Toronto's Historical Plaques
2004 - Now in our 10th Year - 2014
Scarborough's "Golden Mile"
Photos by Alan L Brown - Posted August, 2009
On Eglinton Avenue East, east of Pharmacy Avenue, amid the retail shops in what used to be an industrial area, is this set of two 2009 Heritage Toronto plaques. Here's what they say:
Plaque coordinates: 43.727064 -79.292579
Surrounded by farmland until the 1940s, this stretch of Eglinton Avenue, from Pharmacy Avenue to Birchmount Road, became famous in the 1950s as Scarborough's "Golden Mile of Industry" - a hub of large-scale manufacturing and a celebrated symbol of post-war prosperity.
The area's transformation began during World War II, when the government of Canada acquired a vast tract of farmland for a munitions plant known as GECo (General Engineering Company). After the war, the Township of Scarborough purchased the plant and additional surrounding land for proposed development. Some of the munitions plant buildings became municipal offices, a Council Chamber, and a public library branch, while other buildings were leased or sold to small businesses.
In 1950, ball bearings giant Svenska Kullagerfabriken (SKF) acquired part of the GECo lands and the industrial boom of the Golden Mile began.
The Golden Mile promised inexpensive land and low property taxes to industries growing with Canada's post-World War II economic boom. By 1955, corporations such as Frigidaire, the John Inglis Company, Thermos, and Warner Lambert had major manufacturing facilities here. Automobile makers and dealers joined them, including Volkswagen, Rootes Motors, and as late as 1974, a General Motors van plant.
Their move to this area provided much needed industrial property taxes, and served as a catalyst for further development. Residential subdivisions sprang up to house the Golden Mile's workforce, followed by strip plazas, which were then celebrated as modern conveniences.
By the 1980s, larger industries were moving to less expensive properties, and the Golden Mile of Industry gradually became the Golden Mile of Commerce - known for its large retail stores and car dealerships. However, some industrial buildings do survive - along with street names such as Thermos Road - to remind us of an earlier Golden Mile.
> Posted February 21, 2011
Wow, this is really sad how much our society has changed. Im glad that this information is being share to greater minds so they may develop it as well
> Posted February 23, 2010
Boy, has that area changed. I remember going to see movies at the Golden Mile plaza growing up as a kid (my brother did as well) in Scarborough. Now, it's all developed so much. That's progress for you.
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