One of the oldest homes in Toronto is right out front and personal on Queen Street in the east end near Coxwell (between Leslieville and the Beaches). It's called the Ashbridge Estate and dates back to the late 1700s when the Ashbridge Family (United Empire Loyalists) came here from Pennsylvania and were given a large plot of land. Can you imagine that?
So out they set clearing and farming and constructing several buildings including the main house, which still stands today. The Ashbridge's (hence the namesake of Ashbridge Bay of course) were one of the first families to live here in our great city of Toronto and as the city grew, they eventually sold off most of their land by the 1920's leaving only the current 2-acre property which is now listed on the Canadian Register of Historic Places, thanks to the two remaining family members who donated their estate to the Ontario Heritage Trust.
But back to the beginning for a second. When they arrived in Toronto as Quakers, the Ashbridge's were United Empire Loyalists (which simply means that they remained loyal to the British crown after the american Revolution) Fearing politicial persution, they fled to Canada and were officially granted 600 acres of land. This land stretched from from Lake Onatrio to what is now known as Danforth Avenue. If you know east Toronto, that is a huge spot of land!
I read that a log cabin was built on the trail close to the shoreline of Lake Ontario on a bay formed the mouth of the Don River, and boy I can imagine how beautiful that must have been. They survived like most did back then on fishing and waterfowl from the bay and pigs that they raised. They also were able to grow wheat and sold it to market, and ice in the winter.