UrbanToronto has partnered with Heritage Toronto to capture a moment in Toronto's past. On a weekly basis, we will both be highlighting a historic photo of the city's people, places and events, and will be telling the stories behind them.

Many thanks to both Gary Switzer of MOD Developements and Maya Bilbao for putting together the photos and research.

This week's photo:

Eglinton Avenue at Dufferin Street, 1924

Like every corner in Toronto, Eglinton and Dufferin Streets has its own story to tell. The area was settled in the early 19th century by Matthew Parsons who owned a farm called Fairbank’s. The farm was part of a larger 200 acre plot of land in the vicinity of current day Dufferin and Eglinton streets.

In the mid 19th century, settlers moved into the area and a village began to emerge. A post office was located at the corner of Eglinton and Dufferin in the 1870’s and hotels and restaurants soon followed. Vaughan Road, originally a native trail, intersected with Eglinton and Dufferin Streets on its way from Yonge to Vaughan Township. Today, Vaughan has changed greatly, and forms a dead end at Eglinton and Dufferin Streets. But in this 1924 photo looking west from Dufferin and Eglinton, a car can be seen speeding along Vaughan. A branch of the Dominion Bank stands on the corner as well as numerous shops lining Eglinton.

Matthew Parsons donated part of his land to built the Fairbank Methodist Church, founded in the 1840’s. The first church was replaced with a new structure in 1889 that evolved into the Fairbank United Church in 1925. Modified from the original, the church still stands on Dufferin Street at Wingold Avenue.

Fairbank became one of the stops on the Beltline Railway, a speculative railway venture in the 1890's that proposed to link numerous suburban communities. Fairbank was touted to be among “the Highlands of Toronto”, but the project failed soon after.

The village of Fairbank remained part of York West Township until it was swallowed up into Metropolitan Toronto. The area is now part of the City of Toronto although the name Fairbank is remembered by residents and is retained by several landmarks including Fairbank Memorial Community School, and Fairbank Memorial Park.




This article was originally published in forum thread: Heritage Toronto Mondays