Rural Roots of Old Jane-Finch
This vintage calendar was generously donated by Beth Bow of Brookview Middle School in February 2005.
Front and back cover
Inset: "Like many other areas in Southern Ontario, Jane/Finch was once a small farming district north of the City of Toronto. For nearly 150 years farms and orchards dotted the landscape where high rises and shopping plazas now stand. The developing Jane/Finch Community now takes time to remember our rural beginnings."
Inset: "JANE STREET SHOWING FINCH AVENUE AND FARMLAND NORTH, 1942: Until very recently the area around Jane/Finch was a small farming community which had existed for over a century without undergoing any major physical changes. In the late 1950's it was prepared for residential and commercial development. Today our community boasts of over 55,000 people, many of whose homes have been built within the area covered by this 1942 aerial photograph."
Inset: "DALZIEL'S PENNSYLVANIAN GERMAN BANK BARN, BUILT 1809: Johannes Schmidt of Pennsylvania settled in the Jane/Steeles area in 1808 and built this large bank barn the following year as part of his farm. The Dalziels bought the farm in 1828 and carried on a saw milling business which became the centre of industry for the community. In 1954 the barn was converted to a public museum and later became one of the original buildings situated in the Black Creek Pioneer Village."
Inset: "WILBERT SNIDER'S MAPLE SUGAR HOUSE, C. 1945: Every spring for nearly 150 years sap was tapped from the trees in this dense sugar bush east of the Black Creek. The maple sugar house shown here adorned with the skull and cross bones of a horse stood where Sentinel road and Grandravine Drive now meet."
Inset: "ABRAHAM HOOVER HOUSE, C. 1910: In 1826 Christopher and Maria (Troyer) Hoover came from Pennsylvania and settled on the east bank of the Black Creek midway between Finch and Steeles Avenues. Their son, Abraham, inherited the family farm and built the white board and batten house pictured here in 1845. The house is still in excellent condition and stands on the east bank of the Black Creek on the York University grounds."
Inset: "DALZIEL HOME, C. 1875: In 1870 James Dalziel built this large house just north of the family's Bank Barn which is now part of the Black Creek Pioneer Village. It was then in the community of Kaiserville which also housed a saw mill, blacksmith shop, carpenter's shop and a wagon maker's shop. The house is still standing on Jane Street north of Steeles and is the home of Mrs. Jean Agnew, a direct descendent of the original Dalziels."
Inset: "JOHN C. SNIDER AND FAMILY IN FRONT OF THEIR FARM HOUSE, SOUTH OF FINCH, IN 1891: The property which stretched between Keele and Jane Streets, was originally settled by John C.'s grandfather, Samuel Snider, in 1806 and remained in the family until the residential development of the 1950's. The young spruce trees seen in the bottom right of the photo are now nearly 100 years old and stand in Sentinel park north of Elia Junior High School on Sentinel road."
Inset: "EAST LAWN FARM, LOOKING WEST PAST KEELE STREET, C. 1948: In the early 1900's Samuel Snider's original log cabin was moved to this site on Keele Street south of Finch to provide the first home for his great-grandson, Wilbert. In winter Wilbert Snider's frozen pond became the favourite skating spot in the entire area."
Inset: "THE BLACK CREEK SOUTH OF LONDON GREEN: The steep slopes of the Black Creek ravine have proven to be an effective barrier against modern development. The large photo faces south towards Grandravine Drive and shows the Black Creek as it appears today. The inset is a photo taken at the same location and shows a cement bridge and dam which crossed the creek until the 1950's"
Inset: "HARVEST TIME, C. 1925: In 1861 John A. Donaldson in a report to the Government of Canada West (Ontario) wrote that the farmland in our area was, "undulating and well watered, the soil generally being Clayey Loam of excellent quality". For the next several decades farms in the area continued to be very productive. This photo taken about 1925 shows Clarence Stong and his hired man harvesting the crops on his lot south of Steeles off Jane Street"
Inset: "JACOB STONG FARMHOUSE, BUILT C. 1857: Jacob, the eldest son of Daniel and Elizabeth Stong was born in the log cabin that now stands in the Black Creek Pioneer Village. Jacob Stong became a prominent member of our community in the 19th Century. He was a farmer, sawmill owner, Justice of the Peace and in 1879 was appointed an original director and Judge of the Canadian National Exhibition. His house still stands on the southwest corner of Keele and Steeles."
Inset: "DANIEL STONG'S FARM LOOKING EAST ACROSS BLACK CREEK: In 1816 Daniel and Elizabeth (Fisher) Stong cleared the land south-west of Jane and Steeles and built the log cabin seen in the centre-left of the photo. The brick house, further left, was built to accommodate their growing family in 1832. The two houses and most of the farm buildings are still standing on their original locations in Black Creek Pioneer Village."
Inset: "SS NO. 18, NORTH YORK ELIA PUBLIC SCHOOL: As early as 1834 school sessions for children living west of Jane Street were being held in a log farm house on Weston Road South of Finch. Another school was built in Elia, on the north-west corner of Keele and Finch and served the community east of Jane Street. In 1873 this new Elia Public School was built across the road on the east side of Keele Street and continued to provide classes until 1956. Today the site is covered by a self-serve gas station."

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