Description of Historic Place
The Old Port Credit Heritage Conservation District (HCD) located on Lake Ontario, generally conforms on its east, south and west sides to the boundaries of the government-planned village plot of 1835. The northern boundary is Lakeshore Road West, the southern boundary is Lake Ontario. The boundary to the west is Mississauga Road South and to the east, the Credit River in the City of Mississauga. The district consists of single family houses, institutional and commercial buildings, as well as park land.
The district was designated by the City of Mississauga in 2004 for its heritage value under Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act (By-law 0272-2004).
The Old Port Credit Heritage Conservation District primarily reflects the influence of two groups of people; newly arrived European settlers and the Mississauga First Nations who had lived at the mouth of the Credit River for over a century. The Mississaugas invested heavily in the Credit Harbour Company, a joint stock company established to construct a harbour at the mouth of the Credit River. They acquired two-thirds of the shares and three of their chiefs Joseph Sawyer, John Jones and Peter Jones were directors. Peter Jones was a prominent figure in the Mississauga community. Jones was a missionary, translator, author. He was also heavily involved in the conversion of the Mississauga and other Ojibway to the Methodist branch of Christianity and their transition to a sedentary way of life.
Within the district, there are several important open spaces that hold historical significance. The J.C. Saddington Park, designed by consulting engineers Crysler and Lathem, and Lombard North Planning Limited are good examples of 1970s park planning in Canada. The park is on Lake Ontario and is part of the waterfront revitalization movement in planning. Marina Park has a long record of human use – from Mississauga First Nations fishing in canoes, to wharves and warehouses, and later as a favourite local swimming spot between the 1930s and 1940s.
The Old Port Credit HCD has a layered history; from its First Nations background to its park planning to its institutional landmarks it has maintained its historical character. Several important institutional landmarks stand in the district. The Mississauga Masonic Temple, built in 1926, which incorporated the Wesleyan Methodist Church built in 1849. The Wesleyan Church was the first church in Port Credit. The Alfred Russell Clarke Memorial Hall constructed in 1922, currently a community hall, served as the Port Credit council chambers from 1941 to 1974. A religious compound also exists within the district, the St. Mary's School of 1953, St. Mary's Cemetery and St. Mary's Church. The Old Port Credit HCD is also home to the Police Station which opened in 1955, and the Port Credit Village Fire Hall, the oldest surviving fire hall in Mississauga. As well, a number of historic residences and commercial buildings are also found in the district. The Wilcox Inn (32 Front Street South) is the oldest surviving building in the district and is now a private home. The Emma Peer House (7 John Street South) has become a restaurant.
A mix of uses is seen in the district; single family houses are typical in the residential area and institutional and commercial uses are more common in the area closer to Lakeshore Road West. Residences of historic value from the nineteenth and early twentieth century are fairly modest vernacular buildings of frame clad in siding or with a veneer of locally manufactured brick. Often these buildings are one-and-a-half-storeys with a gable roof. These dwellings were predominantly owned by individuals who earned their living on the water, ship captains, labourers and tradesmen.
The Old Port Credit HCD is a good representation of a town laid out in traditional grid form. Unlike the formation of many communities, Old Port Credit did not spring up around a mill or at a crossroads. The village was planned by the government to complement the harbour project. In 1835 Surveyor Robert Lynn designed the grid form to create a progression from busy streets, such as Lakeshore Road West, to quiet residential streets ending in parks.
Sources: City of Mississauga By-law 0272-2004; Old Port Credit, Heritage Conservation District Plan, City of Mississauga, 2004.
Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of the Old Port Credit HCD include its:
- common exterior materials include siding or brick
- structures usually one-and-a-half-storeys
- predominantly gable roofs
- proximity of HCD to lake
- proximity to Credit River
- traditional grid layout