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TORONTO 180: First Nations’ peoples settled in Etobicoke in 1695

Etobicoke Guardian

First Nations’ peoples were the first to call Etobicoke home.

The Mississaugas first settled here in 1695 and gave the area its name, derived from the Mississauga word “wadoopikaang: meaning “place where the alders grow,” which described the area between the Etobicoke Creek and the Humber River.

Early British settlers arrived, including the Queen’s Rangers who were given land near Simcoe. The area became a major trading route. Samuel Smith, a Rangers’ colonel, received 1,530 acres of land from today’s Kipling Avenue to Etobicoke Creek north to Bloor Street West.

Today, a sprawling lakefront, naturalized Etobicoke park is named after Smith.

In 1806, William Cooper built a grist mill and saw mill on the west bank of the Humber River just south of Dundas. In 1809, the census counted 137 residents. Dundas Street bridge opened in 1816, which would make the township more accessible.

Etobicoke’s landscapes have included prosperous farms, resorts along the lake, mill villages on the Humber and a commercial byway along Lakeshore Road, later to become Lake Shore Boulevard West, City of Toronto archives indicate.

In 1850, the township of Etobicoke was incorporated.

A century later, Etobicoke Township became part of the then newly incorporated municipality of Metropolitan Toronto in 1954.

The suburb provided homes and jobs for a growing post-Second World War population.

In 1967, Etobicoke Township merged with three lakeside municipalities — the Village of Long Branch, the Town of New Toronto and the Town of Mimico — to form the Borough of Etobicoke. In 1984, Etobicoke was reincorporated as a city.

In 1998, Etobicoke joined five other municipalities to form the amalgamated City of Toronto.

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