Mississauga is the city that never stops growing, something like the opposite of Peter Pan. The only question is, when is it big enough? When does our city lose its atmosphere and community vibes? When do we become Toronto 2.0?
Canada in general is growing at an exponential rate. Only a few middle-eastern countries are even close to Canada in terms of how quickly it is expanding in terms of population and building. That’s a positive thing in a lot of ways but, with everyone living on the border of the U.S., it leads to a lot of congestion, and we here in Mississauga know that all too well.
When talking about things like this, it’s important to take a step back and look at where we’ve come from. And in the case of Mississauga, we’ve come extremely far in a short period of time. In the 1980’s there were still quite a few acres of green fields in Mississauga, but now you have to drive northwest out of the city to find some fields.
So fast forward a mere 30 years and the city, with the exception of Lake Ontario, is practically devoid of any nature. To the point where we’re actively having to go back and build parks and reserves. That’s a genuine concern for a country that prides itself on it’s gorgeous landscapes. Nowadays we take it for granted that you have to “go up north” to find any nature.
Meanwhile, back in the city, you find scaffolding, cranes, and construction sites no matter where you look. To the point where it’s quickly becoming an obstruction on the eyes and the ears – as someone who lives in Port Credit, I can speak to the incredible noise pollution on a daily basis. And let’s take Port Credit as the prime example.
Just past the Credit Landing plaza that houses Loblaws, Dollarama, and Bulk Barn, you have a construction site on the north side of Lakeshore road called The Shores of Port Credit. On the south side of that very same road, in the same area, you have another, much larger construction site that aims to bring an entire new community to the area, called Brightwater. That site will add thousands of condos, hundreds of townhouses, schools, hundreds of stores, and more. That’s two huge construction sites right beside each other, bringing thousands of new residents to Port Credit on the western side alone.
Then if we move into Port Credit itself, a new high-rise condo building was just erected on Ann Street that took a few years to complete. The condos were built by Nola, as were the adjacent townhouses, and have added several hundred new apartments. Meanwhile a new high-rise condo project just started construction on Park Street East by Edenshaw, and will take several years to complete, while also spoiling the view of Square One for several of the other buildings in the area.
Moving out of Port Credit to the east, there are at least three major projects about to go into production, all three of which are adjacent to Lakeshore Road. One of those projects is the huge Lakeview Village development, which will bring some 20,000 new people to the area. Now, if you take a look at that development, it’s stunning. Absolutely gorgeous. And it will be a vast improvement to an area of the city that is rather underdeveloped. However an extra 20,000 people in the area with no new roads is sure to lead to a massive increase in congestion.
And that’s only taking into account this new development; when you also consider the two nearby projects, Port Credit’s new condo’s, and the three Credit Landing developments, we’re talking well over 100,000 more people in Port Credit alone. That’s an awful lot of growth with no intention of growing the infrastructure to effectively deal with it.
And that’s just Port Credit. We haven’t touched upon the numerous developments around Clarkson, Square One, Cooksville, or any of the other dozens of construction sites around the city. It really does seem like no matter where you look you can find new building sites and the city continuing to grow in on itself.
You might be thinking this all sounds a bit like worrying over nothing. However a report from 2018 suggested that by the year 2041, Mississauga is likely to have an additional 500,000 residents. For context, the city’s current population is 828,000. So we’d be adding an extra half onto what we currently have with no improvements to infrastructure, like a subway. To put it plainly, we’re growing faster than is sustainable and that is certainly a recipe for disaster.
Of course, you might point to the incoming Hurontario LRT as proof of an attempt to help deal with traffic and congestion. In the short-term however, the LRT just means two straight years of construction on the busiest stretch of road in the city. And the fact of the matter is this; the LRT will bring Mississauga and Brampton closer together, thus effectively joining the two cities as one. This comes at a time when Mississauga has been flirting with the idea of leaving Peel altogether, but honestly it seems far more likely that the two areas come together to form one giant city. Thus completing Mississauga’s transformation into Toronto 2.0.
Is that hyperbole? Possibly. Considering the aforementioned report, Mississauga population by 2041 would still only be half of Toronto’s current. However it’s not so much a question of population but of congestion, infrastructure, and the intangibles.
How long until we start knocking down homes in Lorne Park to make way for more condos? How long until we have traffic deadlock every day on Lakeshore road? How long until Port Credit’s Memorial Park isn’t big enough to host summer festivals? How long until Square One isn’t big enough to accommodate shoppers around Christmas? How long until the city loses its identity? That’s when Mississauga becomes a booming city that never sleeps, thus driving families away. The prices of buying and renting are already through the roof, forcing younger people to leave the city.
Maybe this is all worrying for nothing. Maybe we’ll look back in twenty years and laugh at how small the city was. Maybe the city will be running like a well-oiled machine with the LRT, a subway, and plenty of new bus routes accommodating the new developments and added populace. Yet we can’t help but wonder if Mississauga is becoming too large.