Category Archives: Jane’s Walk

Three Jane’s Walks in the Ashbridge’s neighbourhood – Saturday May 6, 2017

On Saturday May 6, take part in a Jane’s Walk to learn about interesting parts of our city, including our neighbourhood. There are three walks in our area on May 6 — two starting at 10 a.m. and another one at 1 p.m.

Living in our laneways
Meet at 1374 Queen Street East – The Sidekick Cafe
Saturday May 6, 2017, 10 a.m., two hours
Led by Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon

Take a stroll down some quaint lanes in Toronto’s east end with Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon, Councillor Ana Bailao’s Executive Assistant, City Planning, Lanescape, and Evergreen as we discuss our initiative to create a Laneway Suites policy in the city of Toronto!

Where Will the Next Generation Live?
Meet at 151 Hiawatha Road
Saturday May 6, 2017, 10 a.m., two hours
Led by Joy Connelly

Blue collar workers used to live on my east end street. Now houses sell for $1.2 Million and up. I couldn’t afford to buy or rent on my own street today, and neither could my kids. We can’t go on like this. While the Federal and Provincial Governments discuss tax policy and rent controls, let’s talk about what local governments and local citizens can do — from second suites to inclusionary zoning to community land trusts — to make housing

Ashbridge’s Neighbourhood – since 1793.
Meet at Ashbridge’s Bay skatepark, Coxwell at Lake Shore Blvd.
Saturday May 6, 2017, 1 p.m., 1.5 hours
Led by Robert Miller

Take a stroll up Ashbridge’s Creek – one of the hidden streams of east end Toronto. We will stroll up from the bay. What is Ashbridge’s Bay today? What was it in 1793? Who were the Ashbridges? Why is there a historic house on Queen East with a huge expanse of lawn? Guess a few of the names that the Ashbridge’s neighbourhood has been called in the last 100 years.

See a complete list and map of Jane’s Walks in Toronto.

Join the Ashbridge’s Neighbourhood Jane’s Walk on Sunday May 4, 2014

Ashbridge's neighbourhood Jane's Walk

You’re invited to the Jane’s Walk Sunday May 4 – meet at the northwest corner of Lakeshore and Coxwell.

You’re invited to the Jane’s Walk Sunday May 4 – 10:30 a.m. to 12 noon.
Meet at the northwest corner of Lakeshore and Coxwell. (Ashbridge’s Bay skatepark).

We’ll take a stroll up from the bay, roughly up the Ashbridge’s Creek, one of the hidden streams of east Toronto.

What we’ll talk about:
What is Ashbridge’s Bay today? What was it in 1793? Who were the Ashbridges? Why is there a historic house on Queen East with a huge expanse of lawn? Where is the Ashbridge’s Creek today? Guess a few of the names that the Ashbridge’s neighbourhood has been called in the last 220 years.

See the walk page on the Jane’s Walk website.

Also see photos of the Jane’s Walk I led in 2012, in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of Duke of Connaught Public School, Woodfield Road, Toronto.

Jane’s Walk on May 5, 2013 – Where will the next generation live?

Jane’s Walk weekend is coming up soon. Here’s one that takes place in our neighbourhood – highly recommended:

Where will the next generation live? led by local resident Joy Connelly.

Start: Sunday May 5, 2013 — 1 p.m. at Roden School, 151 Hiawatha Road
End: Voulez-Vous Cafe on Queen approx. 2:30 p.m.

Last year I led this Jane’s Walk: The Ashbridge’s Neighbourhood – since 1793.
I’m not planning to lead a walk this year, but next year I may do this one, or a variation of it. In the meantime if you’re interested you could do a self-guided walk following the photo story. The Jane’s Walk people put a map of my walk on their site, but it looks like they have switched to a new platform so the map may no longer be there. I’ll see if I can track it down and post it here.

– Robert Miller

Photos from Jane’s Walk May 6, 2012

Here are a few photos from the Jane’s Walk on May 6 – The Ashbridge’s Neighbourhood – since 1793. Thanks to Dhruv and Calvin.


Site of the first Ashbridge log cabin (1794). Archeological digs found evidence of Native inhabitants from 6000 B.C. and around 1400 A.D. In her diary, Lady Elizabeth Simcoe described visiting the Ashbridge family here in 1796, at the “settlement below the town (of York).” She made other references to the Pennsylvanians (Ashbridge family) who lived east of the Don. At that time, there were few settler families – like the Ashbridges, Scaddings and Playters – east of the Don.

The stones here are the foundation of the Ashbridge’s second home, built in 1809. Family members continued to live in this house until the 1920s; the foundation was preserved as a rock garden.

The third Ashbridge home, built in 1854. (See the top of this page for a photo of the front of this house.) The family lived in this house for the next 143 years, until 1997. The Ashbridges left it to the Ontario Heritage Trust, which rents it as office space to the Ontario Society of Artists, Ontario Archeological Society and other organizations.

Duke of Connaught Public School opened in 1912 – 100 years ago. The school site is 6.5 acres, largest in Toronto when the school was built. This land had been the Ashbridge orchard for the previous 118 years.  On November 30, 1911 the Governor-General of Canada came to “turn the sod” for the new school. He was the Duke of Connaught, a son of Queen Victoria, known as Prince Arthur in his youth. Find out about the events celebrating Duke’s 100th birthday.

On the “new” wing of Duke of Connaught, which opened in 1960, we look at the “reading, writing and arithmentic” sculptures by E.B. Cox. These are referenced in a book on the work of Mr. Cox, who passed away in recent years. His studio was on Broadview Avenue.

This copper beech tree on the Ashbridge Estate is sadly at the end of its very long life.

East Riverdale Recreation Centre was a community hub for 40 years on this site in Jonathan Ashbridge Park on Queen Street East. Built in 1915 it was closed in the 1950s and recreational activities moved over to S.H.Armstrong Recreation Centre which was built as an annex to Duke of Connaught School at 56 Woodfield Road.

Where the parking lot beside Le Papillon on the Park restaurant is now, Bob Greer remembers skating on Ashbridge’s Bay when it extended that far north – almost to Eastern Avenue. Bob and lifelong friend Rick Rae (back to camera) graduated from Duke of Connaught in 1949 — thanks for your great stories throughout the neighbourhood walk.

Who would have thought we’d be climbing hills? This is the second hill we climbed en route to Ashbridge’s Bay. Until the 1950s this was still water. All the “land” has been brought in.

From the top of that hill, we had this view of Ashbridge’s Bay Skateboard Park, which opened in 2008. Because this was originally open water and marsh, construction took much longer than originally planned.

Also from that hill, looking south to Ashbridge’s Bay. The bay was much larger originally – it stretched from present-day Kew Gardens to Cherry Beach, separated from the lake by a kilometres-long sandspit. In her diaries of 1796 Elizabeth Simcoe wrote about riding her horse along the sand, which was beyond the bay water seen here. In the 1800s, the Coatsworth Cut was opened across the sandspit to give boats access to Lake Ontario. The other remaining part of the original Ashbridge’s Bay is the ship channel south of Commissioners Street.

Jane’s Walk May 6, 2012 – The Ashbridge’s Neighbourhood – since 1793

You’re invited for a stroll through our neighbourhood, as part of Jane’s Walks:

The Ashbridge’s neighbourhood – since 1793

Sunday, May 6, 2012
10:30 a.m. starts at the Ashbridge Estate, 1444 Queen East
12 p.m. ends at Voulez-Vous Cafe, 1560 Queen East

Ashbridge Estate 1444 Queen East Toronto

This walk will look at the Ashbridge’s neighbourhood in east Toronto as it was in 1793, in 1912 and today.

One hundred years ago the area went through a major transformation – In 1912 the Ashbridge family sold most of its land for housing developments on the “Ashbridge Estate” – the Greenwood-Coxwell area.

In 1912, the Duke of Connaught Public School opened on land that had been the Ashbridge orchard. The school’s ground-breaking ceremony was conducted by the Duke of Connaught, the Governor General of Canada at the time, and a son of Queen Victoria. Also around that time, Ashbridge’s Bay saw massive changes – reduced in size and mostly industrialized. This walk will show how and where these changes took place.

See the walk details on the Jane’s Walk website.