January 18, 2018 | Mississauga
For the most part, Mississauga is not exactly known for its walkable streets and distinctive neighbourhoods. Mississauga has grown to become emblematic of what is has always so brazenly expressed itself to be: Suburban. It’s a bedroom community where cars rule supreme and box stores and shopping malls are still largely the main source of civic interaction among Mississauga’s citizenry. Historically, planning has not really been a thing. It has not really been front and centre in many of the development decisions made in Mississauga. For a long time, as long as there was farmland/unused land to expand into, Mississauga could just sprawl out in in all directions. Of course, there came a time when there was a lot less room to sprawl.
Now, Mississauga is having a change of heart when it comes to growth. We are beginning to see a challenge to the very soul of what it means to live in Mississauga. We have learned in the last 10 years or so, that the people of Mississauga now want to build award-winning buildings like the Marilyn Monroe building (officially known as the “Absolute World” condo), and they want to create neighbourhoods that are more walkable and more connected through other forms of transit besides cars. Mississauga wants to connect to the lake, to the their main streets, and they want to re-work the sprawl into something more livable. They want more smart development mixed in with their suburban homes and condos. They want a more urban style neighbourhood in Mississauga. Don’t get me wrong. They still love their cars, their space, their privacy, but they have a hunger for better neighbourhoods, planning and design.
It’s not that Mississauga does not have this already. They do. Port Credit. This neighbourhood has a seaside feel that is well-integrated with the lake. It has an areas with walkable shops and outdoor patios. It is the urban neighbourhood that much of Mississauga would now aspire to become. It has been incredibly successful. Of course, prices tend to be more expensive here. So, for some, this may not be the entry level place to get in. One key Mississauga neighbourhood I think that should be watched is Clarkson. Clarkson is another Lakeshore community in Mississauga, a mere 5 minute drive from Port Credit. It’s close to the highway for drivers, has a Clarkson GO station for getting into Toronto, and it has the very impressive Rattray Marsh conservation with trails and protected marshes and greenery along its waterfront. Though much of Mississauga is not known for its clever development, it strangely has done a good job of holding a few key spots along the lakeshore to keep the city better connected to the lake.
Clarkson is a bit of a hodgepodge of many things. Houses, condos, box stores, Mom and Pop shops. In some parts, you’ll find the expensive houses of longstanding Claksonites. In others, you’ll find easy affordability and high rise rentals.
What do I like about Clarkson? It has the feel of the next Port Credit. Now, let me be clear. We’re a ways off. But there is an attempt for smarter development in this area. There is room for a good commercial strip along the Lakeshore here. It has good bones. Because Port Credit is close, Clarkson benefits from having the people who want to live there, spilling into its neighbourhood. And if the folks who want Port Credit can’t have Port Credit, they may just aim to make Clarkson more like Port Credit.
The similarities between Port Credit and Clarkson can’t really be ignored. Both not only have a pretty location along the lake, but they are well integrated with the lake. Both have a convenient location near the QEW and along the GO train route to Toronto. Clarkson does not, have, however, the price tags of Port Credit or the developed walkable streets just yet. So, for those who may be looking for some bargain hunting, this may be a good neighbourhood to pursue now. I think it’s only going to get better. And if Clarkson plays its cards right, this little slice of Mississauga can really take advantage of their lakeside location to be the next “East Port Credit” or better yet, just Clarkson, a unique waterfront neighbourhood of its own.