100 years ago Mississauga had an LRT in Lakeview

Published March 26, 2023 at 11:00 am

The southeast corner of Mississauga, east of Port Credit, is known as Lakeview.

While Lakeview is going through the biggest resurgence that area has ever seen currently after the Lakeview Generating Station was demolished over a decade ago.

Developers first submitted an application for Lakeview Village in October 2018. And in November 2021, City of Mississauga officials gave the conditional go-ahead for the huge waterfront community, which, when complete, will include 8,050 new homes.

The community will connect to the nearby 64-acre Jim Tovey Lakeview Conservation Area, named for the late city councillor who worked to bring the project to fruition.

There is a lot of history in Lakeview, including an LRT over 100 years ago:

The land south of Lakeshore Road, from Aviation Road to the Toronto border, played a role in Canada’s national defence. Lakeview was home to the Ontario Rifle Range from 1891 to 1957, training ground for Canada’s soldiers. The Curtiss Aviation School, Canada’s first aerodrome (airport), which housed the Royal Flying Corps in World War 1. In World War II, thousands of women were employed by Canada Small Arms Limited, a weapons factory. Seen here is a canteen building at the rifle ranges in 1908.

The rifle ranges were replaced by the coal-fired Lakeview Generating Station, beginning operation in 1962 and demolished in 2006.

That same land, reused for industrial purposes, is due to be redeveloped as a mixed-use area through the City’s Inspiration Lakeview plan, while another section, purchased by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority in 1992, will be a park. The TRCA’s section includes the historic Small Arms Building, built in 1910.

What’s there today:

This photograph was taken on Lakeshore Road in 1949, looking west towards Meredith Avenue. Here’s a close-up of part of the last image, giving you a better view of the TTC bus.

If you’ve been keeping up on the Hurontario-Main LRT line in the works currently, you might be surprised to learn that almost a century ago, Mississauga had a light rail.

The Toronto Transit Commission’s “radial lines” began operation in Lakeview in 1916. They offered residents a chance to easily commute to New Toronto (Islington and Lakeshore in Etobicoke) or even the downtown for work.

Buses seating 20 replaced the radials in 1935. The TTC built a partial line to the Small Arms Munitions plant in 1939, tearing it up again in 1945, at the war’s end.

What’s there today:

While this building may not look special, 811 Lakeshore Road was the “radial building”, where the cars would be stored at night.

Just a little while later, the northeast corner of Meredith and Lakeshore would become home to the Lakeview Fire Hall. The Lakeview Fire Department bought a 1923 Reo fire truck from Niagara Fallsin 1949, and a 1942 Ford from the Cooksville fire department in 1951. The Town of Mississauga Fire Department took over Lakeview in 1968.

This photo of one of the train crossings in Lakeview, as a “10 wheeler” steam locomotive goes by, in April 1949.

What’s there today:

Not all train crossings are still “at level” in Lakeview. Here’s what Cawthra Road looked like in 1949, before the underpass.

What’s there today:

The images in this photo story are in the collection of the Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives, at 9 Wellington Street East in downtown Brampton. Copyrights belong to their respective owners. Tuesday through Saturday, the Archives is open for public research for free.

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