Vaughan – Thornhill

Thornhill street sign

Photo: AndroidCat from Wikimedia Commons

Vaughan - ThornhillThornhill enjoys the unique distinction of being situated in two different cities; the City of Vaughan west of Yonge Street and the City of Markham east of Yonge Street. Thornhill shares its southern boundary with the City of Toronto. The old village of Thornhill is clustered around Yonge Street between Centre and John Streets. This bucolic setting is highlighted by the east branch of the Don River which meanders downstream through the village and adjacent ravine parkland.

The new Thornhill which has branched out from the old village is a collection of new home subdivisions surrounded by shopping centres, community centres, and highly ranked schools. Thornhill features a large Jewish, Eastern European and Italian population. Thornhill landmarks include the historic Thornhill Village heritage area, Uplands Golf and Country Club, the Bayview Golf and Country Club and the Promenade Shopping Centre.

Lifestyle in Thornhill

The Promenade Shopping Centre located on Bathurst Street in Thornhill is a shopping destination anchored by Sears. It has over 175 shops including popular names like: Old Navy, American Eagle Outfitters and Coach.

Transportation in Thornhill

YRT/Viva offers local and rapid transit services in the Thornhill area, For more details visit their website

Go Transit has a bus station at Yonge St. @ Langstaff Rd.

Arts in Thornhill

The City Playhouse Theatre located at 1000 New Westminster Dr., showcases both professional and community based theatre, performances in dance and music from professional and community based production companies, art exhibitions and multicultural events. Theatre education and outreach programs are also part of the City Playhouse mandate – opening their doors and establishing long-term connections with the community.

Recreation in Thornhill

Thornhill has an excellent mix of indoor and outdoor recreation facilities: The North Thornhill Community located at 300 Pleasant Ridge Avenue offers a myriad of amenities that include: Cycling studio, aerobics studio, sauna, swimming pool and whirlpool. Pay-as-you-go and membership options available. There are also a number of culture and faith based centres available to residents.

The Thornhill Park Tennis Club located at 26 Old Yonge St is one of the most active tennis clubs in the City of Vaughan. The public parkland surrounding these courts makes for a pretty setting.

Golfers will delight in having so many courses to choose from in Thornhill. These include the Uplands Golf and Ski Club, The Bayview Country Club, and the The Ladies’ Golf Club of Toronto.

History of Thornhill

Thornhill’s first settlers arrived in 1794. It was a settler named Asa Johnson. However; the community takes its name from Benjamin Thorne who settled here in 1820. Thorne operated a gristmill, a sawmill, and a tannery in the area. Not surprisingly the settlement became known as Thorne’s Mills, and subsequently Thorne’s Hill, and finally Thornhill.

Thornhill’s location along Yonge Street was a major impetus for its growth as it provided access to the City of Toronto to the south. This access was acclerated with the arrival of the electric street railway along Yonge Street in 1898 and further enhanced in the 1920s, with the arrival of the automobile. In 1931, Thornhill became a “Police Village”. Essentially a Police Village is a small village or town with a population too small to warrant incorporation and formal municipal government Often times these smaller population clusters were referred to as Hamlets. The Police Village designation allowed citizens to appoint Reeves who would help maintain law and order.

When York Region was created in In 1971, the Police Village of Thornhill was dissolved. However; Thornhill would retain its village identity in part thanks to the post office which retained the Thornhill name and serviced homes and businesses within the former village’s boundaries. Thornhill has expanded northward over the years. The Thornhill name has been used to denote many of the new subdivisions that have sprung up in the area.

Today, in Old Thornhill along Yonge Street, over one hundred historic buildings stand as reminders of Thornhill’s past. The Thornhill Historical Society has commemorated fifteen sites with historic plaques. The Thornhill Village (Wheatsheaf) Festival was started in 1977 in part to draw attention to the “Old Town”. Thorn hill, east and west of Yonge Street are designated as Heritage Conservation Districts.

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