It is a location name taken from the broad view across the valley of the Don (O). Established following the founding of York, it was a rough trail from Kingston Road/ Queen Street north to the saw mills and mills for grinding grain being built on the Don. In 1798 Timothy Skinner, a mill owner, was required by the government to build the road through the woods to access the mills. In Riverdale it roughly follows the dividing line between the Scadding and Cox land grants.
Broadview Avenue and Queen Street were the first two streets of Riverdale and remain its two most important and historical streets. At 131 Broadview is the Royal Canadian Bicycle Club, 1904, John Francis Brown, 1866-1842. The Royal Canadian Bicycle Club, established 1891, has its origins in the Royal Canadian Athletic Club, an association of some hundred young men with an interest in athletics. When the new club was formed only five of its members had bicycles and these were the hard tire variety. The first officers of the small club were: S. H. Gibbons, Captain, E. McTear, First Lieutenant and Fred Creed, Second Lieutenant. The first home of the club was in the Smith Block 639-655 Queen Street.
The Benjamin Langley House at 441 Broadview is a listed 1885 farmhouse style in beautiful red brick with yellow brick detailing and notable woodwork. It is similar in style to the houses at 483 Broadview and 58 Hogarth. Benjamin Langley is shown to have held a considerable block of land in the area in 1878.
In 1904 John A. Gallagher was established as a druggist at 485 King Street East and was still living with his parents on Saulter Street. However, in 1908, while maintaining his druggist business on King Street, he moved to his new home at 445 Broadview Avenue where he set up practice as a physician. The addition of the new occupation seemed to have been easy. In 1919 Dr. Gallagher moved his place of residence and practice to 539 Sherbourne Street and his druggist practice to 1061 Gerrard Street East. His sister Gertrude established her home and practice as a druggist at 756 Broadview and remained there for many years. In 1919 Dr. Roy A. Belfrey established his residence and practice at 445 Broadview.
The John Cox House at 469 Broadview, circa 1796, the oldest continuously inhabited house in Toronto, was originally a log cabin occupying the south half of the present structure and facing south. It was built for John Cox, U.E.L., to fulfill the requirements of his grant of land, Lot 14, Concession One, some two hundred acres with a broken front on the lake. This is one of the places where the early history of Riverdale begins.
648 - George Arlow House, 1919, William Halls and Son, contractors, listed. George J. Arlow, b. 1880, son of Samuel Arlow and Susan Gall, married, 1908, Isabella Dey, 23, daughter of William Dey and Margaret Gardiner. Arlow was at the time a stationery clerk at the Traders Bank, one of Ontario’s largest banks. It merged with the Royal Bank in 1912.