Top 5 Cities Mississauga Should be Inspired By

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While Mississauga was always—and in some cases, still is—considered something of a quiet suburban satellite city, it's grown exponentially and continues to evolve in enviable ways.

This year alone, the city has tackled and announced major development projects and is set to welcome the massive (albeit controversial) Metrolinx LRT in the near future.

While we seem to be moving in the right direction, there are other cities that we could take some inspiration from in terms of creating spaces and events that are truly ours.

Here's a look at five cities that should inspire us.

5) Shizuoka, Japan

Shizuoka is located between Tokyo and Osaka and has the great fortune of being home to Mt. Fuji (something we can't quite emulate). While the city is unique in terms of its physical beauty and history (Mississauga boasts a different climate and is much younger), it stands out more for offering tourists a plethora of activities. In Shizuoka, tourists can enjoy food (we have lots of that here), nature, shopping, relaxation and culture. Shizuoka makes the most of its attributes, offering locals and visitors quirky and bizarre (re: memorable) activities like a rice field ride on Thomas the Tank Engine, interesting dishes like matcha gelato and fruit picking opportunities.

Mississauga, like Shizuoka, should capitalize on its strengths and showcase its historical properties, Native heritage and lifestyle attractions (spas, parks and restaurants). There's a lot to do here, it just needs to be marketed more aggressively.

4) Quebec City

Quebec City has a smaller population (about 516,625 people), a little more history and a lot more in the way of Europe-esque attractions. While it isn't feasible (or even desirable) for Mississauga to try to co-opt QC's look, it could take inspiration from the city's decidedly walkable areas filled with shops, cafes, restaurants and bars. We all know we can't have our own Chateau Frontenac, but we could create a sort of Grande Allee that's comprised of a cluster of hip bars, nightlife hotspots and chic restaurants.

QC also offers a lot of shops (some are touristy, some are genuine gems) and they add quaintness and character to the city. While Mississauga boasts Streetsville and Port Credit, it could probably introduce that same village aesthetic to Cooksville or City Centre (the LRT area) and benefit from the change.

3) Lyon, France

Again, we know that Mississauga can't exactly mimic a European city because the history and aesthetic simply isn't there (nor does it need to be). That said, Lyon is inspirational because it owns the fact that it's France's third largest city (just like we need to own that we're Canada's sixth) and offers so much in terms of art, culture, nightlife, food and shopping.

Mississauga has big dreams and it shouldn't be afraid to continue to grow its arts scene (which it is doing). It would be great to see the city build or become home to a really outstanding museum (or even expand the Art Gallery of Mississauga). Like Lyon, we can become a distinct tourist hotspot.

2) Portland, Oregon

Portland boasts a slightly smaller population, but the city is famous for becoming a cool, semi-hipster hotspot that's more than worth a visit. This week alone, the city will be home to a live performance by comedian David Sedaris, a Northwest Filmmakers' Festival and a Plucky Maiden's Holiday Junk Fest (which appears to be an adult-themed vintage clothing event with alcohol).

We're more populous than Portland, so perhaps we should try to construct some more big-name theatres to attract some international talent. While that might be expensive, it probably won't cost much to host a naughty booze fest that celebrates old clothing. That'll put us on the map!

Ottawa

Ottawa is our nation's capital, so we can't compete with its government buildings and well-established university town vibe. That said, we should straight up steal its Byward Market because if there's one thing everyone—and we do mean everyone—loves, it's a massive market that offers handmade, homegrown goods.

Ottawa also boasts a strong craft beer scene, and with beer being so culturally significant right now, it would be great to see Mississauga (or rather, entrepreneurs in Mississauga) grow the city’s artisanal drink culture. While Missisauga has some phenomenal restaurants, it would be nice to see a cluster of unique, independent joints set up shop in a few more places (again, namely along the future LRT route).

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