Heritage property that housed Japanese prisoners of war to be demolished in Mississauga, Ontario


Published January 2, 2024 at 3:14 pm

header house mississauga
This building in Mississauga once housed Japanese prisoners of war. Photo: City of Mississauga

A heritage property in Mississauga that once housed Japanese prisoners of war will likely be demolished soon.

The single-storey building at 2151 Camilla Rd. in Cooksville, known as Header House,  is located in Hancock Woodlands Park.

Header House is a New England style frame building built as a four-bay potting shed by the Hancock family in 1936 and later enlarged to seven bays, according to a report to the Mississauga Heritage Advisory Committee.

header house mississauga

Header House was built in 1936. Photo: City of Mississauga

The Hancock family “were pioneers of Canada’s horticultural industry, receiving international acclaim for their contributions to landscape architecture and urban planning,” according to the City of Mississauga.

The family donated the property in 2010 and it officially opened as a city park in 2018.

header house mississauga

The inside of Header House today. Photo: City of Mississauga

Although Header House was mainly used as a plant nursery, during the Second World War it temporarily housed Japanese prisoners of war, according to the report.

After the Japanese attack on attack of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese-Canadians were sent to internment camps under the War Measures Act and were interned for the rest of the Second World War.

header house mississauga

Yoshio Shimoda poses at Header House in 1943.

Hancock Woodlands reportedly not only kept Japanese employees on as staff, but they also housed and protected the long-time Japanese employees so they wouldn’t be sent to internment camps.

Sheridan Nurseries and Clarkson Fruit Market also hired Japanese employees during this time in Mississauga.

header house mississauga

Sadly, Header House has now fallen into disrepair.

“Currently the roof is severely deteriorated and there is significant deterioration of the structural framing of the roof and walls,” the report states.

Due to the poor condition of Header House City of Mississauga staff suggest building a replica of the structure reusing some parts of the building.

header house mississauga

There may be elements added as well using historic photographs and drawings adding where original features are missing.

The proposal to demolish the historic building comes to the Mississauga Heritage Advisory Committee on Jan. 9. For more information, see the agenda and reports here.

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