The Archives is a holding for a variety of archival and reference material related to the village of Thornhill and the surrounding area. These records cover a period from the mid-19th century to the present day. All our records have come from private individuals and groups. There are no local government records in the collection.
The following is an overview of the resources available in the Thornhill Archives. For more information please contact us.
The Thornhill Archives has a varied and growing number of collections that cover many different subjects spanning over 150 years.
There are a growing number of family collections containing large and small documents, photographs, scrapbooks, journals, memorabilia from Thornhill places, people and events.
The Thornhill Archives is also the repository for the records of all the committees of the Society for the Preservation of Historic Thornhill (SPOHT), including the SPOHT Executive Committee, the Thornhill Village Festival, and all of the committees and special projects initiated by the Society over the past 45 years.
The archives has an extensive photograph collection ranging in date from the mid-19th century to the present day. The people, places and events that have shaped this community are well-documented in the various photograph collections.
A small number of collections are available online:
Thornhill in 1967
The Weaver Collection of Thornhill
In 2003, the Weaver Collection of Thornhill was donated to the Archives through the Estate of the Alf and Laura Weaver. The Weavers created a remarkable photograph collection accompanied by research notes. The collection, which is arranged by street or subject, includes many historical photographs collected by the Weavers. Alf Weaver documented local buildings, people, and events from the 1940's to the 1990's. The collection is particularly valuable in its documentation of Thornhill's transition from a rural to sub-urban community.
Much of the Weaver Collection of Thornhill is available online:
Yonge Street (East Side)
Yonge Street (West Side)
Brooke St., Elizabeth St., Mill St., Sumner Ln., Eliza St., Jane St.
Thornhill Street scenes
Thornhill houses and buildings
Thornhill places and people
Photos of Old Thornhill
121 Centre St. - Thoreau MacDonald House, 1981
Maps, Plans and Surveys
There are maps in the archives ranging in date from the 1850's to the 1990's, however, most date to the mid-20th century and onward.
Map materials in the archives include historical and modern street maps, some plans and surveys, maps from when houses were assigned street numbers, maps related to the Police Village of Thornhill.
Of particular note is the c.1930's plan of the Thornhill Park by renowned golf course architect Stanley Thompson.
While it is one of the smallest components of the archives, there are some films, videos and recordings to be found in the collection.
The Society for the Preservation of Historic Thornhill (SPOHT) has produced a small number of films and videos for educational purposes. In 1990, Victor Stecyk wrote and compiled "The Thornhill Story, 1790-1990". There are other videos in the collection such as historical briefs for local television, news items regarding the society, various special events such as plaque unveilings, and films taken at the Thornhill Village Festival.
Oral History Recordings
There are many hours of audio recorded interviews of local residents. While some were created by members of the Society for the Preservation of Historic Thornhill, most are recorded interviews made by the group "We Came To Thornhill" from the 1970's - 1980's. Most of these were transcribed and expanded through further interviews by this group.
Due to the poor quality of some of these recordings due to physical deterioration, and the fear that they make break if frequently used, access to some of the information is restricted to the transcriptions until the original recordings can be transferred.
The Archives book collection is comprised mostly of histories of local communities, places, people, and organizations. Some volumes are related to broader topics in Ontario and Canadian history.
Many local authors are represented in the collection such as Doris M. FitzGerald, Billie Button and Sharon Brain.
The collection also includes some works written and/or illustrated by local authors such as Thoreau MacDonald and Michael French.
Over the past 30 years, members of the Society for the Preservation of Historic Thornhill (SPOHT) have compiled articles and other sources of historical information in the course of various research projects. These files are currently being organized into three different file groups.
The Archives has an ever-growing collection of Family Files created in the course of genealogical research by the society and other individuals. These files contain copies of newspaper articles, family trees, genealogies, and copies of historical documentation.
The Archives maintains a growing collection of files pertaining to various topics related to the village of Thornhill and the surrounding area. Files cover topics such as local businesses, organizations, significant events, transportation, schools, etc.
These files are arranged by street address. In cases where the street number or exact location is unknown, such as buildings that were torn down prior to street numbering, information is likely to be organized under the subject files.
Thornhill & Area Obituaries: 1831-2002
Copies and transcriptions of Thornhill and area obituary notices, 1831 to 2002. The collection has been indexed by the name of all persons mentioned in the notice in addition to the deceased. The obituaries provide important historical and genealogical information. This collection was created by the late Laura Weaver, and was acquired by the Archives in 2003.
Land Record Transcriptions
Land Records for lots 26 to 35 in the first concessions of the Townships of Markham and Vaughan are available in transcriptions or printed tables.
The records concern the area bordered on the south by Steeles Ave., to the north by Highway 7 (formerly Hwy. 7A), to the east by Bayview Ave., and to the west by Bathurst St.
The Archives has a relatively small collection of three-dimensional artifacts. These include souvenirs from special events, a quilt, clothing, a wooden chest, building materials from demolished local buildings, and the bells from the Thornhill Schoolhouse and the Thornhill Hotel.
A few of the artifacts on our collection have been on loan to the Vellore Cultural Interpretive Centre with the City of Vaughan since March 2003.
Some of our artifacts are stored off-site due to limited space.
The archives has a small art collection including mediums such as oil and water colour paintings, an etching, pen and pencil sketches, and prints.
Artists represented in the collection are Thoreau MacDonald, John Greer, William Walton Armstrong, and Kathy Alexander.