Small lakefront cottages seen across water and swamp
Island houses, Hanlan’s Point
Photographer: William James
City of Toronto Archives
William James family fonds, Fonds 1244,
Item 6008


By 1900, Toronto Island consisted of a 200-acre park and residential areas on Hanlan’s Point, Centre Island and Ward’s Island, housing both permanent and summer residents. With the substantial housing shortage during World War II, the City encouraged winterization of cottages, leading to an increase in permanent residents.

The 1956 transfer of the Island to the new Metropolitan Toronto, to be a regional park, lead to the destruction of over 400 homes. Since then, there has been a struggle, between Metro and the residents, to convert the entire Island to parkland or maintain the mix of parkland and residential community.

The struggle continued until 1993, when a resolution was finally achieved.


On a snowy road, a smiling young man takes a basket of milk bottles from a sleigh
Life on Island, milkman
February 18, 1944
City of Toronto Archives
Globe and Mail collection, SC 266, Item 89253


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