The text in this section is based on an article in Wikipedia.
York Township was originally bounded in the west by the Humber River, in the east by what would become Victoria Park Avenue, and in the north by what would become Steeles Avenue. Etobicoke Township and Scarborough Township were located west and east, respectively, while the townships of Vaughan and Markham bordered on the north. Most of it was surveyed for settlement before 1800 when the present Province of Ontario was named Upper Canada and the whole of York County (and beyond) was described as the Home District. The boundaries of the Town of York (the precursor of Toronto) at its southern end were Dufferin Street on the west, the Don River on the east and the present Queen Street on the north. The northern boundary had stretched to Bloor Street by 1860. In the first half of the 19th century York Township was, therefore, shaped like an upside-down letter "U".
The map of Toronto on Wikimedia Commons illustrates the relationship of Toronto to the surrounding area quite well. The names of the individual parts of the original York Township were not adopted until after 1900.
Railway building east and west of Toronto prompted urban growth and Toronto gradually annexed and amalgamated the section of York Township between Lake Ontario and a railway line, known as the Belt Line, that crossed the city from east to west north of Bloor Street (see map). The area covered by Toronto reached from Etobicoke Township to Scarborough Township. By 1912 the villages to the north of the city (Yorkville, Davisville, Eglinton, North Toronto) had also been made part of Toronto.
The decision was made to split the township in two, with the northern, rural portion becoming North York in 1922. The township of East York was carved out of the section remaining on the east. The Township of York remained as a much smaller entity to the northwest of the city.
York Township's reduced area is shown on this map.
York was part of the federation of twelve suburban municipalities that joined Toronto in 1954 to form Metropolitan Toronto. In 1967, it absorbed the village of Weston, and became the Borough of York, later known as the City of York. It was amalgamated into the new City of Toronto on 1 January 1998.
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