Weston is a neighbourhood and former village in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The neighbourhood generally lies in the northwest end of the city, south of Highway 401, east of the Humber River, north of Eglinton Avenue, and west of Jane Street. Weston Road just north of Lawrence Avenue is the downtown core of Weston, with many small businesses and services. Weston was incorporated as a village in the 19th century and was absorbed into the Borough of York in the late 1960s. York itself was amalgamated into Toronto in 1998.
The first European settlement in the Weston area took place in the 1790s, when a saw mill was built on an old native trading path along the west side of the Humber River, named after the well-known Humber estuary in Yorkshire, England. In 1815 James Farr, a prominent local mill owner, named the growing settlement "Weston" after his birthplace, Weston, Hertfordshire. Weston initially developed along both sides of the river until a disastrous flood in 1850 destroyed the west bank settlement. The former west bank settlement is now the site of the Weston Golf and Country Club. Improvements to the Main Street, now Weston Road, and the 1856 arrival of the Grand Trunk Railway brought growth on the east side. On October 5, 1869, Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn attended the sod turning ceremony for the construction of the Toronto, Grey and Bruce Railway. The spade which he used for the event is kept in the public library.
In October 1954, Hurricane Hazel flooded the Humber River valley, causing death and destruction of property. In response, low-lying areas in the Humber River valley were converted to parkland and property zoning standards were changed across Ontario to avoid building encroachment on floodplains. There is a memorial in the south end of Lions Park near a pedestrian bridge which incorporates the original footing of a bridge that once crossed the Humber. The other footing of the bridge is the square chunk of concrete that is in the middle of the river nearby.
Weston was incorporated as a village in 1881, and then as a town in 1914. In 1967, it became part of the Borough (later City) of York. In 1998, York was in turn amalgamated with the five other members of Metropolitan Toronto, (Toronto, Etobicoke, North York, East York, and Scarborough) in the new "megacity" of Toronto. Vocal lobbying at the time allowed Weston to retain many street names which are exact duplicates of downtown streets, including Church Street, King Street and John Street.
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 1915 are now available [October 2014]; 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, known to Canadians as "LAC". Copies of original microfilms are online at the LAC website for all censuses up to 1911. Each census database is preceded with an explanation of the geographical area covered, the amount of material retained (some census division material has been lost), the questions on the census form, and whether there is a name index. Census divisions were redrawn as the population increased and more land was inhabited. The 1921 census is only available through Ancestry.ca, but it is free-to-view.
E-books and Books
Websites with more local information on the City of Toronto