Christmas – that magic blanket that wraps itself about us, that something so intangible that it is like a fragrance. It may weave a spell of nostalgia. Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of gathering, but always it will be a day of remembrance – a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved.

~Augusta Rundel

With the first snow of the year there is a magic in the air. At least I like to think so. There is stillness, and quiet and introspective peacefulness that falls over the natural and manmade environment alike. Children look forward to snowmen, snow angels and tobogganing. Dogs frolic in the piles of snow. Each winter I look forward to that moment, when all is buried under a white blanket of snow. To me, it also speaks of renewal, hope, optimism, and of the turning of the seasons – perspectives that seem particularly significant as we leave 2020 behind.

I have, over the years, enjoyed wandering through Meadowvale Village, Erindale, Port Credit, Streetsville and Old Malton after a snowfall, enjoying the ambience and nostalgia, and making modern photographic records.

Winter fun on the Callanan farm, c1920

In looking through historic images from Mississauga for winter scenes, it would seem that not everyone has shared my enthusiasm for photographic wanderings in the snow over time.

Gooderham family, Meadowvale Village, Horse and Sleigh, c1930

Still, some historic images provide snapshots from our past. I am drawn to images of people skating outdoors, whether it was on the frozen Credit River in Port Credit, on the St. Lawrence Starch Company’s outdoor ice rink, or skating on the frozen millpond in Meadowvale Village and at the Forrester’s outdoor Rink in Cooksville.

Skating at St Lawrence Starch ice rink, Port Credit, c1960


Skating on Forrester’s Rink, Cooksville, c1940

Outdoor winter fun can also be seen in images of annual sleighing parties and winter excursions along Dundas Street in Erindale, and in images of tobogganing in Streetsville and on the hill of what is now Huron Park.



Sleighing over the bridge, Credit River and Dundas Street, Erindale, c1910

Also heartwarming and nostalgic are a few early pictures of Christmas-time family gatherings, Christmas tree decorating, and Christmas carol-singing.

Sleighing Party, Port Credit, c1910
Sleighing Party, Port Credit, c1910

Given the current challenges we collectively face, and with having to limit our indoor gatherings, perhaps we can draw connection to, and inspiration from, images of outdoor holiday activities from many years ago, and remember that laughter and moments of togetherness can be found in simple activities.

As we approach the end of this uniquely challenging year, Heritage Mississauga would like to wish everyone a happy, restful and healthy holiday season, a Merry Christmas, and all the very best, individually and collectively, for the New Year. Take care and be safe. In time, these days of COVID will pass.