The area first belonged to Andrew McGlashan, a Scottish immigrant who took possession in 1804 and began to clear the land and build a log house. In 1815, he sold 85 acres to William Harrison.  Harrison’s family had been United Empire Loyalists and he was a soldier in the War of 1812, decorated for his bravery.

As a Reformer, he was wounded in the Rebellion of 1837 that led to responsible government in Upper Canada. He died in 1838 and was buried at St. John’s York Mills Cemetery.  That year, his family built a larger house and the landholding eventually grew to be 300 acres. The home was occupied by his descendants for more than a century, until 1943.  It is located at the north end of the street named in his honour, Harrison Road.

In recent times this, the original large house in the area – now 175 years old, was purchased by Roger and Moira Ashby who have beautifully restored and added to it while delightfully retaining its historic character.

In the 1940s following World War II, houses began to be constructed on the east side of Bayview Avenue (then known as Bayview Farms on R.R. # 1 York Mills) north of Fife Road.

The land to the south and east was part of renowned businessman and horseman E.P. Taylor’s Windfields land holdings. Some was sold in the 1950’s, at which time many large “ranch” bungalows on big lots were built. Around that time, the York Mills Garden parkette was created at the corner of Bayview Avenue and Fife Road.  It was maintained by the Borough of North York, and now by the City of Toronto. The stone wall signage remains there today, indicating an entryway to the neighbourhood.

Most of Windfields’ land was sold to developers in 1968, resulting in the newer two storey homes east of Farrington Drive and Dempsey Crescent, as well as the Bayview Mills townhomes in the southwest part of the area near Bayview Avenue at York Mills Road.

More recently, beginning in the 1980s, there has been a trend to replace many of the original 1940s and 1950s era bungalows with much larger homes on big lots, and that renewal pattern continues today.

The York Mills Gardens Community Association was formed by dedicated local residents in the 1970s and was recognized by the Borough of North York’s official description of boundaries for our neighbourhood that the Association still maintains today.

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