5 lost villages you might not know existed in Toronto
Not much ink is spilled over Toronto's lost villages. The primary reason for this is there's very little trace of them left. While some of their names might sound familiar, the places that they were have long been claimed by successive waves of development and expansion in this city. Still, if you know where to look, you can still spot signs of these former communities hiding in plain sight.
Before Yorkville gained its reputation as the hub of bohemian and coffee house culture in the early 1960s, Gerrard Village was the place where artists congregated. You can still see some evidence of what was referred to as "the Village" in the row of Victorian houses on Gerrard between Bay St. and Laplante Ave., though the character of the area faded by the mid 1970s.
If you've ever been speeding along on the 427 nearing the ramp to the 401 and seen a small cemetery in the middle of a cloverleaf, you know where the hamlet of Richview was once located. The little cemetery is all that is left of the rural community that was founded here back in 1852. At its height, Richview Village had a blacksmith, a butcher, general store, and a chapel.
Todmordon Mills should be a familiar name to those who've explored the Don Valley, as you can still visit the restored paper mill near Pottery Rd., which serves as a museum. What's less known is that the area used to be known as Don Mills and the buildings that once housed the village's hotel and general store can still be spotted at 1226 and 1234 Broadview Avenue.
Brockton Village is making something of a comeback as an area, but signs of the early settlement here are few and far between. Brockton was actually a busier place than nearby Parkdale in the mid 19th century, but the town was only incorporated for three years before the city of Toronto annexed it in 1884. The former town hall still remains on the southwest corner of Brock and Dundas.
Highland Creek was born out of the efforts of Asa Danforth Jr. who was commissioned to build a road to the east of York (now Toronto) at the turn of the 19th century. This section of present day Kingston Rd. was built to bridge two sections of the earlier street, and still features the gorgeous Morrish General Store, which was spared when the Highway 2A bypass was built.
Photo of Gerrard Village from the Toronto Archives.
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