Modern Mississauga presents Way Back Wednesdays - The history of Kerr Street

Modern Mississauga and Heritage Mississauga have come together to present an ongoing series called “Way Back Wednesdays."
We’ll share information about the history of Mississauga here and answer your questions.
Today’s topic is the history of Kerr Street.

Hyde's Ontario Mills and Ker's Bobbin Factory, Streetsville, c1900.JPG

Kerr Street … or Ker Street: a name built on bobbins!
Kerr Street in historic Streetsville takes its name from the Ker family, although the street
name has acquired an extra “r” at some point in its history.

Thomas Ker (1775-1862), a native of Cumberland County, England, arrived in
Streetsville around 1835. His sister, Helen, was married to prominent Streetsville
resident and businessman, John Beaty. Thomas Ker, a carpenter and painter by trade,
established a successful chair and turning factory on the Credit River in Streetsville.
Thomas and his wife Elizabeth had several children, including William (1818-1864), John
(1820-1908) and Henry (1823-1909). The three brothers, following in their father’s
footsteps, established the William Ker & Brothers Chair Factory in Streetsville in 1851. In
1857 the company began to manufacture bobbins and spools, and production peaked
during the American Civil War as bobbins and spools were in high demand for the
American textile industry. John and Henry Ker retired in 1883, and company was left to
Henry’s son, Thomas Ker.

Thomas entered into a partnership with James Brocklebank
from Streetsville, and the following year, in 1884, the company relocated to Walkerton,
Ontario. In 1898 the company relocated again, this time to Parry Sound, and was
renamed the Canada Spool and Bobbin Company. In 1903, the company changed
hands and was moved back to Walkerton, Ontario, where it continued to operate until its
closure in 1988. Kerr Street in Streetsville, albeit with an extra “r”, remembers this early,
prominent family industry.

If you’ve got a question about the history of our city, we want to hear from you.
Please send your questions to with “Way Back Wednesday” in the subject line.