Over its history, like all big cities, Toronto has grown in geographical area as well as in population. In 1861 its northern boundary was Bloor Street. From east to west it stretched from the Don River to “the Garrison” on the eastern side of the Canadian National Exhibition Grounds of today. It was divided into seven wards, all named after saints. As the city grew between 1861 and 1891 more saints’ names were added. Around 1890 it was decided to redesign the wards and number them numerically. The nine wards established then remained until the establishment of the Greater Toronto Authority in the 1990s.
The large townships of Etobicoke and Scarborough did not have any governmental link with Toronto until the 1950s when Metropolitan Toronto was established.
York Township in 1860 included all the land in between Etobicoke and Scarborough which was north of Bloor Street and south of Steeles Avenue. York Township was eventually separated into the townships of East York, North York, and West York, and parts of these townships were incorporated into the City of Toronto or Metropolitan Toronto at various times between 1860 and 1960.
The seven Toronto wards of 1861, with their boundaries, were as follows:
St George’s: the land west of Yonge Street stretching to the Garrison, and from the Bay shore north to King Street West.
St Lawrence’s: the land east of Yonge Street stretching to the Don River, and from the Bay shore north to King Street East.
St Andrew’s: the land west of Yonge Street stretching to a line north of the Garrison, and from King Street West to Queen Street West.
St James’s: the land east of Yonge street to Nelson and Jarvis Streets, with its southern boundary King St East and its northern boundary Bloor Street East (still known as the Second Concession Road through the 1850s).
St David’s: the ward east of St James’s and north of St Lawrence’s with its eastern and northern boundaries the Don River and Bloor St East, respecively.
St John’s: the land west of Yonge Street to what is now University Avenue, and north from Queen Street West to Bloor Street West. In 1861 the name of St John’s western boundary was just on the point of changing, and in the census it is found by its former name: Park Lane.
St Patrick’s: the land within the city north of Queen Street West and west of University or, as it was then known, College Avenue. College Avenue and Park Lane were parallel and very close together. There were no houses in between. Today they are the west and east sides of the boulevard which is University Avenue. The western boundary of St Patrick’s was Dufferin Street, but the greater part of the population lived east of Hope Street (Manning Avenue).