Saturday, August 5, 2017
Lakeside Park in Mississauga isn’t the one made famous by the Rush song of the same name, but it does have its own claim to fame. Lakeside Park has a unique red shingle beach. The area was originally known as Marigold’s Point and was settled beginning in 1808 by United Empire Loyalists, many of whom came from New Brunswick. The properties slowly switched from agricultural uses to industrial as Toronto Township was developed. Early industry in the area included an oil refinery, cement company and a sewer pipe company.
The Hamilton and Toronto Sewer Pipe Company built a factory in Clarkson in 1955 with the idea of operating a state of the art facility. The press release claimed that the new building would accommodate every new advance in pipe technology, manufacturing and installation. For the next 25 years, the facility would produce various sizes of baked clay pipes. As with any manufacturing, there were often pieces that didn’t meet the company’s quality standards. These pipes were piled up at the edge of the property along the shore of Lake Ontario.
The pipes were buried and forgotten. Slowly, the embankment has been eroding and the pipes are being exposed to the weather and water. As they break up and fall into the lake they get tumbled by the waves until they become small rounded shingles. They mix with shale from the lake bottom to form a shingle beach. The tiles on the east end of the site are the least broken up and as you walk west along the shore they become smaller and more rounded. This is due to the natural counter clockwise east to west rotation of the lake. Water that flows over Niagara Falls supplies most of the water to Lake Ontario and it causes the currents in the lake. The pipes that have been in the lake the longest end up slowly being pushed west along the beach and tumbled into smaller, more rounded pieces. The former industrial uses for the land have manifested themselves as a unique beach with some unusual opportunities for wildlife habitat. The pipe section shown below was likely made in 1979 and is slowly making its way toward to crashing of the waves.
The shores of Lake Ontario are lined with shingle beaches that are formed when the lake throws broken shale onto the shoreline during times of heavy waves. Just east of Lakeside Park is Rattray Marsh. This marsh only exists because a shingle beach keeps the land behind from draining completely. Between Lakeside Park and Rattray Marsh is Bradley House Museum which makes an interesting place to visit because it showcases four historic buildings, three of which are designated as Heritage Houses. One of these is a regency style cottage called The Anchorage, which is pictured below. It stood near Lakeside Park from the 1830’s where it was home to a Commander John Skynner who had retired from the Royal Navy. It is said that when John retired to the home he wrote in his journal that he was now retired and the home would become his anchorage. The Anchorage was moved to Bradley Museum in 1978.
Lakeside Park boasts one of the most unique beaches in the GTA and is an interesting example of nature making something beautiful out of an industrial garbage dump.
Google Maps Link: Lakeside Park
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My father and grandfather both worked for National Sewer pipe. I recall seeing the giant kilns as a child.
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