By Rochelle Burns, social historian
Selling land for something bigger (and a profit), in Meadowvale, is not new. It’s been going on since its founding.
Meadowvale’s story began in 1820 in New York City. Thirty Irish families were encouraged to leave New York for the new area of Meadowvale by the promise of land from the government of Upper Canada. The families drew lots for the location of their 200 acres of land.
Within a decade the new landowners realized there was more money in selling their land than in farming it. All the lots were quickly re-sold.
The last lot went to another enterprising pioneer, John Crawford. On his new land, he built the first mill in Meadowvale. Between the British and American need for lumber, he did very well. He even had the ease of using the Credit River to float his lumber down to be picked up by vessels.
Others joined Crawford in buying up land and tearing down trees for lumber. Alas, progress also meant the Credit Valley Railroad coming in 1879. Sounds good. But not for Meadowvale that was bypassed by the tracks.
Even so, enough of the original homes and businesses and roads, which maintained its narrowness fit only for horse and buggy, was preserved resulting in Meadowvale becoming the first community Ontario honored as a ‘Heritage Conservation District’.
Fast forward: In the early 1970s, nearby Erin Mills started a huge land buying and building.
Once again, in a short time, Meadowvale land would be bought and sold, this time to join the frantic home building needed for a place far enough away from the core of Toronto, but near enough to get there for work or entertainment.
The refrain of the 1970s song so fits the flipping of land in the Meadowvale area, be it by pioneers or modern developers: “This land is your land, this land is my land.”