East York

Discover East York, Ontario: A Blend of History and Modernity

East York, Ontario, a district within Toronto, Canada, is a former municipality that carries a rich history. From 1967 to 1998, it was officially known as the Borough of East York, a semi-autonomous borough within the upper-tier municipality of Metropolitan Toronto. The borough was dissolved in 1998 when it was amalgamated with the other lower-tier municipalities of Metropolitan Toronto to form the new "megacity" of Toronto. Prior to its amalgamation, East York was Ontario's last remaining borough.

The Historical Journey of East York, Ontario

East York was originally part of York Township, Ontario. Following the incorporation of the Township of North York in 1922, York Township was divided by Toronto, Leaside, and North Toronto. With the rapid growth that followed the opening of the Bloor-Danforth (Prince Edward) Viaduct in 1918, the residents of the eastern half of York Township felt they had been neglected by the township when it came to roads, sewers, and other municipal services.

Left with the option to either join the City of Toronto or branch out on its own, 448 East Yorkers voted to incorporate a new township, while 102 voted to amalgamate with Toronto. The Township of East York was incorporated on January 1, 1924, with a population of 19,849. The western half of York Township retained its name.

East York was originally populated by working-class English people who valued the opportunity to own small homes of their own, with front lawns and back gardens. Many had immigrated from Lancashire and Yorkshire. In 1961, 71.7% of the population identified themselves as having British origins.

In the late 1940s, after World War II, East York became home to many returning veterans and their families. Many inexpensive homes were built, including the houses around Topham Park, by the government, to house the returning veterans and the baby boomers. The local government was both socially conscious and frugal, fitting the residents' self-image of East York as filled with supportive neighbors and non-government organizations.

The Geography of East York, Ontario

East York is located not far from the mouth of the Don River. The municipality borders Scarborough to the east, Old Toronto to the west, and North York to the north. East York is located north of Danforth Avenue between the Don River and Victoria Park Avenue.

The Demographics of East York, Ontario

East York's population was 115,185 in 2001. By the 2006 census, the population had dropped slightly (−2.7%), to 112,054. Since the 1970s, the population composition has changed from predominantly British, as East York has become a major arrival point for immigrants, many of whom have established their first Canadian residence in the apartments that became plentiful in Thorncliffe Park, Crescent Town, and elsewhere on or near main streets.

Almost half of the population in 2001 (45.1%) was foreign-born, and of these, 49.0% had immigrated to the area between 1991 and 2001. These groups include Bengalis, Indians, Pakistanis, Jamaicans, Filipinos, and Sri Lankans. East York also has a well-established Greek population and a growing Chinese community. In 2006 the percentage of visible minorities was 38.4%, and the percentage of immigrants was 44.4%.

The religious affiliations of the East York population are consistent with its ethnic composition. Some 63.4% of the population adheres to Christianity, with an almost even split between Catholics (23.6%) and Protestants (25.3%). Christian Orthodox and unspecified types of Christianity make up 12.0% and 2.5% respectively. The largest non-Christian religious group is Muslim, who make up 12.6% of religious adherents, followed by Hinduism (3.7%), Buddhism (1.6%), and Judaism (0.9%). A sizable percentage of the population (17.1%) has no religious affiliation.

While English is the dominant language in the area, nearly half (42.6%) of the population reports that their first language was neither English nor French.

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