The history of Mississauga's Gooderham Estate Boulevard

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 Mississauga’s Gooderham Estate Boulevard.

Gooderham Estate, Meadowvale Village, c1900.jpg

Gooderham Estate Boulevard is a modern subdivision road in the Meadowvale area of Mississauga. The road takes its name in reference to the historic Gooderham Estate. The former Gooderham Estate, located nearby at 929 Old Derry Road, is a grand house that was built in 1870. To some it looks like the building would be more at home in the southern United States than the “north country”, with its palatial columns seemingly befitting a colonial existence rather than the mill town of old Meadowvale. It is a building whose architecture can conjure up romantic visions of the past. The house was built for Charles Horace “Holly” Gooderham (1844-1904), who was sent to Meadowvale Village to oversee the newly acquired mill. In addition to the mill complex, the firm of Gooderham and Worts operated an extensive general store in the village that was said to rival that of Timothy Eaton in Toronto. Holly Gooderham had this brick home built for his family in 1870. After the departure of Gooderham and Worts in the 1880s, the house was sold.

Acquired by entrepreneur John Watt in 1895, Watt converted the residence into a tourist resort aimed at wealthy Torontonians looking for a country respite. The resort was named “Rose Villa”. When the business began to wane, Watt sold the property in 1904 to famed Quebec-born artist Georges Chavingnaud (1865-1944) who was looking for a quiet, pastoral setting to produce his paintings.

Gooderham Estate, Meadowvale Village, 2015.jpg

Later owners included local Member of Parliament Walter Curry, and from 1920 until 1927, the estate was home to Major-General Francois-Louis Lessard (1860-1927), Canada’s most decorated Boer War veteran. In the 1950s the building was home to a Ukranian Orthodox Seminary. In the 1970s the grand columns were added to the front façade, but the fortunes of the house continued to decline through a myriad of owners and uses, including being used as a games and gambling establishment, and being converted to apartments prior to 1980. By the late 1980s the stately house had fallen victim to vandals and into disuse until 1996, when the Monarch Development Corporation restored the property, which today is home to the Rotherglen School and is a landmark within the Meadowvale Village Heritage Conservation District.