The East Toronto Story
The area, after being colonized by British settlers, was occupied in about 1850, when it was a considerable distance from the city of Toronto. It was incorporated as a village in 1888 when there were about 800 people living in the area. The area began to grow rapidly and in 1903 it was elevated from a village to a town. The southern part of the community by the lake became one of Toronto’s most popular travel destinations, and became home to hotels and amusement parks. The northern section, by contrast, was an industrial centre, home to the Grand Trunk Railway‘s main yards. These facilities stretched along most of Gerrard Street, and employed several hundred workers.
When East Toronto was annexed to city of Toronto in 1908 it had a population of about 5,000 people. The CN freight yards closed down in that same year of 1908 and relocated to Belleville and Etobicoke, a move that forced the area into a transition from a railway-based small town into a commuter-based neighbourhood within a city. The trunk yards themselves were essentially abandoned for over 90 years until a housing development was built on most of the land they once occupied