[URBAN NOTE] “A gift from King William IV to the people of Mississauga”
The Toronto Star‘s San Grewal looks at how an early 19th century land grant in Mississauga is going to be the basis for a massive new park in Mississauga.
Smack in the middle of Mississauga, just north of its shimmering new skyline, sits 200 acres of fenced-in, desolate land entrusted to the local education system in 1833 by King William IV of England.
Almost two centuries later, after developers and golf course planners and former mayor Hazel McCallion tried unsuccessfully to get their hands on it, the Peel District School Board and the city are about to launch a historic project — Mississauga’s very own Central Park. But don’t call it a park, it’s an urban farm.
“I was looking at the land around there and asked some people, ‘what’s this farm?’,” recalls Mississauga Councillor George Carlson, reminiscing about his election as a school trustee in 1985, when he first heard about the massive tract of land owned by the board. “I got some vague answers about 200 acres that we owned and it was given to us by the king.”
At the time, Carlson says much of the area surrounding what is known as Britannia Farm, was also agricultural land, as Mississauga was at the epoch of its transformation from a collection of rural townships into Canada’s sixth largest city.