You only have to look as far up as its street signs to realize that Toronto is a city cobbled together from other former boroughs, towns and villages. Like other major metropolitan areas, Toronto has annexed and absorbed former municipalities since it began as a city back in 1834.
In recognition of Toronto’s 175th anniversary in 2009, Spacing has created a new series of buttons that highlight the coats of arms and official seals of the numerous small towns and villages that now make up Toronto.
You can buy a set of the 16 buttons for $20 (includes shipping) starting today through our e-store using your credit card or our online merchant PayPal. Let us know your thoughts about the buttons, and if you’d be interested to see some of the seals on t-shirts.
Sadly, not all former towns and villages are represented in the buttons since some places only used a watermark (such as the Town of Yorkville) or were never legally incorporated (like Lansing or The Beaches), and thus never produced an official coat of arms. Below, check out all the buttons and a few facts/rumours about their origins.
The town buttons include: Brockton, Mimico, Parkdale, Weston, Long Branch, Scarborough, North York, York, Swansea, Leaside, Forest Hill, New Toronto, North Toronto, The Junction, Etobicoke, and East York.
The Junction seal is from 1893 and includes a great steam-powered train and a billowing smokestack from an industrial building.
East York was settled predominantly by the British, thus the use of the bulldog. This seal is from the 1930s. Etobicoke’s seal is nice for its simplicity but not sure if its the most appropriate.
Brockton was not named after Sir Isaac Brock, a famous War of 1812 general, but for his cousin James. Parkdale’s seal represents each of the town’s first councillors described in a post by Matthew Blackett a few weeks ago.
Gotta love the Leaside button: they have a glowing sun setting/rising behind a very suburban-looking bungalow.
Many people assume that Mimico’s seal has a seagull standing on top, but it is actually a pigeon. “Mimico” is a breed of pigeon that found a home in the Mimico area. The Long Branch seal is charming because it looks like it was designed by the winner of a primary school competition.
The New Toronto seal is rendered in an obvious Art Deco style, with a plane, train, and a muscled bicep with a hammer. An aboriginal hut is also thrown in. Forest Hill is slightly morbid: there is an arrow through the neck of the deer with blood drops on the entry and exit points of the arrow. The deer is also sticking out it’s tongue, presumably in the throes of deaths. So much for gentle Forest Hill.
Spacing thanks our researcher Nick Anapliotis and the folks at Heritage Toronto for their help.