New Toronto - Early History
The square mile that eventually became New Toronto, was originally part of the "Indian Hunting Grounds" inhabited by the Mississauga Indians. In 1787, the area was included in "The Toronto Purchase", a deal that Lord Dorchester arranged for the British Crown; a purchase of a quarter million acres from the Mississaugas, stretching 14 miles along the shores of Lake Ontario, from present day Scarborough to Etobicoke and traveling 30 miles inland. The price? 1700 pounds sterling and some goods.

There is a historical plaque mounted on a cairn in Marie Curtis Park at the mouth of the Etobicoke River commemorating the Toronto Purchase. The plaque reads:

In August 1788, Alexander Aitkin commenced the survey of the western boundary of the lands purchased from the Mississauga Indians near here, at the mouth of Etobicoke Creek. Etobicoke Historical Board, 1988"

The Ojibways described the area between the Etobicoke and Humber Rivers as "Wah-Do-Be-Kaug" which means, "Where the black alders grow". It was once spelled "Ato-Be-Coake" by the first Provincial Land Surveyor, Augustus Jones, and then eventually became Etobicoke.

In 1792, John Graves Simcoe, the first Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, designated nineteen counties in Upper Canada, one of which was York County. Etobicoke Township was part of York County.

Most of the early settlers of Etobicoke were part of the Queen's Rangers. Simcoe chose this area to place the Rangers in order to protect the Capital of Upper Canada. In fact, in 1795, the Honourable Samuel Bois Smith was given a grant of 1530 acres, extending from what is now
Kipling to Etobicoke creek, to as far north as what is now Bloor Street. Smith was a major in command of the Queen's Rangers at Fort York. Smith's house survived in Long Branch until 1955, and of course his name lives on today holding title to Colonel Samuel Smith Park. (
Sam Smith by Robert A. Given)

After the war of 1812, discharged soldiers were given grants of lands in the area. Etobicoke was attractive to land owners, as the taxes were relatively low. The first land patent was given to a Sergeant Patrick Mealey, and his wife, Honor, on March 18, 1797, a lot west of today's Royal York Road at the lake. My understanding is that the lots were about 200 acres each, so that would have pretty much covered the east end of today's New Toronto. (
Beginnings by Robert A. Given

In 1799, a patent was given to Private Joseph Hunt. Hunt later became a sergeant with the 49th regiment of Foot, and was killed in action at the current site of Battlefield Park, Stoney Creek, on June 6th, 1813. (
Historical Plaques of Hamilton-Wentworth). Hunt's daughter, Frances E., married John Murchison (History of Toronto and County of York, Ontario).  Their son, Richard Murchison
, owned land in the New Toronto area, according to the 1878 County of York map shown below. (It makes me wonder if Murchison's land was part of Hunt's original patented lot given the relationship).

William Hooton Land Petition

To His Honor, Peter Russell Esq., President of the Province of Upper Canada In Council.
The Petition of William Hooton late Serj'. Q's Rangers Humbly Shewith
That your petitioner having been discharged as a Serjent in the Queens Rangers, petitioned the Honorable the Executive Council for Lands - and received a grant of 400 acres - that your petitioner conceives himself entitled to 100 acres more, from there being 500 acres allowed to reduced Serjents - prays your Honor will be pleased to allow him the additional 100 acres and your petitioner is in duty bound will ever pray -
William Hooton.
York 29th May '98 (1798)

William Hooton (c1740-1808) was a retired soldier from the 14th of Foot and the Queen's Rangers (or 1st American Regiment) and was an early applicant for land in Etobicoke Township. His wife was Mary, allegedly a Whitney (a family who also settled in the Humber Valley). It appears the Hooton family came from Bedfordshire in England where there are two baptism records in Bedford Town. Registrations of marriages of his three daughters are at St. James Church in early Town of York:

About 1801 Mary Ann Hooton (bc1783) married Henry Jackson (bc1752) allegedly in Nottinghamshire (served in the English Reg. 40th of Foot), and later operated the Peacock Tavern near the present west Toronto Junction. His large family seems to have moved to the area of Markham and Uxbridge.

Margaret Hooton (bc1784) to Isaac Mitchell in 1803 (Isaac Mitchell joined the 14th Regiment of Foot in 1786 and in the Queen's Rangers at least from 1792 then discharged 5 March 1798). Isaac died shortly after his son John was born. His wife then married another soldier, John Peeler born in Lower Canada in 1811.

Charles Cameron from Kilmonivaig, Inverness (served in the 26th of Foot) married Sarah Hooton (bc1789) in 1808 and took up a land grant in Toronto Township near Erindale. Several of his large family moved to the Acton area of Halton County. It is very likely that Charles Cameron had at least two sisters at York: one, Mary, married John Berry in 1802 and settled in Etobicoke Township, as did Ann who married Philip Haines in 1808.


Throughout the 1800's, the New Toronto area at the time was largely farmland. In 1888, the Mimico Asylum was built, to ease the overcrowded Queen Street Asylum, and shortly thereafter, the electric radials came down Lakeshore with industries starting to settle just north of the Lakeshore.

Digital Library Collections - County Atlas Project - McGill University
This website has county atlases from the period of 1874 -1881. Just click on Township and select Etobicoke. On the button entitled "County Atlases" it gives an excellent description of concessions and how they were allotted, and the maps provide the names of the owners of the lots.

Above, is a portion of the 1878 Etobicoke map showing the Long Branch, New Toronto, and Mimico areas. 
Click on the links below for some family histories related to the lot owners on the New Toronto area of the map:

Charles Northcote: Concession 1 SFL Lot 2

Mrs. Murray: Concession I SFL Lot 2

G.H. Green: Concession I SFL Lot 3

Richard Murchison: Concession I SFL Lot 4

William Martin: Concession I SFL Lot 5

Mrs. I. Bates: Concession I SFL Lot 5

Henry Whitlam: Concession 1 SFL Lot 6

Harrison estate: Concession 2 Lot 6


The map below is a portion of the Mimico Map from 1890 published at Wiki:

What's interesting between these two maps, is that what is now Kipling Avenue was Mimico Avenue in 1890. In the 1878 map above, the road is not named but is represented by the line segregating lots 5 & 6. Today, Mimico Avenue is in the centre of Mimico. It is also interesting to see the clear residential development that took place over the 12 years (notice the Asylum on the south of lot 5 below), and the change in railway lines, from the Great Western Railway (above) to the Grand Trunk Railway (below) and the additional Toronto, Hamilton & Buffalo Railway (below).