Mississauga, Ont, incorporated as a city in 1974, population 713 443 (2011c), 668 599 (2006c). The City of Mississauga is located west of TORONTO on Lake ONTARIO. Originally called Toronto Township, its present name is derived from the original inhabitants, the Mississauga, a band of the OJIBWA, who had migrated from the upper GREAT LAKES region by the early 18th century.
The Mississauga developed a partnership with unlicensed French fur traders at the mouth of a waterway known as Rivière du Crédit. The lower Credit River valley remained the domain of the Mississauga until British authorities purchased the surrounding land in 1805. In the following year, LOYALISTS as well as American and British immigrants began to settle along Dundas Street and along the lakeshore west of the Credit River. The steady influx of farmers into the area by 1818 prompted the colonial administration to purchase the remainder of the Mississauga Tract, which included the northern part of Toronto Township. By 1826 the Mississauga had been resettled on a reserve N of the mouth of the Credit where they remained until 1847 when the provincial government moved them to the Grand River Reserve.
When incorporated in 1850 Toronto Township had a population of about 7500. In the absence of adequate roads, the inhabitants of the township came to identify more strongly with the local villages and hamlets. For example, Cooksville and Dixie were farm service centres along Dundas Street; Erindale, Streetsville and Meadowvale were millsites on the Credit River; Port Credit, Clarkson and Malton were railway stations.
Toronto Township's rural landscape and its role as an agrarian hinterland remained relatively unaltered until after World War II when the advent of the automobile and paved roads encouraged residents from Toronto to move to cheaper premises in the surrounding "suburbs." From a sprawling "bedroom" community of little more than 15 000 people in 1945, Toronto Township was dramatically transformed into a conglomeration of planned residential and industrial subdivisions, high-rise apartments and office complexes, shopping centres, multilane highways and Canada's busiest airport. With its population reaching 100 000 in 1968, Toronto Township became the town of Mississauga and was incorporated as a city in 1974.
The Mississauga Civic Centre, opened in 1987, is an architectural landmark. The design was influenced by farmsteads which once occupied much of Mississauga. Today, Mississauga is emerging as a leading industrial and commercial centre. Mississauga is home to Canada's largest international airport, Lester B. Pearson, 2 national railways and has the greatest concentration of major highways in the country. Mississauga is also home to the Living Arts Centre (1997) - a multipurpose centre for the performing arts and education - which opened in early 1997. Mississauga is still one of Canada's fastest growing cities.