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East of the Don

by (author) Elizabeth Gillan Muir

Dundurn Press
Initial publish date
Oct 2014
Social History, Modern (late 19th Century to 1945), General
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Oct 2014
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Nov 2014
    List Price

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Heritage Toronto Book Award — Shortlisted, Non-Fiction Book

A popular history of the Riverdale area of Toronto, including Playter Estates north of the Danforth.

In its first 50 years, the city of Toronto changed from a rough settlement to a booming city with a voracious appetite for land. The incorporated city of Toronto grew tenfold from 1834 to 1884 — partly through immigration, but also through the annexation of older communities. Among these were the former suburbs of Leslieville and Riverside, which were joined together in 1884 to become the new Toronto community of Riverdale. Later, the Playter Estates neighbourhood also became part of this community.
Riverdale tells the history of the neighbourhood, starting with the Simcoe, Scadding, Playter, and Leslie families, who shaped the area throughout its early settlement, the American Revolution, and the War of 1812. It shows the waves of immigration from Britain, America, Italy, Greece, and China, that made Riverdale one of Toronto’s most diverse areas. And it tells the stories written into the map of the neighbourhood, revealing the history on display in its streets and historic buildings.


About the author

Elizabeth Gillan Muir has taught Canadian history at the University of Waterloo and Emmanuel College at the University of Toronto. She has written extensively about women in Upper Canada and the role of women in the Christian Church. Elizabeth holds degrees from Queen’s University, the Harvard Business School, and a Ph.D. from McGill University. She lives in Toronto.


Elizabeth Gillan Muir's profile page


  • Short-listed, Heritage Toronto Book Award

Editorial Reviews

Author Elizabeth Gillan Muir delves into the history of Riverdale...[the book] is full of stories that capture Riverdale's history by looking at the streets and historic buildings that remain there.

Spacing Magazine

...a lively popular history of one of Toronto's most famous neighbourhoods...

Ontario Historical Society Bulletin

Muir's excellent book, Riverdale: East of the Don ... is an important addition to the history and heritage of Toronto.

 - George Rust-D'Eye, author of Cabbagetown Remembered, historian, and municipal lawyer.

Other titles by Elizabeth Gillan Muir