Mississauga

By: Rob Parker


Mississauga is Canada’s sixth largest city, with a population of 630,000 and an area of 28,750 hectares, or 111 square miles. It is home to L. B. Pearson International Airport, Canada’s busiest airport, and is within commuting distance to 9 major universities and 10 technical colleges. Mississauga has a very long and interesting history. If you look back to the first European contact in 1675, Iroquoian and Algonquian speaking peoples already inhabited the area. The Mississaugas, an Ojibwa First Nations People, drove out the Iroquois by 1700. The French established many trading posts around Lake Ontario, but they began to lose power in the region, leaving the British to continue trade with the Natives. This introduction of European cultures, technology, and diseases prompted an end to the Mississaugas’ way of life.

The area of land around the Credit River Valley, which was named for the custom of trading with the Mississaugas on credit, was very fertile and attracted many settlers. This, combined with world politics and immigration, created a large demand for land, and prompted the European settlement of the "Home District". This would form the "Toronto Township" on August 2, 1805, and later Mississauga. In 1806, the British government purchased 33,995 hectares (84,000 acres) of the "Mississauga Tract", an area extending from Burlington Bay to the Etobicoke Creek, for 1,000 pounds sterling from the Mississaugas. In this "First Purchase", the Mississaugas retained some fishing rights and one mile of land on either side of the Credit River. However, the Mississaugas would relinquish this remainder of land (excluding a 200-acre reserve on the northeast bank of the Credit River) on February 28, 1820, with the “Second Purchase”. This area became known as “Block D.” The Mississaugas had been a hunting and gathering people, but they adopted a more settled, agricultural lifestyle by the 1820s. In 1826, after petitions from Rev. Peter Jones to government officials, the Mississaugas began building a village that was called the "Credit Mission." Numbering only about 260 by this time, the Mississaugas petitioned frequently, between 1833 and 1847, for rights to land in Block D. In 1847, the Mississaugas relocated to a reserve in the Grand River Valley near present-day Hagersville. An historic plaque outside the gates of the Mississauga Golf Club is the only visible reminder of the Mississaugas' settlement.

The township was fully open to immigrants by 1820, and many who were fleeing a variety of circumstances such as war, famine, overpopulation, and economic depression came to Mississauga to look for opportunities in Upper Canada (Ontario). Many exciting events have happened in Mississauga between then and now, including the opening of multiple highways, railways, an airport, and a shopping centre. Exciting events are sure to come in the near future for Mississauga as well, such as the construction of the 56-storey condominium, Absolute Tower, which will be Mississauga’s tallest building.

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