History of Scarborough

Scarborough, an urban community that was formerly a city, borders the city of Markham in the north and East York, North York, and Old Toronto in the west. It is surrounded by Steeles Avenue to the north, Lake Ontario to the south, city of Pickering and Rouge River to the east, and Victoria Park Avenue on the west. Located above the Scarborough bluffs, it provides a majestic view of the Rouge River and Lake Ontario.

Why was it named Scarborough?

Originally called Glasgow, the place was renamed to Scarborough by the wife of John Graves Simcoe, the first lieutenant governor of Upper Canada. In her diary, Elizabeth Simcoe wrote that they planned on building a summer residence there, as the shore is extremely bold, and has the appearance of chalk cliffs, reminding her of a town in England called Scarborough, North Yorkshire.

Scarborough is also known to have some nicknames, such as Scarberia, Scompton, and Scarlem. Those are portmanteau of Scarborough and Siberia, Scarborough and Compton, and Scarborough and Harlem respectively. However, there have been several debates regarding this, as some thinks that calling their place “Scarberia”, along with other nicknames, is quite insulting. But then, most residents are not bothered and are in fact proud of their place, saying that its name wouldn’t change how they perceive it.

Early Settlers

Like other places in Canada, the early settlers of Scarborough are nomadic hunters. The Seneca and the Mississaugas were the first ones to explore Scarborough. There was no evidence of permanent settlers until 1790’s, when Europeans inhabited the place and built farms and small villages. The first recorded settlement was in 1793, when stonemasons David and Andrew Thomson built mills. It attracted a few immigrants and was known as the Thomson Settlement.

Incorporation of Scarborough

Scarborough was incorporated as a township in 1850 and was led by a reeve and three councilors. However, the local government almost went bankrupt during the Great Depression. With the help of the Ontario Municipal Board, the downfall of the township was prevented.

In 1953, Scarborough was integrated with Metropolitan Toronto. It was an upper level of municipal government that has control and authority on some regional services. As one of the suburban municipalities of Metropolitan Toronto, Scarborough was represented in the new council by Oliver Crockford, who was the reeve at that time.

Scarborough was incorporated as a borough, an administrative division, in 1967. Its council was consisted of the mayor, four members of the board of control, and ten aldermen. Albert Campbell became the first mayor of Scarborough. The municipality increased in size in 1973 after West Rouge area, which was formerly part of Township of Pickering, was transferred to it.

Developments and Reorganization

In 1983, Scarborough, which was then a borough became a city. This resulted to developments of suburban housing in the area. In 1988, a reorganization took place and Alderman were replaced by councilors. The board of control was also removed, but new metro council positions were opened. It was also at this time when Scarborough was merged with its neighboring municipalities including North York, East York, Etobicoke, York, and Old Toronto to form the new City of Toronto.

Scarborough Today

Today, Scarborough remains as one of the most multicultural and diverse areas in Toronto. It has been popular to new immigrants in Canada, resulting to formation of a variety of religious and ethnic groups. It has progressed a lot in terms of population, economy, and infrastructure.

Up next, learn and discover different golf courses in Scarborough.

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