Alderwood as a name derives from the meaning of the First Nations word Etobicoke: 'the place where the alders grow'. Reputedly, long-time resident Robert Johnson is tagged as being the man who coined the name and it came into official use when the local post office was opened in 1933. Along with Long Branch, Alderwood was originally a part of Col. Sam Smith's land and most of what is now known as Alderwood was bought by Archibald Cameron in 1850. The area was originally known as New Toronto Park or New Toronto Heights, or other times simply as 'the place above the tracks'. Its farmland was subdivided in the 1920s, although most of the development began after the second World War. Some of the original farmers' family names: Brown, Evans, Lunness and Horner among others grace the streets.
After the war, increased immigration from eastern Europe led to a rapid urbanization of the area which continued until the 1960's. Alderwood is comprised of mostly long, linear street that are arranged with rows of storey-and-a-half houses and bungalows. Most of them were built during the 1920's to 1950's with many of the older bungalows having in recent years replaced more modern semi-detached and detached homes. The properties, on the whole, have well-manicured lawns and each house has its own private driveway and most have their own garages.
The Alderwood Centre is a public facility that comprises of the Sir Adam Beck Junior School, the Alderwood branch of the Toronto Public Library, the Alderwood Action After School child-care centre and the Alderwood Pool, a 25-yard public swimming pool. In the centre of the neighbourhood, Alderwood Memorial Park has a children's playground as well as expansive green space and nearby Connorvale Park has a baseball diamond. There is also neighbourhood access to the Etobicoke Creek walking paths that connect Marie Curtis Park along Lake Ontario's shores as well as the waterfront trail that leads to the downtown Toronto core.
The aforementioned Adam Beck, as well as Twentieth Street and Seventh are Junior schools in or around the area. Lanor and James S. Bell are combined middle and junior schools and there are a few catholic schools such as St Ambrose, Christ the King, St. Teresa and Holy Angels and Peel-South is an alternative elementary school. Alderwood has made its way from farmland to a very close-knit and family-oriented neighbourhood with a strong sense of community.