Tag Archives: Kennedy Road

Agincourt’s Brookside: From Farm to Subdivision

A curious item in the Toronto Public Library’s Digital Archive is an image of farm or ranch located in Agincourt. The picturesque scene is “Brookside”, the estate of the Pattersons, located on the northeast lot of the intersection of Kennedy Road and Sheppard Avenue. The evolution of this property is an interesting story.

Paterson, “Brookside”, Sheppard Ave. E., n.e. lot Kennedy Road, 1905. Credit: Toronto Public Library.

The Patterson family of Scarborough had three lots on the east side of Kennedy Road (lot 28) between Sheppard Avenue (Concession III) and Finch Avenue (Concession IV) in Agincourt, together totalling 200 acres. The middle Patterson lot was “Elmridge“, whose farmhouse still exists today.

Illustrated Atlas of York County, 1878. Credit: Historical Maps of Toronto.

The Globe, January 7, 1914. Credit: Globe and Mail Archives.

The 67-acre Brookside was the southern most of these lots running a third of the way to Finch Avenue and edging on the Canadian National Railway. It was opposite the future Tam O’Shanter Golf Club. The West Highland Creek ran through the property, likely giving the estate its name.

Map of the Townships, York, Scarboro, and Etobicoke, 1916. Credit: University of Toronto Map & Data Library.

The Globe, September 24, 1926. Credit: Globe and Mail Archives.

Brookside existed in a rural setting for much of its life, until the second half of the 20th century. By 1950, streets and houses popped up to the east, north, and south of the farm buildings, likely as parts of the Patterson lot was partitioned.

Aerial photo, 1950. Credit: City of Toronto Archives.

Aerial photo, 1953. Credit: City of Toronto Archives.

By the mid-1950s, the streets took their shape and names. Running north to south was Patterson Avenue to honour the family whose farm it was built upon. Running east to west was Station Rd (leading to the CN Station, now a GO Transit Station), Marilyn Avenue, and a tiny Reidmount Avenue. The woodlot behind the farmhouse also seemed to have been cleared.

Map of Metropolitan Toronto, 1955. Credit: University of Toronto Map & Data Library.

Aerial photo, 1956. Credit: City of Toronto Archives.

By the end of the decade, changes were afoot. Patterson Avenue was renamed to an extended Reidmount Avenue and Station Road became Dowry Avenue. (As an aside, on the other side of railroad tracks, First Avenue because Agincourt Drive in 1957. The changes likely resulted from the reworking of the road network following the creation of Metropolitan Toronto.)

The image below is a Planning Map from the 1959 Official Plan of Toronto. The Brookside Farm is labelled as “R.E.” potentially meaning “Residential Estate” or “Rural Estate” or even “Residential Expansion”, which in any case references a larger lot. “R” is “residential” and “C” is “commercial”. The corresponding aerial image provides a visual of the lot division.

Scarborough: streets and names, 1959. Credit: York University Map Library.

Aerial photo, 1959. Credit: City of Toronto Archives.

By 1969, the Patterson farm buildings have completely disappeared. Moreover, the West Highland Creek was channelized and widened along with a new bridge running over Kennedy Road.

Aerial photo, 1969. Credit: City of Toronto Archives.

West Highland Creek looking southeast towards Cardwell Avenue.

By the middle of the 1980s, the area around Kennedy and Sheppard was increasingly built up. A new street named Cardwell Avenue now connected Kennedy and Dowry Street. On either side of Cardwell was a new subdivision of houses.

Aerial photo, 1985. Credit: City of Toronto Archives.

Cardwell Avenue east of Kennedy Road

Today, this group of homes are part of the modern geography of Agincourt. If one looks closer though, the shape of the overall subdivision corresponds to the Pattersons’ farm Brookside that was once there.

Google Maps, 2021

Scenes From Kennedy Road

Kennedy Road between Finch and Linwood Avenues is, at first glance, an inconsequential stretch of street. 1km of nothing. A bit of digging, however, and there’s a story. There’s always a story.

Beginning at the top, there’s the Hugh Clark House. A rural leftover nestled in behind a gas station. The Clark family once lined the north side of Finch with their farms. The first of the Clarks to plant his roots was Hugh‘s father, William, who settled two lots over at Birchmount Road in 1838. I wrote a little bit about the elder Clark while exploring his property at today’s L’Amoreaux Park.

Hugh Clark House
Crossing the street, one comes to an innocent looking parkette. Today’s park, however, is yesterday’s street jog. Kennedy at one time jogged left at Finch, forcing a northbound traveler to turn left and then right before continuing north. At some point Kennedy was reconfigured to run seamlessly through the intersection. An orphaned section of the old route remained south of Finch, however. The old Kennedy bus used to turn around at the loop when the bus route terminated at Finch. The triangular jog was eliminated for good in 1979, leaving us Kennedy Road Parkette.

Finch Kennedy Parkette jog
Next, Lynnwood Heights on Southlawn Drive has been around since 1956. The school’s TDSB webpage notes an original population of 400, a staggering far cry from the current enrollment of 160 pupils. The surrounding subdivision also dates from around 1956, making it one of the older post-war developments in northern Scarborough. One can imagine as the area continued to grow, more schools opened to relieve Lynnwood.

Lynnwood Heights Junior Public School
Huntingwood Drive is an east-west alternative to Sheppard and Finch (at least, between Victoria Park and McCowan), but its existence is a relatively recent thing – around 1967, more specifically. It’s odd in the way it snakes close to Sheppard in some parts and close in Finch in others.

Huntingwood Drive

Kennedy Road & Area, 1965

Kennedy Road & Area, 1965. Source: City of Toronto Archives. The future Huntingwood Drive is pencilled in bottom left. Finch jog at top.

Bookending the kilometre stretch is another farmhouse, Elmridge. This was the Pat(t)erson family homestead. Or, at least, one of them. Like the Clarks, the Patersons were a pioneering Scarboro family who toiled the land on the east side of the street between Sheppard and Finch. Robert Bonis writes in A History of Scarborough that a Thomas Paterson arrived here in 1820 from Scotland, clearing the land with his son. His descendants continued his work at Elmridge, eventually making the Paterson name synonymous with Agincourt. This excellently researched WikiTree entry breaks down the life of Thomas Archibald Paterson, the great-grandson of the original Thomas Paterson.

Elmridge House