Riverdale Toronto History
Riverdale was a small rural community until the Grand Trunk Railway began steaming through here in the 1850's. The railway brought industry and employment opportunities to Riverdale. It also attracted a pool of labourers who built the first homes in Riverdale, south of the railway tracks.
Just north of the Riverside village was the estate of George Henry Playter, a Loyalist captain that moved to the area in 1793. The Playter clan lived there for a long time, and one of Captain Playterís descendants, John Lea Playter, built the farm house that still sits today at 28 Playter Crescent. [Pictured: Playter mansion in the late 1800s.] More? See Riverdale Tour | Riverdale Farm | About Riverdale | .
Renamed after Riverdale Park
North of Queen Street Riverdale remained largely undeveloped until 1884 when it was annexed by the City of Toronto. At that time Riverdale was called Riverside.
Riverdale's development was accelerated in 1918 with the building of Toronto's largest bridge, the Prince Edward Viaduct. The Viaduct provided Riverdale with an important link to the City of Toronto, west of the Don River, and marked a coming of age for this popular Toronto neighbourhood.
Riverside was later changed to Riverdale as a reference to the city park of the same name that has long been a landmark in this area.
[Pictured: Prince Edward Viaduct under construction circa 1918, courtesy City of Toronto archives]