several partially wooded elevations, which add to the varied beauties oi the charmmg landscape. To the northward lies an undulating grassy plain, dotted with shade trees, singly or in groups. In the northern portion of the enclosure are great stretches of natural park lands, where art has merely removed what was obstructive or unsightly, leaving the natural beauties undefaced. The western slope of the Park overlooks the Grenadier Pond, a pear-shaped sheet of water, the broadest portion of which is towards the lake. The opposite shore rises almost precipitously out of the water, and is well timbered. To the northward stretch away the rich uplands, laid out in tillage or orchard. Tradition traces the origin of the name to the drowning of a party of grenadiers in its waters during the war of i8r2. It is alleged that when crossing the pond in the winter the ice gave way beneath them. The truth of the story, however, is not beyond peradventure. The pond is of unknown depth, and ts edges marshy and overgrown with rank vegetation.

The Humber River lies about half a mile further west, forming the boundary between York and Etobicoke townships. It is also a favourite resort for excursionists and pleasure-seekers. Its banks present a variety of scenery, large areas of low lands and swamps overgrown with reeds alternating with steep wooded Muffs. There are stone quarries at intervals. The rocks, which crop out of the abruptly rising ground, are of the Hudson River formation, which consists of a series of bluish-grey argillaceous shale, enclosing bands of calcareous sandstone, sometimes approaching to a limestone, at irregular intervals, and of variable thickness. In some instances the bands are of a slaty structure, splitting into thin laminae in the direction of the beds; in others they have a solid thickness of a foot, but in few cases do they maintain either character for any great distance. The sandstones while in the beds are hard and solid, and upon fracture exhibit a grey colour with much of the appearance of lunestone, but by protracted exposure to the weather they turn to a darker brown, and ultimately crumble to decay: These sandstones generally abound in calcareous fossils, which in some places predominate, so as to give rise to beds of impure limestone, which arc, however, rare. The slaty variety of the sandstones is well adapted for flagging, and by a careful selection some of the arenacious bands yield abundance of good building material, but the stone cannot be said to be generally adapted for the purpose. The. banks of the Humber, as well as those of the Nimico, Etobicoke, and Don, for certain distances from the lake shore, expose sections exhibiting sixty feet or more of these strata, but advancing northward the formation becomes concealed by the great accumulation of drift, of which the interior of the country is composed. At Lambton, a village of some 400 population, about three miles up the Humber, partly situated in Etobicoke, the banks of the stream rise to a height of more than one hundred feet, of which from fifty to sixty feet are composed of the Hudson River shales and sandstone, while the upper part consists of sand and gravel.

About the close of the last century the old Indian trail along the margin of the lake was enlarged, so as to admit of the passage of vehicles, and became what is now known as the Lake Shore Road. A ferry was established at the mouth of the Humber, where passengers and wagons were taken across in a scow. In 1815 a Scotchman, named McLean, had charge of the ferry, and kept tavern in a building on the York side of the river. This was for some time the only house for the accommodation of travellers between Toronto and Hamilton. After McLean's death his widow continued business at the hostelry for many years. In 1853 Mrs. Creighton was in charge of the tavern, but the building was destroyed when the Great Western was built. In 1838, Mr. Rowdand Burr, one of the pioneers in mill construction in York County, erected a saw-mill on the York side of the Humber, not far from its mouth. The mill was shortly afterwards sold to Mr. William Gamble, who converted it into a barley-mill, and afterwards erected a bone-grinding mill immediately adjoining it. The property fell into the hands of the Bank of Upper Canada, from whom it was purchased, in 1864, by David and Joseph Atkinson. The mills were finally swept away by a spring freshet.

In 1801 a saw-mill and a grist-mill were erected at Lambton on the east side of the stream, north of the Dundas Road, by Mr. Thomas Cooper, an Englishman, who some years afterwards sold out the property to his son. About 1840 the property was purchased by Mr. Wrilliam P. Howdand, now Sir William, who took some of his brothers into partnership. Messrs. Peleg and Frederick Howdand afterwards became sole proprietors, and ;n 1845 put up a new flour mill, five stones high, and with six run of stones, south of the Dundas Road, the old mills being pulled down. A saw-mill was erected by the Howlands in the same neighbourhood in 1844, which was some time afterwards leased by Edward and Alfred Musson, and turned into a brewery.

In 1846 a new saw-mill was built by Mr. Samuel Scarlet in York township, about a mile above Dainbton, but he abandoned it in a few years for a new site across the river, where greater water power was obtainable. Further up the stream Mr. Joseph Dennis put up a saw-mill in 1844, which afterwards became the property of his son, Henry Dennis, who converted a portion of it into a flax-mill. James Williams had a carding and fulling mill a little distance above, which was destroyed by fire in 1865.

The Humber River used to be a famous stream for salmon fishing, but the erection of mills destroyed the fisheries at an early period. We find the following anecdote, i' lustrating the plentifulness of salmon at one time, in Smith's " Canada," which we insert to tantalize the modern follower of Isaac Walton, who sits patiently on the bank all day and comes home with an undersized rock bass and a couple of measly little perch. The legend runneth thus:—A party during the time the salmon were running came up the river in a skiff to spear fish. In drawing their boat ashore, as they intended to spear standing in the water, they inadvertently left it resting across a log lying on the beach. The salmon were plentiful, and they were able to spear them as fast as they could take them out of the water. As they caught them they threw them into the skiff, and excited with the sport took no heed of the way they were piling them up until a sudden crash arrested their attention, and they saw their skiff broken in two in the middle by the weight of the salmon pressing it down on the log.

About three miles above Lambton, on the Humber, and some eight and a half miles from Toronto, by the Grand Trunk Railway, is the Village of Weston, to which more extended reference is made elsewhere. Other villages in the western portion of the township are Carleton, about a mile and a half from Lambton, and six miles from Toronto by the Grand Trunk, Davenport, half a mile east of Carleton on the Northern Railway, and Fair-bank, about a mile north of Davenport, and a short distance from the Northern Railway, on the road leading to Vaughan. From Davenport to the northern part of Toronto, lately the Village of Yorkville, runs the Davenport Road, winding in an irregular course at the foot of the Davenport Ridge, previously described. The neighborhood of Carleton and Davenport is a network of railways. A short distance south of Carleton the tracks of the Grand Trunk, Toronto Grey and Bruce and Credit Valley, which run alongside from Parkdale, begin to diverge, the Credit Valley taking a westerly direction parallel with the Dundas Road, until it reaches Lambton, when it deflects to the south-west, and the others running to the north-west. At this point of divergence the new^ Ontario and Quebec Railway makes its junction with the Credit Valley. This railway centre is known as West Toronto Junction. Here the railway yard for the accommodation of the through freight traffic of the Ontario and Quebec Railway is located, and it is expected that it will very shortly became an important and populous neighbourhood.

Reference has already been made to the most notable localities on Yonge Street as far northward as Eglington, and we will resume a detailed description of the local features of interest at that pout. About Eglington the name of Snider is prevalent, the family being of old U. E. Loyalist stock, and originally of German ancestry. The name is the Anglicized form of the Teutonic " Schneider." Martin Snider was one of the Loyalist refugees who emigrated to Nova Scotia. He afterwards settled on Yonge Street. One of his sons, Jacob Snider, was engaged as a volunteer under Gen. Brock m 1813. Another of the early settlers in this neighbourhood was Mr. Charles Moore, who was born in Ireland in the year 1793. He emigrated to the United States, but the strong anti-British sentiment then prevailing rendered his position uncomfortable, so he crossed over to Canada.

After a few years spent in the Township of Nissoun, then an almost unbroken wilderness, he remove to Yonge Street and purchased a farm on the present site of the Village of Eglington. For many years he was one of the most prominent residents in this section. His death took place in 1867.

North of Eglington, and about six miles from Toronto, is the Village of York Mills, for long popularly known as Hogg's Hollow, from James Hogg, who was at one time the owner of the flour mills m the valley. Here the western branch of the Don is crossed by a bridge. The banks of the river are very steep, but in places the ascent is broken by intervening level land. On one of these flats half-way down the bluff Mr. Hogg erected at an early period a Presbyterian place of worship. He was a man of strong individuality, and took a prominent part in political affairs. Once, incensed at a newspaper criticism of his conduct, he sent a challenge to mortal combat in due form to Mr. Gurnett, editor of the Courier. The meeting, however, did not take place. His death occurred in 1839. The second Episcopal Church in York was erected at York Mills in the fall of 1816. It was an oblong frame building, erected by the united liberality of the people of the neighbourhood, Messrs. Seneca Ketchuin and Joseph Shepherd being among the chief promoters; the first named contributing largely of his means and rime, the latter giving three acres of land for the site of church and for burial ground. The corner-stone was laid in the presence of a large number of spectators by Lieut.-Governor Gore and the Rev. Dr. Strachan, the missionary for York, in a manner in keeping with the infant state of the parish. A hole was dug, and a bottle containing a medal and a halfpenny was placed in it, a rude and unpolished stone was used to cover it. The missionary preached to the people, who had seated themselves on boards and timbers collected near the site. In 1842 it was decided to erect a more commodious church, 40 x 60, in plain and simple style of construction. On Tuesday, May 30, 1843, the foundation stone was laid. Although a very wet and inclement day, a large congregation assembled i» the old church. At noon, Bishop Strachan, the former missionary, took his place within the church, l^he Rev. A. Sanson read the prayers, the Rev. Dr. Beaven, Professor of Divinity in the University of King's College, preached from Psalm cxviii. 22, 23, 24 verses. The Bishop afterwards administered the apostolic, rite of confirmation to the Reverends A. Townley and A. Sanson, also to Messrs. Leach and Richie, formerly Presbyterian ministers, but then candidates for holy orders in the Church of England. After these services the ceremony of laying the foundation stone of the new church was proceeded with. The Rev. H. J. Grasett, the Bishop's chaplain, read the appointed prayers, after which the following, inscribed on a roll of parchment, was read by Rev. A. Sanson, the minister of the parish:—"In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, amen, this corner-stone of St. John's Church, Yorkville, County of York, Home District, was laid on the thirtieth day of May, 1843, n the sixth year of the reign of Her Majesty Queen Victoria, Queen of Great Britain and Ireland, by the Honourable and Right Reverend John Strachan, D.D., LL.D., Lord Bishop of the Diocese, Rev. A. Sanson being minister of the congregation, etc., etc." This document together with the latest number of The Church four no/, a programme of the ceremony, an English shilling, sixpence and fourpenny piece; a penny and halfpenny of the Montreal bank, a halfpenny of King George III., and three silver medals were placed in a bottle which the architect sealed and deposited in a cavity of the stone. One of the medals had been dug up in a good state of preservation from beneath the south-east angle of the old church and bore on one side this inscription :—

"FRANCIS GORE, Esq.,
Lieutenant-Governor 1816."

on the other "56th of George III." The following inscription was added: "Removed from the old church near this, 30th May, 1843." The church was opened for divine service in the fall of 1843. The large folio Bible and Prayer -book used in the old church is still in use in St. John's Church, Yorkville, on the fly-leaf of each is the following:—"Presented by the Chief Justice Powell to the Second Episcopal Church in York.

The present rector of St. John's Church, Rev. H. B. Osier, .was ordained and appointed missionary to Lloydtown, Township of King, Albion and parts adjacent, in October 29th, 1843, and held the appointment until removed to York Mills in May, 1874. For many years he held regular services on Sundays and week days in King and Albion, with occasional ones in the Townships of Adjala, Mulmur, Mono, Caledon, Chinguacousy and Vaughan. He was born and educated at Falmouth, Cornwall. England, came to Canada m 1841; read for holy orders with Rev. F. L. Osier, at Tecumseth; was ordained October, 1843 he received the appointment of Honorary Canon of St. James' Cathedral in 1867 from Bishop Strachan. He was appointed Rector of St. John's, York Mills, May, 1874, and Pural Dean of west and north York in 1875, the Right Rev. A. Bethune, D.D., second Bishop of Toronto. Owing to the steepness of the valley at York Mills, Yonge Street formerly made a considerable detour to the east. It now crosses the hollow in a bee line on a raised embankment constructed about the year 1835.

About a mile north of York Mills is the Village of Lansing, and a little further on is Willowdale. Here stood the residence of David Gibson, one of the leaders of the insurrection of 1837, which was burned by the militia, acting under the order of Sir Francis 13. Head, after the defeat of the insurgents. Mr. Gibson was a surveyor and farmer, and at one time represented North York in the Provincial Parliament. After the rebellion he became a superintendent of Colonization Roads. His death occurred at Quebec in 1864. A short distance to the eastward from Willowdale is a noted camp meeting ground, on the lot formerly owned by Jacob Cummer, one of the early German pioneers. It was in the midst of a thick maple bush, and witnessed many characteristic scenes. Peter Jones, the celebrated Indian missionary, furnished in his autobiography the following description of one of the old-time religious gatherings held at this spot. Writing under date of the 10th of June, 1828, he says: "About noon I started for the camp ground; when we arrived we found about three hundred Indians collected from Lake Simcoe and Scugog Lake. Most of those from Lake Simcoe have just come in from the back lakes, to join with their converted brethren in the service of the Almighty God. They came in company with brother Law, and all seemed very glad to see us, giving us a hearty shake of the hand. The camp ground enclosed about two acres, which was surrounded with board tents, having one large gate for teams to go in and out and three smaller ones. The Indians occupied one large tent, which was 220 feet long and 15 feet broad. It was covered overhead with boards, and the sides were made tight with laths to make it secure from any encroachments. It had four doors fronting the camp ground. In this long house the Indians arranged themselves in families as" is their custom in their wigwams. Divine service commenced towards evening. Elder Case first gave directions as to the order to be observed on the camp ground during the meeting. Brother James Richardson then preached from Acts 11. 21., after which I gave the substance in Indian, when the brethren appeared much affected and interested. Prayer-meeting in the evening. The watch kept the place illuminated during the night.-"

A mile or so north of Willowdale, and about the same distance south of the township line, is the little village of Newton Brook. The villages of East York are mostly of a suburban character, situated to the front of the township, within easy access of Toronto. The city now extends along the lake front eastward as far as the township line south of the K ngston Road. North of that thoroughfare, a short distance east of the present city limits, is the village of Leslieville, which took its name from Mr. George Leslie, one of the early inhabitants. The nursery of fruit trees established by him is the most notable feature of the locality. The Woodbine Deriving Park is a little further on, on the south side of the Kingston Road. At this point, about two miles east of the Don River, the Kingston Road takes a northeasterly turn, leading to the Village of Norway. A short distance to the north-east of this is the new railway suburb of Little York, where the Grand Trunk Railway has constructed a large freight yard. The amount of railway business transacted at this point renders it probable that the population will increase rapidly, as a number of the employe's have their homes here.

The villages of Doncaster and Todmorden lie within a short distance of each other on the east bank of the Don; the former being about half a mile lower down. The scenery of the Don, in this neighbourhood and for miles further up, is extremely picturesque. The Don winds through a broad valley, the bottom lands immediately adjoining the river, which are usually flooded in the spring time, yielding rich pasturage. The banks, which are thickly wooded, rise abruptly, sometimes from the water, but more often at a considerable distance. They are broken by ravines, where tributary streams unite their waters with the Don, and occasionally these bluffs enclose a wide space, giving an amphitheatredike effect. The river pursues a serpentine course, but the general direction in ascending it is northward for about four miles, when it takes a turn to the east, the same characteristics being observable. About two miles above Todmorden is the Forks of the Don, where the river divides into three branches, the eastern, middle, and western streams. It is the western Don that crosses Yon e Street at York Mills. The neighbourhood of the Forks, where there is a small village, abounds in romantic scenery. Owing to the hilly and broken character of the land this section is not thickly settled, and much of it especially along the water courses, remains heavily timbered. the wildness and beauty of the ravines, glens, and stretches of woodland, present attractions for the lover of nature not readily surpassed in this part of Canada.

The water-power in this neighbourhood was formerly utilized for milling and manufacturing purposes to a much greater extent than at present. On the east branch of the Don, or Scarborough Creek, as it is best known, there were at an early period three saw-mills, one built by William Hough, one by a man named Dark, and the other, further up the stream, by John Heron. These mills are all gone, leaving hardly a vestige of where they stood. A German, named Knotthardt, also erected a carding-mill on this stream, which has long since disappeared. The volume of the stream, once considerable, has greatly diminished, owing to the clearing of the country, and it is no longer available for willing uses. In the year 1817, Alexander Milna built a large mill, three stories in height, driven by an overshot wheel, eighteen feet in diameter, upon a creek tributary to the west branch of the Don. The two lower stories of the mill were used for carding and fulling, and the third story was a saw-mill. The water-power was shortly afterwards found to be insufficient, and Mr. Milna abandoned this location for a better one on the main branch of the Don, where a wooden factor . and saw-mill were put up. Here an extensive new brick building was erected in 1879-80, by Alexander William Milna, a descendant of the original owner of the property. The old carding machine, used by Alexander Milna in the first mill, is preserved as an heirloom. The next saw-mill above Milna's was at one time the property of John Hogg. It began operations about 1829, and was run for fifteen or twenty years. Above this site is William Gray's grist-mill, with two run of stones, and Alexander Gray's saw-mill. In the same neighbourhood there was formerly a distillery, owned and operated by James Gray. A saw-mill was built a little further up by Mr. Notthardt, who committed suicide in 1840, the mill afterwards falling into the hands of James Hunter. It was rebuilt, a short distance further down stream, by J. Hunter & Sons, and in 1878 was destroyed In a flood. The firm have since erected a steam mill. Farther up, again, stood Stilwell Wilson's mill, which was swept away by a flood caused by the bursting of a water-spout, about 1828. The property afterwards passed into the hands of Thomas Sheppard, who ran a grist-mill here for some time, until it was burned in 1869. Above this was a saw-mill constructed by Philip Phillips, and then a saw-mill and woollen-mill built and run by Mr. Cummer. His successors in the woollen manufacturing business were Mr. Mcintosh and James P. Vroom, operations being discontinued about 1857. Cupper's grist-mill came next. It was situated near the point where the German Mill Creek empties into the Don. A saw-mill was built on this creek by Mr. Davidson, and afterwards came into the possession of John Sellers, w ho ran it until about 1870. Further up the main Don was a saw-mill formerly belonging to Samuel Hamil, which was worked until about twenty years ago. The last null on the stream, east of Yonge Street, is Prunskdl's gristmill. A log grist-mill, built by \V. Walker, stands just on the west side of the street.

On the lower Don, between the Forks and the city, are situated Taylor's paper mills, one near Todmorden and the other a mile or so further up.

At an early period, the boats of the North-West Company en route to Lake Huron used to make their way up the western Don as far as Yonge Street, at the present locality of York Mills, where the) were taken out of the water and carried on trucks to the Holland River. On the banks of the Don, fresh water shells have been found beneath a considerable thickness of sand, thirty feet above the lake level—which, in connection with other indications, are taken as evidence that the entire region has, at one time, been submerged. The Don and its tributaries are crossed in several places by the substantial bridges of the recently constructed Ontario and Quebec Railway which, skirting the northern limit of Toronto, strikes across the township in a north-easterly direction.

The Village of L'Amaroux is situated in the northern part of the township, near the Scarborough line. It is about nine miles from Toronto.

There are in all twenty-five public schools situated within the limits of the Township of York, all of which are under the jurisdiction of Mr. Hodgson, who has already been referred to as the Inspector of Public Schools for the South Riding. The most important of them are located as follows- No. 1, at Davisville, a short distance north of Mount Pleasant Cemetery; No. 2, at Eglington; No. 3, at York Mills; No. 4, at Willowdale; No. 5, at Newton Brook, near the northern outskirts of the township; No. 7. at Do'ncaster; No. 8, at Wexford, on the town-line between York and Scarborough; No. 9, near Don Post Office; No. 12, at L'Amaroux; No. 13, at Davenport; No. 14, on the second concession; No. 15, at Fairbanks; No. 16, between the second and third concessions, near Mr. Duncan's; No'. 17! at Down's View, in the fourth concession; No. 18, 011 the fourth concession, but farther north than No. 17, and near Elia Post Office-; No. 19, beyond Weston, near Emery Post Office ; No. 20, at Norway; No. 21, at Weston; No. 25, at Seaton Village.


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