Toronto Neighbourhood Guide


History of Vaughan

Vaughan was first settled in the early 1800s, by Pennsylvania Germans who were soon followed by an influx of settlers from the British Isles. Vaughan originally consisted of a collection of rural hamlets and small villages. One of these hamlets was called Vaughanville. This former hamlet and the present day City of Vaughan were named in honour of British diplomat Benjamin Vaughan, who was a co-negotiator of the Peace of Paris treaty that signalled the end of the American Revolutionary war.

The most prominent of Vaughan’s early communities are the historic villages of Kleinburg, Maple, Thornhill, and Woodbridge, which to this day are the largest population centres in Vaughan. Pioneer life in Vaughan was not easy and consequently the community did not attract many new families until after World War ll when many Italians, and Eastern Europeans settled here. These new immigrants helped transform Vaughan from an agricultural based economy into an important commercial and industrial centre. Vaughan would experience phenomenal growth in the ensuing decades which would lead to its incorporation as a City in 1991.


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