Topographical map of the City and Liberties of Toronto, James Cane, 1842 (Series 726, Item 2, City of Toronto Archives)
TTC Streetcar at Yonge and College, 1937
Santa Claus parade, 1918
Eaton's Auditorium, 1931
McCaul's Pond, Taddle Creek, 1876
How did the Bay Cloverhill neighbourhood get its name? The area is steeped in history. Clover Hill was the name of a home built during the early days of the founding of Toronto. The first indigenous people to live in the Toronto area were the Wendat, Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe. Eventually the Mississauga of the Credit First Nation inhabited the lands.
Origins of the neighbourhood date back to 1797 when Park Lot 10 of 100 acres each, bounded by the 1st Concession/Lot Street (now Queen Street) to 2nd Concession (now Danforth/Bloor), from Bay Street to Queen’s Park Crescent, that was granted to James Macaulay. The adjacent Park Lot 9 had similar borders, except the east/west borders were Yonge Street to Bay Street, and was granted to the Honourable Chief Justice John Elmsley.
In 1818, the portion of Park Lot between College/Bay/Bloor/Yonge was exchanged between the Macaulay and Elmsley families. The area became known as Saint John’s Ward. In 1829, his son, Captain John Elmsley, started building Clover Hill Villa, on the site of St. Basil’s College. Subsequently, he converted to Catholicism, which resulted in land donations and construction funds for St. Michael’s College and St. Basil’s College. Captain Elmsley also donated land where he named the streets after his favourite saints: St. Joseph, St. Mary, St. Alban, St. Clements, St. Charles, St. Nicholas and St. Thomas. Alban Street was renamed to Wellesley Street in 1859, in honour of the first Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley (1769-1852) who lead the defeat of Napoleon in Waterloo.
In 1837, Toronto's first mayor William Lyon Mackenzie led the Upper Canada Rebellion from Yonge and Bloor to Yonge and Maitland, where they were confronted and disbursed by Sheriff William Botsford Jarvis and a group of 27 riflemen.
The first bus line operated on Yonge Street from King Street to Bloor Street in 1849. Horse drawn streetcars started operating in 1861 until the streetcar lines were electrified in 1892. 1954 saw the launch of the subway which replaced the streetcars.
The inaugural Santa Claus parade was held in 1905 along Yonge Street, which served as the commercial main street for the residential areas on either side.
The Eaton’s Auditorium was built in 1930 on the southwest corner of Yonge and College, as part of the Eaton’s store. Glenn Gould made his professional debut at a 1945 Christmas Concert in the Eaton’s Auditorium. The space closed in 1970 and the complex became known as College Park when Eaton’s relocated. The 7th floor auditorium space was protected under the Ontario Heritage Act. It stayed vacant for over 25 years. In 2003, it was renovated and now operates as the Art Moderne style wedding and event space, the Carlu. Jacques Carlu was the French architect who originally designed the Eaton’s Auditorium.
The Yonge and Wellesley area became infamous for the many nightclubs in the 1970’s to the 1990’s. The majority of the dance clubs catered to the LGBT2Q+ community, eventually welcoming punk music aficionados.
Taddle Creek runs through the Bay Cloverhill neighbourhood. This creek was buried in 1884, originally started near the shoreline of the ancient Lake Iroquois (now St. Clair Avenue and Bathurst Street area), then headed south along Bedford going through the area now occupied by the University of Toronto, specifically Philosopher’s Walk. Hart House Green is the former location of McCaul’s Pond, which was part of Taddle Creek at Hoskin Avenue and Wellesley Street West. The creek then headed south to Lake Ontario, passing by University Avenue, the current site of the Toronto Eaton Centre, Moss Park and the Distillery District.
Today the area consists mainly of condominium and apartment buildings with commercial businesses along Yonge Street and Bay Street. The University of Toronto with associated educational uses and Women's College Hospital dominate the area west of Bay. The majority of residents are students or seniors, who enjoy the convenience and variety of downtown living.
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