“York” makes reference to the former Town of York – the forerunner to modern day Toronto and “Mills” refers to the grist and saw mills that churned in this valley from 1804 until 1926. During this period of industry York Mills was a busy place. It included a distillery, a tannery, a blacksmith shop, three churches, a school, a post office, a toll gate and the Jolly Miller Tavern which is still standing today at 3885 Yonge Street. Another York Mills landmark is St.John’s Anglican Church which began in 1816. The original log church was replaced by the present day white brick church in 1844. The church bells of St.John’s still ring out over the valley every day at noon cheerfully piercing the monotone roar of the traffic below on Yonge Street. York Mills’ transition from a rural hamlet to a residential neighbourhood began in the 1930’s on the ridge of the hill near St. John’s Church, and in the Hedgewood Road area south of York Mills Road. St. Andrew’s College, a venerable boys private school owned the land east of Old Yonge Street over to Bayview Avenue during the early 1920’s before moving north to Aurora in 1924. The former St. Andrew’s College grounds were then purchased by St. Andrew’s Estates which operated a championship golf course at this site until the 1950’s when the club was sold to developers. St. Andrew’s Park, Tournament Park and local street names including Foursome and Lower Links, are reminders that this part of York Mills was once a golf course.
Ed Note: E.P. Taylor, a giant in the archives of Canadian business, oversaw the development of York Mills Plaza in 1952 and was responsible for subdividing much of York Mills east of Bayview Avenue.