Former summer home of prominent businessman eyed for heritage designation in Mississauga

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Published February 7, 2024 at 1:04 pm

1 godfreys lane

The summer home of a once prominent and well-known businessman is being considered for a heritage designation in Mississauga.

The home at 1 Godfrey’s Lane in Port Credit was once a summer escape for prominent footwear manufacturer John Allan Walker (1867-1930), according to a City of Mississauga Heritage Advisory Committee report.

Walker was the president of Walker, Parker and Company, a footwear manufacturer.

The property on Godfrey’s Lane was once part of a large estate that stretched from Lakeshore Road to Lake Ontario owned by John Milton Godfrey, an Ontario judge, and his wife Lillie. They built a lakeside cottage there around 1907.

Walker bought 2.864 acres of this land in 1913 for $1. He commissioned architect Murray Brown (1884-1958) and his summer home named “Reklaw” was built in 1917.

1 godfreys lane

Prominent footwear manufacturer John Allan Walker had the home built as a summer cottage.

Brown was known for his designs of theatres across Canada including the Belsize Theatre, more recently known as the Regent on Mount Pleasant Road in Toronto.

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James Harris (1878-1929) and Ada Florence Wagstaff Harris (1878-1951) purchased the property in 1925, and also used it as a summer home. Harris was managing director of the family business Harris Abattoir, predecessor to Canada Packers, which merged with Grantham Mills to form Maple Leaf Foods.

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The home at 1 Godfrey’s Lane can be seen (top right corner) in this photo of a First World War homecoming garden party at Hobberlin Estate on Aug. 4, 1919.

The home is a one-and-a-half-storey stucco bungalow-style building with a Credit Valley stone veranda, according to the heritage report. Described as typical of the California-born style, it has a large medium-pitch roof that extends to cover the “sleeping porch,” which is now enclosed by glass.

The association with prominent businesspeople and the home’s design merit the heritage designation, according to the report.

“The house is a representative yet relatively rare example of bungalow style architecture in Mississauga,” the report states. “It displays a high degree of craftsmanship and artistic merit.”

It is a reminder of Port Credit’s history as a summer resort.

1 godfreys lane mississauga

“It also demonstrates the early work of famed Ontario architect Murray Brown,” the report states. “Finally, it is important in defining Godfrey’s Lane and maintaining the physical history of this turn-of-the-century cottage community.”

The property’s heritage designation will be considered at the Heritage Advisory Committee meeting on Feb. 13. See more information here.

(Photos via City of Mississauga heritage report)

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