Agincourt – Ghost Towns of the GTA

August 15, 2021

Agincourt remained a small community until 1858 when John Hill was finally successful in getting a post office for his general store at the crossroads of todays Brimley Road and Sheppard Avenue East. The name Agincourt was taken from a town in northern France where a decisive battle was fought in 1415 during The Hundred Years War between Britain and France. The earlier name for the community had been “Hero Town” and that didn’t seem appropriate for the new post office name. The town grew slowly with Hill’s General Store and Post Office being accompanied by Milnes Sawmill and a temperance hall along with a growing number of homes.

Thomas Paterson was one of the founders of Agincourt and started to raise a family in a small log cabin on the east side of todays Kennedy Road. As the family grew, three of his sons built nearly identical homes each taking up a section of the family farm. Thomas Jr. had the middle plot and his home is the lone survivor today. The house was built prior to 1850 and is one of the oldest brick houses remaining in Scarborough. The pictures in this article were taken in December 2020 which is why there are no leaves on the trees.

Hugh Elliot built this house around 1848 and it was expanded with a second floor around 1860. The new roofline is second empire and is the best surviving example of a style that was once quite popular in Scarborough. This house has been given an historical designation and is located on McCowan Road on a property that has been owned by developers since 1981. It has been kept in good maintenance and will be incorporated into a future development.

The house at 33 Murray was built in 1888 by the Kennedy Family who lived there until 1912 when the farm was sold to John Harris. The most interesting family to own the house was perhaps the most recent. Bill White bought the home in 1951 and became known as the first black man to run as a federal election candidate. His years of service led to him being designated as an Officer of the Order of Canada.

2656 Midland was built in 1863 and was originally the manse for the Knox Presbyterian Church. The church was founded in 1848 but this was the first home that they built for the use of the minister. Stylistically, the home reflects elements of the Regency Cottage design with the side porch likely being added at a later date.

The house at 20 Lockie Avenue was the latest farm house in the family of Thomas Archibald Paterson. Thomas Paterson had settled on the farm in 1820 and four generations of men with the same name occupied the farm until the 1950s. This Edwardian style home was built after 1900 and has a rare 3-bay configuration on the traditional four-square design.

School Section 14 was created in 1913 to serve the growing population around Agincourt. Three acres of land were donated by the Paterson Family and the school was constructed at a cost of $12,000. When it opened in 1914 it had 48 students and 2 teachers. By 1921 there were 107 students and still only 2 teachers.

Knox Free Presbyterian Church was founded in 1848 and quickly outgrew its original wood frame building. Forty members attended the first service on June 25 of that year. By 1872 a new sanctuary was required and as the picture below shows, an addition was made to the back as the church continued to grow. They have served the community as Knox United Church since 1925.

The original pioneer cemetery has grown into the Knox United Cemetery. The earliest burial was recorded in 1836, a dozen years before the founding of the church. The next oldest is 1848 perhaps one of the earliest services held in the new church.

Across the street from the church on the south west corner is a large lot that has been proposed as a site for townhomes and a new park. It was formerly a Lumber King Home Centre and then a flea market. The gas station that once occupied the corner of the property has been removed.

14 Allanford Road is a Second Empire home known as Lynn Bank and is designated as a heritage property. Built into the side of a small rise of land it has three floors with the mansard roof providing extra headroom to the bedrooms on the upper floor.

The community of Agincourt has become swallowed up in Scarborough’s ever expanding urban sprawl but the remnants of the early community still survive.

Google Maps Link: Agincourt

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