History of
West Rouge
and Port Union

West Rouge

West Rouge was primarily farmland in 1926, when real estate developer Cecil White created the "Rouge Hills" subdivision. This development was intended to be a unique summer playground, with grand country estates spread out along the Rouge River. There were even plans for an elaborate canal system and private boathouses to service these estates.

"Rouge Hills" was never completed, however a few of the cottages on Rouge Hills Drive and Ridgewood Rd are legacies of this subdivision. Year round residential development of the West Rouge neighbourhood began in the 1940's, with individual lots being purchased by homeowners. Large parcels of land were subsequently developed by builders through the 1950's, 60's and 70's. More housing was added in the 1980's when the former Rouge Hills Golf and Country Club located in the Rouge Valley was sold to developers.

Centennial - Port Union

In the 1800's, Port Union was a booming waterfront village with thriving ship building and commercial fishing industries, two hotels, a commercial wharf, and a variety of small businesses. In 1856, the Grand Trunk Railway opened a station in Port Union which added to the importance of this waterfront village.

By 1865, Port Union's population had reached 100 people and it was granted its own post office. The two hotels that operated in Port Union during these boom times were said to have served "knock-em stiff" whiskey and "40 Rod Whiskey".

By the late 1800's Port Union's shipping industry had lost most of its business to the railway and subsequently shut down. Port Union then went into a period of decline that lasted until the late 1940's, when the return of industry to this area sparked a residential housing boom. In the 1990's, Port Union reclaimed its waterfront with a new housing subdivision that has helped connect this neighbourhood to its illustrious past.

Port Union Village is now referred to as the area south of Lawrence Avenue, and surrounding, more communities grew to the north. The area is now referred to as Centennial, which makes reference to the north-south street which runs through the centre of this community. Centennial Street was named after Centennial Church, circa 1891, which still stands at the north end of Centennial Road off Kingston Road. First the West portion of Centennial was settled with larger properties and homes. By the early sixties, Centennial East had also become a popular residential area with new homes being built steadily through the sixties and seventies.

Used with permission from torontoneighbourhoods.net.

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