Port Credit (pop. 10,260 as of the 2001 census) is found at the mouth of the Credit River on the north shore of Lake Ontario, within the south-central area of the city of Mississauga. Port Credit's boundaries are the Queen Elizabeth Way to the north, Seneca Avenue and the western edge of the Adamson Estate to the east and Godfrey's Lane and the townhouse complex located on the west side of Shawnmarr Road to the west.
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The name Port Credit came from its roots as a trading post where goods were traded or bought on credit. The earliest reference is on a map drawn in 1757 by La Broquerie at Fort Frontenac, a fort built by the French at the mouth of the Cataraqui River, the site of the city of Kingston. Its harbour, at the mouth of the Credit River, was once a working fishing port and a regional trading centre for grain and other agricultural products. A lighthouse was in use from 1882 to 1918 and remained standing until destroyed by fire in 1936.
The first permanent structure to be built in the village was "the Government Inn" (1798–1861), once located on the east bank of the River. Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe had ordered construction of the Inn to serve as a way station for travellers by land and lake, and it was leased to a succession of residents until its destruction by fire. The village plan was laid out in 1834 and for several years, Port Credit was a thriving harbour community. It acquired the status of "police village" in 1909, and town status in 1961.
The port was supplanted as a trading centre for shipping by the coming of the railway. Later in the 19th century, it became known for its stonehooking trade. Other industries such as the St. Lawrence Starch Works (1889–1989) and the Port Credit Brick Yard (1891–1927) provided employment for many local residents. In 1932 L B Lloyd built an oil refinery on the old brick yard site. It was operated by a succession of companies, culminating in its purchase by a division of Texaco who operated it until its closing in 1985, when Texaco opened a new much larger facility at Nanticoke on Lake Erie.
There was a large munitions factory in Port Credit staffed almost exclusively by women during World War Two.
Starting early in the 20th century, particularly after the paving of the Lakeshore Highway in 1915, Port Credit had become an attractive location for business, travelers and people wishing to leave the city of Toronto in summer.
Port Credit did not amalgamate with its neighbouring settlements in southern Peel County when the Town of Mississauga was created from the former Toronto Township in 1968. Port Credit maintained its independence until the City of Mississauga was incorporated in 1974. Today the harbour has been redeveloped into a marina on the east bank and a charter fishing centre and public boat launch facility on the west bank under the lighthouse. Port Credit Harbour Marina is the largest public marina in the region. The Ridgetown (launched June 24, 1905 as William E Corey, a Lake Bulk freighter) has been a structure of Port Credit since June 21, 1974, when she was loaded with stone and, with her cabins and stack still in place, sunk as a breakwater for the Port Credit Harbour.
The tallest structure in Port Credit used to be a 320-foot-tall (98 m) smokestack at the St Lawrence Starch plant which has since been demolished. The stack falling marked the change of Port Credit into a residential area from the former industrial hub.
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