We are seeking photos of the Island Road and Etobicoke Flats between the 1920s and 1955

In a recent post, I’ve mentioned:

“Bernice Law has described for me, in a recent interview, how the configuration of the land in the area of what is now Marie Curtis Park has changed since the 1930s. The additional details from David Webster are very valuable.”

Robert Lansdale writes:

“I did come across your comment, as per above. I was wondering, in your recent interviews have you found anyone with photos of the Island Road and Etobicoke Flats between the 1920’s and 1955? I have almost no info nor photos of the houses north of the Lake Promenade extension, around Island Rd (other than the photos my Dad took for the Telegram and Toronto Star).”


I have not scanned any such photos in the course of my interviews. I will check back with some of my past interview subjects, whose photos I have not yet scanned.

I will keep in mind that Robert Lansdale seeks such photos for his historical research work. His father is Bob Lansdale. Both Bob Lansdale and Robert Lansdale have shared great photos and information with us in recent years.

If you know of such photos from the 1920s to 1955, related to the Island Road and Etobicoke Flats, please contact me through the Preserved Stories website.

10 replies
  1. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    Colleen O’Marra writes:

    Black Creek Pioneer Village has no preserved cabins from Etobicoke as
    far as they know. They have an excellent website including
    descriptions of all historic buildings moved to their properties or
    native to the farm.( The Stongs were a prominent family on those
    lands) The information officer promised to enquire about the
    whereabouts of the Smith cabin if indeed it was disassembled and moved
    to another part of the province. I’m not sure where you can find
    photos of Island Road and the Etobicoke Flats from the 1920s. I know
    that the Durance family has contributed many fine pictures of that
    area. Another point of interest is a photographer named W. Braybooke
    Bayley. In the late 19th Century he took wonderful local pictures of
    Long Branch, particularly Lakeprom where he had a cottage. The
    internet lists Bayley as an amateur photographer with no formal studio
    but his photos in the Library Archives of Canada suggest a very fine
    photographer(eg 1893 Card game at Bayley Cottage, Lake prom) on the
    level of a Matthew Brady(famous Civil War photographer)The archives
    only showcases a few Bayley pictures. It’s a bit like the artifacts
    found at the Colonel Smith homestead…top secret for some inane
    reason. ( C. O’Marra)

  2. david webster
    david webster says:

    i have family photos showing some detail of the flats east of the creek. These are family photos rather than landscape but, they show some detail. eg. end of 42nd. st. in background at the highway, before the landscape changed to connect the street with Lake Shore road.

    I lived at 80-41st. St. two doors down from the Butterfield home. But, prior to that, 71- 42nd. St. on the East side, an area not affected by flooding.

  3. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    The comments and information from Colleen O’Marra and David Webster are highly valuable. Photos related to the mouth of Etobicoke Creek from the 1920s to the 1950s – especially when there are evidence-based captions to go with them – are of tremendous value. Such photos are of interest to many people.

  4. Norm Kennedy
    Norm Kennedy says:

    Hello Jaan;

    It was very interesting to read your article about my old friend David Webster. This led me to reading a number of other posts. I lived on 41st street from 1949 to 1962.

    However, I am actually writing in response to your request for photos of the “Flats”. I have recently been doing a little research related to my own biography. While doing so I discovered the Toronto Archives. In the archives are aerial photos of the “Flats” (actually the entire Toronto area), taken in 1947, 1953 and 1955, among others. The 1947 photo shows the original route of Etobicoke Creek with its mouth considerably west of its current location. I lived on the south side of Lake Promenade right at the bend. The aerial photo also shows the old access road on the north side of Lakeshore leading to the Toronto Golf Course.

    Because of the bend in the creek flooding in the spring was a regular thing. After the 1949 flood the creek was pushed straight through, isolating a portion of Lake Promenade which was then connected to Island Road. The house we lived in was not an old summer cottage, therefore it survived both the ’49 flood and Hurricane Hazel. Also, the golf course road was discontinued due to the unsafe condition of the access bridge north of the railway tracks. This new configuration can be seen in the 1953 aerial photo.

    Of course, in 1954 Hurricane Hazel sealed the fate of the “Flats” and Marie Curtis Park was born. I believe that at this time the old golf course road was renamed 43rd street because the name no longer existed south of the Lakeshore. Our former house was moved to 31st street, where it stands to this day.

    I hope that this information is useful to you.


    Norm Kennedy

    • Vanessa Ransom
      Vanessa Ransom says:

      I’d like to meet up with Norm Kennedy. Our family cottage that my father, Thomas Ransom renovated into a permanent home, stood at 492 Lake Promenade. I have many photos of the lake, the creek, storm damage, winter ice, etc. from 1949 until 1955. Some family photos of course, others of the house and other cottages. I would like to hear stories of that community. My family survived H. Hazel because my dad bundled us up in the car and drove us away. I was two years old. Our neighbors refused to go and they all drowned. Our pictures of the aftermath are evocative.

      • Jaan Pill
        Jaan Pill says:

        I will try to ensure that you will be able to meet with Norm Kennedy. I am so pleased to know the story of how you survived the hurricane. That was such a blessing, the decision that your father made.

  5. Diane ( Bertrand ) Harris
    Diane ( Bertrand ) Harris says:

    We use to have house on island road. Hurricane hazel wiped it out. We planted two tree near the area where our home stood. We’ll go through old photo from my sister.

  6. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    I love your story about the two trees. If you find the photos can you send them to me as jpeg files, so I can post them at this website? Or can I arrange to make scans of them, for posting. I can picture the trees, in my imagination. I can picture you planting them. Trees are such a great part of life, of nature.

  7. Sam McCitcheon
    Sam McCitcheon says:

    My parents bought a lot on the west side of Etobicoke Creek in 1949 I believe. My dad built a house which had a high block basement. It was the third house up from the lake. We lived there through the night of Hurricane Hazel. I have some pics of boating on the river which includes Scotts boat livery an the east shore.

  8. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    Good to read your comment, Sam.

    Would you be able to scan the photos (they would be of much interest to many people) and send them to me as jpeg files of about 1MB or 2 MB? Alternatively, can I meet with you, scan the photos to my laptop when I meet you, and then give them back to you?


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