Ken Maxwell was a member of the Etobicoke Fire Department who was a part of the rescue efforts during Hurricane Hazel 63 years ago. This moving video recently produced by CBC shares some of the horrifying accounts he remembered from that dreadful day in Etobicoke History! Click the image to watch the video now! - Video Courtesy of CBC.
Is this the volunteer opportunity you’ve been looking for? Or perhaps you have a friend with the kind of experience we need?
The Etobicoke Historical Society is seeking a volunteer to fill the key role of Treasurer on our Board of Directors.
The EHS Treasurer will have the following qualifications and experience:
For more information or to submit your resume, please contact:
Joel Winter, President, at email@example.com
New online image library includes over 1,810 images representing 20 historical neighbourhoods.
In what has been an ambitious multi-year project by the Etobicoke Historical Society, outgoing President James Geneau was pleased to announce today the addition of a new Image library on the historical society’s web site: www.etobicokehistorical.com.
The new online image library includes over 1,810 images organized into 20 historical neighbourhoods within Toronto’s Etobicoke area. It took almost two years of work by volunteer board members of the society to catalogue and digitize these images - originally stored away in the official archives of the society. As the Etobicoke Historical Society prepares to celebrate its 60th Anniversary in 2018, this project is seen as being a major legacy project to celebrate this occasion!
“This project could not have been possible without the great organizational efforts of our archivists Phil Enros and Jill Berni along with the research of our History Officer, Denise Harris,” said James Geneau. “The digitization of these images means that our collection is now unlocked for all to see and explore the rich photographic history of Etobicoke!”
Within each neighbourhood gallery, visitors to the site can scroll and sort images based on many different criteria, be it houses, people, community events, churches, civic buildings, and more. The collection will continue to grow and research will be ongoing to update the content and descriptions over the coming years.
To learn more and to view the online image library, simply visit: www.etobicokehistorical/imagelibrary
About Etobicoke Historical Society
The Etobicoke Historical Society was formed in May 1958 as an answer to a growing concern among Etobicoke citizens about the rapidly changing character of what was then the Township of Etobicoke, and the need to preserve our early history. With a rich history, the Etobicoke Historical Society has grown to become the leading organization dedicated to the preservation of Etobicoke's heritage assets and community education. With a growing and loyal membership, our many special projects and events, as well as our annual awards of merit; the Etobicoke Historical Society is dedicated to the community we serve.
Did you know our archives continue to grow each and every year? It is true!
In fact, our archivists have recently updated our collection with the latest items of historical significance under our care! To see the list, simply visit our Archives Page to read more!
CLICK HERE to visit the Archives Page
Special Thanks to Phil Enros and Jill Berni for their hard work in keeping our archives up to date!
Nick Doran was one of the kindest, most generous, most gentlemanly and most humble people I have ever met. And it is with a heavy heart that I’m sharing with you these few words about him today.
Nick had been ill and in pain with cancer for some time, and the illness finally took him from us on Thursday, March 23, 2017 when he was in Florida, surrounded by his family.
Here are a few things I know about Nick’s life… He was born in Toronto, and attended the Toronto Islands Public School. He graduated from St. Helen’s Catholic Elementary School, followed by Western Technical School. He then graduated with honours from the Police Sciences program at Humber College, and served as a police officer with the Toronto Police Service for 34 years, rising to the rank of sergeant. Even a brief conversation with Nick about his time on the job and you would know instantly how much he loved it.
Nick has always been involved with his community. For 25 years, he coached ladies’ basketball and he was a past-president of the Ontario Basketball Association. He was also a past president of the Catholic Youth Organization of Metropolitan Toronto.
Nick was a founding member of the Aerospace Heritage Foundation of Canada, and a past president of the Toronto Aerospace Museum. He loved to hear and tell stories about aerospace history.
I knew Nick best for his volunteer work with the Etobicoke Historical Society. Simply put, he was fascinated by Etobicoke History. He first joined the EHS Board of Directors in May 1997 as editor of our newsletter, The Aldernews. In November 1997 he stepped up to fill the role of president, which he held for five years. He created and launched EHS’s first website in September 1999, and took over as webmaster in 2003, a position he held for 10 years. He served as secretary for 10 years, interim treasurer for two years, and speaker coordinator from 2005 to 2016. On top of all of this, Nick volunteered to set up EHS displays and greet people at countless public events. He welcomed any opportunity to talk about Etobicoke history and was usually the first to volunteer. Nick also found time to serve on the Montgomery’s Inn Community Advisory Panel and was on the board of Montgomery’s Innovators.
Our condolences to Nick’s wife, Shirley, his children and his many grandchildren for their loss. At Nick’s request, there was no public service or funeral, and he has been cremated. Instead a private celebration of his life was held by his family. Nick preferred to have people remember him in his best of times. For anyone interested, on June 5, 2017, the regular 9:00 am mass at Our Lady of Sorrows Roman Catholic Church, 3055 Bloor St. W., will be dedicated to Nick.
Nick, the world is a better place for you having been here…
Denise Harris, on behalf of the Board and Membership of the Etobicoke Historical Society.
Collecting and preserving material related to the history of Etobicoke has always been part of the purpose of our Society. In addition, our constitution calls for making that material accessible. To that end, the recently completed inventory of the EHS Archives is now available for consultation on the Society’s website.
The EHS Archives contain slightly over 1,100 accessioned items. The collection actually includes several hundred more individual pieces because some similar things are packaged and referenced under one accession number – examples include a group of nails, a set of handkerchiefs, and the more than 90 doilies in the collection. The EHS archives consist of a wide range of objects, including books, papers, paintings, photos, household objects, furniture, tools, linens and clothing. Many of the items relate to the Wood family. All together there are currently over 50 boxes of artifacts.
Distribution of Accessioned Items by Category Classification Percentage:
Over half of the current collection had been accessioned in the early 1980s. These items were catalogued in two ledgers. During the past year, this information was checked against the collection and transferred into an Excel spreadsheet. The remainder of the collection was then accessioned and incorporated into the spreadsheet. Entries there include a brief description of each item, a broad classification, the date accessioned, the donor (where this information is known), and an accession number.
To learn more about our archives and collections...CLICK HERE.
For further information on the EHS Archives or to donate artifacts or documents, please contact the archivists, Jill Berni or Philip Enros by CLICKING HERE.
After months of development, we are thrilled to announce a newly re-designed edition of our popular book on Etobicoke's history..."Etobicoke Remembered"!
Etobicoke Remembered tells the story of how Etobicoke became, successively, a home for the aboriginal peoples, a major trading route, an active mill centre, and a suburb that provided homes and jobs for a growing post-World War II population.
This meticulously researched and detailed history gives careful attention to 22 Etobicoke neighbourhoods, telling each one’s history through the years. Founding families, community leaders, and institutions are all explored. Robert A. Given’s deft touch and over 100 old photographs, drawings and maps will make you feel that you have gone back in time to touch the past.
Given thanks his wife of over sixty years, Joyce, who typed the manuscript, and fellow-Etobian Molly Sutherland, who edited the book.
About the Author..
Exploring Etobicoke’s history has been an all-consuming hobby for author Robert (Bob) A. Given for over 70 years.
In 1950, Bob wrote The Story of Etobicoke for the Township of Etobicoke to commemorate their Centennial. His column, “Etobicoke in Pictures”, appeared in the local Etobicoke Press from 1955 to 1960. In 1958, he was a founding member of the Etobicoke Historical Society where he is still an active member. Bob was named to the Etobicoke Hall of Fame in 1974 and was the recipient of the Etobicoke Historical Society’s Jean Hibbert Memorial Award in 1983 and again in 2008. Researching and writing Etobicoke Remembered, has been a labour of love that has spanned 15 years.
Get Your Copy Today!
A limited supply of this new version of the book is currently for sale at Montgomery's Inn. You can find it in the gift shop and it retails for $35.00 CDN. It makes a great gift for friends or family who love history or live in the area and want to know more about this special part of the city. Get your copy today!
Exciting News! Etobicoke Historical Society has a new crest!
We revealed it last night at our Annual General Meeting!
While our old crest has served us for many years, we felt it was time to have a design more relevant to an organization committed to the history and people of Etobicoke – past and present.
We removed the figurehead and replaced it with a single Alder tree.
In acknowledgement of the Mississauga peoples who occupied these lands at the time of contact with British settlers in the late 18th century, we have included the term "Adobigok," which translates as "place of the alders" in the Anishinaabe language.
We also made some minor changes to the secondary symbols above the tree:
a beaver to represent the fur trade;
a mill to represent early industry;
and a cannon to respect past conflicts.
This new crest is one we believe will best serve our organization for years to come.
What do you think?
This June saw the installation of street signs along selected points on Albion Rd & Islington Ave recognizing the historic village of Thistletown. The process has been a long and contentious one, but finally we saw these signs erected.
The process began with a local resident who had contacted myself and our local Councillor, Vincent Crisanti with the idea of having these signs. Through the Councillor’s office I found that traditionally these signs are instigated by BIA’s (Business Improvement Area’s) for local areas. The BIA’s design and pay for these signs which usually recognize the history of a neighbourhood.
Here in Thistletown things are a little different. Our BIA is named “Albion Islington Square, Home of Thistletown Village” which reflects the business area but not the residential area. The resident who proposed the idea wished to have historic signs installed at the four corners of Albion & Islington, as well as other predominant streets in the area. You would think that this would be any easy process, especially since this resident was willing to pay for the signs. Unfortunately, we were wrong!
We started off by forming the Thistletown Historical Society since all requests of this nature have to be brought to the City by an organization. After that was done, we put in our request to Transportation Services and cc’d it to our Councillor.
The BIA found about our plans and immediately contacted us with a proposal to erect street signs along the business area reflecting “Albion Islington Square”. Their reasoning was that any street signs recognizing the area should say “Albion Islington Square” since those streets were within their boundaries. Since BIA’s are recognized & partially funded by the City of Toronto we were unable to proceed with our signs until we came to an agreement with them. I won’t pretend that it was easy doing so. After several meetings between the BIA, our local Councillor and ourselves, we finally came to a compromise.
Eventually, in the interest of making this happen, we agreed to install our signs outside of their boundaries and in return they are installing signs that will read “Albion Islington Square, Home of Thistletown Village” within their boundaries. They are also responsible for replacing any signs that are damaged or destroyed whereas the Thistletown Historical Society is only responsible for the initial cost of our signs and any damage or replacement will be done by the City.
After consultation with the City, we came up with the design and the signs were produced. There are 18 signs that have been installed on Islington Ave from Finch Ave in the north to Wardlaw Cres., then from Sandhill Dr to Barker Ave. On Albion Rd they will be installed from Kipling Ave to Toddbrook Cres and then from Lund Ave to Bankfield Dr. They were installed in June of 2015 & the Albion Islington Square signs were installed in October of 2015.
We have had a number of residents order the Thistletown street signs for their own street & they should be installed by December 1. Anyone else who is interested, the cost is $102 per sign and all they need to do is take up a collection from their neighbours to make it happen. Our goal is to have every street in Thistletown reflect the history of our area.
This is all thanks to a long term resident who wants to preserve Thistletown and its history. I wish I could divulge the name, but this resident wishes to remain anonymous. If you are reading this, just know that we appreciate your community spirit more than I can put into words.
- Written and Posted by Joanna Twitchin, EHS Membership Secretary & Board Member
Cultural Hotspot and Lakeshorts are partnering on a film project called Why I Love Etobicoke. They want your short film – even just a few seconds, shot with your phone - it should reflect what makes Etobicoke unique, special, cultural or personal. Winning submissions will be edited together with others to create the opening film of the Lakeshorts International Short Film Festival’s 5th Anniversary and Cultural Hotspot launch! Selected videos win a spot in the running for the People’s Choice Award (cash prize of $200).
Selected films will be screened at the Cultural Hotspot launch celebration on Saturday, May 2 at 12:30 p.m. at the Assembly Hall as well as at Lakeshorts' Loved and Local and Gala Events.
Submit your film to www.lakeshorts.ca. Deadline to submit is April 10 at 6 p.m.
Visit www.lakeshorts.ca for more information.
News & Updates
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