The farming hamlet of L’Amoreaux, which straddled the border between the newly surveyed York and Scarborough Townships was settled in 1816. L’Amoreaux takes its name for one of the first families who put down roots here. The core of the settlement, which included a post office and a general store, was near the intersection of Victoria Park and Finch Avenues, now surrounded by non-descript 1970s-era subdivisions with two gas stations anchoring the corner. Today, L’Amoreaux is the name of a large park and a high school but both are well to the east, the school on Warden and the park on Birchmount, in an area commonly known as part of Agincourt. (Check out Shawn Micallef’s post on the Rush video for their song Subdivisions, filmed at L’Amoreaux high school.)
While none of the early houses and the store remain, a church and a school house that served the community still stand. They are located to the west, near Finch Avenue and Don Mills Road. Both the Zion Methodist Church and the Zion Schoolhouse have been lovingly preserved by the former Borough of North York and continue to be owned and operated by the City of Toronto. The school house, built in 1869, is a city museum opened to pre-arranged groups such as school visits. The church, built in 1873 and acquired by North York in 1971, is rented out for community events and art classes.
Both buildings – but the church in particular – contrast with their surroundings; high rise towers, cookie-cutter subdivisions and plazas surround these interesting little reminders of Toronto’s rural past.