In the late pre-contact period, the Huron-Wendat people populated what is today Vaughan. The Skandatut ancestral Wendat village overlooked the east branch of the Humber River (Pinevalley Drive) and was once home to approximately 2000 Huron in the sixteenth century. The site is close to a Huron ossuary (mass grave) uncovered in Kleinburg in 1970, and one kilometre north of the Seed-Barker Huron site
The first European to pass through Vaughan was the French explorer Étienne Brûlé, who traversed the Humber Trail in 1615. However, it was not until the townships were created in 1792 that Vaughan began to see European settlements, as it was considered to be extremely remote and the lack of roads through the region made travel difficult. The township was named after Benjamin Vaughan, a British commissioner who signed a peace treaty with the United States in 1783.
Despite the hardships of pioneer life, settlers came to Vaughan in considerable numbers. The population grew from 19 men, 5 women, and 30 children in 1800 to 4,300 in 1840. The first people to arrive were mainly Pennsylvania Germans, with a smaller number of families of English descent and a group of French Royalists. This migration from the United States was by 1814 superseded by immigrants from Britain. While many of their predecessors had been agriculturalists, the newer immigrants proved to be highly skilled tradespeople, which would prove useful for a growing community.
Around the facilities established by this group were a number of hamlets, the oldest of which was Thornhill, which witnessed the construction of a saw-mill in 1801, a grist mill in 1815, and boasted a population of 300 by 1836. Other such enclaves included Kleinburg, Coleraine, Maple, Richmond Hill, Teston, Claireville, Pine Grove, Carrville, Patterson, Burlington, Concord, Edgeley, Fisherville, Elder's Mills, Elgin Mills, Jefferson, Nashville, Purpleville, Richvale, Sherwood, Langstaff, Vellore, and Burwick (Woodbridge).
In 1846, the Township was primarily agricultural but had a population of 4,300. There were six grist mills and 25 saw mills. By 1935, there were 4,873 residents.
However, World War II sparked an influx of immigration, and by 1960, the population stood at 15,957. As well, the ethno-cultural composition of the area began to change with the arrival of different groups such as Italians, Jews and Eastern Europeans.
Incorporated in 1850 as Vaughan Township, a municipal government was established. Vaughan Road was a rural road constructed in 1850 that linked Vaughan Township with Toronto, though this street's current alignment is much shorter and serves only much of the eastern half of the former city of York. In 1971, the new regional government of York Region was established, acquiring policing and welfare services from the communities it served; simultaneously, the township merged with the Village of Woodbridge to form the Town of Vaughan. In 1991, it officially changed its legal status to City of Vaughan.
An F2 tornado tore through the city of Vaughan during the Southern Ontario Tornado Outbreak on August 20, 2009. Premier Dalton McGuinty and Mayor Linda Jackson toured the destruction the next day and reported 200 homes in critical shape and as many as 600 additional homes likely to be demolished. The tornado also ripped up trees, flipped cars, and left thousands of people without power. Vaughan declared a state of emergency because of the widespread damage. One man injured in the storm suffered a heart attack the following morning.
Vaughan City Council has nine members: the mayor, three regional councillors, and five local councillors. The mayor, elected at large, is the head of Vaughan council and a representative on York Region Council. The three regional councillors are elected to represent Vaughan at both local and regional levels of government. Five local councillors are also elected, one from each of Vaughan's five wards, to represent those wards on Vaughan Council. City councillors meet at the Civic Centre, located in the community of Maple. The City's new City Hall was opened on September 25, 2011. The building is named in memory of late Mayor Lorna Jackson. The new Civic Centre is one of the first in Canada to conform to a LEED Gold Standard, the second highest environmental classification available.
Vaughan is the first municipality in Ontario to have a Youth City Councillor. The youth city councillor is appointed as a non-voting member of Council every six months to represent the youth of Vaughan. Vaughan council originally rejected the proposal of a youth councillor but, after the Vaughan Youth Cabinet amended its proposal, Council accepted the recommendation.
Following the death of Mayor Lorna Jackson in 2002, Michael Di Biase was appointed mayor by Vaughan council by virtue of his position as one of two regional councillors representing Vaughan, Joyce Frustaglio was the other regional councillor. Gino Rosati, a Vaughan local councillor, was subsequently appointed by Vaughan Council to fill Di Biase’s position as regional councillor and a by-election was held to fill Rosati’s local councillor’s position which was won by Linda Jackson, the daughter of Mayor Jackson. Di Biase first became involved in the city's politics in 1985, when he was elected as a local councillor in 1985. Di Biase retained the mayorship in the 2003 municipal clection, defeating challenger Robert Craig.
In the municipal election on November 13, 2006, Di Biase was narrowly defeated by Linda Jackson, who was sworn in as mayor on December 4, 2006. On June 18, 2008, an audit of Jackson's 2006 campaign finances found that the politician exceeded her legal spending limit of $120,419 by at least $12,356, or 10 per cent. The auditors, LECG Canada Ltd., say that amount could almost double if what they believed to be unreported contributions in kind at various election events – but couldn't prove – are later verified.
They also found other apparent contraventions of the Canada Elections Act, including at least five instances where associated companies made donations that exceeded the normal $750 donation limit per company.
On June 24, 2008, Vaughan Council voted unanimously to hire a special prosecutor to consider laying charges against Mayor Linda Jackson under the Municipal Elections Act in reaction to the auditors' report. Council hired Timothy Wilkin, "an expert in municipal law" to decide what (if any) charges are to be laid. If Jackson is charged and found guilty, she would face punishments ranging from fines to removal from office.
Subsequently, an audit was conducted on former Mayor Di Biase's 2006 election campaign funds. This exposed 27 contraventions under the Elections Act, along with a $155,000 anonymous cash payment made to his lawyer to cover his legal fees. Di Biase has refused to disclose who made this payment.
On 25 October 2010, longtime MP Maurizio Bevilacqua was elected mayor and he assumed office in December 2010.
Vaughan is bounded by Caledon and Brampton to the west, King and Richmond Hill to the north, Markham and Richmond Hill to the east, and Toronto, to the south. It is located approximately 25 minutes from Downtown Toronto.
Vaughan like much of the Greater Toronto Area features a continental climate Dfb and has four distinct seasons.
Vaughan is the largest city in Canada without a hospital. The nearest full-service hospital facilities are Humber River Regional Hospital, to the south in Toronto, Brampton Civic Hospital, to the west in Brampton, and Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital to the east in Richmond Hill.
Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital is under construction along Major Mackenzie Drive (between Highway 400 and Jane Street) which would serve Vaughan. Its planning stage began in 2007. The provincial government of Ontario approved construction of the hospital in July 2011, and a tender for bids to construct it will be issued in 2014 or 2015. Land preparation for construction began in the summer of 2014. The expected date of completion is 2019. It will be part of a regional hospital system with a "single governance, administration and medical staff" managed by Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital.
The city is made up of six major communities. They are commonly seen today to extend to areas far beyond their original sites that encompass lesser-known communities in turn. Most residents (and even non-residents) identify more with them then they do with the city as a whole.Woodbridge: North/South - Major Mackenzie/Steeles, East/West - Hwy 400/Hwy 50
Vaughan Metropolitan Centre: North/South - Hwy 7/Steeles, East/West - Jane/Hwy 400
Maple: North/South - King Vaughan Line/Rutherford, East/West - Bathurst/Hwy 400
Thornhill: North/South - Hwys. 7 and 407 (or, to some, as far north as Teston for the area west of Bathurst) /Steeles, East/West - Yonge/Dufferin
Concord: North/South - Rutherford/Steeles, East/West - Bathurst/Hwy 400
Kleinburg: North/South - King Vaughan Line/Major Mac, East/West - Hwy 400/Hwy 50
Even though Vaughan is a city, it is not listed in the phone book. Instead, Bell Canada uses the original community exchanges and lists them separately, resulting in local calling areas being different throughout the city.
Vaughan is one of southern Ontario's fastest growing cities. According to Statistics Canada, the population grew 20.7 percent from 2006 to 2011. Median age as of 2011 was 37.9, lower than the Ontario median age of 39.3.
Vaughan is known as having some of the highest concentrations of southern Europeans (notably Italians), Eastern Europeans (chiefly Russians) and Jewish people in Ontario, while those who are of British and/or Irish origin form a smaller proportion than in many other Southern Ontario cities.
Visible minorities make up 26.6% of the population. Vaughan has small but growing Indian, Pakistani, Hispanic, Jamaican, Vietnamese and Chinese populations.
Residents of Vaughan are fairly religious; the city has the lowest number of non-affiliates in Ontario. Some 60.62% of the population adheres to Christianity, mostly Catholicism (46.23%). Those who practice non-Christian religions adhere to, in order of size, Judaism (15.28%), Hinduism (4.50%), Islam (4.92%), and Buddhism (2.52%). Those who do not have a religious affiliation account for 10.04% of the population.
According to the 2011 Census, English is the mother tongue of 45.92% of the residents of Vaughan. Italian is the mother tongue for 14.08% of the population, followed by Russian (6.52%) and Spanish (2.57%). Each of Punjabi, Tagalog (Filipino), Hebrew, Persian, Chinese, not otherwise specified, Urdu, Cantonese, and Vietnamese has a percentage ranging from 1.9% down to 1.4%, signifying Vaughan's high linguistic diversity.
Since 2013, there have been 11 murders and 12 shootings in Vaughan. Notable incidents include mob shootings outside the Terrace banquet hall in July 2013 resulting in two deaths, one of which was mobster Salvatore Calautti and the Regina Sports Café in April 2014 resulting in the death of Carmine Verduci, as well as the Woodbridge Cafe shooting at Islington Avenue and Highway 7 in June 2015. Three killings in March 2017; on March 14, a 28-year-old Vaughan woman was shot as she sat in a car parked outside of a lighting business on Caster Avenue, on March 23, a shooting of a 26-year-old Ajax man at Jane Street and Highway 7, and on March 30, a private social club shooting near Martin Grove Road and Highway 7. Part of the reasons for these incidents is because of the city's association with organized crime. In April 2017, mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua spoke after the third March murder, stating people "should not live in fear".Baitul Islam Mosque, headquarters of the Canadian Ahmadiyya Muslim community
Boyd Conservation Area, park located Between Woodbridge and Kleinburg southeast of the intersection of Islington Avenue and Rutherford Road.
Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame and Museum
Canada's Wonderland, Canada's largest amusement park, located in Maple on the east side of Highway 400 between Rutherford Road and Major Mackenzie Drive.
Kortright Centre for Conservation, located in Woodbridge
McMichael Canadian Art Collection, located in Kleinburg.
Vaughan Mills, a large shopping mall opened in 2004
Reptilia Zoo, a 25,000 sq ft Reptile Zoo and Education Centre located near Vaughan Mills and Canada's Wonderland
J. E. H. MacDonald House
York University in North York, Ontario lies on the Toronto side of the Toronto-Vaughan border. It is a major comprehensive university, with more than 43,000 students enrolled through 10 different faculties. There are also a number of elementary and high schools in Vaughan, which operate under the York Region District School Board and the York Catholic District School Board. There are also some private schools, the largest of which is the Anne & Max Tanenbaum Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto (TanenbaumCHAT), a Jewish day school serving over 600 high school students. There is also a Waldorf school, the Toronto Waldorf School, which offers early childhood, elementary and accredited high school programs.
The Seed-Barker archaeological site is a 16th-century Iroquois village on the Humber River in Vaughan. It has been used as a summer school field trip site since 1976 by the Boyd archaeological field summer school for high school students. The school is sponsored by the York Region district school board in co-operation with the Royal Ontario Museum and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA). In 1895, a local farmer began finding Iroquoian artifacts in the area. In 1895, Roland Orr recognized the classic ecological features favoured by the Iroquoian people for their villages: floodplains along a river, an easily defensible plateau and nearby forests. The Iroquois used the floodplains to plant maize, beans and squash, known as the three sisters. In the 1950s, University of Toronto professor Norman Emerson and the students excavated artifacts from the Seed-Baker site. Since 1975, more that a million artifacts were discovered and nineteen longhouses were excavated revealing that the village was occupied by the Iroquois from c. 1500 - 1550 AD. Sora, Italy (1992)
Ramla, Israel (1993)
Sanjō, Japan (1993)
Yangzhou, China (1995)
Baguio, Philippines (1997)
Delia, Italy (1998)
Lanciano, Italy (2002)
Vaughan is home to the Ontario Soccer Association. The OSA is the largest sports organization in Canada, with over 500,000 registered players. It is also home to the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame and Museum.
Woodbridge Softball Association
York Region Shooters – Canadian Soccer League 2006 (as Italia Shooters) and 2014 champions
Toronto Canada Moose – a former Tier II Junior "A" ice hockey team. They were a part of the Greater Metro Junior 'A' Hockey League.
Toronto FC II – a minor-pro soccer team in the United Soccer League.
Vaughan Vipers – a Tier II Junior "A" ice hockey team. They are a part of the Ontario Provincial Junior A Hockey League.
Vaughan Flames – a former top level women's ice hockey team who played out of The Sports Village. They were members of the Canadian Women's Hockey League.
Vaughan Panthers – GTHL hockey team
Vaughan Rangers – member organization of the GTHL, operates junior hockey programs.
Vaughan Kings – GTHL hockey team
Vaughan Azzuri – OSA soccer team
Vaughan Vikings – YSBA baseball team
Vaughan Rebels – AAA football team
CVHA – City of Vaughan Hockey Association
VWSSL – World Series Slo-Pitch League
Kleinburg is home to the Cinespace Film Studios, a centre for television and motion picture production. Several famous movie stars are often spotted around Kleinburg, making it a popular tourist/gawker attraction. The popular children's TV show The Forest Rangers, starring Gordon Pinsent, was filmed here between 1963 and 1965. In 2006, the movie The Sentinel was filmed at the McMichael Art Gallery.Vaughan Citizen
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