Toronto neighbourhood the Upper Beaches only recently received its name. Originally the western part of this area was known as Norway, with the remaining areas being part of the Town of East Toronto. In 2001 to 2003 both real estate agents and developers started using the name Upper Beaches as a marketing strategy to attract homebuyers. They chose this name because although the neighbourhood is not part of the Beaches, it is extremely close to it. The name currently used by the city for this area is East End Danforth. However, the neighbourhood is unofficially known as the Upper Beaches. When referring to “East End Danforth” the city also includes buildings found running along and just north of Danforth Avenue in the neighbourhood. The city also refers to the western portion between Woodbine Avenue and Coxwell Avenue as Woodbine Corridor.
The Upper Beaches are located with Canadian National Railway tracks to the north, Queen Street to the south, Victoria Park Avenue to the east, and Coxwell Avenue to the west.
Before development along Toronto’s beaches started, Norway was a postal village in what is now known as the eastern end of Toronto. The name for the area originated from the Norway Pines found throughout, and the communities most prominent industry that came from the harvesting of these trees.
The most affluent landowner in the area was Charles Coxwell Small. He attempted to have the town renamed Berkeley, after his hometown in Britain. However, he was unsuccessful and the name remained Norway.
Built in 1825 the village’s post office was originally a wooden structure located today at 320 Kingston Road. Established by Wragg & Co. The Norway Steam Mills, a steam powered saw mill began operations in 1835. This mill’s specialty was Norway Pine. It was located at it what is now Kingston Road and Woodbine Avenue. In the 1800’s a toll gate also resided in this area. Along the stretch of Kingston Road tolls financed the maintenance of the well-used route between Toronto and Kingston. This passage was the major east-west land route through what was then defined as Upper Canada.
In the 1840’s the community developed around industry of the sawmill, toll station, and post office becoming a popular stagecoach stop. During this time the community of Norway was still fairly rural with large wooded areas. It was 5 miles away from the city located at Woodbine. However by the 1850’s the population had grown to 100. To accommodate needs of the residents a school was built, along with a blacksmith’s shop, a few inns, and three taverns.
The village of Norway was incorporated into the expanding City of Toronto in 1909. The village of East Toronto had been incorporated one year prior. The rich history of Norway hasn’t been lost in the Upper Beaches neighbourhood. Norway Public School, as well as the street Norway Avenue harks back to the neighbourhoods ancestry.
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