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A Retrospective on the Streetsville Historical Society By Anne Byard

The Streetsville Historical Society was formed in 1970 primarily as the body to hold the records of the Village of Streetsville (founded 1819) and other organizations as these became part of the City of Mississauga. Incorporated in 1973, the Society continues to hold such archival materials including all the original municipal assessment rolls, minutes of meetings, by-laws etc. as well as the existing records of the Streetsville Public Utilities Commission, the files of the Streetsville Review, the oldest continuing newspaper in the area, and other historical materials which are provided to or purchased by the Society.

The original (1849) grammar school building, which was enlarged in 1872, was converted into a municipal office building in 1961 and contains a large walk-in fire proof vault. This building was again altered to become a seniors citizens building which the Society has helped to decorate with some of its collection of photographs made into wall murals and the vault (jail cell) then became the Society’s storage area.

Most of the documentary material has been placed on microfilm and is now in the Ontario Archives in Toronto. The photographs collection and other artifacts are in regular use in research and in writing. The Society became a registered Charity # 89032 5574 RR0001, in 1973.

Mary Manning, one of the founders of the Society, was the keeper of these archival materials and they were stored in the jail cell of the Kinsmen Seniors centre and in her home until her death in June 1998. Her home collection was donated to the Peel Archives and has remained in their collection to this day. The remaining archives were left in the jail cell until Anne Byard, a member of the Society with archival training, was asked to take over the care of this collection by the Executive of the Society. She accepted the position and the Society received a Trillium Grant to pay her for a year to catalogue the collection into a archival system.

The volunteer members of the Society where trained by Mrs. Byard and they all assisted to finish the project. After the year was up she remained on as a volunteer to care for the archives. The archives began to grow having been kept in two jail cells in the Kinsmen seniors centre on Queen St. for many years. In 2007 a toilet had been built across the door to the cells. Since then, society volunteers had to go through the bathroom to reach its massive collections of photographs, documents and artifacts. Anne’s search was on for a Streetsville location and she was finally rewarded by finding the Leslie Log House on the Pinchin Property which provided a great location. Anne then contacted Councillor George Carlson to enlist his help along with that of Councillor Katie Mahoney. Anne gave them and the City of Mississauga Council and the Museums of Mississauga a presentation with a proposal to restore the building to Museum standard. They accepted her offer to allow the Streetsville Historical Society archives to move into the Leslie Log House , The building would remain under the protection of the Museums of Mississauga and the Society would rent the building for $1.00 a year. The Society would be responsible for the care of their collection and supplying volunteers to open the building to the public Wednesdays and Sundays from 1-4 p.m. The Society raises their own funds to pay liability insurance yearly as well as the up-keep of the collection.

The Society continues to collect artifacts and documents relating to the history of Streetsville. These are catalogued and stored according to archival storage standards. The SHS is presently working on putting the collection on an electronic based system using the Past Perfect program. The Society continues to furnish the building with office equipment and furniture as needed. The Society uses it’s Website and other social media including Facebook to publicize the collection to the public. The Log House is open Wednesdays and Sundays 1 to 4 p.m. and is completely staffed by volunteers. We greet over 1000 guests a year and do not charge an entrance fee.  

Reflections on the Past and Thoughts for our community in 2018

As we step into this New Year of 2018, we pray that it will bring with it hope and peace across the world especially to our tight-knit community - the “Village of Streetsville”. While we wish for better times ahead it is also important to reflect on the past and learn from our experiences with the goal of a better future. Unfortunately, history often repeats itself, but men and women will continue to strive to break the cycle and learn from the lessons of the past. With these thoughts in mind, let’s reflect on 2017 and some other dark periods in Streetsville recent and not so recent history.

In October 2017 Brad Butt, who represented the electoral district of Mississauga - Streetsville from 2011 to 2015 as a member of the Conservative Party, spoke at the Streetsville Historical Society General Meeting on his passion for Mississauga. Brad began his presentation by reviewing some of the week’s sad events that are noted below.  These recent events were troubling to Brad and of course our membership but he reminded us that we need to focus on working towards a better local community through continued involvement and service.

2017 was marked by numerous violent and criminal acts in Streetsville. On October 7, 2017, a young 23 year old man, Alan Connor Drew, died in hospital after having sustained serious blunt force trauma injuries from a senseless beating by another young man in the area of Queen Street South and Tannery Street. Many of his friends and family said he had a “gentle soul” and sometimes called him “Mr. Streetsville”. Our small community was shocked and saddened by this terrible news.

On October 11, 2017 just before 11 a.m., the Royal Bank at the corner of Queen Street South and Maiden Lane was robbed at gunpoint by two masked men. On November 12, 2017 there was a robbery at Shiv Convenience located on River Grove Avenue near Creditview and Bristol Roads. The robbers restrained the employee at gunpoint and also a second victim who had entered the convenience store at the time of the robbery.

Streetsville has not escaped other acts of crime and violence through its history. On April 13, 2017 at the SHS General Meeting, Mathew Wilkinson, Historian, presented –“The Darker Side: Stories of Crime and Punishment from Historic Mississauga”.  Of the 20+ documented crimes from the mid-1800s to today that he spoke about, there was the 1879 Dandie Mystery where Thomas Dandie’s body found in Faskens Bush1; the 1901 Streetsville Scoundrel – Frank Rutledge and the Rutledge Gang Robberies2 ; and the 1910 murder of The Streetsville Laundry Owner Joe Crag witnessed by Mabel Graydon3.

In retrospect, some of these stories become legendary and folkloric and we don’t view them in the same way as if they were current violent or criminal acts.  Yet, they are nonetheless, reprehensible acts that should not be glorified and would not be glorified if placed in today’s context.

On a positive note and with further reflection, if we have the desire to change and improve our lives and those of others we can change our actions and build a model for an educated and compassionate society that previous generations have strived for and future generations will build upon. We must not compare the acts of the past with those of today but instead reflect on them and take the wisdom to shape a different world moving forward.

“The very purpose of our life is happiness, which is sustained by hope.  We have no guarantee about the future, but we exist in the hope of something better. Hope means keeping going, thinking, ‘I can do this.’ It brings inner strength, self-confidence, the ability to do what you do honestly, truthfully and transparently.” – The Dalai Lama, Facebook

Note: 

1 The Darker Side – 1879 Dandie Mystery by Matthew Wilkinson 

2 The Darker Side – A Streetsville Scoundrel by Andrea Kennedy 

3 The Darker Side – The Streetsville Laundry Owner by Nicole Mair 

Let's Celebrate the 150th Anniversary of Canada's Confederation

Happy New Year and welcome to 2017 which marks the sesquicentennial of Canada's Confederation.  In anticipation of the exhibits and events celebrating Canada's 150th, the Streetsville Historical Society is preparing a special exhibit that focusses on Streetsville in 1867 and also a provides a view to Canada 50 years ago in 1967.

In 1867 Canada's population was 3.3 million and at last count we are at 36 million.  Not surprisingly, 40% of workers were farmers and in 2011 only 2% of Canadians were living on farms. The number of telegraph messages sent by members of the public in 1 year was 479,331 and in 2011, we collectively sent 78 billion text messages. Let's also remember that in 1867, 20% of our population was foreign born and today the percentage still applies.  Then, there was 3,457 kilometres of railway in Canada, and today there are more than 46,000 kilometres of track.

Although Streetsville's prosperity peaked before 1867, the village continued to thrive after the arrival of the Credit Valley Railway in 1879.  It was too late however, for the village to supplant Brampton as the business and political centre of Peel.  Much of existing Streetsville dates from the post-confederation period, and reflects the story of this prosperous and industrial rural village. In 1867 the success of John Hyde's Ontario Mills circa 1840 came to a halt when the mill was destroyed by fire.  At that time, the Toronto Township Hall was moved to Streetsville and used as Town Hall until 1939.  In 1867 Harriet Graydon was born to John Graydon and Jane Anderson. John Scruton, originally from Yorkshire, England returned to Streetsville after living in Woodstock for a couple of years. The present St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church was built in 1967 and opened in the following year.  William Clegg, his wife Elizabeth and their two girls came from England in a sailing vessel in the year 1867 and arrived at Port Credit , there being no port at Toronto at all; then by coach to Streetsville, where they lived all their lives, Mr. Clegg being a weaver by trade.

The year 1967 was the beginning of many things in Canada: EXPO '67, Caribana, the Canada Games, the Order of Canada, McDonald's Canada, WWF Canada, Mr. Dressup, along with many other things. Streetsville Public Library opened November 29, 1967.  Prior to the annexing of Mississauga, Hazel McCallion was the Mayor of Streetsville (1970-1973) and was the township's last Reeve (1967-1970).  The Streetsville United Church women have shared their gifts and talents in our community since 1967.  On December 31, 1967 Thomas Weylie Steen, born in 1877 to Ephraim Steen and Mary Ritchie passes away in Streetsville, Ontario. A complete listing of businesses in 1967 Streetsville is available at our gift shop in "The Tweedsmuir History of Streetsville" in either hard copy or on CD.

Streetsville Historical Society

4415 Mississauga Rd.,
Mississauga, ON, L5M 7C6

Charity #0655936-50-13

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Phone: 905-814-5958 

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The archives are open on Sundays and Wednesdays from 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm excluding statutory holiday weekends. Tours are available as well.

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