Main Street Ontario

Dundas Square / Yonge Street
Dundas Square / Yonge Street (Photo credit: rthakrar)


Yonge Street, Toronto, ON, about 1890
Yonge Street, Toronto, ON, about 1890 (Photo credit: Musée McCord Museum)


On December 28, 1795, the construction of Yonge Street began In York, Upper Canada.  It was touted as being the longest street in the world by the Guinness Book of World Records!  It was an impressive — especially at the time — 1,896 km (1,178 mi.).


Yonge Street has been referred as Main Street Ontario.


The street was named by Ontario’s first colonial administrator for his friend Sir George Yonge, who was an expert on Ancient Roman roads.


With the outbreak of hostilities between France and Great Britain in 1793, the Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada (now it’s Ontario), John Graves Simcoe was worried about the possibility of the United States entering British North America in support of their French allies.


Simcoe planned to move the capital to a better protected location. And so Simcoe established York (now it’s Toronto) with its naturally enclosed harbour, as a defensible site for the new capital.


The road almost served a military purpose during the war of 1812, when construction of a new fleet of first-rate ships began on the lakes, necessitating the shipment of a large anchor from England for use on a frigate under construction on Lake Huron. However, the war ended hole the anchor was still being moved. It now lies just outside Holland Landing in a park named in it’s honour.


Earlier I wrote about Yonge Street recognized by Guinness a world Records. I need to amend that. Actually, Guinness amended that in the late 1990s. See, Highway 11 connected with Yonge street. Even though Yonge was never mentioned, everybody “just assumed” that both were the same. So it’s now cited instead as the World’s longest “motor able road.”


Yonge Street is Toronto’s Main Street. It hosts parades, street performances and demonstrations. For instance, when the Toronto Blue Jays won the World Series in 1992 and 1993, an estimated 1,000,000 people gathered along Yonge and Dundas Streets. This was repeated again during the Winter Olympics in 2002 and 2010, when the Canadian men’s hockey team defeated the United States team for the gold medal.


The early works of Canadian singer-songwriters such as Joni Mitchell and Gordon Lightfoot were featured at the Yonge Street location of Sam the Record Man, at a time when records by native musicians were not widely available. Lightfoot has a song about Yonge Street — on the album A Painter Passing Through — called “On Yonge Street.” Also, Canadian singer-songwriter Bruce Cockburn made reference in his song, “Coldest Night of the Year.”


Proudly, the five-pin bowling game was invented and first played at the Toronto Bowling Club at Yonge and Temperance Streets.




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