In 1960, Cecil Rose, an Etobicoke businessman and part-time clarinetist saw the need for a community orchestra where amateur musicians could enjoy coming together to perform the great masterpieces of the classics. He rented the neighbourhood YMCA for rehearsals and together with the help of the local papers, within the span of a year there were 90 performers in the EPO. The first concert took place on February 22, 1961 and played to a full auditorium of friends and family.
After its first successful season, the orchestra obtained a charter from the Ontario government to form the Etobicoke Philharmonic Society. The Society's objectives were, and remain, to promote, encourage and foster the performance of serious music, as well as to promote amateur talent and encourage the development of musicians and classical entertainment in the Etobicoke community.