Scarborough (; 2006 Census 602,575) is a district within the eastern part of the city of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It comprises the area and neighbourhoods of the former city of Scarborough, a municipality which was amalgamated into the city of Toronto in 1998. Scarborough is bordered on the south by Lake Ontario, on the west by Victoria Park Avenue, on the north by Steeles Avenue East, and on the east by the Rouge River and the City of Pickering. In 1954 it became part of Metropolitan Toronto as one of five boroughs and later became a city in 1983. Over 200 years, it grew from a collection of small rural villages to become a large city with a diverse cultural community. It was named after the English town of Scarborough, North Yorkshire in 1796 by Elizabeth Simcoe, who was inspired by the Scarborough Bluffs which reminded her of white cliffs near her home.
Scarborough has characteristics of a suburb of Old Toronto, but retains much of its own character and flavour. Certain neighbourhoods in Scarborough are popular destinations for new immigrants to Canada. As a result, Scarborough is one of the most diverse and multicultural areas of the Greater Toronto Area, being home to various religious groups and places of worship. It includes some of Toronto's popular natural landmarks, such as the Scarborough Bluffs and Rouge Park. Scarborough has been declared to be greener than any other part of Toronto.
The first known evidence of people in Scarborough comes from an archaeological site in Fenwood Heights, which has been dated to 8000 BCE. The site contains the remains of a camp of nomadic hunters and foragers, and there is no evidence of permanent settlers.
In the 17th century, the area was inhabited by the Seneca at the village of Ganatsekwyagon, who were later displaced by the Mississaugas, who were themselves displaced by the British settlers who began to arrive in the late 18th century. After surveying the land in 1793, it was opened to settlement by British subjects with the first issue of land patents in 1796, although squatters had already been present for a few years. The first settlers were David and Andrew Thomson. They were stonemasons who worked on the first parliament buildings for York. They each built mills. This activity led to the creation of a small village known as the Thomson Settlement. The first post office opened in 1832, in Scarborough Village.
During the early part of life in Upper Canada, local administration and justice was administered by the colonial government. From 1792 to 1841, magistrates were appointed by District Councils. There were four districts in the colony of which Scarborough was part of the Home District. Partly due to a political reorganization that was a result of the Durham Report, Scarborough gained elected representation on the Home District Council. Scarborough elected two councillors.
In 1850, Scarborough was incorporated as a township. After incorporation, Scarborough government was led by a reeve, a deputy-reeve and three councillors, each elected annually. Initially the council met in the village of Woburn but it was relocated to Birchcliff in 1922, where most of the population was then located. During the Great Depression the local government was on the verge of bankruptcy. The Ontario Municipal Board stepped in and appointed an oversight committee. This managed to prevent the collapse of local government.
The expansion of Toronto in the east, in the 19th century, led to the development of housing stock along the Kingston Road and Danforth Road corridors in Scarborough. This led to the creation of a transit line. In 1893, the Toronto and Scarboro' Electric Railway, Light and Power Company built a single-track radial line along Kingston Road to Blantyre. Over the next 13 years this was extended to West Hill. In 1904, the line became the Scarboro Division of the Toronto and York Radial Railway. Service continued along this line until 1936 when it was replaced by bus service.
As the urban area continued to expand, much of rural Scarborough was converted to suburban housing developments in the last third of the 20th century. At the start of the 21st century, growth has occurred along the Highway 401 corridor at the northern end of the Scarborough RT; highrise condominium projects have increased the residential density around Scarborough City Centre.
On 15 April 1953, Scarborough was included within Metropolitan Toronto, a new upper level of municipal government with jurisdiction over regional services such as arterial roads and transit, police, and ambulance services. (Fire fighting services remained separate.) Scarborough retained its local council but gained representation on a new Metro Council. The new council had 24 members, 12 from the old city of Toronto and 12 from the suburban municipalities. The council was not directly elected but was made up of members of each of the local councils. Scarborough's contribution was its reeve who at the time was Oliver Crockford.
In 1967, Scarborough was incorporated as a borough. The reeve was replaced with a mayor. Albert Campbell, who had been reeve since 1957, became Scarborough's first mayor. The new borough's council consisted of the mayor and four members of the board of control (which functioned as an executive committee). There were also ten aldermen. The mayor and the controllers also sat on Metro Council. In 1973, Scarborough increased in size when the West Rouge area, formerly within the Township of Pickering, was transferred to it with the creation of the Regional Municipality of Durham. The borough's status was changed to city in 1983. The number of aldermen was increased to 14 and the term of office extended to three years from two.
In 1988, there was a reorganization. The board of control was abolished. Alderman was changed to councillor. Six additional metro council positions were created and these were elected separately for the first time. Scarborough's council consisted of a mayor, 14 local councillors and six Metro councillors.
A map illustrating the location and size of Scarborough in relation to the rest of the city of Toronto and to other surrounding townships.
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