Place:Norway, York, Ontario, Canada

TypeFormer village
Coordinates43.674°N 79.308°W
Located inYork, Ontario, Canada     (1825 - 1909)
See alsoToronto, York, Ontario, Canadacity into which the Village of Norway amalgamated in 1909

Norway was a village located in the east end of City of Toronto in Ontario, Canada.

The following section is taken from an article in Wikipedia.

Predating development along Toronto's Beaches, Norway was a postal village in what is today the eastern part of Toronto. There is no evidence of Norwegian settlement in the area. Rather, the name likely comes from the Norway Pines that dominated the region, and whose harvesting was one of the main industries for the community. The most prominent landowner in the area was Charles Coxwell Small, who tried strenuously to have the town renamed to Berkeley, after his hometown in Britain. The name Norway stuck.

The village’s post office was originally a wooden structure built in 1825, today the site of 320 Kingston Road. The Norway Steam Mills, a steam powered saw mill began operations in 1835 near Woodbine and Kingston Road, established by the iron mongers, Wragg & Co., who advertised Norway pine as a specialty.

A toll gate resided at the Woodbine and Kingston Road. To the dismay of travelers, tolls were common along the stretch of Kingston Road during the 1800s as they funded the upkeep of the popular route from Toronto to Kingston, Ontario. It was main east-west land route through what was then defined as Upper Canada.

The community grew up in the 1840s around the toll station, saw mill and postal office becoming a popular stagecoach stop. The community was then at a distance of about 5 miles from the city at Woodbine, in a still largely wooded area. By 1850, the village’s population had reached 100. At this point, the village also included a few inns, three taverns, a school and a blacksmith’s shop.

One of the popular inns was The Norway House Hotel, standing on the south side of Kingston Road just east of Woodbine Avenue and was typical of many hotels in the suburbs of Toronto, heavily patronized by farmers on their way to and from market. Another was James Shaw’s Hotel and Tavern, described as a long low building painted dazzling white with green shutters.

In 1850 Charles Coxwell Small had donated 3 acres of land to be used for St John’s Church, Berkeley. His church was a wooden structure built in 1850 and served the Anglican community. In 1853 a cemetery was added to the property. In 1893 the brick structure that resides in place today was constructed and the church was renamed St. John's Norway.

In 1909 The Village of Norway was annexed to the expanding City of Toronto, one year after its neighbour to the east, East Toronto. The village of Norway has long since been fully engulfed by the City of Toronto. Its name does persist in a number of places, including Norway Avenue, and the nearby Norway Public School. St. John the Baptist Norway Anglican Church, the attached St. John's Cemetery Norway were named after Canada's original patron; the later St John's Roman Catholic church and school also preserve the name.

Research Tips

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.

Early Records

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.
Images and indexes of civil registrations for the "viewable" years can be found on paid websites, and indexes only on FamilySearch. The FamilySearch Wiki on Ontario Vital Records explains how these records are organized and their availability.
In September 2014 announced that its paid website has been subjected to a "houseclean" of its Ontario BMD database, adding data that had been omitted and making many corrections. Its provision now includes

  • Births, with 2,172,124 records covering 1869-1913.
  • Marriages, with 3,393,369 records for 1801-1928 including Ontario county, district and Roman Catholic origins as well as province-wide civil registration.
  • Deaths, with 2,190,030 records comprising Ontario civil registrations of deaths, 1869-1938 and registrations of Ontario overseas deaths for 1939-1947.

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 1921. 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.
Other websites, some paid and some free, also provide Canadian census originals and/or indexes online. One can also view censuses on microfilm at the LAC, at the Archives of Ontario (see address above), or at large libraries throughout Canada.

Hard-to-Find Places

E-books, Books and Newspapers

  • The Internet Archive, particularly texts from Canadian universities, can contain interesting material
  • Our Roots is a Canadian website similar to The Internet Archive
  • Global Genealogy is an online bookshop specializing in Ontario material who will ship anywhere in the world.
  • The Ancestor Hunt is a blog listing old Ontario newspapers that are available online, both free and pay websites. This is a very extensive list.

    === Websites with more local information on the City of Toronto ===
  • Toronto Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society. Serves the current City of Toronto including Etobicoke, York Township, Weston, Long Branch, New Toronto, Mimico, Swansea, Forest Hill, East York, Leaside and North York as well as the original City of Toronto. Contains a table of links to Toronto City Directories to be found online. Many other services and publications.
  • History and Genealogy at the Toronto Public Library. Not the easiest website to find one's way around but contains some very useful material. Just looking though the old photographs in the Digital Library can be both interesting and informative.
  • Digital Toronto City Directories. Toronto Public Library has digitized all of the Toronto city directories in its collections that were published between 1833 and 1969. Suburbs and separate villages which have now been part of Toronto for a century or so are included. All the directories can be accessed from this website. Some are PDFs published by TPL itself; others are on Internet Archive (and may be more difficult to access). There are no breaks between letters of the alphabet, and the street-by-street listings precede the alphabetical ones so it may take time to find someone with a surname beginning with L or M.
  • City of Toronto Archives. It has a vast digital collection of photographs online--many taken when roadworks were being planned and show a street's architecture, but the archive is also well worth a visit when in Toronto--it holds assessment records back to 1853, maps of neighbourhoods, and a library of local reference books.
  • Canadiana Library at North York Public Library This library houses a wide collection of local genealogical material, provides microfilm readers for the Canadian census and for local newspapers, and is the home of the Ontario Genealogical Society's own library. This collection has moved to the main Toronto Public Library on Yonge Street north of Bloor Street.
  • There may be many other libraries and museums housing information for genealogical searching in Toronto and York Region
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Norway, Toronto. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.