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New Toronto – A Brief History

May 14, 2020 (0) comment

Lakeshore Road & 6th streets looking east, approximately 1939 – Don Russell Drugs (right hand side) is still there today

New Toronto is only one square mile in size, located on the north shore of Lake Ontario, bounded by the Town of Mimico on the east, and Long Branch on the west.

In the 1880’s, New Toronto truly started its industrial development. In the October 25th, 1890 edition of the Toronto Globe, there was a full-page article entitled “Toronto’s Growing Suburb – New Toronto – As it is and what it will be.” The article is so interesting and full of sketches of buildings around town, such as the Industrial School for Girls, the Asylum, Morrison’s Brass Foundry, McDonald’s Stamping Works, John Sheene’s Hotel, and others. To view the article, you can access the Globe’s historical pages online at any Toronto Public Library.

In 1913, the Village of New Toronto, was incorporated, becoming separate from the Township of Etobicoke. The population of New Toronto at that time had reached 500. By 1923, the village had attained the population of 5000 required to establish status as a town and was incorporated with Charles Lovejoy as its first proud mayor.

Over the years, there seems to have been a lot of talk about amalgamation with Mimico. In 1916, the first proposal was made and approved by Mimico voters, but rejected by the New Toronto voters.

In 1920, New Toronto became a town.

New Toronto was once quoted as having the “highest value of manufacturing per square mile in North America” and was also able to boast about having the lowest tax rates of all the (then) 13 municipalities of “Metro Toronto”

In 1967, New Toronto rejoined Etobicoke, along with several other local communities, including Mimico and Long Branch, and then in 1998, the City of Etobicoke was amalgamated into the “Megacity” (pardon the pun) of the City of Toronto.

The following picture was donated by Perry Empey of Ridley’s Funeral Home.

Sadly, Perry passed away only a week after sending me the photo in November 2007. This is Lakeshore (The Highway) about 1910/1915 at about today’s 8th street looking west towards Brown’s Line. The white house in the centre of the picture to the left a little bit, is the previous Ridley Funeral Home building, at that time Baycroft’s, and previous to that the Martin house (an extensive history on this property can be found on our page for “The Martin Family” and continued on the history of the Ridley Funeral Home). The Assembly Hall can be seen tucked in behind the trees a little west of Baycroft’s. Goodyear was soon to build on the land in the forefront, opening in 1917.

A collection of early street photos – Credit: City of Toronto Archives

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