The railway boom in the 1850’s signalled a period of decline for the shipping industry as goods could now be transported by rail to Toronto for onward transmission to European ports. The local lumber industry also began to decline as the British Navy had already stripped the best trees for ships masts, and traders had to look further inland for supplies. After sawdust from the lumber mills had polluted the harbour and destroyed the salmon run, Port Credit then became known for stone hooking which reached its peak in 1881. By this time, other industries had also emerged: brickyards and potteries in Streetsville and Erindale; shingle making in Cooksville; a tannery near Dixie, in addition to a small dyeing and weaving industry and many grist, saw and woolen mills throughout the Township.
However while the mid-19th century was a period of growth, the latter years were one of recession. On a local level, a large fire was disastrous for Cooksville and Port Credit with many destroyed businesses which were never rebuilt. On a global level, the end of the Crimean War caused wheat prices to crash and as the Industrial Revolution forged ahead, the emergence of steam power over water enabled the City of Toronto to thrive when it had previously been restricted due to a lack of water powered mills. The final nail was hammered into the industrial “coffin” when Gooderham & Worts, a large employer in the town, moved their business empire to Toronto in 1882. This was particularly significant since society had begun to move away from a private sphere of working the land and staying within the family unit, to a more public one of seeking paid employment outside of the home. It has been said that the long shadow of Toronto was felt by the township and local villages up to the 1950’s when industry began to be lured back to the local area by tax incentives although for a while, their workforce commuted daily, earning Toronto Township the nickname of “Cinderella Township”.
Today the city is thriving once again, educational standards are high and jobs are plentiful with the head offices of over XXX Fortune 500 companies located within the city. Mississauga has one of the largest multicultural populations in the world. People no longer commute, arts, culture and heritage thrive and property is much in demand. The City is no longer a small collection of villages with a precarious economy, its potential for growth is strong and its future is bright. Mississauga is no longer seen as Cinderella between its two ugly sisters, but has come of age and stepped out onto the world’s stage as a leading economic powerhouse in her own right.