Modern Mississauga and Heritage Mississauga have come together to present an ongoing series called “Way Back Wednesday’s."
We’ll share information about the history of Mississauga here and answer your questions.
Today’s topic is the history of street names on the south and north side of Lakeshore Road.
An interesting collection of street names exist just east of Hurontario Street in Port Credit. A quick look at a road map will reveal some street names on the south side of Lakeshore Road which are undoubtedly Indigenous in origin:
Minnewawa (Sioux for “Laughing Water” or Ojibwa for “Make a good sound”)
Onaway (an Ojibwa alert call meaning “Awake!”)
Wanita (Indigenous origins meaning “pale” or “shape-shifter”, amongst others)
Hiawatha (meaning “He Who Combs” and named after a legendary Onondagan chief who is credited with the forming of the Iroquois Confederacy)
Wenonah (Iroquoian for “First Born Daughter”, the mother of Hiawatha)
Many of these names take their inspiration from the Song of Hiawatha, published by renowned poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in 1855.
Additionally, there are other road names along the north side of Lakeshore Road that carry, possibly unknowingly, significant historical associations. This small subdivision, dubbed “Credit Grove”, was laid out between 1910 and 1930. Some of the street names in this subdivision include: Seneca, Cayuga, Iroquois and Mohawk avenues, and all take their names from the Six Nations Iroquoian Confederacy. The Iroquois, historically known as the “Haudenosaunee” (meaning “People of the Long House”), or “Ongwehonweh” meaning the “Original People”, for many years inhabited what is now Southern Ontario before the arrival of the Mississaugas.
The Haudenosaunee consisted of a number of nations which shared the same language and customs. Around 1580, five of the nations – the Cayuga, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga and Seneca – formed a Confederacy, under a “Great Law of Peace”. Together, they became known as the Five Nations. Around 1720, the Five Nations were joined by another Iroquoian nation, the Tuscarora. Today, the Six Nations Confederacy is based along the Grand River near Brantford, is believed to be the oldest existing participatory democracy in the world, and has existed for over 800 years.
Only the Tuscarora are not commemorated by a street name in Mississauga. Two other road names in “Credit Grove” are Brant and Tecumseth avenues. Joseph Brant (or “Thayendanegea” meaning “He Places Two Bets”) was born in 1742, and was a chief of the Mohawk nation. In 1776 he became the principal War Chief for the Six Nations Confederacy. During the Revolutionary War, Brant was commissioned as a Captain with the British Army in charge of the loyal Indigenous forces. Brant died in 1807 at the Grand River and the city of Brantford carries his name his name today.
The last street name in this article, Tecumseth Avenue, is a derivation of the name of the legendary Shawnee leader, Tecumseh, whose name means “Shooting Star”. Born in 1768 near the present-day American city of Springfield, Ohio, Tecumseh rose the prominence in both Native and non-Native circles. Tecumseh and many other Native peoples allied with the British during the War of 1812. Tecumseh was killed at the Battle of the Thames on October 5, 1813.
Why these references were chosen for street names in this early subdivision in not known.