Lorne Park is a largely affluent neighbourhood situated in southwest Mississauga, nestled between Port Credit/Mineola on the east and Clarkson Village on the west, south of the Queen Elizabeth Highway.
The residential neighbourhood of Lorne Park originated from a resort area based at the southerly end of Lorne Park Road. The area was frequented by many tourists and impressive two and three story cottages reflected the affluent background of their owners. Lorne Park remained a cottage community until after World War II when permanent residents began to move in.
The city of Mississauga, where Lorne Park is now located, was once known as Toronto Township, and comprised several towns and villages. The first settlements began around 1800 and developed around factories, harbours, or other local businesses. The larger of these rural communities were Clarkson, Cooksville, Erindale, Meadowdale, Malton, Port Credit and Streetsville.
Many smaller villages also sprung up near the larger towns. These include Barberton, Britannia, Burnhamthorpe, Derry West, Elmbank, Frogmore, Hanlan, Harris’ Corners, Hawkins’ Corners, Lisgar, Lorne Park, Mount Charles, Palestine, Pucky’s Huddle, Sheridan and Summerville. The villages prospered until the arrival of the railroads in the late 19th century. The rise of the Industrial age prompted rapid urban growth and a steady economic and population decline in many rural Ontario communities. By 1915 most of the villages, now referred to as the “lost villages” of Mississauga, disappeared. Except for a few cemeteries, little is left to record their existence.
Lorne Park shares a common history with Clarkson. Before the arrival of the Europeans, all the land in Toronto Township belonged to the Mississauga Indians. The first white settler in the Clarkson-Lorne Park area was Thomas Ingersoll, who established the Government Inn and trading post on the Credit River in 1798.
On August 2, 1805, the Mississauga Indians sold the British Government the Mississauga Tract, which ran from the Etobicoke Creek to Burlington Bay. The 28,645 ha (70,780 acres) area included 42 km (26.1 mi) of shoreline and extended 8 km (5.0 mi) inland. Out of this land deal Toronto Township was established and many small communities quickly developed. Clarkson and the area that would become Lorne Park were founded along the shores of Lake Ontario.
In 1820, a log road was built from the mouth of the Credit River to the Humber River, followed shortly by a bridge that enabled travelers going from York to Hamilton to pass through Clarkson and attracted more settlers. By the 1830 logging was a major industry in Lorne Park. Most of the pine wood was exported to England and the United States.
Over the early part of the 20th century Lorne Park grew into a unique community. In 1887, Joseph Thompson bought 35 ha (86 acres) of land in Lorne Park which became known as Thompson’s Wood, now called Jack Darling Park. Thompson’s brother Ernest Seton lived there until the home was lost in foreclosure. Ernest left, changed his name to Ernest Thompson Seton and achieved fame as an author and artist. The Lorne Park Post Office opened in 1892 and George D. Perry was the village’s first postmaster. James Alberton built the three-story Albertonia Hotel in 1899. In 1927, it was renamed the Lorne Park Lodge but burned down two years later in 1929.
The Lorne Park Mission Hall was built in 1902. It featured an open porch and a bell tower on the roof. The first library was organized by sawmill owner Robert Taylor in 1903. The first library meeting was held in January, 1904, in the Lorne Park Mission Hall. Reverend H. Thompson officiated over the first Anglican services in 1906, also held at the Lorne Park Mission Hall. St. Paul’s Anglican Church was built in 1914. The Lorne Park Baptist Church was founded Sunday, May 18, 1919, in the Lorne Park Mission, with Reverend J. Williamson presiding.
At some point a 30 ha (74 acres) “pleasure grounds,” was operated in Lorne Park by the Toronto Park Association, included separate parlours for men and women, bowling lanes and merry-go-rounds. Travel to the resort from Toronto was often by steamer. After a series of bankruptcies, the resort lands were sold to cottagers. With access of the QEW highway, suburbanization of the original lands and surrounding area ensued in the post WWII period. (Brown, 1997 Toronto’s Lost Villages)
For the next half century, Lorne Park remained a small burg, until 1968 when it, along with several other villages, was amalgamated to form the town of Mississauga. Six years later, Mississauga was incorporated and now is Canada’s 6th largest city. Even though Lorne Park was absorbed into Mississauga, it remained a distinct neighborhood that retains ties to its pioneer origins.
Lorne Park Estates is a 31 ha (77 acres) community, south of Lorne Park, located within the City of Mississauga. It is bordered by Lake Ontario on the south, Lakeshore Road on the north, Jack Darling Park on the west and Richard’s Memorial Park on the East. Lorne park, is the closest commercial service area for residents of Lorne Park Estates.
LPEA Homeowners are responsible for municipal taxes and upkeep of the LPEA lands, and are also co-operatively responsible for the maintenance, insurance and taxes on their 15 ha (37 acres) reserve; including their roads, forests, walking trails, a cottage, a private park and amenities area (the Commons) and their 0.8 km (0.5 mi) of private beaches with riparian rights.
There are only 2 roads into Lorne Park Estates and they are clearly marked as “private” as they are dually privately maintained and privately owned by the Lorne Park Estates Association. These private roads are for the exclusive use of only the residents within the estates, and their invited guests. These privately maintained roads in the community are narrow, uncurbed and with no sidewalks as this is the common preference of their exclusive community.
Lorne Park Estates was saved from being consumed by the greater general area and overdevelopment through the foresight of Mary Louise Clarke who deliberately preserved the park via her generous community land purchases between World War I and on through the Great Depression of the 1930s. After her death, her estate passed the deeds for the lands to the homeowners the Lorne Park Estates Association in a transaction that is detailed in the book “A Village Within a City – a Story of Lorne Park Estates” (1980).
The Lorne Park is commonly thought to be named after John Campbell, 9th Duke of Argyll, better known by the courtesy title Marquess of Lorne. However, this is conjecture, as the park was already titled Lorne before he became Governor General, the aetiology of the name Lorne remains a cryptic enigma. The Marquis also was not in attendance at the opening of the park in 1879: The Marquis was in Montreal officiating an investiture ceremony knighting members into the Queen’s privy counsel commissioning the official opening of the Beaux Arts Museum that Victoria Day weekend in 1879. Historically the community, and the parklands have seen many changes. The land, first occupied by the Mississaugas, was transferred with larger land portion through Treaty No. 13 to Governor John Graves Simcoe in 1805. The land, which housed a significant stand of pines, was slated to be used for its wood as resources for the British Empire. However, this was not required and the land remained intact and became a subject of interest. First by individuals of the British military who wished to settle, and then by sundry businessmen and investors. Its legal ownership started 1832, ultimately resulting in the owners admirably taking charge of their community. Currently, Lorne Park Estate owners have Canada Postal Service, garbage and water service alliance with the City of Mississauga, homes were electrically heated still into the 1980s, when a gas line deal was brokered with Union Gas. Roads, parks and sewage are handled by the Lorne Park Estates Association and the individual homeowners within the estates.
In a survey of 1888 the “Toronto and Lorne Park Summer Resort Company” assumed cottage lots, a hotel, wharf, walking trails and common grounds from the formerly named Toronto Park Association. The hotel in the amusement park at that time was called the Lorne Park Hotel. The newly revamped community was orchestrated and drawn by Edmund Burke, (a park resident) of Langley and Burke architects, including many of the original cottages and a Burke designed renovation to the existing Hotel. The investors renamed the Hotel Lorne as “the Hotel Louise” at that point, it is commonly thought this was to capitalize on the popularity of the Marquis of Lorne and the dual coincidence of the existing park name “Lorne” which dates back to 1860, but Louise was the name of the premier investor James Boustead’s mother, also his daughter Mary Louise Boustead Clarke. The park was officially re-opened in May 1889 ( the Marquis of Lorne had been departed from Canada in 1883 at this point and he was no longer governor General) . Trains, carriage and steamers left Toronto on a regular basis to ferry visitors to the wharf, picnic areas, dining pavilion and eating establishment. Most of the names of the original investors are reflected in the street names Roper, Stockwell, and Henderson, however, the streets proposed at that time did not all survive as entertained, the Toronto and Lorne Park summer Resort Company did not thrive past 1903, when the wharf collapsed and 300 people were tossed into Lake Ontario. Without a wharf for steamers to ferry people to Lorne Park, the enterprise floundered, and it became an exclusively owned private summer retreat for the wealthy temperate Toronto elite who owned it. The hotel and common lands were purchased by investors keen to re-invent the park as a motor club: and the hotel was renamed the Lakeshore Country club, which failed, because an attempt to procure a liquor license was thwarted by the resident homeowner shareholders within the park, and the LCC was foreclosed upon by the Farmers Bank in 1911. In 1914 Toronto investor developer Sydney Small purchased the common lands and hotel for the amount of $46,000 with plans to develop the forest into a subdivision. Development was thwarted by the residents with a Supreme Court of Canada ruling. This coincided with the WW1 real estate market downturn and actually was a fortuitous turn of events for Mr Small who was saved further losses by his non-development as houses did not start selling again until after World War II. In 1919, prominent resident Mary Louise Boustead Clarke charitably purchased the lands and Hotel for $20,000 to prevent further outsiders from developing the parklands and ultimately her estate bequeathed the lands to the Lorne Park Estates Association in 1948. The hotel was irreparably damaged by fire in 1920.
Another survey of 1922, shows slight changes to the lot configuration under the auspices of Lorne Park Estates Limited. Few of the lots were bought with the intention of building small cottages. According to “A Village Within a City – a Story of Lorne Park Estates” (1980), some people were purchasing two to four lots in order to create larger properties of up to 0.4 ha (0.99 acres). However, the forests, walking paths, Commons area and beach area continued to be collectively owned and managed. Orient Avenue and North Crescent became Orient Marsh. Lugsdin Avenue became Lugsdin Creek. Campbell, McIntyre, Neville, Venn, Hill Dale and Moore avenues never became developed but most notably Boustead Terrace, the grand lakefront promenade feature of the park disappeared through the erosive effects of the lake and also for the need to grow a protective erosion barrier to preserve the parklands and cottages. Sections of Boustead Terrace still remain today.
Of the summer homes that were initially built, a number were designed by Edmund Burke in the English Arts and Crafts style as two-stories with deep verandas and sleeping balconies to catch the breeze of Lake Ontario.
The main roads in Lorne Park are Lakeshore Road, Lorne Park Road, Truscott Drive, and Indian Road. The main bus routes are 23 Lakeshore and 14 Lorne Park, operated by Mississauga Transit.