How Toronto’s own city farms were crowded out
First settled in the early nineteenth century, the area now known as Don Mills retained its rural character until the end of the Second World War. After the war, population growth resulted in pressure to develop the area around Toronto and, in a relatively short time, the landscape of Don Mills was irreparably altered.
Today, the farms are all gone, as are almost all of the barns and farmhouses. Fields and forests have been replaced by the industries, homes, and shops of Canada’s “first subdivision.” In Don Mills: From Forests and Farms to Forces of Change, author Scott Kennedy remembers Don Mills as it was and takes great care to make sure that the farms and farmers are not forgotten.
Scott Kennedy witnessed the farms surrounding his North York childhood home being planted with a new cash crop of buildings. He joined the Toronto Musicians’ Association in 1969, but as a professional musician he never lost his passion for history. He traces the evolution of a Toronto neighbourhood in his book Willowdale. Scott lives in a Heritage Conservation District he helped create in Toronto’s Beach neighbourhood.
Reading about how the area used to be — productive farmland, lush green spaces — made me long for a time machine … Kennedy ensures that the area’s history will be remembered and celebrated for years to come