Since when does Mississauga look like Nantucket?
Walk five minutes from the Port Credit Go station to the part of Lakeshore that constitutes the town’s main drag and you’ll immediately feel like you’re in a resort town by the water thanks to the preponderance of ice cream shops, bakeries, pubs, boutiques and gift shops — not to mention the adorable lighthouse — along the strip.
Head west to the scenic harbour that’s the heart of Port Credit. You can charter a fishing boat (salmonexpress.com for details) and catch your dinner, or just wander through the park beside the water and eat at Snug Harbour, a seafood bar and grill whose patio overlooks the lake.
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 and operated by a succession of operators 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 the war.
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. In 1960 the Don Rowing Club moved to the banks of the Credit River.
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.