We love talking about how bumpin’ of a neighbourhood Yonge and Eglinton has become, but you might not know that the area has been prominent for quite some time. It’s cool to know the history behind your ‘hood and we’re here to give you just that.
Let’s start off with the history of the street names. Eglinton Avenue was formerly known as the 3rd Concession and was named after the Earl of Eglinton in Scotland, as well as Eglinton Castle. Eglinton is the only road that crosses all of Toronto’s former boroughs (there’s six of them), which doesn’t surprise us since it’s a super long road. The street really came into being during the mid-1900s when it experienced a ton of retail growth.
Although it’s a long street, the centrepiece of Eglinton Avenue is undoubtedly its intersection with Yonge Street. Yonge is one of the city’s oldest streets as it was first opened in 1796. John Grave Simcoe, a Toronto founder and Ontario’s first lieutenant governor, was in charge of naming the street which would become central to the city and decided to name it after his friend Sir George Yonge. The street was initially built as a means to enter and leave the city whether it be for civilians, military, or traders. One of its main purposes was to give the military easy access to the Great Lakes.
Isn’t it so cool how much history is behind just a street name?!
A few other fun facts about Yonge and Eglinton include:
The neighbourhood used to be called “Eglinton” – it was just a village back then
One of the most significant moments of the Upper Canada Rebellion was the Battle of Montgomery’s Tavern, which occurred just north of Eglinton on Yonge
The subway station opened in 1954 and at that point was the furthest north the Yonge line went
- In the late 1800s, three farming villages came together and divided their plots leading to the first wave of development in the area
All photos via Toronto Archives