In the 1800s, Port Union was a booming waterfront village with thriving ship building and commercial fishing industries, two hotels, a commercial wharf, and a variety of small businesses. In 1856, the Grand Trunk Railway opened a station in Port Union which added to the importance of this waterfront village.
By 1865, Port Union's population had reached 100 people and it was granted its own post office. The two hotels that operated in Port Union during these boom times were said to have served "knock-em stiff" whiskey and "40 Rod Whiskey."
By the late 1800's Port Union's shipping industry had lost most of it's business to the railway and subsequently shut down. Port Union then went into a period of decline that lasted until the late 1940's, when the return of industry to this area sparked a residential housing boom. In the 1990's, Port Union reclaimed its waterfront with a new housing subdivision that has helped connect this neighbourhood to its illustrious past.
Port Union Village is now referred to as the area south of Lawrence Avenue, and surrounding, more communities grew to the north. The area is now referred to as Centennial, which makes reference to the north-south street which runs through the centre of this community. Centennial Street was named after Centennial Church, circa 1891, which still stands at the north end of Centennial Road off Kingston Road. First the West portion of Centennial was settled with larger properties and homes. By the early sixties, Centennial East had also become a popular residential area with new homes being built steadily through the sixties and seventies.
Centennial is a neighbourhood bound on the south by the railway and to the west by Colonel Danforth Park - a well wooded ravine valley that ushers the Highland Creek on the last leg of its journey into Lake Ontario.
This area grew from Port Union, which runs along the water starting below Lawrence and extending just east of Port Union Road to the Go Train station.
This is a very lush area with a combination of linear and sweeping streets, lined with beautiful mature trees. West Centennial typically has larger more mature properties, while East Centennial is a new area with more symmetrical street layouts, newer homes (circa mid 60s to late 70s) and with some newer developments now in the North East pocket. At the southern point of this neighbourhood is nesteled older Port Union with an quaint historical flavour and some of the finest stands of pine trees in the City of Toronto.