Bradley Museum Complex
The two-acre Bradley Museum is located on the edge of Lake Ontario, nestled in a 70-year old maple grove. The site has accessible nature trails, connects to the Waterfront Bike Trail and is within walking distance of the Rattray Marsh. The Bradley Museum complex consists of four buildings, three of which are designated Ontario Heritage sites:
- The Anchorage, an Ontario Regency style cottage from the early nineteenth century;
- The Bradley House, a two-story saltbox-style farmhouse from 1830;
- a restored Port Credit log cabin from the mid 1800s;
- barn from the turn of the last century.
The Bradley House
This saltbox style farmhouse was built in 1830 by Lewis and Elizabeth Bradley, originally from Savannah Georgia. This United Empire Loyalist couple and their seven children lived here for 20 years. The marigold yellow and black house has classic qualities of the period. Originally restored by the Mississauga Heritage Foundation, the Bradley House opened to the public in 1967. The house still stands on the original land that was owned by the Bradleys.
After Lewis Bradley died in 1846, his wife sold the house. After several owners, the house and surrounding land was purchased by the British American Oil Company – now known as Suncor. It was slated for demolition in 1959 when local newspaper publisher, Kenneth G. Armstrong purchased the house and gave it to the Township of Toronto Historical Foundation (now known as the Mississauga Heritage Foundation) in early 1961. In the mid- 1960’s the house was moved further north on the property and fundraising and restoration of the house began with a team of volunteers and community activists.
This Regency style cottage was originally built in the 1820s near Southdown and Lakeshore Roads. It was named “The Anchorage” by its second inhabitant, retired British Navy Commander John Skynner (1762 -1846) who settled in Upper Canada at Merigold’s Point in 1838, now a site of SUNCOR. The name Anchorage is believed to come from Captain Skynner's journal where he wrote: ‘I have retired…Here I will rest; this is my anchorage’. Another source has claimed that Stephen Jarvis named the home Anchorage. Jarvis used a sandbar – which was located offshore of his property - to anchor merchant vessels bringing goods from York and Niagara.
A key artifact In the Museums' collection is The Skynner Cup – a silver decorative urn given to Commander John Skynner by the residents of Malta. Hallmarks on the cup date to 1808; it was made by silversmith firm of James Ede and Alexander Hewat of London. The urn is decorated with a sculpted silver figurine of a woman clutching an albatross in one arm, a laurel wreath extended from the other hand, and surrounded by various nautical items.
The driveshed, barn and outhouse are not original to the Bradley site; they were constructed using old wood from farms in the Peel Region.
The driveshed was constructed on the Bradley site in 1973 using wood found on the Carberry family farm located in Chinguacousy Township. This farm is believed to have been bought by former Toronto Township Reeve Tom Jackson (died 2008) who gave the barn to the Town of Mississauga in 1971. The style of the building is an Ontario vernacular with beam ceilings and post construction.
The barn was reconstructed using old planks of wood from a barn located at the southeast corner of Burnhamthorpe and Erin Mills Parkway. The barn was reconstructed by Bruce Evans Ltd in 1977. The form of the building is classical Ontario vernacular and addresses the farming and rural past of Mississauga.
The Log Cabin at the Bradley Museum
The cabin, originally built in the mid-19th century, was moved to Port Credit in 1967 as the local Rover Crew’s Centennial Project. It was used by the Rovers and the 4th Port Credit Scouts for many years until it fell into disrepair and was slated for demolition in 2002. A community-led fundraising initiative led to relocation of the Log Cabin to its current site at the Bradley Museum complex.
Benares Historic House
With more than 165 years of history, this exquisite Georgian style estate was home to four generations of the Harris and Sayers families. Noted for its quiet presence in a picturesque park-like setting – Benares is filled top to bottom with original family possessions spanning 4 generations. Part of what makes Benares so unique is that more than 95% of the artifacts in the house are original to the Harris family and this home. Benares and most of its contents were donated by the three great grandchildren of Captain Harris -- Geoffrey Harris Sayers, Dora Sayers Caro and Barbara Sayers Larson. It was restored and fully furnished with Harris Family items and opened to the public as Mississauga's newest museum in 1995.
The Visitor Centre at Benares hosts an interpretive gallery about Benares Historic House and its original residents; it also includes an Exhibition Gallery with rotating exhibitions and displays.
Benares and Varanasi | A Connection to India
Varanasi, also known as Benares or Banaras, is a north-Indian city on the banks of the Ganges River in the state of Uttar Pradesh. It is the holiest of the seven sacred cities in Hinduism and Jainism religions, and played an important role in the development of Buddhism. Varanasi is also known as the favourite city of the Hindu deity Lord Shiva.
In 1819 -1823 while stationed in Calcutta, India - it is assumed that Officer Harris traveled the country and visited Benares. The custom of naming a property is a British convention which began with the landed gentry naming their manor houses and castles in the 17th Century. Traditionally, a name was based on who owned the property, the area in which it was located or to commemorate a life experience, inspirational name, or a spiritual moniker that gave significance, status and romance to the property. In the case of Captain Harris, the name Benares refers to his travels in India, and could possibly address his curiosity and interest in the spiritual aspect of world religions, popular in this age of colonialism.
The Leslie Log House
Designated under the Ontario Heritage Act, the Leslie Log House was originally the home of John Leslie Sr. and his wife Esther Beattie Leslie who came to Upper Canada in 1824 from Sutherlandshire, Scotland. In 1994, the Leslie Log House was relocated from 7250 Mississauga Road, just north of Derry Road in the Meadowvale area, to its current location on the Pinchin property, 4415 Mississauga Road. This building is a rare example of early 19th century log construction. There have been a number of renovations, such as the addition and later removal of a summer kitchen, but the original structure has been preserved. It was moved to its current location to preserve the property for use by future generations.
John Leslie Sr. leased 200 acres north of Streetsville and 21 years later bought the property, Toronto Township Lot 12, south half, Concession 5 W.H.S. In 1826 he built this white cedar, storey-and-a-half, log home. The house was a short distance from Mullet Creek located at the north of Derry Road. There were seven children in the Leslie family. Two sons became well known, Robert Leslie, a master builder and George, who ran a successful nursery in the area that became known as Leslieville, Toronto.
In 1860 the house was renovated to give it a more neo-classical appearance with a wide central door flanked by side lights. Another later addition was a full basement with stone walls. Responding to the fashion and tastes of the time, the house was covered in clapboard siding by 1880. It is thought that the siding was removed in 1960.