Iconic Canadian writer Mazo de la Roche (1879-1961) was a talented and interesting woman whose life is shrouded in many mysteries and contradictions. While living in Clarkson in 1927, she wrote the award-winning book, Jalna, the first of sixteen in her best-selling series about the fictional ‘Whiteoaks’ family, and their beloved home ‘Jalna’. The books sold over twelve million copies around the world and have inspired plays, movies, and television series. Benares House is believed to be the inspiration for Jalna. Many coincidences create an interesting story, for example - both Benares and Jalna are both names of British military garrisons in India, Mazo de la Roche rented a cottage nearby Benares that she called “Trail Cottage” and was a close friend of the Harris family. A nearby park is named Whiteoaks in honour of the series, as is a nearby elementary school. Streets in the Clarkson area also bear names such as "Mazo Crescent," "Jalna Avenue," and "Whiteoaks Avenue.” in her honour.
Many items related to Mazo were donated to the Museums of Mississauga by Mazo’s daughter-in-law, Bianca. These include first edition books, two awards, personal items, photographs and her only remaining diaries. In April 2008 Parks Canada and the Historic Sites and Monuments Board unveiled a plaque at Benares House, honouring Mazo de la Roche as a person of national historic significance.