Welcome to the Swansea Historical Society

The Swansea Historical Society was started in 1985 by a group of people who were interested in preserving and promoting the unique history of the Swansea area. The Society is a registered charity, and all of its work is done by a group of dedicated volunteers.

NEWS: Next meeting: April 3, 2019, 7:30 pm with speaker Kelly Mathews on “The Road to Marylake”. More news› | More Events ›

About Swansea

Located in the west end of Toronto, Ontario in Canada, the community of Swansea is bounded by High Park on the east, the Humber River on the west, the railway tracks on the south, and a line 110′ south of Bloor St. W. on the north. The Village of Swansea existed as a separate municipality from 1926 until 1967, and in many respects it still retains a village atmosphere. Read more about the history of Swansea. and Where Exactly is Swansea, Toronto?

Herne Hill, now Woodland Heights, circa 1999 -  view from south of the Queensway, looking north with Ellis Ave on the left and Grenadier pond / High Park on the right.
The black and white photo header on this site features a view of Herne Hill, now Woodland Heights, circa 1900 (Toronto Library). This colour photo from 1999 is approximately the same view from south of the Queensway, looking north with Ellis Ave on the left and Grenadier pond / High Park on the right. View them side-by-side.

Historical Advocacy

In its advocacy role, the Society seeks to raise awareness of potential developments that threaten the historic fabric of the community. Read more about the Society.

22 Deforest Road, also known as the William Smith House about 1900 and 2016.  Standing in the “before” picture are the two daughters of Wm. Smith, Ethel and Ada. This house was built in the Victorian style for William Smith circa 1895, and was designed by local architect John Gemmell. The large lot ran from Kennedy to Runnymede, and included a grassed tennis court, cherry and currant orchards, extensive vegetable and flower gardens, bee hives and oak trees. Smith’s descendants still live in the house. Source: Toronto Library (before) and Swansea Historical Society (after). Move the slider left or right to see the difference over a century makes!
View more Swansea “Then and Now” photos

Historical Publications

The Society has produced several publications on local history, including a monthly Newsletter, postings on Twitter and Instagram social media, and an annual Community Calendar featuring historical photographs.

Historical Events

The Society’s events are always open to the public and anyone interested in the history of the area, as well as current developments, is encouraged to join us in our activities. Monthly meetings at Swansea Town Hall include informative and entertaining talks by invited guest speakers on a variety of subjects. Guided walking tours introduce participants to lesser-known aspects of Swansea and area. We also list upcoming community events.

Swansea Historical Archives

The Swansea Historical Society Archive collection in Swansea Town Hall is used by researchers and students as a source of information, and it is also used by people who want to learn about their family connections in Swansea or trace the history of their properties. And if you have old photographs and memorabilia of the Swansea area including Bloor West Village, High Park, and the Humber River, please let us know!

Get Involved!

There are many ways to get involved! View our events page to see what’s new, volunteer , visit,  follow us on Twitter and Instagram  –  we’d love to hear from you.