It’s no secret that Canada on a whole is a relatively young country when it comes to recorded and developed history. The country as we know it didn’t start taking shape until the 1800’s, and even then it would completely unrecognisable to us today. That’s in stark contrast to cities like London that have the same basic shape now that it did in the 16th century.
Of course, that doesn’t mean Mississauga and Canada as a whole doesn’t have a rich history that is worth preserving and exploring. And that’s what we like to do with these Retrospective pieces. We’ve covered the history of Port Credit, the evolution of Pearson Airport, the worst winter ever, the 1979 train crash, the life and times of Hazel McCallion, and many more. And today we want to take a look at the oldest surviving building in Mississauga: Montreal House.
The ironically named Montreal House is as much of a Mississauga icon as the Port Credit Lighthouse or the Marilyn Monroe Towers. But what is Montreal House? What is its origin? Well let’s find out.
A man by the name of John Barnhart was born in the 18th century in Cornwall, England. Around 1821, Barnhart moved his family to what is now Streetsville, and established a trading post known as Montreal House. Why that name? Because Montreal is where Barnhart got his goods that he sold in the store.
The trading post became a general store that served the blossoming town. And throughout the years it was home to a few more noteworthy occassions; Barnhart’s son Jabez started the Streetsville Review newspaper above the store in 1843; and Montreal House was the location of Streetsville’s first-ever telephone call! It’s an incredible building that was a major cornerstone in the establishing of the town.
And now, 199 years later, the building is still standing and still in operation. At 210 Queen Street South, right on the corner of Pearl Street, you’ll find Montreal House serving as a barber shop on one side, and a jewellery store on the other. It’s part of the charm of Streetsville and a testement to why evolution doesn’t have to – nor should it – come at the cost of losing history.
Photos courtesy of ModernMississauga