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Our History


The York Pioneer and Historical Society (YPHS), the oldest historical society in Ontario, began on April 17, 1869, as a gathering of three men at the back of Alexander Hamilton's store, at the corner of George and King Street East 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”.

The YPHS is the oldest historical society in Ontario and is thought to be the second oldest in Canada. Annual fees were $1.00 in the early years compared to $30.00 today.


In 1891, the YPHS was incorporated as a registered charity, and, for the first time, it 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.


1869     The York Pioneer Society was founded by Richard H. Oates

1879     John Scadding’s 1794 log cabin was acquired and moved to Exhibition Park

1891     Incorporation of the York Pioneer and Historical Society

1918     Purchase and restoration of the Sharon Temple

1968     Lady Eaton donates the 1848 Eversley Church, King Township

1983     Log repair and replacement at Scadding Cabin

1991     Transfer of the Sharon Temple to the Sharon Temple Museum Society (STMS)

1994     Bicentenary of Scadding Cabin

1998     Sesquicentenary of Eversley Church

2007     175th Anniversary of Sharon Temple

2009     Sale of Eversley Church

2009     Scadding Award of Excellence from the Ontario Historical Society

2009     Installation of an interpretative plaque at Scadding Cabin

2017     Publication of Dare to Do What is Right

2019     Installing of an interpretative plaque at the Scadding Estate site

2023     Major restoration of Scadding Cabin (replacement of a foundation log at the back wall in October)

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