there is history and culture in mississauga

Yesterday my mom and I did some exploring in Mississauga. Allan and Tala joined us for most of it.

First we headed south to the Lakeshore, where there are many parks and beautiful stretches of the Waterfront Trail. (The Waterfront Trail runs through twenty-two parks in Mississauga.)

We wandered through the Rhododendron Gardens, which we've passed many times but never went in, since we're usually on our way to a leash-free dog park. Although it isn't the season for rhododendrons to bloom, the park is very beautiful, with the huge, mature trees that south Mississauga still has and immaculate landscaping.

After that we moved to the Richards Memorial Park, which has picnic tables, barbecue areas and a sandy beachfront. We had a picnic assembled from leftovers of Tuesday night's dinner, and walked a little on the beach.

From there, we headed further down Lakeshore and found the Bradley Museum. Allan and Tala stayed outside (their choice) while my mom and I checked out the museum. The Bradley Museum comprises a few different historical buildings, none of which were originally on that location, but together they are an interesting piece of history. The best part is the Bradley House, an 1830 farmhouse that's been restored and preserved. A very knowledgeable guide took us on a tour, explaining how the Bradley family - United Empire Loyalist farmers with seven children - would have lived. (Short version: life was hard and everything was very labour-intensive and time-consuming.) My mom and I both love history, and in fact Allan would have enjoyed this one, too.

In another 19th Century building called The Anchorage, there was an exhibit celebrating 175 years of Port Credit, where we used to live, now part of Mississauga, but originally a small factory town. There's also the log cabin, saved from destruction and restored, and - much to my surprise - available for rent. Future home of wmtc10?

Next we wound our way to the Benares Historic House. (Admission to either of these sites includes admission to the other.) The Benares mansion, in this original location, was home to four generations of the same family. The last resident of the house bequeathed it - and all its contents! - to the Ontario Heritage Trust. It's been lovingly restored to 1918 standards and makes for an interesting tour. (Short version: it was good to be rich and bad to be a servant.)

I think it's excellent - and quite amazing - that the City of Mississauga employs some full-time staff to give history tours of what little has been preserved. Our guide at Benares told us that school groups come regularly to both locations. Both sites operate year-round, and anyone who drops in can have a private tour.

From there we headed north to the Riverwood Conservancy. I've passed the sign a dozen times and never drove in, so I added it to our list. The Riverwood Conservancy sponsors all kinds of horticultural, astronomy and environmental programs. It also sounds like a great place to walk and hike.
Riverwood features the Culham Trail, a 4 km public walking trail full of seasonal wildflowers and trees. The trail runs along the Credit River, past cool steep ravines and over Riverwood's two creeks. Perhaps you will see one of the white-tailed deer or spotted fawns that inhabit the property, baby wood ducks or painted turtle basking in the wetland. Keep your ears open for song birds and frogs and your eyes open for fledgling Cooper’s hawks nesting in our urban forest or a turkey vulture hovering overhead. Enjoy our blooming gardens and catch a glimpse of hummingbirds feeding on flowering plants. Riverwood offers wildlife shelter to rest and breed and abundant food and water in its woodland, meadow and wetland habitats.

We weren't up for a walk at this point, but we strolled around the beautiful old building and admired the plantings, and now I know where and what this place is, for a future walk.

On our way home, we drove around a bit more to show my mom Mississauga City Hall, the Central Library and our beautiful YMCA.

Then: iced coffee, a big sushi platter for dinner, and a Red Sox win. An excellent day and evening!

My mom left this morning, and I foolishly forgot to check the status of her flight before Allan drove her to the airport on his way to work. Many flights have been cancelled because of Hurricane Earl-related storms, and she could have waited with me instead of at the airport.

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