The Mississaugas of New Credit are the aboriginal landowners of Toronto who were forced out of the Toronto region after 1805 and sent to live at the Credit River (in today's City of Mississauga) until they were forced out of that area as well.

With no place left to go, as all of their other lands in southern Ontario had been taken over by the government, they were invited by Chief Joseph Brant to go to live on part of the lands given by government to the United Empire Loyalist Five Nations League (now the Six Nations Confederacy).

These lands along the Grand River were originally Mississauga lands for which they have not been paid, and in 1923 when the New Credit Mississaugas received some government money under the Williams Treaty, they bought two blocks of the Grand River tract from the Six Nations - in effect buying back from the Six Nations their own land for which the government has still not paid them. The two blocks where they live today are called the New Credit Reserve located near Hagerville, ON.
Cottage Sketch
A Community History Project site
Tollkeeper's Cottage Mementos

Tickets: $15 per lecture or $50 for the series of four. They can be purchased Saturdays at the museum (10 am - 5 pm), from a CHP member or by calling 416-515-7546 or just pick them up at the lecture (if room available). Tickets are limited to a maximum of 30 people per lecture.

Where: The Tollkeeper's Cottage, NW corner of Bathurst and Davenport.

When: Starting promptly at 7 pm.

There will be a break part way through the evening for tea or coffee. After each lecture, the lecturer will accept questions from the audience.

Jan.  Feb.   Mar.  Apr.  May  June  July  Aug.  Sept.  Oct.  Nov.  Dec.


 Mar 2023

DR. RON WILLIAMSON, archeologist and consultant, has studied the last 14,000 years of GTA history. One of his most significant publications documents the 16th century Mantle Site, an ancestral Wendat settlement discovery in Markham.

NOTE: The Community History Project (aka the Tollkeeper's Cottage) will be providing a Black History Walk as soon as the weather is more amenable to safe walking.

The area around Bathurst and Bloor, once the outskirts of downtown Toronto, was one of the earliest Toronto neighbourhoods to be settled by enslaved Blacks escaping from the United States. Those who have been on our Seaton Village Walk are familiar with the story of Deborah "Mammy" Brown and her husband who lived at 691 Markham Street until Deborah's death in 1898. She has a laneway named after her just east of Markham. See the excellent article by our own Marilyn Spearin:

About a hundred years after the first settlement, in the mid-1900s, waves of immigrants from Jamaica and other Caribbean countries arrived in Toronto. Some of them opened businesses on Bathurst, forming a hub of services for this group.

One business on this strip was Mascoll Beauty Supply. Beverly Mascoll,1941-2001, was a Nova-Scotia born newcomer to Toronto who started as a teen working in a barber and beauty supply shop where she saw the need for hair products for people of African ancestry. She began selling products out of her truck and in 1970 founded Mascoll Beauty Supply which became a multi-million dollar business and the leading distributor of beauty products in Canada. Twenty years later Mascoll's company carried 3,000 beauty care products, and operated a chain of retail outlets. These stores were a hub for many new Black-Canadian immigrants, who felt validated that their unique needs were being met.

Apart from her business interests, Beverley Mascoll was a trailblazing community activist who created a foundation to assist "youth, women and people of colour".  She and her achievements are commemorated on a plaque just outside the entrance to the Bathurst subway station (see picture and further information in the column on the right below).

The Bathurst-Bloor area was also home to the community newspaper, Contrastthe first Black newspaper office in Toronto. The publication was founded by Al Hamilton in 1969, and was known as the voice of the Black Community. It also served as a centre where activists and community members met to strategize campaigns against racism and police harassment.

Still thriving after 20 years on Bathurst Street south of Bloor, A Different Booklist and cultural centre highlights African and Caribbean literature.


 watch this space for new activities, or just come be on Saturdays to have a tour of the cottage, or say Hi.
January was a time when the Cottage is quite dark and chilly! It was good time for us to super clean all those cobwebs and dust off the artifacts, check and polish the antiques to keep them in good shape for 2023! Not to mention a time to give a short break to our docents who have worked hard and devoted their Saturdays and some Sundays to our beloved museum.



PHOTO EVENT: Our Photo Event 2022.... the pictures are in!

Thank you for all who participated in the Photo event the fall of 2022.  



Here are a few comments that we've received about the walks we hold in the warmer months. Thank you to our enthusiastic participants for your positive attitudes and hardy constitutions!

"There is nothing better than a Tollkeeper's walk to meet new friends; get exercise and fresh air; and be astounded at the history and vibrancy of our neighbourhoods. Join us!" D.V.

"Yes, Yes Yes....the walks are an important contribution to our understanding of the history of our communities and school kids and our local MPP Jill Andrews and Myseum (our city history museum) should all be involved in these walks as it takes the local history of your neighborhood out of the boring classroom and into real life!" A.R.

"Take a relaxing walk with one of the well-informed guides from the Tollkeeper’s Cottage and learn some fun, interesting, quirky things you never, ever suspected about some Toronto neighbourhoods." S.F.

"The walks are a great way to learn about local history, and see parts of a neighbourhood you might walk through every day and not notice. They're lots of fun and a great thing to bring someone to." P.H.

For every donation of this kind, we would be happy to send a postcard of the Albert Cox painting of the Cottage, a copy of which is hanging in our educational room. We will give the recipient your name and the fact that you have made a donation to memorialize the event or passing. It's a way to direct your thoughts and funds to an appreciation of Toronto's built heritage! Of course, we have appreciated those generous and stalwart friends of the Cottage who have included the Cottage in their will.
RECONSTITUTING NATURAL MATERIALS FOR RE-USE: Here is Mical, busy at work hammering in a rebar. She is making a "hugel mound" on the north east side of the property. The design was originally pioneered by Sepp Holzer and involves developing what is effectively a raised bed, filled with rotten wood and materials that would otherwise go to waste to create a hi


Our membership year is now January to December. Your membership fee of $20 individual or $35. per family will get you one whole year of membership, voting at the Annual Meeting in March or April, and an opportunity to run for the Board of Directors. Any questions, please email us at




We have some new and updated Slideshows on the site!! (Thanks to all ).. You can find them here



You too can be a member of the Community History Project! It’s only $20 a year. Just mail in or email us your membership fee to this address

If you would like to make a donation or pay a membership fee, you can now do it in the modern way – online! We can now receive an e-transfer at our email address! Donations and membership fees will receive an income tax receipt next February.



Event Background

The Tollkeeper’s Cottage is a museum wholly owned and operated by the Community History Project – a local history society serving on a volunteer basis. The museum is in a restored historic building dating from around 1835 and is a rare remnant from the beginning of the 19th century tolling system in Upper Canada. The restoration has been to the building’s earliest start – 1835 – but has been furnished mostly with antiques up to 1860 when a family of nine lived in the building’s three rooms.. Designated by the City of Toronto, the Tollkeeper’s Cottage is of national significance as it is the only historic tollhouse known to have survived into the present time, and it is also rare for its vertical plank construction. In period dress, trained docents are on duty every Saturday (non pandemic) from 10 am until 5 pm (4pm winter--closed between Christmas and New Year) and will take visitors on a tour for a modest donation. The museum is not subsidized by governments and raises its own operating costs through these donations and various fundraising programmes. Some items now part of the museum are extremely rare and interesting, but you will have to visit to find out what they are! And yes, very selected furnishings are still being accepted into the collection but only after being vetted by an expert.
Additional Events and details are provided here and on the bulletin board at the Cottage as soon as they become available

Some of the annual programmes that may be offered at the museum are: a series of lectures by experts in a spring and fall series on various historical subjects, knitting, rug-braiding, a Food Focus series of events featuring indigenous Canadian foods (berries, nuts, etc. and actual recipes using these foods as taken from historic sources. Special arrangements can be made for school classes, seniors and other group tours or special programmes preferably by emailing and leaving a message for rates and dates. The modern addition to the historic building can also be rented for special events such as meetings, receptions. The museum is open at special times throughout the years, for example for selected Wednesday evening lectures. The museum has events such as Victoria Day Tea, St. Patrick's Day Tea, December Cookie sale, Strawberry Social. Visit this website periodically to learn more about these and other events. We usually have the activities for the next two months in more detail on this page.

Watch this site for changing tidbits on local history, announcements of new programmes etc. You may wish to watch some of our slide shows showing the restoration process, educational programs, activities and even our gift shop.

Virtual tour of the cottage (thanks to Andrew Jones)


Where's The Tollkeeper's Cottage?
The Tollkeeper's Cottage