Over the years a number of aerial photographs and aerial surveys have been taken over Thornhill and the surrounding area. For this exhibit we have reproduced four aerial photographs we have in our collection.
Aerial photographs are valuable sources of information, as they literally provide a bird's eye view of the area. They show the positions of buildings and other sites in relation to one another, and they vividly record the changes that take place over time as communities evolve. Even in the relatively short space of time between photograph two and three, the beginning of the transition of Thornhill from a rural to suburban community can be seen
This is the earliest aerial photograph of Thornhill that is known to us. This photograph was taken by the Toronto Telegram looking east c.1930. It was taken at a high altitude, the highest of all the aerial photographs shown in this exhibit, and shows the entire core of the old Village of Thornhill as it appeared prior to the Second World War.
This aerial photograph was taken by the Toronto Telegram in 1949, a time when Thornhill was still a rural community. Yonge Street can be seen running diagonally from the right side to the top left corner of the photo. In the middle of the upper third portion of the photo, the Thornhill Hotel can be seen. Less than one year after this photo was taken this building was destroyed in a devastating fire that, for a while, threatened the safety of much of the village. This photo also provides a good view of the out buildings and gardens which sat behind the houses on the west side of Yonge Street.
This northward-looking aerial photo shows Thornhill just prior to 1960. Two new subdivisions of the mid to late 1950's can be seen in this photo; the houses along Thornridge Dr. and Brooke St., which can be seen on the left side, and the Uplands subdivision which can be seen in the upper middle portion. The North Thornhill Development, which would cover much of the land in the middle right of the photo, would not arrive for a few more years.
This photograph, taken about 1960, provides a closer look at the lower right portion of the previous photo. Holy Trinity Church, which was moved from Yonge St. to this site in 1950, features prominently in this photo. The brand new brick addition, built in 1960, can be seen here. The houses shown in the middle of this photo were built on part of the large field that was seen in the lower left portion of the second photo in this exhibit. The house that can be seen right in the middle of the first photo can be seen at the bottom of this photo. While some of the houses pictured here are no longer standing, the biggest change in this view between the 1960's and today is the amazing growth in the size and number of trees in this area.