Our History

The Upper Jarvis neighbourhood of today is the northern portion of the estate of the Jarvises, one of early Toronto’ s most colourful and influential families.

William Jarvis was a British Loyalist who served under Colonel Simcoe during the American Revolutionary War. When Simcoe was made first Lt. Governor of Upper Canada he showed his gratitude to William by naming him Registrar and Provincial Secretary. Another reward was a choice of the “park lots” and William picked Park Lot 6 stretching from Lake Ontario to what is now Bloor Street. Eventually this lot was turned over to his eldest son, Samuel.        Samual Jarvis

Samuel cleared the southern half of its pine growth and in 1824 built his home, Hazel Burn, at what is now the corner of Shuter and Jarvis. Hazel Burn overlooked 10 acres of lawns and gardens. It included stables, a hen house, a rabbit warren, a trout stream and a smoke house, plus wild property which provided the family with excellent trout fishing.

Samuel started to sever Park Lot 6. The first streets laid out for subdivision included Jarvis Street, a grand 80 foot-wide avenue with 16 foot boulevards. Hazelburn stood in the middle of the proposed new street so in 1847 most of the house was torn down to make way for the road.

The south end (“Lower Jarvis”) had small lots for working-class housing. The lots grew in size as they approached Bloor, where substantial one-acre parcels in “Upper Jarvis” sold for $500 each. Here, Toronto’s industrial and mercantile elite built their mansions, and the upwardly-mobile sought properties on Huntley, Linden and Selby. By the 1920’s, fashionable society had moved on again, this time to Rosedale, forest Hill and Bayview. The face of Upper Jarvis changed significantly as a result of demolitions following WW II.

It is this proud past that we seek to preserve and celebrate as a context for future development.

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