Timeline of St. Clair West Neighbourhood
For 15,000 years, this has been traditional territory of the Huron Wendat, Seneca and Petun First Nations and the Mississaugas of the Credit. A long-standing First Nations trail, now Davenport Road, crosses below the bluff that is the former shore of glacial lake Iroquois.
1793: John Graves Simcoe chooses “York” as the name of the settlement he establishes beside Garrison Creek.
1805: Treaty 13 (also called the Toronto Purchase) signed with the Mississaugas of the Credit. Terms not settled until 2010.
1818: The land north of Davenport is given over to “country homes” for government officials and their friends.
1824: Private roads with toll booths such as the one at Bathurst and Davenport Rds. (shown) are established. The roads are basically stretches of mud.
1824: Immigrants from Britain begin arriving after the Napoleonic Wars and clear land for farms in what was known as the Township of York.
1830: The first brick home north of Davenport Rd is built by farmer Bartholomew Bull. It is called Springmount and sits just north of Davenport Rd.
1834: The name of the nearby city is changed from York to Toronto.
1851: There are 30 homes along the 3rd Concession, which would later be renamed St. Clair Ave.
1876: Some farmers begin holding prayer meetings in each other’s homes near Tyrrell and Rushton. The area is mainly market gardens to serve the city, but also produced gravel, sand and bricks for building homes.
1878: Opening of Zion Methodist Church on land donated by the Punnett family.
1880: Investors and speculators begin buying the farms and subdividing them for homes. The area around Earlscourt was the first to be developed, then Kenwood (north of St. Clair) and Bracondale, which included the area east of Christie and south of St. Clair.
1889: Perry family donates land at St. Clair and Rushton Rd for a brick church, called Zion Methodist.
1892: Davenport Street Railway Company begins operating an electric railway along St. Clair.
1904: Toronto Junction, a railway and warehouse area, votes to go dry.
1907: Many newcomers are working-class immigrants from Britain, attracted to jobs in local industries, including railway, stockyards, steam automobiles, mattress-making.
1910: Earlscourt and Dovercourt to St. Clair Ave. are annexed by the city of Toronto.
1911: Oakwood High School relocated to Oakwood and St. Clair W.
1912: McMurrich School opens
1913: Regal Road School opens
1913: St. Clair streetcar begins service.
1924: St. Clair Methodist Church sanctuary opens.
1925: United Church union brings together the Methodist Church, Congregationalist Union and 70 per cent of Presbyterian Churches. St. Clair Methodist becomes St. Clair United Church.
1938: There are 1,550 in Sunday school at St. Clair United Church, with average attendance of 1,000 children. It is the largest Sunday School in the United Church.
1947: St. Clair United Church has 2,465 members
1966: The name of the church is changed to St. Matthew’s United Church after amalgamating with Epworth United. The church has 750 members.
1969: Vaughan Co-op Nursery, now Hippo Nursery School, moves into St. Matthew’s
1982: St. Matthew’s Bracondale House opened after St. Matthew’s spearheads project to create homes for low-income seniors.
1986: Wychwood Open Door Drop-In, a project of a group of local churches, begins serving a lunch at St. Matthew’s.
2005: First Interfaith Out of the Cold moves to St. Matthew’s one night a week.
2019: The Stop takes over Wychwood Open Door.
For more local history, see St. Clair West Oral History Project.
Tollkeeper's cottage at Davenport and Bathurst.
1890 Map of St. Clair West area. Church in red.
Children at the Dufferin Public Library in 1930 (Toronto Archives)