Origins of Street Names

Jarvis Street

Named after Samuel Peter Jarvis, Jarvis Street was opened in 1845 and was the first street to be paved in Toronto. This street contained the mansions of the Toronto business elite, some of which included the Massey, Gooderham, and Morris families. Some of these mansions were transformed into restaurants such as the Keg Mansion below.

Keg Mansion
Photo source: http://www.the519.org/about/In%20Days%20Gone%20By.pdf

By the end of the 19th century, east of Jarvis Street, Earl and Isabella Streets became predominantly occupied by middle class business employees who staffed companies owned by prominent residents of Jarvis Street.

Sherbourne Street

From the end of the 19th century into the early 20th century, Sherbourne Street, formerly called Allen’s Lane, became a fashionable residential district. A prominent area landmark is the Earnscliffe apartment complex at the southeast corner of Sherbourne and Wellesley Streets. These three buildings, erected between 1914 and 1916, have been designated as heritage properties and are now housing cooperatives.

Over time, Sherbourne Street felt the increasing costs of maintaining large mansions, the attraction of living in newer residential districts such as Rosedale and the Annex and high property taxes.  These conditions led to the street’s losing its prized cachet and a decline in prosperity in this catchment area over the next 30 years.  Some of the Sherbourne Street mansions were converted into rooming houses or non-profit agencies.

[‘sherburne’ means “bright stream”]

Bloor Street

Named after Joseph Bloor, a brewer who lived at 100 Bloor Street.   Along with Sheriff Jarvis, Joseph Bloor laid out the village plots for the Town of Yorkville. Bloor Street was formerly known variously as St. Paul’s Road, Sydenham Road and Toll-Gate Road and was the northern limit of the city proper.

Wellesley Street East

Wellesley Street was named after Arthur Wellesley, the 1st Duke of Wellington, who was Prime Minister of Canada from 1828-1830.

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