The York Pioneer and Historical Society (YPHS) began on April 17, 1869, as an informal gathering of men at the Mechanics’ Institute, at the corner of Church and Adelaide Streets in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Within a few months the York Pioneers Association was founded under the leadership of Richard Oates , with Colonel Richard Denison as the first president. Its purpose was “to keep alive reminiscences of a primitive day and of making collections of them before they became lost”.

 

York Pioneers gathered at Scadding Cabin around 1900
York Pioneers gathered at Scadding Cabin around 1900

 

The YPHS is the oldest historical society in Ontario and thought to be the second oldest in Canada. Annual fees were $l.00 in the early years compared to $20 today.

In 1891, the YPHS became a registered charity and for the first time accepted women as members. Among the first was Sarah Anne Curzon, who along with Mary Agnes Fitzgibbon went on to form the Woman’s Canadian Historical Society of Toronto in 1895.