Humber River, looking n. to Highway 7 bridge at Woodbridge, Vaughan
The first European to pass through Vaughan was the French explorer Étienne Brûlé, who crossed the Humber Trail in 1615. However, it was not until the townships were created in 1792 that Vaughan began to see any clearances, as it was treated to be extremely remote and the absence of roads through the region made travel difficult. The territory was named after Benjamin Vaughan, a British commissioner who signed a peace treaty with the United States in 1783.
Prior to the 1849 Robert Baldwin Act, townships had no collective existence. In 1850 the current municipal system came into operation in Vaughan.
In 1971, the new regional government of York Region was established, acquiring policing and well-being services from the communities it served; simultaneously, the township merged with the Village of Woodbridge to form the Town of Vaughan. In 1991, it officially changed its legal status to City of Vaughan.