Prior to the the first historical contacts between First Nations and Europeans in the Lakeview area in the 1600s, the land was occupied by an alliance of Iroquoian speaking people whose territory included much of Southern Ontario from the Niagara River to Windsor to Georgian Bay and included the Petun, Tobaco (Etobicoke) and the Wendat (Hurons)…
“Huron” was a nickname given to the Wendat by the French meaning “boar’s head” from the hairstyle of Huron men, or “lout” and “ruffian” in old French. Their confederacy name was Wendat (Ouendat) perhaps meaning “people of the island.” The members of the confederacy were the Attinniaoenten (“people of the bear”), Hatingeennonniahak (“makers of cords for nets”), Arendaenronnon (“people of the lying rock”), Atahontaenrat (“two white ears” i.e., “deer people”) and Ataronchronon (“people of the bog”). Each of these peoples were termed by the French ‘nation,’ meaning that they were separate political and territorial entities, with similar cultures, a common origin in the distant past and spoke similar but not identical languages. The “Bear” and the “Cord Makers” were the original inhabitants of the area. In the late 16th century the other three nations migrated from the north shore of Lake Ontario and the Bay of Quinte area to join the Bear and Cord in a loose defensive alliance against their common enemy, the five Haudenosaunee nations south of the lake..
These Nations were allied to the French and not politically associated with the 6 Nations Confederacy (also Iroquoian speakers) who were allied to first the Dutch and then the English but were independent. and lived south of Lake Ontario in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. In fact these two Iroquois factions were antagonistic towards each other and had engaged in major conflicts from before colonial times and mirrored the antagonism of their later European trading allies.
In the mid 1600s the 6 Nations Confederacy launched a multi-pronged attack on the northern confederacy and largely eliminated them politically. The Senecas who were the western most group of the 6 Nations and traditionally from around the Buffalo NY area moved into the area around the north shore of Lake Ontario and took over the beaver hunting grounds. The had a number of villages including one in the Baby (pronounced Babbie) Point area of Toronto.
In response to this occupation, the Mississaugas, a semi-nomadic group of native Canadians associated with the Odawa/Ojibwa/Algonquian language family, and who were also allied to the northern Iroquoians and the French launched a coordinated invasion of Southern Ontario from their home territory at the north end of Lake Huron. They successfully drove out the Senecas. According to Betty Clarkson’s book about Port Credit, during construction of a basement on a building on Lakeshore Road in Port Credit, they discovered the buried but standing upright body of the Mississauga war chief that accomplished the invasion. The Port Credit area thus has a proud but largely unknown military history.
Just prior to European settlement, the area around Lakeview was occupied by the Mississaugas, This large extended culture group includes the Cree, Ojibwa, Ottawa, Chippewa, Micmac and Algonquians with varying degrees of closeness between language and customs.
During the warm season, in the Lakeview area the Mississaugas traditionally migrated out of the woodlands and down to the lake where they would escape the mosquitoes and fish the waters of the lake and the river mouths. There was a large annual concentration of Mississaugas at the mouth of the Credit River, where they would group together to share stories, socialize and enjoy the summer months. During the cold season they would break up into family groups and move back into the woods to run their trap lines and hunt.
Early French traders from the small French trading fort at the mouth of the Humber River and on the grounds of the Exhibition grounds would arrive at the Riviere au Credite to trade with the Mississaugas of the Credit. This tradition continued when the English absorbed the old French fur trade in the area.
The Credit Mississaugas lost most of their land in Oakville and Mississauga between Burlngton and Etobicoke during the Mississauga purchase but maintained a reserve a mile to the east and west of the Credit River. At this time their main village was on the grounds of the present Mississauga Golf Club and a smaller settlement was on the west side of the river at the river mouth. Today this mile limit is remembered as Godfrey’s Lane and Enola Avenue which both mirror the angle of the Credit River at the mile mark.
Illnesses and disease caused by contagion and industrially polluted river water so severely imperiled their health and well-being that they were largely compelled to cede their treaty reserve lands to the colonists and flee to the Grand River where they were welcomed by their former enemies the 6 Nations Confederacy and given land in repayment to the southern Ontario Mississaugas who had earlier gifted them with a new homeland after the 6 Nation’s stalwart defense of the English during the American revolution that had cost them their ancestral lands on the Finger Lakes.
The Mississauga Purchase opened up a vast new tract for colonization. Soon the Lakeshore Road and Dundas Road were created to facilitate the new wave of immigrants with new communities and dreams. On Lakeshore Road along each of the rivers, large creeks and cross roads there developed communities in Burlington, Bronte, Oakville, Clarkson, Port Credit, Lakeview and Long Branch. During the 1840s these areas were virtually denuded of their primeval forest cover and turned into farms. Many of these farm owners family names are reflected in the street names we know today.
The western edge of the Lakeview area corresponds to the eastern edge of the old Credit Mississauga reserve which became the eastern edge of Port Credit village after the abandonment of the reserve by the Mississaugas.
The 1900s brought new challenges to the Lakeview area. At the beginning of the century the areas was largely rural with small communities at the various crossroads. With the advent of World War 1, Lakeview began its shift from a rural economy to a military, industrial and finally suburban one.
The first aerodrome (airport) in Canada was located on the present day grounds of the old Lakeview Generating Station. Here pilots were trained for overseas aerial warfare. The federal government had obtained a large tract of Lakefront land in the eastern end of Lakeview that it used during the years for various military purposes including armaments manufacture, weapons training and barracks.
During World War 2 the government operated a small arms manufactory. It produced huge quantities of weapons for use overseas. After the war the plant was closed and it largely female work force was laid off, prompting and supporting the rise of the women’s movement in Canada.
Lakeview today consists of a largely suburban economy with light industrial along much of the prime Lakefront land south of Lakeshore Road. This land is currently being planned for a new urban core and is a part of the Inspiration Lakeview policy of the City of Mississauga. This policy was developed following a community led initiative known as the Lakeview Legacy Project which was created by the Lakeview Ratepayer’s Association. This is the first time in Canada that a community has spearheaded its own redevelopment. In recognition of its pioneering work in 2009, the Association was awarded a bronze medal in urban design from the Canadian Design Exchange Awards.