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Preserving Mississauga's Cultural Story

Preserving Mississauga’s Cultural Story is a project by Heritage Mississauga with funding by the Ontario Trillium Foundation to inspire more people to connect with Mississauga’s cultural heritage through oral histories, presentations, workshops, and community building.

Why This Project Is So Important

Over the last 50 years, Mississauga has grown from a population of 100,000 that were mainly early settler families to close to 800,000 residents comprising of cultures from around the world.

Preservation of Mississauga’s early heritage has been relatively easy to record through standard documents, stories and family recordings. Within the Heritage Resource Centre, there is extensive data on Indigenous communities, the builders of the city, early Pioneer families, early farms, post offices, business and industry, etc. However the rich cultural heritage is less known, and stories now need to be collected from our diverse communities that make up Mississauga, so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Why Oral Histories?

Oral histories are a valuable tool for capturing and preserving information about historical events, lives of individuals, and memories that may otherwise be lost. Allowing people to use their own words can move them to share aspects of their life experience that may not be recorded in writing or in photos.

“Doing an oral history with Heritage Mississauga gave me a sense of belonging in the Mississauga community.”

What’s Your Story?
Everyone has a story, from the Indigenous Mississaugas, to the early settlers whose toil helped shape the modern landscape we live, work and play in today, to those who arrived in Mississauga yesterday. Our heritage is ever growing and these stories, your stories, are what make Mississauga unique. These stories need to be recorded!

Who Can Share Their Story?
We invite everyone, of any age, of any background, to share your stories with us. Remember what was, reflect on what is, and ponder what the future will bring to Mississauga! Think of the stories your house, your street or your community could tell if only they could talk. And they can talk – they just need a voice to relate that story and to preserve it for future generations!

Want to help us preserve Mississauga’s cultural heritage and stories?

Online Survey: Participate in our online survey and give your feedback and ideas on how to preserve Mississauga’s cultural heritage for future generations. Learn more: https://forms.gle/jAhBomzzvyUYduh1A

Become a Cultural Heritage Champion: We are always looking for people to introduce and connect us to your community or cultural group’s elders, community leaders, and ambassadors. Partner with Heritage Mississauga to record oral histories from your community and preserve Mississauga’s cultural story in a fun and creative way. Learn more: http://preservingmississaugasculturalstory.mystrikingly.com

Online Survey Results

Heritage Mississauga conducted a survey about the importance of preserving and sharing community stories. Respondents felt that this type of storytelling would:

  • bring families closer by fostering a sense of belonging,
  • inform youth about their own family history, culture, and language, helping the community to better relate to each other,
  • promote cultural heritage and stories to the broader Mississauga public,

Respondents highly valued the participation of a Heritage Mississauga volunteer at their events to educate on the importance of gathering oral histories and stories as part of Mississauga’s culturally inclusive heritage.

The collection of stories through the use of different triggers such as family photographs, drawings, letters or journals, mementos, puppets or traditional clothing rated high (over 81%).

When it came to sharing the stories, 75% of the respondents thought the use of short films was an option. While being interested in having their stories shared there seemed to be some reluctance to do this themselves. However, over 81% were interested in having volunteers within their cultural group be trained to become Heritage Champions to help record/share their cultural heritage.

What can Heritage Mississauga do going forward?

There were a number of interesting ideas expressed that would be worth exploring. These include:

  • bridging contacts between the settling ethnic groups and capturing their contributions to the Mississauga heritage story,
  • outreach into neighbourhoods at venues such as the libraries, provide more activities coordinated to collect stories and share stories.
  • conduct road shows, workshops, exhibitions, promoting what Heritage Mississauga can do for a particular community to help preserve its heritage for future generations
  • hosting a more intimate cultural event (smaller than Carrassauga) where groups could perform their traditional dance, music and other cultural arts.
  • training for Heritage Champions.

Ontario Trillium Foundation
This project would not be possible without the generous support of the Government of Ontario and the Ontario Trillium Foundation of Mississauga.

Colombia en Mississauga
Colombia en Mississauga was one of the three organizations we worked with who helped us collect oral histories from their community connections.

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Mississauga Chinese Business Association
Mississauga Chinese Business Association was one of the three organizations we worked with who helped us collect oral histories from their community connections.

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People of Motherland
People of Motherland was one of the three organizations we worked with who helped us collect oral histories from their community connections.

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Heritage Champions
During this project we reached out to additional organizations to help us collect oral histories and spread awareness of preserving Mississauga’s cultural heritage through storytelling.

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