One enterprising individual in the early Mississauga area was Timothy Street, after whom the former Town of Streetsville was named. In payment for his surveying work, Street received a substantial grant of land, which he used to establish industries on the banks of the Credit. His house at 41 Mill Street, built in 1825, is believed to be the first brick house constructed in Peel County; it remains at the site of his former milling complex. Like most early Ontario communities, Streetsville relied heavily on its proximity to water for the power to operate its grist, saw, carding, and planning mills. Water power remained the key factor in Mississauga's early industrial development of the 19th century, particularly in Streetsville. In addition to meeting the village's needs, Streetsville manufactured items for export at a early stage with its Woollen production at the Barber Woollen Mills, for example, once located (1840s-1880s) on the site of the present-day Reid Milling complex. After the railway development of the 1850s bypassed Streetsville and the village lost the county seat to Brampton in 1867, it never fully regained the economic momentum it had begun to enjoy. It was not until 1879, with the arrival of the Credit Valley Railway, that Streetsville benefited from better links to Toronto and beyond. Streetsville, which has the highest concentration of heritage buildings in the City, incorporated as a village in 1858 and a town in 1962. Amid the hesitation o f many people, Streetsville amalgamated with the City of Mississauga in 1974. The Mayor of Streetsville at the time, Hazel McCallion, went on to become the Mayor of Mississauga, and remains one of Canada's longest serving and best-known mayors.
Other communities like Clarkson, Lorne Park, Erindale, Meadowvale Village, Malton, Cooksville, Dixie, and Malton have also contributed unique chapters to Mississauga's story. Located south of Dundas Street, the old Lake Iroquois shoreline, villages like Cooksville, Dixie, Lorne Park, and Clarkson could take economic advantage of their geography. Unlike the area north of Dundas, where there is a lot of clay, the earth in the southern part of Toronto Township, is a mix of "Dundas shale" and sand. Together with the protection from frosts by Lake Ontario, these conditions encouraged a market gardening economy here for over a century. Crops such as apples and strawberries provided many farmers with a livelihood, and, for many, the strawberry socials and apple harvests are still among their fondest memories. By the early 20th century, for example, Clarkson was known as the "Strawberry Capital of Canada". The apple orchards, particularly those of Cooksville and Dixie, which had been planted in the 19th century were, by the 1950s, being replaced by subdivisions to accommodate a rapid population increase in Toronto Township.
Clarkson was named after Warren Clarkson, a United Empire Loyalist who, along with others (Thomas Merigold and Lewis Bradley, for example) arrived here in c.1808 from New Brunswick. They settled in a portion of the Old Survey which became known as "Merigold's Point". The Clarkson family operated the general store and post office for many years and their old homestead, built 1819, still stands on Clarkson Road. Today, people can experience a glimpse of different periods in Clarkson's history by visiting the Bradley House, c.1830, The Anchorage, c.1839, or Benares, 1857, all historic properties which are open to the public.
Cooksville was once known as "Harrisville" after Daniel Harris, one of its earliest settlers. The village was renamed in 1836 in honor of its leading entrepreneur, Jacob Cook, who operated the first stagecoach mail service and operated local businesses. Located at the heart of Toronto Township, Cooksville had been the centre for civic, industrial, commercial, and educational interests for over a century. Mississauga's first municipal offices were located at the corner of Dundas and Hurontario Streets, as was the Central Library, the offices for the public and separate school boards and various Federal and Provincial ministries. In 1852, a major fire destroyed much of the village, and by 1873, when it was selected over Streetsville as the site of the new Town Hall, it was in need of an economic boost. Very little of pre-1940 Cooksville remains. Even the remnants of the old Cooksville Brick and Tile Yard, which provided employment to hundreds of local people from 1912-1970, have recently disappeared beneath new development.
One of the first settlers to Dixie, located east of Cooksville along Dundas Street, was Philip Cody, who arrived in 1806 and operated a tavern for many years. The village, which developed around a government-owned toll booth, was named in 1865 after Dr. Beaumont Dixie, a well-known local doctor. Dr. Dixie had donated money to the Union Chapel, a non-denominational Protestant place of worship which was central to the social and cultural life of the village. The Dixie Union Cemetery, established in 1812, is the final resting place of many of Mississauga's pioneers and even of a premier of the Province of Ontario - Thomas Laird Kennedy. The home of Jane and Joseph Silverthorn, who arrived in 1807, survives as a local restaurant today . It is still called "Cherry Hill" after the family estate which once occupied most of what is now the Mississauga Valleys subdivision.
April 20, 2005