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About The Foundation

The Thornhill Heritage Foundation was founded in 2009 to own and maintain assets deemed to be of significant heritage, historic, cultural importance, or of major financial value

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About The Robert West House

The Robert West Heritage House, as 7780 Yonge Street is known, is the only house in Thornhill to be continuously inhabited by the same family since it was built. Robert Arthur West (1816 - 1884), an English immigrant, came to Upper Canada in the 1830s. 

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About Mrs. Keith

Katherine Louisa Keith (nee West) was born in Toronto in 1912. She was the great grandaughter of Robert West and became his last living descendent.

 

In 2008, with her advancing age, she decided that the best way to ensure that the house was preserved was to donate it 
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 History

Thornhill was founded in 1794. Its first settlers on Yonge Street in Thornhill were Asa Johnson (who settled on the Vaughan side) and Nicholas Miller (who settled on the Markham side). Of particular importance was the arrival of Benjamin Thorne in 1820, who was operating a gristmill, a sawmill, and a tannery in the community. The settlement came to be known as Thorne's Mills, and later, Thorne's Hill, from which its current name is derived.


Between 1830 and 1848, Thornhill experienced a period of continued growth and prosperity. The business district of Thornhill developed on its portion of Yonge Street, between Centre Street and John Street.Stagecoaches travelled between Holland Landing (Lake Simcoe) and York (Toronto) as Yonge Street's road conditions improved with new stonework. During this prosperous period, several churches, many of which are still standing today, were constructed.

 


Thornhill's location along
 
Yonge Street, a major transportation route, proved to be beneficial to the community's growth throughout much of the twentieth century. The implementation of an electric street railway along Yonge Street in 1898 towards Kleinburg, Georgina, King and Toronto meant that, for the first time, it was possible for people to reside in Thornhill and work in Toronto. By the 1920s, the prevalence of the automobile further facilitated travel along Yonge Street. [Courtesy of Wikipedia]






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