One of the greatest lures of Toronto is that it is comprised of a patchwork of neighbourhoods, each with its own vibe and characteristics, lending incredible texture to the overall fabric of the city as a whole.
One such neighbourhood is that of Swansea. This lovely, leafy residential enclave today offers stellar amenities, among them great shopping and dining nearby at Bloor West Village. Swansea also has some of the best parks in the city, like High Park, Sunnyside Park, and one of our favourites - Rennie Park. Have you read my post Exploring Rennie Park In Swansea?
Adding to Swansea’s interest and undeniable charm is a vast and fascinating history. Did you know that Swansea was one of the oldest inhabited areas in Toronto, with roots reaching back to around 1760 when the first settler French trader Jean Baptiste Rousseau established himself? Swansea has a very active historical society, which is a great resource!
*Photo courtesy of Toronto Public Library Archives.
History, of course, is made more relevant (and interesting) in how it is presented in the context of our modern day. Historians are part scholar, and part storyteller- enchanting their readers (or listeners) with tales of days gone by. Urbaneer is pleased to have connected with author and local historian Chris Higgins, who writes both fiction and non-fiction.
Additionally, Chris has been a teacher at Swansea Public School for 17 years, giving him a unique perspective from which to gather and disperse historical facts about the school and the area. He wrote a book about Swansea Public School called “Written in the Bricks”, which chronicles the history of the school and the local area since 1890. In his research, he uncovered a treasure trove of interesting neighbourhood stories. He describes having determined through his research journey that Swansea has been “touched by war, pandemics, environmental problems and a community riven by change”.
He did extensive research of newspapers, city directories, censuses and other public documents and took verbal histories from former students and staff.
*Photo courtesy of ChrisHigginsWrites
Check out Chris’s quiz on Swansea Public School, which gives a glimpse of just what you’ll learn about Swansea in reading his work.
With all of these stories to tell, I am pleased to announce that we’ll be posting a new series about the fascinating history of Swansea. One of the great benefits of looking to the past is that it helps us to shape our future. Chris found that many of the issues he uncovered in his research that shaped this neighourhood are still relevant to its inhabitants today.
Swansea is a great place to live, love, and learn today. There is so much to discover, which only enhances the experience of living there. We are fortunate to have a new realtor - Cynthia Rose - on board who is literally a resident expert about Swansea. Not only is Cynthia well-versed in Swansea’s history, but she also lives there - making her an incredible resource for life in Swansea.
*Title image was taken in Sir Casimir Gzowski Park, in Swansea, on the shore of Lake Ontario!
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Steven Fudge, Sales Representative
& The Innovative Urbaneer Team
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