Etobicoke has included a number of different landscapes and communities: prosperous farms, resorts clustered on the lakeshore, mill villages on the Humber, a commercial byway along Lakeshore Road (later Boulevard).
The City of Toronto Archives has many records, created by municipal governments as well as private groups and individuals, about Etobicoke, including government reports; personal papers; books; and visual material, including maps and photographs.
- Pre 1850: Etobicoke is part of York County
- January 1, 1850: Etobicoke is incorporated as a township
- 1911 to 1930: Long Branch, Mimico, and New Toronto separate from Etobicoke and incorporate as villages or towns
- April 15, 1953: Etobicoke, Long Branch, Mimico, and New Toronto become four of 13 municipalities in the new Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto
- January 1, 1967: Etobicoke, Long Branch, Mimico, and New Toronto amalgamate and become the Borough of Etobicoke
- June 29, 1983: Etobicoke incorporates as a city
- January 1,1998: Etobicoke 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 Etobicoke, Long Branch, Mimico, and New Toronto. To find them, search the Gencat database. Subject indices for by-laws are available in green binders on shelves on the south wall of the Research Hall.
The Archives has assessment rolls for Etobicoke, Long Branch, Mimico, and New Toronto. Ask Reference Desk staff for the guides to these assessment rolls.
To see municipal government records created by the City of Etobicoke (Fonds 213), Town of Mimico (Fonds 214), Village of Long Branch (Fonds 216), and the Town of New Toronto (Fonds 215), search the Gencat database.
The records of the former Metro (regional) government and its agencies, boards, and commissions also include information about matters relevant to Etobicoke, 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
Parts of Etobicoke 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, Etobicoke listings are part of the main directory. Between 1983 and 1995, Etobicoke listings appear only in the "west" edition of the directory, which is not published every year. After 1995, Etobicoke listings appear in one separate volume. Directories are available on microfilm, found in the self-serve cabinets in the Microfilm Room.
The Archives has fire insurance plans on microfilm for parts of Etobicoke for 1944, 1953, 1954, 1962, and 1973. There are also fire insurance maps for Lambton Mills in 1910, and Mimico and New Toronto in 1913. They are found in the microfilm (boxes are 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. A key to the symbols used in the maps is found on the bulletin board in the Microfilm Room at the back of the Research Hall.
To find maps showing Etobicoke, 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 on the shelves at the back of the Research Hall.
The aerial photographs cover the Etobicoke 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.
Construction on the Kinsgway
June 17, 1947
Fonds 1266, Item 40448
The Archives holds published reports regarding Etobicoke, including those on topics such as the lakeshore "motel strip," the Islington community, Woodbine Centre, and the Humber River watershed, as well as official plans. To find them, search the Gencat database for your topic..
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
Robert A. Given, The Story of Etobicoke
(Etobicoke: Municipality of Etobicoke 1950)
971.354 G43 1950
Esther Heyes, Etobicoke: From Furrow to Borough
(Etobicoke: The Borough of Etobicoke 1974)
971.3541 H51 1974
K.M. Lizars, The Valley of the Humber, 1615-1913
(Toronto: William Briggs 1913)
971.354 L76 1913
Villages of Etobicoke
(Weston: Argyle Printing 1985)
961.3541 V71 1985
Books on more specific Etobicoke topics may be found by searching in the Gencat database. These topics might include places, organizations, landmarks, and events.
Flooding of Humber River
June 2, 1947
Fonds 1266, Item 115655
To find photographs of Etobicoke places and events, search on your research topic in the Gencat database.
For general information, see the information file titled "Etobicoke." You may also find other information files about more specific topics, such as smaller communities within Etobicoke (such as Mimico and the Kingsway), landmarks (such as Montgomery's Inn), people, and events. For a list of information file titles, please consult Reference Desk staff.
The green binder "Etobicoke Street Name Changes" will help you determine if a street name has changed.
For a list of Etobicoke mayors and other municipal information, please ask Reference Desk staff for the binder entitled "Etobicoke Reference Highlights."
Series 497, Etobicoke Clerk's Dept. archival photographs, is an excellent source for photographs of Etobicoke. Photographic highlights of other series include construction of the Humber Sewage Treatment Plant (Series 160 and 163). Other highlights include a film of Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh visiting Etobicoke in 1959 (Series 230, Item 17), as well as photographs of the Humber Valley surveys of 1912 (Series 23) and records of the homeowners' group The Thorncrest Homes Association Inc. (Fonds 55).
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