Toronto Neighbourhood Guide

Woodbridge

History of Woodbridge

Woodbridge was originally named Burwick after pioneer Rowland Burr who settled here in 1835. As the rural hamlet grew and mail delivery arrived, the town had to change its name as there was confusion with another settlement in Western Canada named Burwick. The name Woodbridge first came into use in 1855. Woodbridge was aptly named in reference to a landmark wooden bridge that spanned the Humber River and marked the entrance into the town. The old bridge was situated near what is today Islington Avenue and Langstaff Road.  

Like most Ontario villages and towns Woodbridge's growth was greatly impacted by the arrivial of the railway. In 1870 the  Toronto, Grey and Bruce Railway was the first to put Woodbridge on the map. Agriculture was a primary occupation. Abell Agricultiral Works that manufactured agricultural equipment was a large employer. Grain and flour mills along the Humber River also contributed to the growth of the village. Woodbridge's growing population led to its incorporation as a Village in 1882.

Abell's departure to Toronto in the late 1880s led to a decline in population and some harsh times for the newly minted village. In 1908, Woodbridge's fortunes would take a turn for the better, thanks once again to the railway. First, the Canadian Pacific Railway routed its line through Woodbridge. Then in 1914 the Toronto Suburban Railway Company's Weston Line expanded to include Woodbridge. The construction of Highway 7 in 1930 would signal a new era in Woodbridge's growth.

New home subdivions first arrived in the 1950s. Each decade since has seen a steady surge in development. Woodbridge's rural past is now a distant memory, farm fields replaced by soccer fields and new homes. The growth has been remarkable from the first pioneers to the many families that now call Woodbridge home.

 

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