Staff favourites: The Township of Toronto Benchmark Book

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Archivists here are often asked “What is your favourite record in the collection?” This can be a challenging question to answer, given that there are so many wonderful records in our care. However, if pressed I would say that one of my favourites is the Township of Toronto Benchmark Book. Toronto Township is better known today as the City of Mississauga.

The book, created by the Township of Toronto Planning Department in the early 1950s, contains 285 glorious black & white photographs of various “benchmarks” found throughout the township. The benchmarks, which were located on various buildings and structures, were likely used by planning staff to assist in situating other municipal projects (white or black arrows point to the benchmarks in the photographs).

Each photograph is accompanied by a detailed description of the location of the benchmark. The benchmark in the vicinity of the Derry West school house, for example, is described as being “on the south face two feet west of main entrance of the red brick school on the north side of the road allowance between lots 10 and 11, 200 feet east of Hurontario Street.” Look for the white arrow below:

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These municipal government photographs, while created simply to document the location of the various planning benchmarks, offer invaluable documentation of the Township of Toronto as it existed in the early 1950s.

Other examples from the benchmark book:

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Bank of Nova Scotia, Thomas Street and Queen Street, Streetsville

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Concrete culvert on the road allowance between concession 3 and 4, Toronto Township

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Pier of the Credit River on the road allowance between lots 10 and 11, west of Meadowale Village, Toronto Township

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Bob White Hardware, east side of Hurontario Street, north of the road allowance between lots 10 and 11, Toronto Township

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Stone house on the west side of the road allowance between concessions 1 and 2, east side of Hurontario Street south of the Britannia side road, Toronto Township

Posted by Senior Archivist Kyle Neill

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