5 Things You Need to Know About One of Mississauga’s Most Underrated Neighbourhoods
You might find this hard to believe, but one of Mississauga's oldest and most storied neighbourhoods is getting just a little trendier by the day—and you probably want to visit it right now to take it in as it is.
It's no secret that Cooksville, the neighbourhood anchored by the massive Dundas and Hurontario (5 & 10) intersection, has a bit of a reputation as a marginally rougher part of the city (or at least a place that could, perhaps, use a little facelift). Cooksville, aged though it may be, is an important part of Mississauga.
And it's one area expected to undergo massive change once the Hurontario Light-Rail Transit project (better known as the HuLRT) is completed in 2022.
So, here are five things you might not have known about Cooksville (and reasons why you need to visit sooner rather than later):
5) It's Diverse and Home to Over 100,000 People
According to recently released census data, the federal electoral district of Mississauga East-Cooksville boasts a population of 120,205 people (a slight population drop from 121,792 people in 2011). The area is home to 44,029 private dwellings, 16,545 of which are units in apartment buildings (compared to other areas in the city, Cooksville can be quite affordable).
The area is known for having a diverse restaurant scene (more on that later), so it makes sense that it's home to people from all over the world. According to census data, 46,950 residents say that English is their native language. Other first languages common to the area include Arabic (3,595), Vietnamese (2,550), Tagalog (4,525), Tamil (2,000), Polish (8,820), Ukrainian (3,410), Punjabi (1,080), Urdu (4,685), Italian (3,255), Portuguese (3,855), Spanish (3,070) and Chinese languages (4,925).
4) It Has a Growing Food Scene
Cooksville is now home to two decidedly trendy culinary destinations—Kage Nikkei Restobar and Halo Espresso Bar. The opening of Kage was particularly important because, a few short years ago, a trip to a Peruvian restaurant meant a trip to St. Clair West or Oakville. Now, the Japanese and Peruvian fusion restaurant is offering residents a truly unique and on-trend dining experience—one complete with sea bass tiradito, ceviche, karaage, anticuchos, and more.
Adding to the overall "incoming gentrification vibe" was the addition of Halo, an espresso bar that offers gourmet coffee, paninis and board game nights. On their Facebook page, they mention their on-point cortado, so you know they're the hip coffee joint the neighbourhood never knew it wanted until now.
Another new addition to the restaurant scene in the area? Kantene, a bright and modern comfort food resto that offers one of the best vegetarian pizzas in the city. What's even more impressive is the fact that Kantene won the title of the best veal sandwich at an Ontario Veal Appeal competition at the St. Lawrence Market in June 2019.
Karaage chicken from Kage
3) And Its Older Restaurants Are Some of the Best in the City
The food scene in Cooksville has always been on point, as the variety is second to none. You want Indian food? Chinese food? Jamaican food? South American food? Hakka food? Ask and you shall receive.
While the neighbourhood lost the delectable and authentic Border MX to Streetsville a few months ago, the area still boasts such culinary gems as the delicious My Empanada, the popular Las Delicias, the beloved and always on point Pho Queen City (which has been number one on our Top 5 Pho list for literal years), the 50+ year-old Cooksville Fish and Chips, the beloved Freddy's Kitchen (which you need to try if you're in the mood for Jamaican food) and more.
2) It Could be the Site of a New Community Hub
A while ago, we learned that an old and well-known educational institution in Mississauga had been chosen as the site of a potential project.
Now, it looks like the project that involves turning the T.L. Kennedy Secondary School and Sgt. David Yakichuk Park into a community hub and new secondary school is making some progress. The idea of converting the school into a central one-stop community hub for the Downtown Cooksville core has been the vision of former Ward 7 Councillor (and current Region of Peel chair) Nando Iannicca's for over ten years. Finally, the project is making some headway.
The Peel District School Board (PDSB) is currently in discussion with the City of Mississauga in regards to TLK and is working on creating a plan of action. An outside consultant will be hired to develop a joint study to decide what best amenities or services will help make it easier for residents to gain access to recreational, educational and other resources at the TLK site.
The current school is expected to remain in place (so TLK won't be going anywhere), but will be re-developed to feature more resources. Also, recreational services will be attached to the school, making it more of a community hub. The Future Directions Master Plan and 2016 Vision Cooksville recommend a community meeting and recreational space with a bigger library of approximately 17,000 square feet.
So, big things could be coming down the chute here, and for good reason...
1) The LRT Will Change it Forever
About three years ago, insauga.com started reaching out to businesses in the busy Hurontario corridor to ask them one very important question: Were they worried about the effect the incoming LRT project would have on their establishments (at least in the short term)? The answer was, surprisingly, neither "yes" or "no." It was "what train?"
That year was 2015, and now that it's 2019, fewer people are asking "what train?" when the LRT--a grand-scale transit project that includes approximately 18 kilometres of rapid transit between Port Credit GO Station in Mississauga and Gateway Terminal in southern Brampton--comes up.
The $1.4 billion transit project, which will boast multiple stops and connections to GO Transit's Milton and Lakeshore West lines, has already broken ground and, once completed, it could change the Cooksville area forever.
While most people acknowledge that the LRT, which will absolutely benefit the corridor and the city overall, many have also pointed out that it will likely increase the value of the property it's being built near and on. While that sounds positive on its face, some residents and city officials have posited that the LRT could, indirectly, force people from their working-class Cooksville neighbourhood by making it more costly to live in. In other words, the LRT could ignite the gentrification process (something that might already be happening).
Fortunately for current Cooksville residents, the city is working to create a new bylaw that, if approved, will protect existing rental stock—and therefore affordable rental housing—in every neighbourhood in Mississauga.
And while gentrification is complex and concerns surrounding it valid, it's not possible to move a city forward without enacting—and welcoming—change in some of its older areas.
What's your favourite thing about Cooksville?
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