Don Mills is an "urban community" in the former North York Township, York County and since 1998 located in the City of Toronto in Ontario, Canada. Prior to 1922 North York was a part of York Township.
The Don Mills area was first settled by Europeans in 1817. The area was a considerable distance from the town of York, but the Don River provided an easy means of transportation, and also a source of power for a number of mills along its length. While the city of Toronto steadily expanded, the Don Mills area remained rural until after the Second World War. It was cut off from the city by ravines to the south, east, and west. Only two roads connected to the area: York Mills Road and Don Mills Road. In 1950 the area consisted of about 20 farms.
In the 1950s the land was bought up and developed as a "new town". The roads leading into Toronto were enlarged, some to expressway status.
The primary source for basic documents (vital statistics, land records, wills) for people who lived in the Province of Ontario is the Archives of Ontario, 134 Ian Macdonald Blvd, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M7A 2C5.
Civil registration did not begin in the province until 1869. Before then there may be church records of baptisms and burials. For the most part these are still held by the denomination who recorded them. Copies of marriage records made pre-1869 had to be sent by individual clergymen to the registrar of the county in which the marriage took place. These marriage records are available through Ontario Archives, on micorfilm through LDS libraries, and on paid and unpaid websites, but because they were copied at the registrars' offices, they cannot be considered a primary source.
Vital Records after 1869
Birth, marriage and death registrations are not open to the public until a specific number of years after the event occurred. Births to 1914 are now available [October 2012]; dates for marriages and deaths are later. Birth and death registration was not universally carried out in the early years after its adoption. Deaths were more apt to be reported than births for several years. The more rural the area, the less likely it would be that these happenings were reported to the authorities.
Land Records and Wills
Information on how to access land records and wills is best sought on the Archives of Ontario website. An ancestor's land holding might be found on Canadian County Atlas Digital Project if he was in occupancy circa 1878.
Association for the Preservation of Ontario Land Registry Office Documents (APOLROD). A list of Land Registry Offices for all Counties of Ontario.
The original censuses are in the hands of Library and Archives Canada. All of the original census (1851-1911) images are online with the exception of that for 1861. Not all of them are indexed. Later censuses are not yet available. Census divisions were redrawn as the population increased and more land was inhabited.
E-books and Books
Websites with more local information on the City of Toronto