Mississauga is standing out from the crowd
Mississauga has always been a city of noteworthy accomplishments, from its inception as a city in 1974 combining the former townships of Lakeview, Cooksville, Lorne Park, Clarkson, Erindale, Sheridan, Dixie, Meadowvale Village, Malton, Port Credit and Streetsville; to being home to Canada’s longest-serving mayor, Hazel McCallion, from 1978 to 2014.
And now, literally at the time of writing, the City was hosting a Town Hall on seeking independence from the Region of Peel.
You might expect such a track record of ambition from one of the most populous – and fastest-growing – municipalities in Canada.
Covering a huge swath of land – 288 square kms, 13 km of which front Lake Ontario – Mississauga comprises many distinct neighbourhoods and communities. The former town of Port Credit, for example, once a sleepy little industrial locale, home to the iconic – and smelly – St. Lawrence Starch Co. plant from 1890 to 1990, today is a much sought-after residential area, thanks to its prized waterfront location.
Many of these areas host annual festivals that pay respect to local histories. Streetsville, for example, holds its annual Bread and Honey Festival, paying homage to the area’s roots a mill town. And Port Credit’s Mississauga Waterfront Festival and the Southside Shuffle blues and jazz festival display everything that community has to offer.
With McCallion running the show over 12 consecutive terms, until she stepped aside and Bonnie Crombie won the election in 2014, Mississauga was known as a city of growth. McCallion consistently boasted she oversaw among the lowest taxes in Canada and made it easy for companies to do business there. Today, the area is home to more than 60 Fortune 500 companies, including Laura Secord Chocolates, Honeywell Aerospace, Walmart Canada and Kellogg’s Canada.
As for seeking its independence from Peel, Crombie’s office points to the following as motivation:
Population: Mississauga has the population to warrant becoming an independent city similar to other large municipalities such as Toronto, Hamilton and Ottawa.
Stability: Mississauga is fiscally strong, has strong resident support and has the necessary capacity and experience to operate as an independent city.
Municipal service: A number of duplications, barriers and complexities in municipal service delivery could be eliminated if Mississauga became an independent city.
Future city building: As an independent City, Mississauga would have full autonomy to focus on City initiatives related to its future growth and development.
Cost: Mississauga pays 60 per cent of the overall property tax levy, yet owns only 29 per cent of regional roads.
Getting around Mississauga is, well, you are travelling over a vast area, and traffic these days… But Hwys 401, 403, 410 and the QEW all run for stretches through the city, and there’s no shortage of GO Transit and Mississauga MiWay Transit options.
For sports and recreation, again Mississauga is blessed with numerous recreational winter and summer sports leagues with decades of local history. Using the Streetsville example again, the Vic Johnston Community Centre dates back to 1961, and sits adjacent to Memorial Park and the Credit River.
And, following the Credit River down to well, Port Credit, Memorial Arena is another beautiful old barn, sitting adjacent to Memorial Park and facing Lake Ontario. The park itself serves as host location for some of the area’s largest festivals.
Then there’s the Paramount Fine Foods Centre (formerly Hershey Centre), where the Ontario Hockey League’s Mississauga Steelheads play, and which also is home to a number of community rinks.
Location, location, location
More than 288.42 square kms, 13 kms fronting Lake Ontario; bounded by Oakville, Milton, Brampton, Toronto and Lake Ontario
• Square One Shopping Centre
• Mississauga Celebration Square
• Living Arts Centre
• Paramount Fine Foods Centre
• University of Toronto Mississauga
• Sheridan College Business School