June 1, 1858: How it All Began
How did Agincourt in Scarborough get its name? The story dates back to June 1, 1858, when John Hill finally obtained a post office outlet for his general store. History shows that Mr. Hill had been trying to obtain a post office to improve his business. Hill went to visit his friend, a member of parliament from Quebec. However, at this time, Ontario and Quebec were in political conflict. So his friend said he could assist Hill in acquiring his post office if it was given a French name. They decided on the name Agincourt, after a town in northern France, which satisfied his French-Canadian friend and didn’t upset any English and Scottish men in Scarborough. And thus, Agincourt was born.
The Late 1800s
At first, Agincourt grew slowly, centred around what is today known as Brimley Road and Sheppard Avenue East. By the late 1860s, a small community had formed with the building of Hill’s General Store, Milne’s sawmill, and the Sons of Temperance Hall. Then in 1871, they began constructing the first Agincourt railway station, which increased access to transportation and caused the population to grow. The community then shifted westward along Main Street, which is currently Sheppard Avenue, to Church Street, now known as Midland Avenue. By 1884 Agincourt was home to two railways causing even more growth!
The Early 1900s
Once it hit the 1900s, Agincourt became the largest township community. The town established a telephone exchange in 1903 and a branch of the Metropolitan Bank opened in 1906. Paget and Hay’s Hardware store and tin smith were up and running by 1912, the same year Heather Hall Skating and Curling Club was built. Moreover, a Board of Trustees raised enough money to start using Hydro and building curbs and sidewalks to improve the town even further.
The Late 1900s
The town built a library, several schools, more churches, and many bakeries and general stores as the years passed. However, most of these were demolished in 1953, when Horton’s subdivision started buying up the land to build houses and apartment buildings. The Agincourt Plaza, which is now the Dynasty Centre and the Glen Watford Plaza, which is currently the Cathay Plaza, was also built around this time. In 1968, they built the Agincourt Mall, the first indoor shopping plaza in Scarborough, home to Woolco, among other retailers. The area was again transformed in the 1980s when it became a booming suburban Toronto Chinatown.
Today, Agincourt is home to a diverse and bustling community with four public school boards operating both elementary and secondary schools. The neighbourhood is also home to several municipal parks, the Agincourt Recreation Centre, a giant zoo, nature escapes and a multicultural food scene. Agincourt is ideal for those who want to explore the great outdoors without leaving the city, as it’s home to the Scarborough Bluffs, the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail, and Rouge National Urban Park. Moreover, many public transit options exist, including Kennedy subway stations and the Scarborough GO train station. The City of Toronto is also undertaking The Agincourt Secondary Plan that will help guide positive change and support Scarborough Centre’s future development. The plan includes strengthening the role of Scarborough Centre as one of Toronto’s key destination points, fostering community and a mix of uses that serve residents, employees and visitors, and encouraging a built form that makes the best use of infrastructure investments, particularly the Scarborough Subway Extension. The long term post-subway employment and residential targets are approximately 15,000 new jobs and 2,000 new residential units, while pre-subway interim targets are approximately 8,300 new jobs and 1,300 new residential units.
As you can see, Agincourt is a thriving community with bright plans for future development and infrastructure. It’s an ideal neighborhood for families and professionals alike! For more information on Scarborough, visit our blog.