GTA’s Lost Villages: Meadowvale

The latest installment in this series brings us to Meadowvale Village, a well-preserved rural settlement that is now all but lost in Mississauga’s sprawl. Indeed, without a map, Meadowvale is difficult to find, as road diversions and detours has removed all through traffic, with a complex detour necessary to follow long-established routes.

Meadowvale was established in the 1830s as a mill town on the Credit River and as a service centre for northern Toronto Township, featuring schools, churches, stores and a tavern. The Gooderham and Worts distillery empire had a significance here, even constructing a mansion built as a summer house for the Gooderham family. Later businesses included a auto service station and additional shops, but until the 1990s, Meadowvale remained a separate, distinct community.

Unlike Thistletown, Meadowvale had direct railway access. In  the 1870s, Meadowvale became a stop on the Credit Valley Railway, which went from Toronto to Orangeville via Brampton (with a “branch” to St. Thomas via Milton and Galt from Streetsville), but quickly acquired by the Canadian Pacific. In 1917, the Canadian Pacific was joined by the Toronto Suburban Railway’s short-lived Guelph route, serving mostly small towns and villages between the line’s Keele and St. Clair terminus and Guelph. (The TSR Meadowvale Station survives, but is now on the grounds of the Halton County Radial Railway museum near Rockwood, itself on the old TSR route.) However, Meadowvale never became very prominent; losing out to larger nearby communities like Streetsville, an incorporated town and a major railway junction; and Brampton to the north, which was larger still and the county seat for Peel.

Before suburban sprawl reached Meadowvale Village proper (more on the retronym below the fold), it was established as a Heritage Conservation District – Ontario’s first – in 1980. The HCD designation not only helped to preserve the village’s building stock, but it also preserved the character and some of the context. Doing so meant drastic changes to the transportation network and a separation of new subdivisions from the village boundaries.

The corner of Second Line West and Old Derry Road; the United Church is on the corner.

The addition of the word “Village” is necessary as “Meadowvale” is now much more associated with the large suburban community that was established well to the west of the historic settlement. Meadowvale, established in the late 1960s, was built in the spirit of Don Mills or the larger Bramalea as a master planned new town. In the centre sits a shopping centre, institutional uses and higher density residential, on the periphery were industrial uses. In 1981, GO Transit began service on the Milton Corridor, operating on former CVR track. The commuter agency opened a new station in “New” Meadowvale in an industrial park 3 kilometres from either the CPR or TSR Meadowvale stations.

In the 1990s, Peel Region, responsible for Derry Road, felt the need for widening the major east-west roadway as residental and industrial developed began to creep ever closer. Derry Road was always a two-lane road, without even left-turn lanes at Second Line West, despite the increasingly busy nature of the intersection, though traffic lights were added in the early 1990s. Peel decided to by-pass Meadowvale altogether, given the HCD designation, with a new six-lane highway bypass to the north. That, and the construction of Highway 407, cut off Second Line and Creditview Road (Third Line) near the Brampton-Mississauga border for good, and new roads – the Mavis Road extension and Financial Drive, replaced the linear concession roads.

Later this week, I will profile nearby Churchville, on the Brampton side of Highway 407 and similarly cut-off from the surrounding suburban sprawl.

New subdivision houses attempt to replicate the neo-Gothic Ontario farmhouse tradition. http://www.flickr.com/photos/7119320@N05/4308474506/in/photostream

The Gooderham Mansion, now a private school.

An old hotel remains in use as private residences.

Abandoned Second Line West at the Brampton City Line. A row of power lines marks the former alignment of the Toronto Suburban electric radial railway.

4 comments

  1. The sign at the head of the article for the village reminds me of one not far from where I was vomitted up. Shindlesteddle had robins egg blue signs of the same shape and character long after the surrounding bergs got bigger green signs.
    To my dismay a few years ago on a hike I discovered Shindlesteddle’s village signs had been replaced. Shindlesteddle was now Shingletown. Less people, more trucks.

    Hotels/Road Houses were very much a part of transportation infrastructure before less was taken for granted. St Agatha has what was once a whopping big hotel.
    Haysville likewise for what seems the size of the community.

  2. Great article. Every time I read something from this series I immediately open up Google Maps and start poring over the map and aerial views, looking at areas in a way I just “flew over” before. Thanks.

  3. Fantastic article, thanks! I live nearby and often go for a drive or a motorcycle ride through Meadowvale via Old Creditview / Old Derry and then up 2nd Line to the conservation area.

    This neighbourhood definitely has a different feel than the surrounding suburbs and now I can understand why!

    I’m looking forward to learning more about Churchville which is another area I’ve explored and been lost in a few times!

  4. This series is a great idea, as the vestiges of our past are fast disappearing. We hear so much about promoting multicultural heritage, but the pre-existing heritage built in the 19th and 20th centuries is bulldozed away on a daily basis by rapacious developers. Why can’t more be preserved to respect our history, by allowing more of the old buildings to survive and preserving some measure of architectural beauty? Goodness knows, the houses they build today do nothing to inspire or to nourish the soul. Meadowvale Village has been under attack for two decades now. It may still have some appeal, some charm, but if you know how it used to be,it is so hard to accept how it has been vulgarized. Still, I offer my praise for your very worthy efforts. Best Wishes!

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