East York was originally part of York Township. Following the incorporation of the Township of North York in 1922, York Township was divided by Toronto, Leaside and North Toronto. With the rapid growth that followed the opening of the Bloor-Danforth (Prince Edward) Viaduct in 1919, the residents of the eastern half of York Township felt they had been neglected by the township when it came to roads, sewers and other municipal services. Left with the option to either join the City of Toronto or branch out on its own, 448 East Yorkers voted to incorporate a new township, while 102 voted to amalgamate with Toronto. The Township of East York was incorporated on January 1, 1924 with a population of 19,849.
English people who valued the opportunity to own small homes of their own, with front lawns and back gardens. In 1961, 71.7% of the population identified themselves as having British origins.
In the late 1940s, after World War II, East York became home to many returning veterans and their families. Many inexpensive homes were built, including the houses around Topham Park, by the government, to house the returning veterans and the baby boomers. The local government was both socially conscious and frugal, fitting the residents' self-image of East York as filled with supportive neighbours and non-government organizations.
For many years, the borough did not allow the serving of alcoholic beverages in any restaurants, etc. The result was a heavy concentration of alcohol-serving restaurants and bars on Danforth Avenue, a main street in the city of Toronto running east-west just south of East York. The prohibition of serving alcohol was eliminated in the 1970s.
Since the 1970s, the population composition has changed from predominantly British,In 2006 the percentage of visible minorities was 38.4%, and the percentage of immigrants was 44.4%.
Danforth Avenue is known by the community and most Torontonian's as "Greek Town". The yearly festival "Taste of the Danforth" closes the Avenue down over a summer weekend allowing visitors and locals to eat, drink and dance. "The Danforth" is highly populated by restaurants and bars, boutique shops and specialty stores.
Toronto District School Board operates English-language and French Immersion secular public schools. East York Board of Education, the previous education authority, merged into the TDSB.
Olde East York is connected to the Toronto Transit's Bloor Train Line which runs east-west along Bloor Street. East of the Bloor viaduct, the street name changes to Danforth Avenue. Many buses route north and south from the number of train stations along the Bloor/Danforth line, allowing for easy access to the Public Transit System from most parts of East York.