April 13, 2021


Specialists in home design

The historical past of the Rexdale neighbourhood in Toronto

Rexdale is a community located north-west of downtown Toronto. Sitting ideal on the edge of Etobicoke, it...

Rexdale is a community located north-west of downtown Toronto. Sitting ideal on the edge of Etobicoke, it consists of the place between Highway 427, Highway 401, Steeles Avenue and the Humber River.

In just Rexdale, you can obtain various lesser neighbourhoods including Humberwood, Clairville and Smithfield.

The area recognised as “Old Rexdale” refers to the smaller sized place west of the Humber River, east of Islington Avenue and in involving Thistletown and the 401.

rexdale toronto

A team of people collected above the Humber River in 1954. Picture by Toronto Public Library.

Wonderful soil for farming

Growth of Aged Rexdale started in the mid-1900s, but there have been some important activities in the neighbourhood prior to that.

In accordance to the Etobicoke Historical Culture, the first land grants were created in 1799. Considering that Rexdale was so significantly from the key metropolis and had quite couple of streets, it wasn’t a really sought after space.

What it did have, nevertheless, was terrific soil for agriculture. Since of this, just about all of the land was utilised for cultivation. It stayed this way until finally put up-WWII when individuals commenced hunting for housing and work opportunities.


The mid 1900s was definitely when Rexdale started to form and it was all many thanks to a gentleman named Rex Wesley Heslop

Born in Etobicoke, Heslop turned a prosperous businessman, both equally in Canada and the United States. He created hundreds of residences in Alderwood, but shortly land in that neighbourhood ran out. This led Heslop to glimpse north to Rexdale.

He acquired the farmland and started making streets, sewers, h2o mains and residences. According to the Etobicoke Historic Society, for the duration of this time Heslop designed an critical deal with the Etobicoke metropolis council.

A require for housing

In exchange for building properties for the neighbourhood, he was authorized to establish new market in the space at a ratio of 35 per cent industrial assessment to 65 for every cent residential.

rexdale toronto

The setting up that served as Rex Heslop’s home, office and post office environment in the 1900s. Image by Toronto Public Library.

In 1951, he acquired a 100-acre farm which would turn out to be his home, office and unofficial post place of work. The land was positioned east of Islington Avenue, just north of the 401, and was soon turned into a large amount for much more residences.

In 1952, Heslop signed an arrangement to provide the initially homes in Rexdale to a group of 40 staff members from the AV Roe Aircraft Corporation in Malton. These houses ended up modest bungalows and just one and a half tale structures.

Educational institutions and stores

With a lot more people today moving into the neighbourhood there became an apparent require for educational facilities and buying centres. 

rexdale toronto

Elmlea General public College in 1955. Picture by Toronto General public Library.

In 1953, the very first university in Rexdale named Elmlea General public College, was opened on Hadrian Push. Two a long time later on, Rexdale Community School opened just west of Islington Avenue on Barrhead Crescent.

In 1956, Rexdale Plaza was designed by Heslop and his group. This was a person of the several plazas in Toronto at the time, and was home to a Dominion (now known as Metro) and different retail suppliers.

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Image of Dominion in Rexdale Plaza in the 1950s. Photo by Toronto City Archives.

The plaza stood in the neighbourhood for nearly fifty percent a century right before it was demolished and replaced with a buying centre in the early 2000s.

New Rexdale

Following all of his achievement with Old Rexdale, Heslop commenced building the region west of Islington Avenue, which would come to be New Rexdale.

“Eventually Heslop formulated about 2000 houses and 70 organizations on 1200 acres of land, and he was a millionaire,” in accordance to the Etobicoke Historic Culture.

rexdale toronto

Rexdale Boulevard in 1955. Photo by Toronto General public Library.

In the mid-1900s, Pine Issue Park became the initial park in Rexdale. Though the land was obtained and produced decades earlier, it wasn’t until eventually the Township of Etobicoke purchased it, that it grew to become the park it is recognized for. Right now, it features an arena, tennis courts and a great tobogganing hill.

An unfortunate reputation

In the late 90s and early 2000, this blend of a residential and industrial neighbourhood gained a relatively negative reputation.

Even though the neighbourhood was generally quiet, crammed with family members and colleges, media protection of some superior profile crimes drew interest to it, and not in a optimistic way.

rexdale toronto

Photo of people today gathered on a street by the Humber River in Rexdale in 1954. Picture by Toronto General public Library.

In Amy Siciliano’s Policing Poverty, she estimates the World and Mail expressing, Rexdale “is a common example of a new Suburban phenomenon –an above-night time housing enhancement with a runaway population expansion and no priorities specified to the provision of products and services and amenities that bear immediately on the top quality of human daily life.”

For many years it was an place of the metropolis that lacked funding and satisfactory expert services for its people.

In accordance to this CBC write-up, waves of violence are not unconventional to the area. “The city’s northwest has a background with gang exercise, turf wars and retaliation, guns and drugs.”

While Rexdale has had a lot more than its good share of crime around the several years, it really is also a neighbourhood that is frequently escalating and evolving. Community centres, services and plans are all doing the job to develop a better Rexdale for its citizens.