The origins of the Village of Thornhill date back to 1792 when Governor Simcoe explored the area for a suitable road and town site north of York (Toronto).
By 1794, a trickle of permanent settlers arrived at the site of Thornhill and began to claim their Crown Grants of 200 acres stretching a quarter of a mile along Yonge Street and backing east and west to the first Concessions at present-day Bayview and Bathurst Streets.
The First Official Settlers on Yonge Street in Thornhill were Asa Johnson and Nicholas Miller, both claiming their Grants in 1794, Miller on Lot 34 Markham, near present day Bayhill Mews and Johnson at Lot 29 Vaughan, (in the area of the Arnold House).
Through the efforts of these first settlers, a prosperous village arose on the banks of the Middle Don. In 1829, this village supported four sawmills, two distilleries, three blacksmith shops, three harness makers, a grist mill, tannery and a carding and fulling mill. Shortly thereafter, the first post office was installed.
Many events detail the evolution of this village to its present state: The Rebellion of 1837; the early prominence and unhappy passing at his own hand, of Benjamin Thorne in 1848; the serious flooding along the Don; the epidemics that swept through the village; Prohibition and the closing of local taverns; the arrival, over time, of five of the Group of Seven to reside here; and finally, in the post-war years, the pressures and changes of rapid land development.
Today, Thornhill is a vibrant, mature residential area with a portion reflecting the heritage of the area mentioned above. Pomona Mills Park, running between Bayview Avenue and Yonge Street, offers residents a wonderful area for exercise and communing with nature.
We would like to thank the Society for the Preservation of Historic Thornhill for the information on Thornhill’s history. Visit their web site at http://www.thornhillhistoric.org/