Toronto's Historical Plaques
Learn a little of Toronto's history as told through its plaques
The Junction BIA
Photos and transcription by contributor Wayne Adam - Posted May, 2012
Plaque coordinates: 43.665321 -79.468617
The area known as 'The Junction' lies along an ancient Indigenous Peoples' trade route that followed the shoreline of what was once Lake Iroquois from modern-day Detroit to Montreal. In 1817, Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe built the Dundas Highway as a military road, to connect York, now Toronto, to the western end of Lake Ontario at Dundas, now part of Hamilton. The earliest businesses in the area were taverns catering to merchants travelling along this route. The Keele family established the Carlton Racecourse in the area and the first running of the Queen's Plate - Canada's oldest thoroughbred horse race - took place here in 1860. Following the arrival of the railroads in the 1880's, the old racetrack and surrounding area was developed by D.W. Clendenan. The Junction became a major industrial centre with businesses such as Heintzman Pianos, the Union Stockyards, Wilkinson Ploughs, Canada Cycle & Motor Company and the Campbell Mining Company. The town also had a Customs House so that local businesses could clear their railroad imports without having to go to Toronto. The Village of West Toronto Junction was founded in 1884 at the intersection of Dundas and Keele Streets. In 1889, it merged with the nearby villages of Carlton and Davenport, to become the Town of West Toronto Junction. It subsequently grew into the Town of Toronto Junction in 1892, then the City of West Toronto before it was amalgamated with the City of Toronto in 1909. Because of a wild reputation, and helped by the efforts of the temperance movement, the town voted, in 1903, to ban the sale of alcohol. The ban lasted until 1996 for most of the area and was completely removed in 2000. The Junction is home to the oldest purpose-built synagogue in Ontario and the city's first mosque (visited by Malcolm X in 1968) was located here. In the 1990's, the end of prohibition and the completion of a major streetscape improvement project revitalized the area and led to the economic and cultural rebirth of The Junction.
Note: If you wish to ask me a question, please use the email link in the menu.
Note: Comments are moderated. Yours will appear on this page within 24 hours
(usually much sooner).
Note: As soon as the comment is posted, a link to it will appear on the home page in the section "Here are the 10 latest plaque pages with a new comment added by a visitor to this site."