This research guide focuses on Toronto Public Library's resources on the former City of York, a municipality that was located northwest of the old city of Toronto, southwest of the former city of North York and east of the Humber River and the former city of Etobicoke. It was one of seven municipalities that were amalgamated in 1998 to form the current City of Toronto.
City of York coat of arms.
The history of the former City of York dates back to 1791 when Upper Canada (Ontario) was first surveyed and divided into townships. Originally known as Dublin, York Township was a large area surrounding Toronto, designated as the provincial capital and renamed York in 1793. The name Toronto was resumed when the Town of York became a city in 1834.
On January 1, 1850, the Township of York was incorporated within the large County of York. Between 1853 and 1926, about a dozen areas separated from York Township and became incorporated as individual municipalities, considerably reducing the size of the township. From 1883 to 1912, several of these municipalities, including Yorkville, Brockton, Parkdale, East Toronto, West Toronto and North Toronto, were annexed to the city of Toronto.
On April 15, 1953, York became one of thirteen municipalities in the new Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto. York and the neighbouring Town of Weston amalgamated on January 1, 1967 and were incorporated as the Borough of York. In turn, it was incorporated as a city on June 10, 1983. York ceased to be an individual municipality on January 1, 1998, and became part of the amalgamated City of Toronto.
Searching the Library Website
Recommended Subjects and Keywords
More sources are available through the TPL old catalogue. To access follow these steps:
1. Go to TPL homepage
2. Click on "Old Catalogue" to the right of the search button
3. In the "Exact Search" field, select "Subject Heading"
4. In search bar, type "York (Toronto, Ont.)"
Maria A. Shchuka Local History Reference Collection
[The collection is located on the second floor of the library]
Child, Youth and Family Services Directory: for the City of York, by City of York Community and Agency Social Planning Council. 1992.
Community Profile of the City of York: a Social Report of the Metro, by the York Community and Agency Social Planning Council. 1992.
City of York: A Local History, by Gene Miller. 1987.
City of York Municipal Code, by Michael J. Smither and Nicholas R. Smither. 1994
A Local Immigration Partnership (LIP)-funded research project, sponsored by the Borough of York. Note that Volume II has the title: Township of York: Historical Sources.
Outline of the history of the Dominion of Canada and a history of the City of Toronto and the County of York. See "The Township of York," volume I, pages 77-96. Read both volumes online at Internet Archive (Volume I, Volume II).
A History of Toronto Fire Services, 1874-2002, by Jon Lasiuk. 2002.
History of Weston, by Fredrick D. Cruickshank. 1937.
The Legacy of York: (a Survey of the Early Development of the Communities of York), by Wilbert G. Thomas. 1992.
Mount Dennis Redevelopment Study: Phase I Report; Background Research & Analysis for: City of York, by Macaulay Shiomi Howson. 1990.
Pioneer Life in the County of York, by Edwin C. Guillet. 1946.
Volume 1 of the County History Series.
Robertson's Landmarks of Toronto, by John Ross Robertson. 1974.
The Settlement of York County, by John Mitchell. 1952.
St. Clair West in Pictures: a History of the Communities of Carlton, Davenport, Earlscourt and Oakwood, by Nancy Byers and Barbara Myrvold. 2008.
Stories of York, edited by Bill Bailey. 1980.
York Memorial Presbyterian Church: a Brief History, edited by Jean Ann Lowry. 1994.
York Township: An Historical Summary, by J. C. Boylen. 1954.
York, Upper Canada Minutes of Town Meetings and Lists of Inhabitants, 1797-1823, edited by Christine Mosser. 1984.
Other Books at Toronto Public Library
Commemorative Biographical Record of the County of York, Ontario: Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens and Many of the Early Settled Families, by J. H. Beers & Co. 1907
From Methodist Episcopal and Wesleyan Methodist to Central United: The History of Central United Church, Weston, Ontario, by Stanley V. Musselwhite. 1970
Heritage: A History of Riverside Mission, Riverside Church, Weston, Ont., Riverside-Emry Church, Weston, Ont., with History of Claremont Methodist Church (the old Emery Church) also the new Emery Church, by C. J. Ware. 1978
I Was There: A Book of Reminiscences, by Mary Edith Carey Tyrrell. 1938
Illustrated Historical Atlas of the County of York, by Miles & Co. 1969
Originally published in 1878, this was one of approximately forty county atlases published in Canada between 1874 and 1881. Consists of a historical text, township and town maps, portraits, views, and patron directory / business cards. In addition, names of residents are marked on lots of the township maps.
Life in Ontario: A Social History, by Adrian Dingle. 1968
Lost Toronto: Images of the City's Past, by William Dendy. 1993
Old Toronto: A Selection of Excerpts from Landmarks of Toronto, John Ross Robertson. 1954
Ontario Since 1867, by Joseph Schull. 1978
A Pictorial History of Weston, by Weston Historical Society. 1981
A Picture History of Ontario, by Roger Hall. 1978
Pioneering in North York: A History of the Borough, by Patricia W. Hart. 1968
The Story of Etobicoke, by Robert A. Given. 1973
A Thread in the Gardhouse Family Tapestry, by Wilbert W. Gardhouse. 1969
Toronto During the French Régime: A History of the Toronto Region form Brûlé to Simcoe, 1615-1793, by Percy James Robinson. 1965
The Trail of the Black Walnut, by George Elmore Reaman. 1957
William Tyrrell of Weston, by Edith Lennox Morrison. 1937
Using Online Resources
Toronto Public Library Digital Archives
- York (Ont. : Township)--Maps
- Map of the Township of York and the City of Toronto
- County of York
York neighborhoods (Map)
Scanned TPL Reference Material
Including historical information, community and industrial profiles, and a history of the City of York flag and crest. (c.1981)
Detailed report on the services, programs and statistics of the Borough of York Public Library system, including a breakdown by branch.
Booklet containing a profile of the City of York. Including information on labour, employment, population, and future development. (c.1986)
A selected list of books about the history of York and its notable citizens. Several titles about the history of the Toronto region and the province of Ontario are also included for historical reference. [See 'Recommended Books' section for links to TPL holdings]
Profile and summary of City of York local government. (c.1985)
Dennis Avenue School Newsletter. (c.1951)
An informational pamphlet composed by LACAC (Local Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee) regarding the city of York. Details eight properties which have been designated as "being of historical and ard1itectural value or interest" under the Ontario Heritage Act, including a picture, historical and architectural information, and its location on the map of the city.
Newspaper clippings from various newspapers, on topics such as transit problem, expansion, tax gains and hikes, zoning bylaws and conflicts, and amalgamation. (1969-1980). [Please note that clippings from The Globe and Mail and The Toronto Star are accessible through ProQuest, Toronto Public Library card login required.]
Article by Dan O'Reilly. Source unknown. (c.1990).
Informational pamphlet from the City of York Council, 1994-1997.
Articles and Reports about the Borough of York. Including a history of the Village Weston, a directory of churches (1980), a report to the Borough of York Planning Board regarding the housing policy (1975), and a profile of York (1982).
A series of articles regarding the history of York County, 1615-1950.
Google Drive folder containing York Public Library Annual Report pamphlets, 1980-1997 (excluding 1994-1996).
Google Drive folder containing York Public Library Newsletters. Including: News & Notes (1981-1982) and News Plus (1986-1993).
Newspaper clippings from various newspapers, regarding York Township, amalgamation, annexation, etc. (1950-1980). Includes the chapter on The Township of York from The History of Toronto and the County of York, Ontario, Vol.1 (pp. 77-96). [See 'Recommended Books' for TPL holdings and links to the online copies]. [Please note that clippings from The Globe and Mail and The Toronto Star are accessible through ProQuest, Toronto Public Library card login required.]
Miscellaneous clippings and reference material on the City of York. Including the chapter on The Township of York (East) from The History of Toronto and the County of York, Ontario, Vol.2 (pp. 179-208) [See 'Recommended Books' for TPL holdings and links to the online copies.]
[To access the physical copies of these files please see the librarian on the 2nd floor reference desk. Please note that not all item are available.]
Recommended Articles (newest to oldest)
The Township of York Railways (Deceased), by James Bow. Transit Toronto. June 25, 2015.
Toronto, by James Maurice Stockford Careless. The Canadian Encyclopedia. March 17, 2013 (Revised by Elaine Young, July 27, 2015.)
Rebellion in York Township, by David Wencer. Heritage Toronto. January 6, 2013.
Towns and Townships in Southern Ontario, by Taylor Griffith. Economic Geography. April, 1945.
The Changing Shape of Ontario - County of York, Ministry of Government and Customer Services. [no date].
Discover Toronto's Heritage (blog)
Presented by Heritage Toronto, "a charitable arms-length agency of the City of Toronto established in 1949 to promote a greater appreciation for the city's rich architectural, cultural, archaeological and natural heritage."
"Simple and free access to a selection of notable historical maps of Toronto." Compiled by Nathan Ng.
"The Internet Archive is a [...] non-profit that was founded to build an Internet library. Its purposes include offering permanent access for researchers, historians, scholars, people with disabilities, and the general public to historical collections that exist in digital format." Link contains digitized materials regarding the former City of York.
Resources at other institutions
City of Toronto Archives
This page contains records created by the City of Toronto and its predecessor municipalities, including records from the Township, Borough, and city of York. To reach those records either use the link provided in the list, titled "York 1850-1997" or scroll down toward the end of the page.
University of Toronto
An Examination of the Work of the Educational Social Worker in York Township Public Schools, by Ruth L. Johnston. 1947.
Master's thesis. [This thesis is located at the University of Toronto Archives, located at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library. Contact to access]
Flying With One Wing: Memories of Life in York Township, by Catherine Townsley Pears and edited by Peter B. Mérey. 1989.
This research guide was developed by Barbara Baillargeon, Librarian, Maria A. Shchuka, Toronto Public Library and Abby Sharon, Graduate Student, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto.
Updated April 15, 2016