Square One celebrates 50 years with new Vision Centre in Mississauga

Published December 7, 2023 at 3:41 pm

It’s a major milestone for the largest shopping centre in Mississauga and all of Ontario – Square One is officially 50 years old.

To celebrate their anniversary, the popular shopping centre recently unveiled an immersive space inside the mall that showcases historic photos and memories from the past five decades. Shoppers can marvel at the old stores that used to be in the centre and see just how different the iconic mall used to look!

The visually compelling Square One Vision Centre is located across from Holt Renfrew near Entrance 3. You’ll spot it by the large-scale number 50, which serves both as a unique entrance into the space and a fun photo opportunity.

Not only does this new centre look back at the past, it also looks to the future with an interactive display that shows how mixed-use developments and transit infrastructure will shape the Square One area in the coming years.

The area’s residential population, which more than tripled since the shopping centre opened in 1973, is expected to increase by up to 35,000 more residents in the years to come.

“The region’s dramatic growth has changed Square One’s significance as a novel shopping destination in 1973 to Mississauga’s city centre,” said Stephen Gascoine, Director at Square One.

“We’re seeing new transit and property development that highlights Square One’s importance as part of a vibrant downtown and transit hub that will connect the community to housing, employment, retail, dining and entertainment, everything one expects from a metropolitan centre.”

A rich history

Square One has a very rich and compelling history. Did you know it’s older than Mississauga itself?

The mall opened on Oct. 3, 1973, one year before the Towns of Port Credit and Streetsville amalgamated into what we now know as the City of Mississauga.

At that time, Square One was the largest shopping centre in all of Canada.

When the mall opened on the grass field northwest of Hurontario Street and Burnhamthorpe Road, its biggest retailers were department stores Woolco, Sears (Simpson-Sears at the time), The Bay, and grocery store Dominion.

Surrounded by undeveloped fields, the newly opened mall featured 170 stores on a 1 million sq. ft space – a far cry from today, where the 2.2 million sq. ft centre now offers more than 360 stores and services, and sees 22 million shoppers annually.

Upon its opening, the mall quickly attracted shoppers from across Mississauga and beyond who had previously frequented other local popular shopping destinations.

Looking to the future

At 50 years old, Square One is just getting started.

The shopping centre continues to undergo major expansions and developments, with a strong focus on enhancing their food, drink and entertainment options.

One of their most recent redevelopments is the 34,000 sq. ft Food District, a massive artisanal urban hall that houses some of the city’s best restaurants and a rotating selection of unique pop-ups.

Square One now boasts approximately 100 total restaurants, bars, and eateries. That includes the popular Rec Room which is known for its “eats and entertainment” concept – they combine good food with games, bowling, axe throwing, pool tables and more.

The growth of the popular shopping centre closely mirrors that of the city itself: Mississauga’s population was just 234,975 in 1975, a number which has risen dramatically over the years to 717,961 (as of 2021 data).

With the residential population surrounding Square One expected to increase by up to 35,000 in the coming years, the shopping centre is eager to continue expanding and serving the needs of that growing market.

Mayor Bonnie Crombie said she can’t think of a better way to celebrate this milestone than by looking back at the shopping centre’s history while also looking forward towards its bright and promising future.

“Square One is an anchor that defines Mississauga’s downtown core,” said Crombie. “As Mayor of the City of Mississauga, and a proud resident, I can’t wait to see how Square One evolves over the next 50 years and beyond.”

Check it out

The Square One Vision Centre is located across from Holt Renfrew near Entrance 3. To add to the holiday cheer, this year’s holiday gift wrapping will be hosted at the Vision Centre as of December 1st, and will be in support of Epilepsy South Central Ontario. Be sure to stop by soon to have your gifts wrapped and snap some photos of the 50th anniversary sign for your socials!

To keep up with all the news and latest developments at Ontario’s  largest shopping destination, visit Square One’s website and follow the mall on Instagram and Facebook.

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