|Description: 1503 Clarkson Road North. Conc 2 SDS, pt. Lot 28. Most of this house was built in 1857, in Georgian Survival style though the rear stone part of the building dates back to 1835. The first construction of the house was begun by Edgar Neave who sold the property and the unfinished stone house to Captain James Beveridge Harris, late of the 24th Regiment, in 1836. Harris kept the name Benares, given to the property by Neave. |
According to oral history there were two fires at Benares, but archaeological evidence shows only one (either in 1849 or 1855). The second fire was probably in an outbuilding which was occupied by the Harris family after the Benares fire. Benares is popularly supposed to have served as the model for Jalna in the novels of Mazo de la Roche who lived for a while in the Clarkson area. Several generations of Harris and Sayers families lived at Benares, particularly after the marriage of Arthur Harris, only surviving son of Captain Harris, to Mary Magrath, the granddaughter of the Rev. James Magrath, Rector of St. Peterís Erindale. After her death, her daughter, Naomi, and her nephew, Geoffrey Sayers, lived at Benares for a while. In 1969 Geoffrey, along with his sisters, Barbara Larson and Dora Sayers Caro, donated the property to the Ontario Heritage Foundation for preservation. After extensive research, the house was renovated in the style of 1918, and opened in 1995 to the public as a museum. It has since been turned over to the City of Mississauga and operates as one of the two museums in Mississauga. Designated under the terms of the Ontario Heritage Act. Photo taken ca 1980.