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 Tomken Road.
Formerly known as Second Line East, this road was named after Tom Kennedy. Thomas Laird Kennedy was born on August 15, 1878 on a farm near the modern intersection of Dundas Street East and Tomken Road in the historic community of Dixie.
He was a farmer, soldier, politician, and served as Premier of Ontario. He served as an officer in the First World War. After the war he was elected as a Conservative member of the Ontario Legislature 1919-34 and 1937-58, serving as Minister of Agriculture 1930-34 and 1943-53. An amiable, homespun man, he was widely popular and respected among farmers. He retained his seat in Legislature, with the exception of one term, until his retirement in 1958. Although he often said he wanted to be out of politics, he held a genuine desire to serve and did so in various capacities for over 54 years for the people of Peel.
In 1948 in recognition of his long public service, he became interim Premier of Ontario when the incumbent, George Alexander Drew passed away, and Kennedy remained in office until 1949 when Leslie Miscampbell Frost became leader of the party. Kennedy’s service and his great personal popularity earned him the affectionate title of “Old Man Ontario.” He died on February 13, 1959 and is buried at Dixie Union Cemetery.
On Friday October 4, 1974 in a ceremony sponsored by the Mississauga Historical Society (now Mississauga South Historical Society), the Archaeological and Historical Sites Board of the Province of Ontario erected a commemorative plaque honouring T. L. Kennedy, on land that was once part of the Kennedy farm.
In addition to the name of Tomken Road, T.L. Kennedy Secondary School was named in his honour, Dixie Public School is home to an Ontario Heritage Trust plaque commemorating the life and career of Tom Kennedy, and the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 582 in Cooksville is officially known as the Colonel Tom Kennedy Branch.
If you’ve got a question about the history of our city, we want to hear from you.
Please send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Way Back Wednesday” in the subject line.