East York has left its mark on the rest of Toronto through the red bricks supplied by the Don Valley Brick Works. In more recent times, the oases of its riverside parklands have been enjoyed by people from all over the city.
The City of Toronto Archives has records, created by municipal governments as well as private groups and individuals, about East York, including personal papers; published books and reports; and visual material, including maps and photographs.
Maple sugar hut, Don Valley
- Pre 1923: East York is part of York Township within York County
- December 31, 1923: The Township of East York is incorporated
- April 15, 1953: East York and Leaside becomes two of 13 municipalities in the new Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto
- January 1, 1967: East York and Leaside amalgamate and become the Borough of East York
- January 1, 1998: East York ceases to be an individual municipality and becomes part of the amalgamated City of Toronto
Types of records
The Archives has Council proceedings and by-laws for East York from 1924 to 1997, and Leaside from 1913 to 1966.
For information about the area before the formation of East York, see Council proceedings for the Township of York Council starting in 1860.
To find Council proceedings, search the Gencat database.
The archives has assessment rolls for East York from 1924 to 1991 and for Leaside for 1939 and from 1942 to 1967 (after which it was amalgamated with East York).
For assessment information before the formation of East York, see the assessment rolls for the Township of York. They are currently available from 1882 to 1992.
To find assessment rolls, ask Research Hall staff for the guide to East York assessment rolls.
For East York records, see Fonds 209, Borough of East York fonds in the Gencat database. For Leaside records, see Fonds 210, Town of Leaside fonds, also in the database.
The records of other municipal governments may also be of use. The records of the former (regional) Metro and its agencies, boards, and commissions also include information about matters relevant to East York, including public works, such as water mains; transportation, such as roads and the TTC; planning; parks; and social services. To find these records, search on your research topic in the Gencat database, or speak to Reference Desk staff.
Toronto City Directory 1926
Some areas of East York are listed in the Toronto city directories in a separate suburban section (see each year's table of contents for page numbers) from 1890 to 1929. Starting in 1930, East York listings are part of the main directory.
Between 1983 and 1995, East York listings appear only in the "central" and "east" editions of the directory, which are not published every year. After 1995, East York listings appear in one volume entitled "City of Toronto (east of Yonge) and East York."
Directories are available on microfilm, found in the self-serve cabinets in the Microfilm Room.
The Archives also has a copy of a Directory and Map of the Township of York (917.13540025 ON8 1909) for 1909, which includes listings for East York villages. Ask Reference Desk staff to retrieve this directory for you from closed reference.
A small part of western East York appears on fire insurance maps starting in 1890. A larger area appears in the 1910 revised volumes. These maps are available online.
Larger areas can be found in the volumes for 1944, 1950, and 1956. They are found in boxes titled "Goad's" or "Underwriters'" in the metal cabinets in the Microfilm Room.
Each set of maps begins with a key map and an index of street names. You can use either to find your area.
To find maps showing East York, use the Gencat database. Reference Desk staff can show you how to use the database. The Archives also has several atlases that may be useful. They are found at the back of the Research Hall.
The aerial photographs cover the East York area from 1947 to 1992. A selection of years is online. A smaller group of valley lands from 1937 to 1942 is also online. A more complete run of years is available on computers in the Research Hall.
The Archives holds published reports regarding East York, including those on topics such as public transit and roads. To find them, search the Gencat database on your topic. Of particular interest is the Brief of Reeve True Davidson, East York Township, to the Royal Commission on Metropolitan Government (1964).
"Unitility house," Leaside
November 15, 1945
Fonds 1266, Item 100206
These general reference books are available in the Archives Research Hall Library and are a good place to start your research:
Ron Brown, Toronto's Lost Villages
(Toronto: Polar Bear Press 1997)
971.3541 B81 1997
Eleanor Darke, A Mill Should Be Built Thereon:
An Early History of the Todmorden Mills
(Toronto: Natural History/Natural Heritage 1995) 971.3541 D24 1995
True Davidson, et al., Golden Years of East York
(East York: Centennial College Press 1976)
971.3541 D28 1976
Jane Pitfield, ed., Leaside
(Toronto: Natural Heritage Books 2000)
971.3541 L48 1999
J.I Rempel, The Town of Leaside:
A Brief History (Toronto: East York Historical Society 1982)
971.3541 R25 1982
Books on more specific East York topics may be found by searching in the Gencat database. These topics might include landmarks (such as Todmorden Mills) and people (such as Charles Sauriol and True Davidson).
To find photographs of East York places and events, search on your research topic in the Gencat database.
Don Valley Brick Works
Fonds 1128, series 379, Item 1160
For general information, see the information file titled "East York." You may also find other information files about more specific topics, such as smaller communities within East York (such as Leaside), and landmarks (such as the Don Valley, the Don Valley Brick Works, and Todmorden Mills). For a list of information file titles, please consult Reference Desk staff. For a list of East York mayors and other municipal information, please ask Reference Desk staff for the binder entitled "East York Reference Highlights." For information regarding origins of street names and street name changes, see the back of the binder titled "Street Names M-Z" in the Research Hall.
|East York Records||Former City of Toronto Records||Etobicoke Records|
|Metropolitan Toronto Records||North York Records||Scarborough Records||York Records|