In 1845 Samuel Mills acquired 98 acres of land from Peter Buchanan in Lot 14, Concession 1, North of Dundas Street.
In practical terms today, his property was located east of Camilla Road, which itself is just to the east of Hurontario Street. On March 25, 1846, Samuel sold the 98 acre property to John W. Mills.
The relationship between Samuel and John is uncertain.
John W. Mills immediately subdivided his property and began selling off smaller lots.
The area, immediately south of Dundas Street, became known as the Mills Survey of Cooksville.
The Mills Survey had three roads running east-west and parallel to Dundas Street – these were named Main Street, Queen Street and King Street.
A forth road, running south off of Dundas Street and called Centre Street, divided the subdivision in half.
The Mills Survey remains relatively intact on our landscape today and is a visible reminder of a very early subdivision of land.
The challenge is finding it.
If you look on a street map today, you will be hard-pressed to find the road names.
Only the name of King Street survives, although it is much altered from its original 1846 layout.
As for the street names, while the routes of travel remain, the names have changed: Main Street is now called Randi Road; Centre Street became Edenhurst Drive; and Queen Street is known today as McGill Street.
As for Queen Street, the simple reason for changing the name had to do with amalgamation and duplication (or triplication).
In 1968 the villages and hamlets of Toronto Township, including Cooksville, merged to form the new Town of Mississauga.
In the Town there was one Queen Street – and that was in the Mills Survey of Cooksville.
A few years later, in 1974, the Town of Mississauga amalgamated with the Town of Streetsville and the Town of Port Credit to create the City of Mississauga. One problem: now there were three Queen Streets!
Streetsville’s Queen Street, divided into a “north” and “south” and likely dating to the late 1820s, was its main thoroughfare. Streetsville would not likely have given that name up.
Port Credit’s Queen Street, divided into an “east” and “west” and dating to 1846, had become a growing part of Port Credit that, over time, expanded westward to Lorne Park. Similar to Streetsville, Port Credit would not likely acquiesce to losing its Queen.
That left Cooksville’s Queen Street – a small, relatively obscure, and entirely residential side street – as the most likely to be changed.
And it was.
On September 22, 1975, Council passed a resolution to rename Queen Street in Cooksville as McGill Street. Cooksville’s Queen was no more.
But what’s in the name?
Similar to the story of Port Credit’s Queen Street, which was laid out in the same year, Cooksville’s Queen Street was named during the reign of Queen Victoria.
However, we cannot say that the street itself was named for Queen Victoria since King Street was also part of the Mills Survey at that time, and as Queen Victoria was the ruling monarch, there was no king on the English throne between 1836 and 1901.
It is likely that the naming of the streets had more to do with tradition than actually honouring a specific monarch.
There is a possibility that the streets in the Mills Survey were not actually named until 1870, when the Mills Survey Plan was formally registered as Plan TOR-12 by H.P. Savigny.
Savigny’s plan noted that it included the earlier Mills Survey.
So, even if the naming of the roads in the Mills Survey dates to 1870, the roads themselves were certainly present long before Savigny’s plan formalized its layout.
Now what about McGill Street?
The Council By-law that changed the name of the street was dated September 22, 1975.
Although there is no source of the McGill name listed in the by-law, there is a strong likelihood that the new name was chosen in honour of Garnet McGill.
Garnet McGill joined the Toronto Township Police Department as a constable in 1944 after working with the St. Lawrence Starch Company in Port Credit.
He was appointed Police Chief in 1946, and served as Chief until his retirement in January of 1972.
He was highly respected in his role, and was known as tough but fair and honest.
The Town of Mississauga Council passed a resolution on January 5, 1972 approving a retirement allowance.
His career as Police Chief saw the Toronto Township Police Department grow from 6 officers to a highly efficient and respected force of 180 by 1971.
Chief McGill also served a term as the president of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police, and was involved in the creation of the Police College in Aylmer, Ontario. Born in Erindale in 1911, Chief Garnet McGill passed away on April 13, 1976.
Special thanks to Nick Moreau from PAMA for assistance with this article.