The history of Malvern began in 1856, when the Malvern Post Office was opened in David Brown's general store, which stood at the south-east corner of Finch Avenue and Markham Road. This post office was named after a resort town in England. A year after the post office was opened, Senator David Reesor — formerly of Markham Village — began selling "Village Lots" in Malvern. Reesor trumpeted Malvern as the future "Capital of Scarborough," anticipating that the Grand Trunk Railway would extend a branch line through here. Unfortunately, when the Grand Trunk Railway began service to this area in 1871, it bypassed Malvern in favour of the neighbouring village of Agincourt. The village centre and post office had by that time moved south to the corner of today's Sheppard Avenue and Markham Road. The Malvern Primitive Methodist Church on the east side of Markham Road north of Sheppard disappeared in the 1970s, but the graves remain today in the care of the Toronto United Church Council.
While Malvern never did become a prosperous railway centre, it flourished as a farming community for over one hundred years. In the late 1950s, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation expropriated Malvern's farms to build a "model community" of affordable homes. The first residents of this modern day Malvern community moved into their homes in 1972.
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