The History of Humber Bay Shores, Toronto

Sep 19, 2023
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Humber Bay Shores, a neighbourhood in Toronto, has a rich and fascinating history. Let’s take a journey back in time to explore the evolution of this area.

Early Beginnings

Humber Bay began on the shore of Lake Ontario, growing westward from the Humber River to Mimico Creek, and north to today’s Berry Road. The Humber River mouth was one of the earliest areas used by the British for fishing, milling, ship building and travel. Although Humber Bay was never incorporated as a village or town, it had a post office with that name from 1886 to 1952, as well as its own school, churches, stores, volunteer fire service, library, and community centres.

The Birth of a Community

The history of the Humber Bay neighbourhood began in 1888 with the opening of the first Humber Bay schoolhouse on High Street. The old Humber Bay school was demolished in 1986, to make room for a new housing development2. While the cornerstone of this neighbourhood was lost, its sense of history and community spirit live on2.

A Place for Recreation

With its long sandy beach for swimming and the lake for boating, the waterfront was a popular recreation area right from the beginning. On a rise above the beach was a large open area known as “The Lawn”, used for picnics and garden parties. By the mid to late 19th century, there were several boat livery businesses on both sides of the Humber River near its mouth.

The Motel Era

Humber Bay featured low cost and amenity camps as early as the 1910s. The area’s history as a motel strip grew out of this, and by the 1950s much of the area between Park Lawn Avenue and the mouth of the river was lined with motor courts that backed right onto the shoreline.

Today’s Humber Bay Shores

Today, Humber Bay Shores is known for its high-rise condominiums offering stunning views of Lake Ontario. Despite its transformation over time, it still retains its historical charm and continues to be a popular spot for both locals and visitors.

Humber Bay Shores is more than just a neighborhood in Toronto. It’s a testament to Toronto’s growth and evolution. From its humble beginnings as a fishing spot to its current status as a bustling residential area, Humber Bay Shores’ history is written in its buildings and landscapes.

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