I recently received an inquiry asking about the former Windinglane Bird Sanctuary along Mississauga Road, and I thought it would be a fascinating story to share as part of the Way Back Wednesday series.
Hance “Roy” Ivor (1880-1979) established Windinglane Bird Sanctuary along Mississauga Road, just to the north of what is now The Collegeway in the early 1930s as a sanctuary for birds and other wildlife. The sanctuary was named for its long, winding laneway.
Affectionately referred to as the “Birdman of Erindale”, Ivor was a well-known ornithologist and naturalist. Ivor authored numerous articles in The Auk, National Geographic, Wilson Bulletin and published the book “I Live With Birds”. He received an Honourary Doctorate of Sciences from the University of Windsor in 1972 and was a recipient of the Order of Canada in 1974.
Ivor was born in Strathroy, Ontario on January 3rd, 1880, but grew up in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan and Toronto. Ivor and his mother moved to Erindale around 1928. A lifelong bachelor, he remained in their home after his mother’s death at age 105 years of age in 1959.
For many who knew Roy Ivor and visited Windinglane Bird Sanctuary, Ivor was a gentle, kind man with a sense of humor who dedicated himself to studying and caring for sick and injured birds. Ivor wrote about the emotions and personalities of birds, and people brought injured, sick or wild birds to his sanctuary from all over Canada and the United States. Ivor studied, cared for, and lived with birds for over fifty years. Together with many volunteers, Ivor took care of thousands of birds over time. He welcomed school children to the sanctuary where he taught them to care for and respect birds and wildlife.
Ivor’s original home was lost to fire on December 2, 1970. Following the fire, the community established an emergency aid fund to help reestablish the sanctuary and care for the aging Ivor. Donations came from across Canada and abroad. A residential trailer was procured out of this fund, and Ivor spent much of the rest of his life living there. Ivor died on December 10, 1979, at the age of 99, and is buried nearby in the Erindale Cosmopolitan Cemetery.
Following Ivor’s death, Bernice Inman-Emery (1918-2009), Roy Ivor’s assistant since 1962, inherited three acres of property. Inman-Emery continued the sanctuary after Ivor’s declining health and death, with the help of other volunteers. Inman-Emery lived in another house on site, and quietly continued caring for birds, animals, and the surrounding woodland environment until 2008.
The City of Mississauga acquired the former Windinglane Bird Sanctuary property in 2010 and, in keeping with the spirit of the property and the man who created it, the property is maintained as a quiet natural space. A number of institutions maintain collections associated with Roy Ivor, including the Museums of Mississauga. Roy is buried nearby at the Erindale Cosmopolitan Cemetery – appropriately his grave features a birdhouse.
NOTE: This story was previously published as part of the Way Back Wednesday series in Modern Mississauga by Heritage Mississauga.
It can be found on their website here: https://www.modernmississauga.com/main/2020/8/19/the-history-of-mississaugas-windinglane-bird-sanctuary