Memorials Moved but Remembered: Etobicoke’s Lakeshore Communities

Our 2018 fall collection consists of four memorials from three Lakeshore communities of Etobicoke.

The southwest boundary of Etobicoke sits along the north shore of Lake Ontario. A few miles east of “the Lakeshore,” concrete roadways and condo canyons hide the lake, except for occasional glimpses. Mimico, New Toronto, and Long Branch still have traces of their historic reasons for developing along the water.

The 1998 amalgamation of Toronto sometimes blurred, but did not bury, Toronto’s distinctive neighbourhoods. As you walk, drive, or TTC-it through the megacity, traces—often strong—of older communities are visible. If you live in Mimico, you know you are in Mimico. Step onto side streets and you pick up the sense of a settled neighbourhood; architecture that developed gradually over time, rather than being imposed overnight by developers.

Many Mimico Avenue businesses have moved to busier streets.

Thus we are featuring memorial lists from former villages that had a strong sense of self, long before the spreading metropolis of Toronto was even a political dream.

Mimico High School:(896 names)
Although the school closed in 1988, many records not only survive, but are available for online searching. A sincere thank you to Susan Murphy of Parry Sound who indexed Mimico’s Second World War names for us.

David Hornell Junior School: (8 names)
This post-war school was named for Flight- Lieutenant David Hornell, a World War II recipient of the Victoria Cross, and Mimico resident, who attended Mimico High and nearby John English elementary schools.

Wesley Mimico United Church: (226 names)
We do not usually include church memorials, but this church building dating from 1862 is now used as a Montessori school. The congregation is currently (2018) meeting in Mimico Public Library, with a future that seems unsettled. We have not been able to find the current location of the two (WWI and WWII) memorials, but photos were forwarded to Mimico resident and local history buff, Sharon Stewart Kettlewell who indexed them for us.

New Toronto Soldiers’ Comforts Association: (19 names)
New Toronto is the middle Lakeshore municipality, between Mimico on the east and Long Branch of the west. The delightfully-named sponsors of this memorial chose a practical fountain to remember those who died in the Great War. The fountain has moved a number of times. We want to give the names of those who died a permanent home on our website.

Vimy Ridge Parkette recalls 300 or more who served in the Great War.

We have previously indexed the 453 names of Long Branch Continuation School, which closed in 1951. James S. Bell (elementary) school—named for a principal of 21 years— moved into the building, staying until 1966, when it opened in a new—and current—location on Thirty-First Street in Long Branch.

These three Lakeshore communities preserve their past thorough various local history groups and memorials. Mimico’s Memorial Park recalls the Great War. Nearby Vimy Ridge Parkette proudly displays a cenotaph and two bronze honour-roll lists of about 300 names. Local historian Michael Harrison has tracked in great detail the lives of many soldiers of the Great War on these sites we recommend to researchers:

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