Toronto Neighbourhood Guide

North York


History of Downsview

Downsview derives it's name from John Perkins Bull, a Justice of the Peace who settled in this area around 1842. Bull named his farm "Downs View" as his property was situated on one of the highest elevations in Toronto.

In what must surely have been one of the first home offices, the Bull farmhouse included a courtroom addition and a jail which was located in the basement of the house. The John Perkins Bull house is still standing today at 450 Rustic Road where it is presently in use as a nursing home.

For over a hundred years Downsview was a thriving agricultural community with it's own general store, schoolhouse, and post office. The pillar of this community was the red brick Downsview United Church. Built in 1870, this church is still standing in it's original location at 2822 Keele Street.

Downsview began a new chapter in it's history in 1928 when the world famous De Havilland Aircraft Company chose Downsview as it's home. The Canadian Armed Forces followed De Havilland to Downsview setting up an important military base in Downsview during World War Two. Once the war was over Downsview experienced a building boom which saw the entire neighbourhood developed by the early 1970's.


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