For the most part, Mississauga is not exactly known for its walkable streets and distinctive neighbourhoods. It has grown to become emblematic of what it has always so brazenly expressed itself to be: Suburban.
Mississauga is a bedroom community where cars rule supreme and box stores and shopping malls are still the main points of interest for civic interaction.
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. In the past, as long as there was farmland or unused land in its vicinity, Mississauga could just sprawl out in in all directions. Over time, sprawl comes to a crawl — if that.
Now, it seems Mississauga is having a change of heart when it comes to growth. And 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 want to build award-winning structures like the Marilyn Monroe building (officially known as the “Absolute World” condo). They want to create neighbourhoods that are more walkable and more connected through other means, besides cars.
Mississauga wants to connect to the lake, to the main streets, and they want to re-work the sprawl into something more livable.
They want more smart development mixed with their suburban homes and condos. They want a more urban-style neighbourhood.
Don’t get me wrong. Mississaugans still love their cars, their space, and their privacy — but they have a hunger for better neighbourhoods, planning and design.
It’s not that Mississauga does not have this already. Look at Port Credit. This neighbourhood has a seaside feel that is well-integrated with the lake. It has areas with walkable shops and outdoor patios. It is the urban neighbourhood that much of Mississauga would now aspire to become.
Of course, prices tend to be more expensive here. So, for some, this may not be the entry-level place to get in. Enter: Clarkson.
Clarkson is another Lakeshore community in Mississauga, a mere five-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 has the feel of the next Port Credit, but 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.
Now, let me be clear. We’re a ways off from this urbanization. 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. Plus, Port Credit is close, so 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 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 developed walkable streets OR the price tags of Port Credit — just yet.
So, for those who may be looking for some bargain hunting, this may be a good neighbourhood to pursue now. And it will only get better.
Now, if Clarkson plays its cards right, this little slice of Mississauga can really take advantage of their lakeside location and become the next “East Port Credit” or better yet, just Clarkson, a unique waterfront neighbourhood of its own.