Friday, May 14, 2021

The Great Ontario Communities Series (Port Credit) ~ Part One


By Festival Nomad "Sidekick" and Partner, Judi McWilliams

During the past few years, the Nomad and I have visited almost 150 Ontario community festivals and events. The majority have been planned and managed by dedicated community volunteers. As a salute to these wonderful communities and their hard-working residents, we will be writing a series of blogs entitled “Great Ontario Communities”. These blogs describe the communities we have visited and will tell you about some of the interesting things we have experienced and the people we have met. The twentieth article is about Port Credit which now forms part of Mississauga.

PORT CREDIT - It is with many fond memories that I can write about the beautiful Ontario community of Port Credit. This is where I spent the majority of my childhood and where I “met up with” the Festival Nomad. Port Credit is located at the mouth of the Credit River on the north shore of Lake Ontario and is in the south-central area of the City of Mississauga. Earliest references to Port Credit date back to 1757 where it was once a fishing port and the regional trading centre for grain.  1882 saw its lighthouse built and it served mariners until 1918. It was destroyed by fire in 1936. The village, itself, was planned in 1834 and was a “police village” in 1909. It didn't become a “town” until 1961.

I have lived through two interesting stories. The first occurred with the Texaco Oil Refinery (1932-1985) tank “blow-up”! Talk about “Déjà vu"!  My memories of this are vague, although the massive number of flames and billowing black clouds remain vivid.  In my teenage years we lived in a high-rise condominium directly beside the train tracks.  It was a Sunday evening and our family were just sitting down to my mother's famous “roast beef dinners”.  The loud speakers from the fire trucks were bellowing out “leave immediately, get out now, evacuate now!.  My mother insisted that we finish our “dinner”, then we began to panic.  More and more police and fire vehicles came by, insisting we leave the area and evacuate immediately. This second "interesting story"! The "great Port Credit train derailment" had just occurred and there was a major chemical spill. At that point we tried to collect our two cats. With bleeding arms (on all of us) and the two terrified cats had "completely disappeared" and could not be collected. We hastily left the condo in tears and without our cats! We did not think to “pack” anything. We had zero provisions!  We had no idea that we would be “evacuated” for over 2 weeks!  We were eventually compensated for clothing and general expenses but it was a great stain anyway.  Fortunately, the humane society were able to obtain access to our unit and “checked on the cats” to ensure their well being. The cats were okay, but sadly, my mothers (over 200) plants had all died.  This happened not from lack of water but from the toxic odor that filled our unit.

(To be continued in Part Two)

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