5 Things That Would Have Been Better Than Walmart by Port Credit

 

Despite years of protest, the much-debated Lakeview-area Walmart is indeed setting up shop in Mississauga or is it.

According to a recent story in the Mississauga News, the always controversial superstore will remain, despite some resistance, an integral part of Trinity Development's commercial and retail project on Lakeshore in the city's east end. 

To be fair, the proposed Walmart will be smaller than other locations. It'll be about 84,000 sq. ft. (so not tiny, but not as gargantuan as other stores), which might calm some more ardent anti-Walmart advocates while pleasing people who want access to the discount goods brand.

So while the Walmart will no doubt please some shoppers, the fact remains that passionate residents once launched a long and fierce battle against the corporate giant. While the store can indeed provide shoppers with affordable goods, people still fear the brand will eat into the coffers of some of the smaller (and undeniably more charming) indie shops that imbue a community with vibrancy.

So while it appears the issue is settled, it might be fun (if not futile, possibly even a little depressing if you're annoyed by the chain's existence) to imagine what could have been if Walmart's opponents had been victorious.

5) A Distinct Village

While the space that will house the Walmart can't exactly function as a village, the exclusion of the superstore could have allowed a few more independently owned businesses to occupy the area. For example, the space being set aside for the store could have housed a few restos, shops or cafes. Port Credit has managed to carve out and maintain a niche as a quaint, upscale semi-urban destination. While some corporate giants occupy land (No Frills, Starbucks, Second Cup, etc.), the landscape is more defined by the presence of indie restos, quaint boutiques, on-trend chains (Smokes, The Priest) and hip bars. Lakeview could have catered to indies (sort of like Kensington Market, but without the junkies) exclusively.

4) Our Own St. Lawrence Market  

We're reusing this one from a previous story because it's a good idea. Residents have always expressed interest in a permanent boutique food outlet in the vein of Toronto’s popular St. Lawrence Market. A spacious and airy shop that proffers homegrown produce, artisanal cheese, fine meats and delectable coffee all year round would satisfy people who treat grocery shopping as an experience that benefits local producers and fosters a sense of community. The nearby Port Credit already has the indie and organic grocer scene on lock, so a truly unique market would satisfy both Lakeview and PC shoppers. With close proximity to New Toronto, the market could even attract shoppers from the Big Smoke who don't want to head downtown for local sausage. 

3) A Destination Resto/Bar 

While Mississauga has a few classy gems offering upscale nightlife, there could always be more. One reader suggested (for a different area, granted) a hotspot similar to Burlington's successful Ivy resto/bar, an elegant space that's perfect for trendy dining and late-night dancing. This is an excellent idea. With Lakeview being located close to TO, a destination resto/bar could draw in clientele from all over the GTA. It'll also be nice for people to have a sexy nightlife option, as those are few and far between in the city. 

2) Live Music Venue 

It would be nice to see the city get a concert space that isn't a pub. While there's nothing wrong with musically inclined pubs, they offer limited space and tend to cater to cover bands. A dedicated concert space would draw tourists, benefit residents and give both local and out-of-town artists a chance to showcase their goods. Also, the space could be used for events other then concerts. Smaller music spaces offer their stages for everything from comedy shows to performance art to burlesque acts (and the latter show would satisfy readers who requested more adult-oriented entertainment). 

1) A Unique Attraction 

This is more challenging, but it would be cool if the city were able to welcome an attraction that was way off-the-beaten path. Perhaps a destination green space or small nature-oriented attraction like a mini-zoo (similar to the High Park zoo). People love to gawk at wildlife, even if it's a more mundane creature like a deer or mallard duck (especially if there are babies involved - SQUEAL!). A small aquarium could also work. Or a modest art gallery or museum. A standalone gallery that welcomes temporary exhibits could compliment the smaller-scale AGM and help expand the city's budding art scene. 

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