Please feel free to make suggestions on this topic. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. It is essentially a list of the years when events significantly changed the community, for better or worse. A history of First Nations in the Humber would be welcomed, as well as information on our industrial past.
In 1615, Etienne Brule travelled into the Great Lakes basin, seeing all five Great Lakes, and was the first European reported to travel the Humber. His travels triggered the fur trade that would change the face of the continent over the next two hundred years, and change the trading relations of the First Nations peoples.
1791 John Graves Simcoe became the first Lieutenant Governor of newly partitioned Upper Canada . In 1793 Upper Canada passes a watered down bill to slowly eliminate slavery, 41 years before the British passed similar legislation.
Returning from the 1793 parliamentary session at Niagara on the Lake, Simcoe travelled through what would become Mount Dennis, renaming the river after the English Humber river. Perhaps now is a good time to revert to the Anishinaabe name, “Cobechenonk” meaning “leave the canoes and go back”. Simcoe decides to build what would become Yonge Street rather than use the Carrying Place Trail.
Simcoe ordered the lands to be surveyed and granted to settlers. Ship builder John Dennis and brewmaster John Denison walk to the highest point visible from the Humber and decide to homestead on ‘Mount’ Dennis.
1801 is the earliest gravestone in St John’s Cemetery on the Humber. The Denison family would move to Toronto, keeping the farmland and becoming extremely wealthy from beer and land development when settlers flock to Upper Canada after the Napoleonic wars. The Dennis family would acquire most of the Humber Valley land from Weston to the Black Creek.
1812-1814 European Napoleonic Wars fought by proxy in Upper Canada, essentially First Nations vs Americans. First Nations were promised large tracts of land, but are to this day still trying to gain vacant possession. (read about Caledonia land claims )
1850 York Township is incorporated, Humber to Victoria Park/Scarborogh boundary under the ‘Baldwin’ 1849 Municipal Corporations Act. York Township would slowly shrink due to annexation by Toronto and secession by North York to become City of York.
1861 Toronto Street Railroad begins horse drawn street railroads to Weston
1867 Confederation of Canada ( Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI)
1885 Troops including George Taylor Denison III leave West Toronto Junction on the Canadian Pacific Railway to fight Louis Riel and the Metis. Denison declares Conservatives a “government of land sharks” but fights anyway. Riel is executed and the Metis lands confiscated.
1887 Village of West Toronto Junction incorporated, railways lead to industrialization from Lake Ontario to Malton.
1891 Dennis Avenue Public School opens
1892 Electrification of the Weston- Lambton line, Toronto Suburban Street Railway
1895 Four local companies merge to form Canadian Cycle and Motor (CCM), CCM would go on to produce automobiles
1904 Toronto Free Hospital for Consumptives (sanitorium) opens at Buttonwood Farm using obsolete horse drawn streetcars for patient accommodation
1910 First Flight over Toronto at Trethewey Air Field, unrelated fire destroys much of the hospital
1914 Suburban rail line extended to Woodbridge, (now the Runnymede Transmission Corridor); WW1 begins
1916 KODAK opens Mount Dennis site
1917 First X-ray machine at sanitorium
1924 TTC takes over street railway, bus and trolley services begin
1938 Ruddy Building opens, (it will soon be gone!) Hospitals and Sanitoria for Consumptives Act , capacity of 600 TB cases. If you think COVID-19 and SARS are bad….
1944 Three Westlake brothers from Mount Dennis die in D-Day invasion
1948 Humber River Conservation Authority formed, merged into Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) in 1956
1954 Hurricane Hazel floods area, 81 die in the region. West Park piggery and children’s playground in the valley are destroyed. Fourteen bodies retrieved from Black Creek.
1961 Mount Dennis Library opens at Weston and Eglinton. Previously the Library operated out of the Legion and other temporary sites.
1970 Eglinton Avenue opens from Weston Rd to Royal York, only 360 annual TB cases but 150 still in chronic care. Antibiotics have arrived
1971 Conservative Premier Bill Davis cancels the Richview Expressway. Although the expressway would have razed much of Mount Dennis, the cancellation led to a situation where the high rises approved to border it were allowed to be constructed, but the business district collapsed, leading to unemployment and poverty
1974 Consumptives Act repealed, hospital becomes a chronic care center named West Park Hospital
1983 CCM bankruptcy
1988 Frances Nunziata first elected, (York council), she becomes York Mayor in 1994
1994 NDP Premier Bob Rae breaks ground for Eglinton Subway
1995 Conservative Premier Mike Harris cancels work in progress on Eglinton subway
1998 Toronto annexes all of what was York township! Mount Dennis becomes part of Toronto wards 11 and 12, later both become Ward 5. Litigation still not resolved on the legality of this
2005 KODAK closes Mount Dennis site
2012 Construction FINALLY begins on Eglinton LRT
2013 MD Library reopens after $4M makeover; flooding causes tens of millions of dollars damage to homes in the area
2019 West Park begins redevelopment, existing buildings to be replaced
2020 Province announces plans to extend LRT to the airport