2019 is over and, semantics aside, so is the decade. That means everyone is feeling a little introspective and nostalgic. So we thought it would be a good time to take a step back and look at the year that was.
2019 was an interesting year to say the least, one that both showed encouraging signs of improvement, while also some worrying signs about where the city is headed. Of course, the ups and downs may very well depend on your position and opinions, but we’re going to take a look at some events and happenings, and let you decide for yourself.
Business in the city thrived, as it has done for many a year in a row. In fact, you could argue that 2019 was the biggest year for business growth in some time. Square One Mall saw the opening of it’s west wing, which included The Rec Room, The Food District, Indigo, and Uniqlo. A huge addition to the Mall that went a long way to making it more fancy, and more comprehensive. Square One continues to set the standard in Ontario for shopping, but 2020 could see Erin Mills catch-up a bit with it’s own incoming entertainment complex.
Of course, Square One wasn’t the only home of new opening businesses. Restaurants, supermarkets, and stores opened all across the city and the majority found success, from Top Gun Burger on Latimer Drive, to Stonehooker Brewery near Port Credit. 2019 was a great year for businesses big and small in Mississauga.
Business wasn’t the only thing booming in 2019 though, as we also bore witness to the continued growth of the city as a whole. Mississauga is continuing to sprout like a flower in a time-lapse; with new condos, homes, high-rises, and entire development areas popping up all over the city. Dozens of apartment buildings sprang up in 2019, and Port Credit alone saw three massive new developments break ground that will bring tens of thousands to the area.
And speaking of breaking ground, the long, long-awaited Hurontario Light Rail Transit finally started construction. The above-ground, high-speed train from Port Credit to Brampton is finally underway with the moving of vital gas-lines and such. Of course, the LRT won’t be completed until 2024 but it’s nice to see the project finally moving forward. Not to mention, the busiest road in all of North America, the 401 highway, is also seeing some much-needed construction that aims to reduce congestion.
So city infrastructure is beginning to evolve and improve as the city itself grows at an unprecedented pace, but is that what everyone wants? Mississauga has always been known as Toronto’s sleepy neighbour; a slightly derogatory term but one that highlighted the less noisy, less busy way of life that many of us in the city enjoy. Earlier last year we wondered whether or not Mississauga was becoming too large, perhaps losing it’s identity through rapid expansion, but Mayor Bonnie Crombie recently stated that, “It’s the new Mississauga. We don’t build single-family homes any more; we build condo and townhomes.”
That’s an odd sentiment for a city that has always strived to maintain it’s small-town atmosphere and to not become Toronto 2.0. It’s certainly an interesting sentiment that is very clearly the direction we’re headed, whether we like it or not. However that wasn’t the only news surrounding Mayor Crombie, who quietly fought to get Mississauga separated from Region of Peel. The Ford Government recently denied the proposal, leaving the Mayor a little miffed and ready to try again with the gloves off.
And, in a year where Prime Minister Trudeau was found to have some deeply racist videos floating around the internet, Mayor Crombie chose to stay quiet. Yet was one of the first to call for Sportsnet to fire long-time broadcaster Don Cherry for saying immigrants should live the Canadian way of life. As an immigrant, I can say I have no issue with what Don Cherry said, but I find PM Trudeau’s history more than a little…off-colour. So, suffice to say, it’s been a bumpy year for Mayor Crombie, however she’s still immensely popular and driving the city forward.
And what would the city be without it’s people? More and more people come to Mississauga each year seeking a new way of life and call our city home. However with a real estate market that makes it nigh on impossible for the average person to ever dream of owning a home, one has to wonder where said people will be spending their twilight years. Unless of course you strike it rich.
Finally, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention sports. Mississauga is a food city, a music city, and now a sports city. We’ve always had great sports teams like the Steelheads, IceDogs, Raptors 905, the MetroStars, and more. We thought we’d had our big sporting moment of the year when the Toronto Raptors won the NBA Championship, but along came Bianca Andreescu. The teenage tennis starlet beat the greatest female player of all-time, Serena Williams, to win the U.S Open.
To say this was a big moment for both Mississauga and Andreescu is like saying space is big. Mayor Crombie, Prime Minister Trudeau, and a half dozen city officials gathered with a few thousand Mississauga citizens gathered at Celebration Square to welcome home our new sports hero.
And that’s the year that was. A year of ups and downs, as they all are, but one that was pretty darn great and exciting. From continued growth and development to winning awards, Mississauga goes from strength to strength. There’s growing pains and we might not always like the direction, but there’s no doubting we’re moving onward and upward. Here’s to 2020!