Heritage Mississauga turned 60 years old on December 6, 2020. While this year has not quite been the anniversary year we had originally planned, we thought we would take a moment to share, in brief, the story of us.
Heritage Mississauga, then known as the Toronto Township Historical Foundation, was incorporated on December 6, 1960, under the leadership of former Reeve Mary Fix, who served as our first president.
Our organization came into being with the donation of the Bradley farmhouse in Clarkson by Kenneth Armstrong. The Toronto Township Historical Foundation was established to oversee the moving, restoration, and operation of this historical landmark as a community museum. The Lewis Bradley Pioneer Museum opened on June 11, 1966. Formal opening ceremonies occurred on July 5, 1967 as part of our local Canadian Centennial celebrations.
In 1978 a second historic house, The Anchorage, was moved to the Bradley museum property. Our organization then faced a new challenge – fund-raising and an extensive renovation campaign. After a long road, The Anchorage was opened in June of 1992. A few years earlier, in 1989, a new head office was opened in the Mississauga Civic Centre, in addition to the original office at the Bradley museum site.
Over the years, our organization has undergone a number of name changes, from the Toronto Township Historical Foundation, to the Mississauga Historical Foundation, to the Mississauga Heritage Foundation, and now known as Heritage Mississauga. Although always at not-for-profit affiliate of the City of Mississauga, our organization has a long history of working closely with the City for events and programs.
In 1994, Heritage Mississauga and the City of Mississauga reorganized their collective heritage responsibilities. The City assumed management of the Bradley Museum site, and later added Benares Historic House, which combined to become the Museums of Mississauga.
Heritage Mississauga changed its focus away from the management of museums to research, record and celebrate Mississauga’s rich and diverse heritage. In 2002 Heritage Mississauga published a comprehensive history of Mississauga, entitled “Mississauga: The First 10,000 Years”.
In the late fall of 2004, Heritage Mississauga found a new home at the historic Robinson-Adamson House, “The Grange”, where we continue to welcome visitors … or at least we did prior to COVID, and look forward to doing so again in the (we hope) not-to-distant future.
Heritage Mississauga has flourished and grown over the years under the direction of four Executive Directors: Mary Quarterone, Susan Steen, Gay Peppin and now Jayme Gaspar. Heritage Mississauga staff, students, and dedicated volunteers have likewise contributed to the preservation, promotion, education and documentation of Mississauga’s heritage, including former staff members Anna-Marie Raftery, Simona Liau, Nat McHaffie, Kay Matthews, Doreen Armstrong, Cheryl Seaton, Jane Watt, Hillary Walker and Jenny Walker, amongst many others.
Over the years, Heritage Mississauga have published numerous books on our City’s history, produced walking tours brochures, organized countless events and programs, hosted and offered speakers series, created comic books and educational booklets, introduced an oral history program, developed heritage videos, installed interpretive plaques, conducted heritage tours, hosted an annual awards gala, crafted a strong social media presence, and so much more.
Heritage Mississauga operates under the direction of a volunteer Board of Directors with four dedicated staff members: Jayme Gaspar (Executive Director), Meghan Mackintosh (Outreach Coordinator), Kelly Ralston (Social Media and Programs Coordinator), and Matthew Wilkinson (Historian), and is ably supported by a dedicated team of volunteers and many community partners.
We wish everyone a happy holiday season and a safe and healthy New Year, and we look forward to continuing to connect with you as we research, record and celebrate the ever-evolving story of the City of Mississauga.