Mississauga – 7th Largest City in Canada
The City of Mississauga is a large suburban area located to the west of Toronto, Ontario. Originally known as Toronto Township, Mississauga was officially incorporated as a city in 1974. Today its population is just under 750,000 residents.
Mississauga is currently the third largest city in Ontario, and is the seventh largest city in Canada.
The remarkable growth of Mississauga has been attributed to many things including its proximity to the City of Toronto. During the second half of the 20th century, the city attracted a diverse population and built up a thriving business sector.
Malton, a neighborhood of Mississauga located in its northeast corner, is home to Toronto Pearson International Airport, Canada’s busiest airport.
Mississauga did not grow outward over the years like a typical city, but is actually an amalgamation of three former villages, two townships, and a number of rural hamlets.
Most of present-day Mississauga was founded in 1805 asToronto Township within York County, and it became part of Peel County when new counties were formed in 1851. Mississauga itself was established as a town in 1968, and was then incorporated as a city in 1974. Peel County was restructured into a regional municipality that same year.
There is plenty to see and do in Mississauga. You will find an abundance of beautiful parks and historic neighborhoods, terrific restaurants, and Lake Ontario is great for fishing, and sailing. There is also excellent shopping including Square One Shopping Centre, the largest shopping mall in Ontario.
Distance between Toronto and Mississauga is 24 kilometers (15 miles). Driving time from Mississauga City Hall to downtown Toronto takes about 30 minutes in average traffic conditions.
History of Mississauga
Mississauga has a long history dating back to pre-historic times. Prior to the arrival of European settlers, it was home to various indigenous peoples, including a band known as the Mississaugas.
Trading posts were established in the early 1700’s, and a number of small settlements in the area slowly grew over the 19th century.
By the time the early 20th century arrived, cottages were built along the shores of Lake Ontario as weekend getaway homes for city dwellers from Toronto.
Numerous infrastructure projects were completed as the area grew. The Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) highway opened from Highway 27 to Highway 10 in Port Credit, in 1935 and later expanded to Hamilton and Niagara in 1939.
In the 1950’s, the first suburban housing developments occurred in the area south of the Dixie Road/QEW interchange. Development in general moved north and west from here over time.
During this time the area was known as “Toronto Township”, but in 1965 a contest was held to rename the town. “Mississauga” was the winning name, beating out “Sheridan”. The Town of Mississauga was officially incorporated in 1968.
Meanwhile, in 1952, Toronto Township had annexed a portion of Toronto Gore Township. This led to two new towns, Erin Mills and Meadowvale, being created, in 1968 and 1969, respectively. Also in 1968, the village of Malton was absorbed into the new Town of Mississauga.
The Town of Mississauga became the City of Mississauga in 1974, and at this time absorbed Port Credit and Streetsville.
A final annexation occurred in 2010, when a thin strip of land was purchased from Milton to bring the city limits to Hwy. 407.
Where is Mississauga?
Mississauga is a large area with over 288 square kilometres of land, and 13 kilometres of shoreline on Lake Ontario.
Mississauga is bounded by Oakville and Milton to the west/northwest, Brampton to the north, Toronto to the east, and Lake Ontario to the south.
Two major river valleys feed into the lake. The Credit River is the most prominent. It provides a dividing line between the western side of Mississauga and the eastern side. The Credit River enters the lake at Port Credit harbour.
The expansive valley that follows the course of the Credit River was originally inhabited by first nation peoples long before European exploration of the area. The valley is protected and maintained by the Credit Valley Conservation Authority (CVCA).
Etobicoke Creek forms part of the eastern border of Mississauga with the city of Toronto. North of there it passes through the western limits of Pearson Airport.
Most land in Mississauga drains to either of the two main river systems, with the exception of the smaller Mary Fix and Cooksville Creeks which run roughly through the centre of Mississauga entering the lake near Port Credit.
Some small streams and reservoirs are part of the Sixteen Mile Creek system in the far northwest corner of the city, but these drain toward the lake in neighbouring Milton and Oakville.
City of Mississauga Neighbourhoods
There are 24 neighbourhoods in Mississauga:
- Central Erin Mills
- Churchill Meadows
- East Credit
- Erin Mills
- Lorne Park
- Meadowvale Village
- Mississauga Valleys
- Port Credit
- Rockwood Village
Over 60 Fortune 500 companies base their global or Canadian head offices in Mississauga.
Some of the strongest industries are pharmaceuticals, banking and finance, electronics and computers, aerospace, transportation parts and equipment industries.
TD Bank and the Royal Bank of Canada each have major IT centres in the city.
Other large multi-national corporations including Walmart, Kellogg’s, Panasonic, Hewlett Packard, and Oracle all have their Canadian headquarters in Mississauga.
Mississauga is also an aerospace development hub with Canadian headquarters of companies such as Magellan Aerospace and Honeywell Aerospace.
Arts and Culture
Mississauga has a vibrant arts community that is promoted by the Mississauga Arts Council.
Mississauga’s has many cultural events, including the Canada Day Celebration, the Mississauga Rotary Ribfest, Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, and the New Year’s Eve Bash, which all occur in Celebration Square.
One of the most popular annual events in the city is Carassauga, an annual festival of cultures that occurs during mid-May. It is the second largest cultural festival in Canada.
Carassauga showcases different cultures from around the world in pavilions across Mississauga. Visitors get free public transportation with their ticket to tour the city and explore the different pavilions. Various countries highlight their culture through food stalls and dance performances.
The village of Streetsville holds its annual Bread and Honey Festival every first weekend of June at Streetsville Memorial Park to commemorate the founding of the village of Streetsville. The festival has been incorporated in 1974, in response to amalgamation with the city of Mississauga.
Activities include the Bread and Honey Race, which raises money for charities and local hospitals. It also has its own annual Canada Day celebrations, which are also held at Streetsville Memorial Park.
Port Credit holds multiple festivals throughout the year. During the summer, there are street performances on multiple venues scattered throughout the former town during Buskerfest.
The town also holds a grand parade named “Paint the Town Red” during Canada Day. Finally, during August, the town holds the Mississauga Waterfront Festival, which includes concerts as well as family activities.
During September the Southside Shuffle festival is held to celebrate blues and jazz music, including musical performances from local blues and jazz artists.
Mississauga has an abundance of family-friendly attractions.
Mississauga Celebration Square
In 2006 the city started hosting “My Mississauga” summer festivities at its Civic Square. Over 60 free events were scheduled that summer to bring more people to the city centre.
The My Mississauga events were a success, including Canada Day celebrations, a Rotary Ribfest, and Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremonies.
The Civic Square then underwent an upgrade project to include a permanent stage, a larger ice rink which also serves as a fountain and wading pool during the summer season, media screens, and a permanent restaurant.
It officially reopened on 22 June 2011 and has since been renamed as Mississauga Celebration Square. More events have been added such as holding free outdoor live concerts, and multicultural festivals.
The square also holds regular weekly programing such as fitness classes, amphitheatre performances and movie nights during the summer, children’s activities during spring and fall, and skate parties during the winter.
Art Gallery of Mississauga
The Art Gallery of Mississauga (AGM) is a public, not-for-profit art gallery located in the Mississauga Civic Centre, right on Celebration Square.
AGM is sponsored by the City of Mississauga, Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Ontario Arts Council. The art gallery offers free admission.
Mississauga also has Square One Shopping Centre, one of the largest shopping malls in Canada. Square One has over 350 retail stores and services and attracts over 24 million annual visits and over $1.1 billion in annual retail sales.
The mall is a designated tourist attraction, and is allowed to operate on most holidays (exception for Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Christmas Day).
Erin Mills Town Centre is the second largest mall in Mississauga. It is located at the western edge of the city, near Eglinton Avenue at Erin Mills Parkway.The mall has recently undergone a $100 million redevelopment.
Located at the southeastern corner of the city is theDixie Outlet Mall. It opened in 1956 when the city was still known as Toronto Township, and it is Mississauga’s first shopping mall. Many factory outlets of premium brands are located in this mall.
Heartland Town Centre is an unenclosed open-air outlet mall with over 180 stores and restaurants.
Mississauga Parks and Recreation
Mississauga was originally a wooded area with marshlands and a significant river emptying into Lake Ontario. Today it has kept much of its natural beauty with nearly 500 parks and woodland areas, and with nearly 100 km of walking and hiking trails. Some of the most popular parks include:
- Brueckner Rhododendron Gardens
- Erindale Park
- Jack Darling Park
- Kariya Park
- Meadowvale Conservation Area
- Rattray Marsh
- Riverwood Park
- Streetsville Memorial Park
Mississauga is also home to many indoor playgrounds including Playdium, Kids Time Family Fun Centre, KidSports indoor playground, and Laser Quest Centre.
Mississauga is on three major railway lines (the Canadian National Railway, the Canadian Pacific Railway, and Metrolinx).
Via Rail trains service the Quebec City-Windsor corridor. Via Rail services stop in the neighbouring cities of Brampton, Oakville, and Toronto.
Commuter rail service is provided by GO Transit, a division of Metrolinx, on the Lakeshore West, Kitchener, and Milton lines. All-day service is provided along the Lakeshore West line, while the Kitchener and Milton lines serve commuters going to and from Toronto’s Union Station.
The city’s public transit service,MiWay(formerly Mississauga Transit), provides bus service along more than 90 routes across the city.
MiWay connects to commuter rail with GO Transit as well as with Brampton Transit, Oakville Transit, and the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC).
MiWay operates routes for both local service (branded as “MiLocal”) and limited-stop service (branded as “MiExpress”).
Intercity buses operated by GO Transit stop at GO Train stations throughout the city and the Square One Bus Terminal.
Mississauga Transitway is a 12-station dedicated busway that was built parallel to Highway 403 from Winston Churchill Boulevard to Renforth Avenue, with a stop at the City Centre Transit Terminal at Square One.
The Mississauga Transitway was completed in 2017. The service also connects to Kipling subway station in Toronto.
The Hurontario LRT is currently under construction from Port Credit to southern Brampton. It is projected to be a major link in Mississauga’s transit infrastructure.
Highway 401 (aka the Macdonald-Cartier Freeway) is Canada’s busiest highway. It passes through the city’s north end, running from east to west.
Highway 403 is another major arterial highway, which runs in a diagonal north-easterly direction from the QEW in Oakville to highway 401 near Pearson International Airport. It also continues as Highway 410 on a northerly route through Brampton.
The Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) is another major highway which runs from east to west through the southern half of the city.
Highway 407 is a toll highway that runs along the city’s northern perimeter, also running from east to west.
Highway 427 is a north-south highway running along the Toronto-Mississauga border.
Highway 409 is an east-west highway that connects Pearson International Airport with Highways 427 and 401.
In 2010, the City of Mississauga approved a Cycling Master Plan outlining a strategy to develop over 900 kilometres (560 miles) of on and off-road cycling routes in the city over the next 20 years.
Lester B. Pearson International Airport (YYZ), operated by the Greater Toronto Airports Authority in the northeastern part of the city, is the largest and busiest airport in Canada.
It is a major North American global gateway, handling more international passengers than any other airport in North America except for John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.
Pearson is the main hub for Air Canada, and is also a major hub for WestJet and FedEx Cargo. Pearson is served by over 75 airlines, with direct service to over 180 destinations worldwide.
University of Toronto Mississauga
Mississauga is home to the University of Toronto Mississauga, one of three campuses of the University of Toronto. UTM has an enrollment of approximately 15,200 undergraduate students, as well as over 900 graduate students.
U of T Mississauga has 15 academic departments, 143 programs and 87 areas of study, and includes Institutes for Management and Innovation, and Communication, Culture, Information and Technology.
The Academy of Medicine is located on campus.
U of T Mississauga employs over 2,000 full and part-time employees, including over 1200 permanent faculty and staff, and has more than 69,000 alumni.
Sheridan College opened a new $46 million facility in Mississauga in 2011. The school has a focus on two main areas: business education, and programs to accelerate the acceptance of new Canadians into the workforce.
The Mississauga campus is one of three (the other two being in Brampton and Oakville), and is located in the Square One City Centre area just north of the Living Arts Centre.
Within its three campuses, Sheridan College serves over 23,000 fulltime students, as well as 17,000 continuing education students.
Public, Catholic, and Private Schools
Mississauga is served by the Peel District School Board, which operates public elementary, middle, and secondary schools. It also has the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board, which operates Catholic (separate) schools.
There are also two french language school boards, the Conseil Scolaire Viamonde, which operates secular french language schools, and the Conseil scolaire de district catholique Centre-Sud, which operates Catholic french language schools.
Mississauga Canada Conclusion
Mississauga has grown from a small collection of towns to become one of Canada’s largest cities. It has thriving business, cultural, and recreational sectors, and is a very popular place to call home.