News   Sep 22, 2023
 614     1 
News   Sep 22, 2023
 498     0 
News   Sep 22, 2023
 464     0 

Lost Road: Indian Line Road

Lone Primate

Active Member
Member Bio
Aug 16, 2007
Reaction score
Don Mills Willowdale Park Forest something I dunno
Indian Line Road formed the border between York County and Peel County... effectively, Metro and Mississauga for most of our recent history, from Eglinton Avenue north. Slowly, over the years, its course has been assumed by the 427, and what remains of it is now Hwy 50; access to the route usurped by Albion Road.

North of where Finch Avenue now crosses it (but didn't at all until very recently), it's had a varied and tortuous history... diverted, flooded, pressed into service to a vast superhighway, and finally abandoned, officially removed from the road grid after a service of over a century.

I had my interest in the road peaked about a year ago, and I went out to explore it twice... in December of 2006 and June of 2007, as well as trips to the City Archives to investigate what was, as seen from the air...


Changes in Indian Line Road, in the vicinity of the West Humber River (and eventually the Claireville Reservoir) over time.


Here you're looking at the intersection... the rather complicated intersection... of Indian Line Road (north-south), Albion Road (diagonal from the lower right), and the dogs-legged Steeles Avenue of the day. This is, in fact, Claireville, 1959.


Thirty years later, in 1989, this is Indian Line Road at the height of its game. You can see how things have changed up at the top of the picture. Steeles is now contiguous, making a swoop north around Claireville. Albion Road, too, avoids Claireville, sweeping south around it. Indian Line Road has had its legs consumed by the advance of Highway 427 from the south, but even the mighty superhighway yields to the old road in the end, spilling its traffic out onto it, and gathering its first users from it. At the time, the 427 in the north used Indian Line to connect to the rest of the road system, ending up at the T-junction intersection of Indian Line Road and Albion Road that persisted up to about 1992 when the 427 was extended to Highway 7, abandoning Indian Line Road for good. It was more or less at that time that Indian Line ceased to be a going concern.


1989... the last couple of years Indian Line was employed. Look at the traffic on it, heading onto the 427, coming off of the 427 and lining up to turn onto Albion Road. It's hard to believe no one drives on this stretch anymore... it was so busy once, so integral to our city. I had once assumed that the lights at the intersection of Indian Line and Albion had been removed when Indian Line was closed to traffic in 1992, but I was astounded last week when I came across a recommendation from an Etobicoke citizens group last week that recommended, in 2002 (!) that the lights be removed because they no longer served any useful purpose and were, in fact, according to the testimony of a local fire captain, being routinely ignored by motorists. Such is the hold this road has had on us.


Indian Line at Albion Road, December, 2006.


Approaching the Indian Line bridge over the railroad tracks, December, 2006.


The same view in June, 2007... and look! Traffic! Indian Line rides again! This was a service vehicle.


This bridge is enthralling. You can glimpse it from the 427 even today. It carried Indian Line over the railroad tracks. Built in the 1960s, it was clearly designed with a big future in mind... wide enough for four lanes, but it never got them. Even when Indian Line was effectively a stretch of the 427, even then... this bridge carried only one lane of traffic each way. What a sad waste.


Heading up the bridge in infrared in June, 2007.


Looking back up the same bridge in December, 2006.


This view shows pretty much what you would have seen heading onto the 427 in 1990.


Heading towards the road that cross the dam, you can see the 427 bridge over the West Humber. Prior to its construction, that spot was essentially where Indian Line once made a wide sweep and had its own bridge crossing the West Humber in the 1960s.


This is the road over the dam. It's a bit deceptive because it faces back towards the 427 from the far side. North is on the left in this shot.


This is just a few dozen yards north of Finch Avenue. What you're looking down was once the arrow-straight south track of Indian Line Road. If you look really closely, you can see a guy cutting up a fallen tree just outside the fence of one of the back yards.


Indian Line Campground is still a going concern. Thirty years ago, this was how you entered it... off Indian Line, aptly enough. Well, you can't enter the campgrounds this way anymore. Today, the entrance is off Finch Avenue... which didn't come anywhere near here thirty years ago. How times change.


If you head towards the reservoir, you will find the original, 1800s route of Indian Line Road, skirting the very edge of the water (towards the dam, it's actually inundated by it). This is the view you find. On the far side is Indian Line Campground and Wild Water Kingdom.


Splash! The reward for all my hard work. :)
Love it!

Did the same thing back in 2002 ... I just have to find photos of my survey.

You should start an abandoned roads club!\
Love it!

Did the same thing back in 2002 ... I just have to find photos of my survey.

You should start an abandoned roads club!\

Please do! Oh... there's so much to share. I mean, my experience really only goes back to about 1990. Some people must have real history to share.
I saw the aerials on your Flickr account which I enjoyed, particularly the one from the Junction which shows the Old Weston Road bridge from 1971 which was abandoned for awhile and ultimately torn down. However, there may be more lost roads here. On this map you can see a road called "Monarch Road" which I checked out. It too, is now completely disconnected from the grid, all cracked with piles of dumped dirt. The street grid was different, and Monarch Road was probably longer. I remember looking at an old map of the area along with city documents about grid changes. I don't remember where I found online (they were scattered), but you must have more access to archival material. It might be interesting to look into for the next photo essay.
Thanks so much for this!

I grew up relatively close to Indian Line and have vivid memories of it. I'm glad the name still exists with the campground and with that small portion of road in that corporate park just east of Toronto-Pearson (in Mississauga) that I believe still has the name "Indian Line."

It is a really interesting part of the GTA too as Mississauga, Brampton and Toronto all meet in the middle of the Claireville Reservoir. BTW, what's going on with the Reservoir these days? It's looking more like a pond when I drove by a few weeks back.

Also, where Indian Line met Steeles and Albion, was that some previous Village of Claireville? I think there's still a few old homes there that have always piqued my curiosity.
Kirkhams Road is blocked off as a result of that big August rainstorm a few years back. The bridge needs repairs but probably won't ever get them because there would be no justification for the cost.
Hey, I don't know if anybody else noticed this, but I did... I was watching "The World Without Us" on History Television last night, and when they got to the part about how the streets would start breaking up in five years without humanity around to fix them, they used a handful of views shot at Indian Line! The gate south of the bridge, and a couple of shots of the bridge itself... which nicely demonstrates what they're talking about after a decade and a half of disuse.
I watched the last few minutes of it and thought it was great. I didn't know it was on but would have wanted to see it from the beginning. Do you know if the show will be replayed at all?
I watched the last few minutes of it and thought it was great. I didn't know it was on but would have wanted to see it from the beginning. Do you know if the show will be replayed at all?

Well, it's History Television, and the one thing you know about History (Television) is it tends to repeat itself. :) That said, when I checked their site last night, this was last of four repeat showings. It might be on again at some point but not so you could plan for it. :(