CURRENT LAND CLAIMS
Mississaugas of New Credit's Toronto Purchase Specific Claim
Canada and the Mississaugas of New Credit (MNC) have recently entered into negotiations to resolve a specific claim relating to the 1805 Toronto Purchase. While these negotiations are only in the early stages, the First Nation and Canada are committed to working together toward a settlement that would resolve this long-standing claim.
The parties to the negotiation will hold extensive consultations with First Nation members and establish a process for information sharing with other interested parties to ensure open communications about the negotiation process and progress of negotiations.
Overview of MNC's claim
The MNC's claim pertains to the Crown's acquistion of 250,880 acres (14 x 28 miles) of land from the River Credit Mississaugas. The 250,880 acres includes an area from Ashbridge's Bay to Etobicoke Creek, at the southern border, and running 28 miles north at either end. The Toronto Islands (a peninsula in 1805) were also included in this surrender. The acquistion of these lands was undertaken by the Crown in 1805 to confirm an earlier surrender taken in 1787. Through the 1805 purchase, the Mississaugas surrendered much of what is now metropolitan Toronto.
Negotiators for the parties will be trying to reach an agreement on what constitutes fair cash compensation for the losses to the First Nation as a result of the 1805 Toronto Purchase. The current ownership of that land is not in question and is not at issue in this claim.
The "Sale" of Toronto in 1787:
The 1805 surrender is linked to a previous transaction in 1787 which attempted to surrender much of the same territory. In 1787, Sir John Johnson, the Chief Superintendent of Indian Affairs met with the Mississaugas at the Bay of Quinte to discuss a number of potential land sales along the north shore of Lake Ontario, including the purchase of land at Toronto as well as land on either side of the Humber River and at Lake Simcoe.
Shortly after this transaction, there was some confusion over the extent of land surrendered. The deed to the land, which was found many years later, was blank and contained no description of the land that had been purchased by the Crown.
Over ten years later, Johnson, the British official who had taken the 1787 surrender, gave an account of the boundaries as roughly "ten miles square at Toronto, and two or four miles . . . on each side of the intended road or Carrying Place" (the Humber River). This did not conform to the description of the 14 x 28 mile parcel that the Crown ultimately intended to obtain and which was surveyed in 1796.
The 1805 Toronto Purchase
The Crown decided to resolve the situation by entering into a second Toronto Purchase agreement with the Mississaugas to "confirm" the 1787 surrender. On August 3, 1805, the Mississaugas agreed to the surrender of 14 x 28 miles [392 square miles] of land.
While the 1805 agreement was portrayed as a mere affirmation of the earlier 1787 transaction, it is clear that the boundaries of the 1805 transaction did not correspond to the boundaries of the 1787 transaction as recollected by Sir John Johnson. In effect, the Crown took more land from the Mississaugas in 1805 than had been purportedly taken in 1787.
The Benefits of Settling Claims
Canada is committed to honouring its outstanding lawful obligations to First Nations and to resolving outstanding grievances through negotiated agreements that help to strengthen First Nations. A future settlement of the MNC's claim would resolve a longstanding historical grievance; it would also provide the First Nation with the capital to invest in meaningful opportunities for economic development and new business partnerships. In addition to bringing long-term benefits to both the First Nation and surrounding communities, such a settlement would also represent a significant investment in the economy of Ontario.
The Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation has approximately 1,788 members and is currently located near Hagersville (near Hamilton), Ontario.
For more information, please contact:
Chief Bryan LaForme
Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation
Or download the Toronto Purchase Specific Claim Arriving at an Agreement booklet. Available in PDF format.