Toronto Neighbourhood Guide

North York


History of Elia

The earliest inhabitants in what is now known as Elia were the First Nations tribe which established a village along the banks of the Humber River, just to the north of present day Finch Avenue. This First Nations village was in existence from 1400 to 1550.

The pioneers who arrived in Elia in the late 1700's and early 1800's were of German descent. These pioneers travelled from Pennsylvania in oxen led Conestoga wagons with their cattle in tow. They were followed by English and Scottish families who settled in Elia in the 1820's.

The Elia name originated with the post office of William Snider which opened in 1878 at the south-west corner of Keele Street and Finch Avenue in Sniders general store. The two focal points of this farming community were the one room Elia schoolhouse and the Elia church. Both of these former landmarks were closed in 1956 when Elia's farms were sold to developers.

The Elia church renamed "Elijah", situated at 1130 Finch Avenue West, is all that remains of this historic hamlet whose landscape is now dominated by residential subdivisions and shopping plazas


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