Erin Mills is a planned community in the city of Mississauga, located approximately west of downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Erin Mills was conceived, planned and developed by the Cadillac Fairview Corporation on of farmland in Mississauga. Erin Mills is an integrated residential, industrial and commercial community, with commercial uses concentrated in the centre and industrial uses on the periphery.
Based on census and political boundaries, the 2001 population is estimated at 105,000 residents, making it the most populous area in Mississauga (but not the most densely populated) and one of the fastest growing. Geographically, the area is by far the largest in Mississauga, occupying much of the western section of the city. There is a number of managed creek courses that traverse the area and eventually drain to the Credit River, and then Lake Ontario, but Erin Mills does not adjoin either.
Aboriginal peoples were the first inhabitants of this area. Tribes included the Woodland, Iroquois and Mississauga. Along what was called the "Indian Trail" they hunted deer, bears and fox amongst tall stands of pine, oak and maple trees. They also fished in the river to the east, following the ancient course of a valley filled by glacial debris.
European settlement of the area began in the very early 19th century. By the mid-19th century the area was entirely agricultural land and served by the nearby villages of Erindale and Streetsville, which were located just to the east along the Credit River.
There was one smaller settlement along present-day Dundas Street at Winston Churchill Boulevard named Frogmore, which popped up along the Toronto-Hamilton stagecoach route. This road would eventually become known as Dundas Street. Other small settlements near the area included Snider, to the west in modern day Oakville and Sheridan, to the south.
Dundas Street was paved for automobile traffic in 1924.
Beginning in the 1950s, a wealthy Canadian entrepreneur, E.P. Taylor began buying farmland for future development by Canadian Equity and Development Limited, which owned Don Mills Development Corp. In 1969 Don Mills Development Corp. announced its plans to build a "New Town" in four phases. The first two phases - "Erin Mills South" and "Erin Mills West" - today form the nucleus of the Erin Mills community.
The name 'Erin Mills' was the creation of land developers, likely for its close proximity to Erindale, a historical village whose earlier inhabitants had renamed it in honour of their former homeland, Ireland. The second part Mills makes reference to the many grist mills that were operating on the banks of the nearby Credit River, although none of them were physically located in what is today Erin Mills.
Erin Mills was never incorporated, and became part of the Town of Mississauga (from Toronto Township) in 1968 and the City of Mississauga in 1974.
The primary source for basic documents (vital statistics, land records, wills) for people who lived in the Province of Ontario is the Archives of Ontario, 134 Ian Macdonald Blvd, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M7A 2C5.
Civil registration did not begin in the province until 1869. Before then there may be church records of baptisms and burials. For the most part these are still held by the denomination who recorded them. Copies of marriage records made pre-1869 had to be sent by individual clergymen to the registrar of the county in which the marriage took place. These marriage records are available through Ontario Archives, on micorfilm through LDS libraries, and on paid and unpaid websites, but because they were copied at the registrars' offices, they cannot be considered a primary source.
Vital Records after 1869
Birth, marriage and death registrations are not open to the public until a specific number of years after the event occurred. Births to 1914 are now available [October 2012]; dates for marriages and deaths are later. Birth and death registration was not universally carried out in the early years after its adoption. Deaths were more apt to be reported than births for several years. The more rural the area, the less likely it would be that these happenings were reported to the authorities.
Land Records and Wills
Information on how to access land records and wills is best sought on the Archives of Ontario website. An ancestor's land holding might be found on Canadian County Atlas Digital Project if he was in occupancy circa 1878.
Association for the Preservation of Ontario Land Registry Office Documents (APOLROD). A list of Land Registry Offices for all Counties of Ontario.
The original censuses are in the hands of Library and Archives Canada. All of the original census (1851-1911) images are online with the exception of that for 1861. Not all of them are indexed. Later censuses are not yet available. Census divisions were redrawn as the population increased and more land was inhabited.
E-books and Books
Some websites with more local information on Peel County