Old Toronto churches and roads
Ajalugu 23 Jan 2013 Eva VabasaluEWR
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Eesti Maja, Vana-Andres and Ehatare are located on historically interesting sites
In July 1796 Elizabeth Simcoe, wife of Upper Canada's first lieutenant governor John Graves Simcoe was on her way to visit the Playter farm on the east side of the Don Valley - now the area known as the Playter Estates - northeast of Danforth at Broadview. She was shocked to discover that the so-called bridge over the Don River was nothing but a butternut tree that had fallen across the river with a pole threaded through the protruding branches serving as a handrail. Eventually a wooden bridge was constructed over the Don River allowing horse-drawn carriages to follow Winchester St. to its eastern end at Danforth and Broadview, now a ramp to the DVP renamed Royal Drive.

In the early 19th century the dirt road going north along the Don River ridge was called Don Mills Road or some variation thereof, tagged for the lumber mill operational at the foot of Pottery Road. By the 1820's the area acquired a new name: Todmorden, after a brewery, distillery and a paper mill sprung up in the area. The dirt road that ran along the eastern ridge of the valley was renamed Broadview in 1884 - named for the broad view over the expansive valley. On this historic road in 1960 the Estonian House at 958 Broadview opened its doors.

Old St. Andrew's, predecessor to the church at Simcoe and King today, was the first church in Canada to introduce instrumental music. In 1857 an organ purchase caused maelstrom within the congregation. The synod ordered it to be removed, but the organ stayed put although unused until the synod relented. The church rented out pews to its congregants and grew to a point where there were too few free seats. A new St. Andrew's was erected at 73 Simcoe St. & King with Sir John A. Macdonald in attendance when the corner stone was laid in 1875. In 1963 the subway station St. Andrew was named for this church. Some members of Old St. Andrew's split from the congregation and moved to Jarvis Street into a new church built in 1878, designed by architects Edmund Burke and Henry Langley. In 1950 the Old St. Andrew's congregation on Jarvis merged with St. Andrew's United Church; a year later the church at Jarvis and Carleton became an Estonian church, St. Andrew's Evangelical Lutheran Church (Vana-Andres).

Back in 1799 Asa Danforth Jr., an American from New York state, was contracted to build a road from York to the mouth of the Trent River and for every 10 miles completed he would receive payment for 5, with the balance to be paid on completion of the project. His crew of 40 men axed a 33 ft. wide road from the Town of York eastward to Victoria Park, continued in a northeasterly direction to Markham, along Painted Post, crossed Ellesmere, dipped through Highland Creek Valley on Military Trail, past Scarborough Campus to Colonel Danforth Trail and Port Union. This was the first road through Scarborough. The 120 mile road to the River Trent was finished December 19, 1800, however, due to complaints to the town a committee of 3 concluded in October 1802 that Asa Danforth had not satisfactorily fulfilled his contract, thus refused to pay him in full and reneged on land grants to his labourers. Between 1815-16 a second road that followed the lake more closely was cut.

In 1977 Eesti Kodu was built on Old Kingston Road followed by Ehatare Nursing and Retirement Home in 1981 - Scarborough's original stagecoach route. Ironically, Asa Danforth had nothing to do with cutting or laying pine planks on Danforth Avenue, this was done by The Don and Danforth Plank Road Company in 1851, but such is life that the road he built is little known about and the road he did not build is called The Danforth.
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