Don Valley Historical Mapping Project

Toronto’s Don River Valley is arguably the city’s most distinctive physical feature.  As a provider of water, power, sustenance, building materials, and transportation, it has played an important role in the city’s settlement and development.  The river valley has changed dramatically in the years since European settlement, particularly during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, when the Lower Don River was straightened and channelized and the huge marsh at its mouth drained and filled. Today, the Lower Valley forms the foundation for one of the most densely populated areas in Canada, outlining as it does the eastern portion of Toronto’s downtown core and radiating residential areas. 

This project documents historical changes in the landscape of the Don River Valley. Drawing from the wide range of geographical information available for the Don River watershed (and the Lower Don in particular), including historical maps, geological maps, fire insurance plans, planning documents, and city directories, the project uses Geographic Information Systems software to place, compile, synthesize and interpret this information and make it more accessible as geospatial data and maps.

Project link:

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