Woodbridge is a large community within the city of Vaughan, Ontario. Its boundaries include Highway 50 to the west, Steeles Avenue to the south, Highway 400 to the east and Major Mackenzie Drive to the north.
In 1802, the British Crown granted land to the tandem of Jacob Philips and Hugh Cameron. At present day Pine Grove, a flour mill and store fluorished and a nearby school was built. A wood bridge crossed over the Humber River and connected what was then called Smithville, with Brownsville, located near present day Woodbridge Avenue and Wallace Street. What persists today as downtown Woodbridge, began to develop upon the arrival of Rowland Burr in 1837. Initially named Burwick, the settlement was renamed Woodbridge in 1855. The original wooden bridge crossing the Humber River was located further north, closer to Langstaff Road as compared to its present day location at the east terminal of Woodbridge Avenue at Islington Avenue.
By 1882, Woodbridge had over 1000 residents and was incorporated as a village with two general stores, two churches, a school a carriage works, two hotels, a library and a post office.
Railway lines connected Woodbridge to Toronto in the south, and also to the transcontinental route operated by the Canadian Pacific Railway.
Construction of Highway 7, which passed just south of the business section and through an underpass of the CPR line, began in 1920. Up until the 1950s, much of the surrounding land was used for farming. After Hurricane Hazel devastated much of the community, the area slowly became populated with custom country homes as growth from Toronto occurred and people moved north. Beginning in the 1960s and continuing to present day, housing developments expanded in all directions from the original settlement area.
Historic buildings from the original town centre, including the Burwick family home, a tinsmith shop and Masonic Lodge have been relocated to Black Creek Pioneer Village. Woodbridge Avenue’s Market Lane remains the commercial hub of the old downtown of Woodbridge. The population remained around 3,000 until the 1950s and has been steadily growing ever since. The current population is estimated to be over 100,000.
The terrain of Woodbridge, which includes Pine Valley, is considered hilly, with a series of rolling hills and valleys. The climate is considered humid continental, with warm humid summers and cold, snowy winters. The USDA plant hardiness level is 5a.
When Pope John Paul II visited Canada for World Youth Day in 2002, he flew over St. Clare of Assisi Parish in Woodbridge in a helicopter.
Law enforcement agencies in the Greater Toronto Area consider Woodbrige to be a hub for street racing. An A&E documentary titled Inside Story: Street Racing – The Need for Speed discussed the issue.
Woodbridge has considerable greenspace within its boundaries, most notably in Boyd Conservation Area and Kortight Centre for Conservation. Other sites of interest include the Pierre Berton Library and Market Lane commercial area.
Notable people from Woodbridge include Elizabeth Arden, founder of the self-named cosmetics company, Mike Harris, former Premier of Ontario, David Rocco, television cooking show host and Dina Pugliese, local television personality. A number of Woodbridge hockey players have made it to the National Hockey League, including Andrew Cogliano, Frank Corrado, Chris DiDomenico and Mike Liambas.