When asked what key words best described Mississauga, the top responses were: growing, family friendly, safe, culturally rich, neighbourhood feel, welcoming, balanced lifestyle, and community oriented. The key words used least to describe the city were: surprising, rich history, sophisticated, hi-tech, young, charming, visionary, naturally beautiful.
Forty years ago, when Rockwood was a still only a farmer’s field, Mississauga had just incorporated all the “little villages” within the area to emerge as a city. Back then, we were, for the most part, a suburb of Toronto, a bedroom community. For those who grew up in Etobicoke, East Mississauga offered affordable housing within a reasonable commute, by car, to downtown Toronto. But today’s Mississauga is different and not entirely by accident. A few years ago, it became clear that while we are the sixth largest city in Canada, we, unlike our counterparts, had no downtown. The new City plan quickly changed to bring a new urban feel to the City Centre. To boost the urbanization of Mississauga came a proliferation of new condos, from which came new demands for more transit.
You can really see the changing face of Mississauga when respondents of this survey identified the key attributes of city. My take is that the positive words: geographic location, cleanliness, parks and green space, safe streets, infrastructure, recreation activities, and economic prosperity came from the suburbanites among us. The elements that least describe us -- accessibility, downtown, transit, eniors Activities, Traffic Congestion, Night Life and Affordability--possibly came from the urbanites among us.
But overall, the survey identified that Mississauga offers its residents good facilities and amenities, for shopping (88%), education (80%) and health care (77%). While 66% of those surveyed were optimistic about the city’s future, almost half expressed concerns that the city is growing too quickly.
*Please note this article was originally published in the Summer 2014 edition of The Rockwood Times.