How Clarkson Became Known as the Strawberry Capital of Ontario

By: Leaftech

Like many large cities, Mississauga Ontario is made up of several smaller components that reflect and retain a unique individual identity. One of these neighbourhoods is Clarkson Village, a community located in southwest Ontario (Mississauga itself is considered a suburb of Toronto in some quarters!) along the shores of Lake Ontario.

Clarkson Village came into existence in 1919 when William Clarkson located to the area with some money to buy some land. The community enjoyed a quiet existence, never growing very large and serving as an ideal attractant to settlers looking for the kind of lifestyle it offered.

One such individual was Captain Edward Sutherland. Although an officer in the British Army, Sutherland appears to have had some success at sea as his first trips to the Clarkson area were aboard and in charge of a steamer in 1836. Apparently the trip was a difficult one and the ship was required to make a stop in the Clarkson area, as some of the events were recorded in local newspapers.

Although Sutherland may have encountered trials on his initial visit to the area, it appears that the village itself made a positive impression upon him. After the death of his wife, the captain returned to Clarkson village with his seven children (in 1852) and decided to remain permanently. To that end, he purchased a piece of property known locally as Bush's Inn and renamed it Woodburn. And onto this property he introduced the cultivation of raspberry and strawberry plants.

Due to the weather conditions of Lake Ontario and the close proximity to major transportation routes enjoyed by Clarkson Village the shipping of strawberries in particular soon became a major source of income for the community. Strawberries were grown and shipped at an incredible rate, one that continued to grown from the time of Sutherland's introduction in the middle of the 19th century right into the first quarter of the 20th. The Clarkson Railway station had a sign posted that indicated the community's success in the area of strawberry exports.

Due to new growing methods, improved transportation, the Great Depression, and other factors, Ontario's strawberry production and export took a downturn after 1925. Still, the town today is marked by its history as one of the premium producers of strawberries in Ontario.

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