Mississauga 2.0 Our Journey to improve OUR CITY's urban community

History of Mississauga's Urban Sprawl

The issue with Mississauga over the last few decades is their urban sprawl. This small city was known as being full of fields, water areas and open land. Even in 2002, the towns continued to grow at an exceptional level. New homes, factories, commercial, institutional and roads, railways, airports were increased to make transportation around the city a little easier. Ever since the 1970s, Mississauga decided they were going to develop an Urban area around Square One, which would be represented as the town’s city center. However, Hazel MacCallion time as mayor saw major changes to what looked like a small town of farmers to an entire city of buildings and urban civilizations.

In the past, Mississauga was a plain city of countryside settlement. It has changed to being a town of major buildings and industrial activities today.
Over the years, especially last 2-3 decades, we have been seeing the city filled with more of what is seen above.

Going back on Mississauga’s history, the city originally belonged the Natives, who used the open land and rivers for farming and fishing. They were known as the Native Mississauga’s, which is why every morning we honor them sharing our land. In 1805, the British Crown and Natives agreed to a treaty allowing the British people to claim 74 000 acres of land. A second purchase was made in 1918 by the British, allowing them to own another 600 000 acres of land in Mississauga. The amount of British land outnumbered the Natives’ Mississauga, therefore a few miles surrounding the Credit River remained to the Natives people, and it would eventually become the Credit Indian Reserve. Unfortunately for the Natives, they weren’t happy with the lack of space and relocated to East Brantford, basically giving up all of their land in Mississauga to the British emperors.

The Native People, also known as the Mississaugas, were the first to settle in the city which they pronounced as the "Great River Mouth."

In 1935, the first major urban civilized area was built in Mississauga (later part of Greater Toronto Area). The city expanded a little, with small increase in homes, institutions and industrial land. The QEW (Queen Elizabeth’s Way) was built to help transfer people through ground travel, it was one of the first controlled highways in the world (connected to Highway 27 and 10 in Port Credit). The Malton (Lester B. Pearson International Airport) would become the busiest airport in Canada, mostly transferring people from Toronto, on the East. At the time, Mississauga still remained as a rural area that was slowly turning to a suburb.

The Queen Elizabeth's Way, first major highway in Mississauga which lead to many more intersections over the years.
Mississauga has always been a part of the Greater Toronto Area since being bought by the British Crown, therefore it's airport, Pearson International, will always be determined as part of Toronto despite being built in Mississauga on 6301 Silver Dart Drive.

In 1973, businesswoman Bruce McLaughlin began building the Square One Shopping Centre. It became the country’s second largest shopping mall, as mayors Chic Murray and Martin Dobkin agreed to expand the town’s people around the shopping mall, which would soon become the downtown area. Right now, all the major events take place in the Square One mall area. Houses, buildings, grocery stores and recreational activities around the place. After Dobkin stepped down from office, Hazel MacCallion took over, and her plan of expanding the city was going to become extreme.

Rich guy Bruce McLaughlin may often be referred to as the guy who started Urban Sprawl. His plan of building the Square One and City Town Centre in the middle of nowhere led to an increase of town-related structures to be built around it, and Hazel McCallion's victory spread the sprawl even further.

Mayor MacCallion was elected as the Mississauga mayor in 1978 and remained in office for 36 years. Her dream was to see the town grow under her into a place full of people, wealth and successful economies. Her hard work has given her the Municipal victory through 9 elections, while she also received heavy criticism for uncontrollably sprawling her city. In fact, she was given the nickname by Toronto Star as the “Queen of Sprawl” because ever since she took over, it became very noticeable how the open land of Mississauga turned into a busy urban community. When Hazel bought her first house in 1951 down Britannia Road, the area was still covered in dirt. Today, the pavement of her first house has become a busy suburb boulevard, and the population in the City of Mississauga has almost tripled during her time. What was incredible about Mayor MacCallion’s time as the mayor was that she was able to, for all those years continue to build libraries, grocery stores, houses, buildings and sheriff stations while managing to keep up with her city’s debt.

Hazel McCallion, one of Mississauga's most famous politicians, won the municipal election in 1978 and played a major part in the city's development over the next 4 decades.

Just because MacCallion’s wealth was able to keep Mississauga’s mass urban sprawl through the 4 decades intact, it does not mean it is sustainable. As Bonnie Crombie takes over Mississauga’s mayor roles, she will have a difficult time having to keep up financially in the city’s urban sprawl continuation. Even though Mississauga is Canada’s sixth largest city, this does not mean that the area will continue to supply homes for major increases in populations, eventually urban sprawl will cause overpopulation and deal damage to the society, so it’s up to us to decide what solutions we could find to an issue that has become a major problem for this city.

We are about to find out some of the actual problems with urban sprawl in Mississauga.

Issues With Urban Sprawl

While Sprawl may indicate that a city may be increasing the space for new people to reside, it will also lead to some major problems regarding the every day life of original citizens. In the end, those people living in Mississauga will admit that the sprawls have or will eventually led to more of the issues below:

1.2.) Increase In Water Pollution

The building and operations of additional urban community projects will create some issues in the water. That is not good because Mississauga has some great water systems including the Credit River and Lake Ontario (from Jack Darling Memorial Park, Port Credit division). In a town, usually the gasoline, lawn chemicals, heavy metals, paints spills, motor oil, pet wastes, construction site erosion get sent to the rivers, and the rest of it is boring science to interpretate.

1.) Increase In Air Pollution

In an urban sprawl, that means there will be more roads and buildings, it will bring an increase in the usage of cars and trucks. Great traffic will occur on the streets, and that will lead to longer and more frequent commutes. That’s how we will see a major additional in air pollution (from the gasoline of cars) and ground level smog. This could create some health issues for the people in town.

Air pollution caused by urban sprawl hasn't gotten to Mississauga as badly as other cities around the world (example, Los Angeles, Beijing) however with more people, there are obviously more industrial activities like factories that will likely cause more smog frequently.

2.) Increase In Water Pollution

The building and operations of additional urban community projects will create some issues in the water. That is not good because Mississauga has some great water systems including the Credit River and Lake Ontario (from Jack Darling Memorial Park, Port Credit division). In a town, usually the gasoline, lawn chemicals, heavy metals, paints spills, motor oil, pet wastes, construction site erosion get sent to the rivers, and the rest of it is boring science to interpretate.

3.) Increase In Water Consumption

While this may not seem like a huge issue for fellow Mississauga residents (because the amount of water we have in the city and around the country is enough to supply everyone), the continuation of urban sprawl will eventually lead to issues with water distribution. We talked about Canada's wealth in resources in the last unit, and mass increase in urban populations is a reason why the non-renewable products does not provide a sustainable solution. An example of this would be how more water is consumed for lawn watering and other landscape activities, which can strain and deplete local water supply systems. A normal family (4 people) would use up 400 gallons of water per day, with around 30% of it devoted for outdoor uses (including watering plants, washing cars, forming skating rinks in backyards and maintaining swimming pools). Obviously with more urban sprawl, the demand for the properties listed above will increase and water will be distributed at a far superior pace, until a point Mississauga can no longer support.

With more people, they are going to need to use more water for drinking and other life-related purposes. While Mississauga is able to support it right now, continued growth would make this a problem to deal with.

4.) Loss In Open Space, Recreational Parks and Farmland

There is still quite some bit of open space in Mississauga that is used for building recreational park areas like Jack Darling Memorial Park, but overall a lot of the space has been taken already. There's no space for large parks that can attract people from the province, very few beach areas and no campgrounds available. That's by far not going to attract many people. Another issue is Mississauga's farmland. The amount is very few at this point. The city used to be filled with fields and agriculture operations, but since Mayor Hazel took over and she's changed almost all of it to buildings, factories and shopping malls. Now that's great, but where's the crops going to come from to be sold in the malls? Mississauga will have to import from other cities, or further distances. They're going to be in trouble soon financially if it keeps going down this way. Plus, if urban sprawl remains to be uncontrolled, then they're going to replace all the remaining open space to build houses, and Mississauga will end up being known as the Smokey City.

As the years have past under Hazel McCallion, you just don't see these farmlands around anymore.
Urban Sprawl's purpose is to increase human population in a city, and they'll have to build more urban structures in the areas. This mean it could eventually start taking parts of open space (parks, recreational areas as well).

5.) Increase In Traffic Fatalities

This one's an easy one to point out. Obviously with great urban civilization in a community, the transportation routes will have to expand as well. As the construction of urban properties continue to get built over the open space full of wildlife, then there'll be more roads, and maybe an expansion of the main streets like Eglington Avenue or Mississauga Road. There'll be more people driving cars and just saying, as the traffic becomes busier each day, so will the job of police officers. It seems like every day we have traffic accidents now, especially at intersections during the winter time. There's already a great amount of injuries to residents who aren't careful and make mistakes. With a greater amount of roads, buildings and humans overall, the congress on the road will only get tighter. Traffic would be more tense. People will get impatient and don't want to obey the law. Accidents are going to happens, more careless drivers, grand theft autos and police chases causing a danger to the entire community.

More people, more roads and more people driving cars. Oh, and of course, we will have an increase in events like this.

Possible Solutions

It's easy to list some of the issues with urban sprawl, which is why we should not continue to expand the city at this rate in the future. It's easy to mention about some of the issues caused by sprawls during MacCallion's time, however, actually solving the issues that we currently have for a better Mississauga is far more difficult. After the buildings are constructed and operating now, it's hard to take them away and bring back some open space. Maybe a little bit would work, but the situation has gotten too far at this point. It is up to us to make sure the actions we are taking do not make even greater effect of the sprawl and possibly try and solve some of these issues.

We should find some possible solutions

1.) Reviving and Reinventing (Creating Space In Our Community)

Over the past decades, the city planners have only really considered how we’re going to fit great populations in only a distance covering 284.88 square kilometers. That’s an example of how the town has transformed their larger areas or other open spaces into additional pieces of properties. If you look at a Walmart Superstore and the space it uses to provide a building and then the large parking lot, the city would continue to try and build off the open space around it. They would take the parking lot, reduce it's size and construct other buildings like restaurants, libraries and small businesses around it, forming a plaza. A lot of the places nowadays, no one even visits, for example take 99Cent Depot. Who goes there? Other than the businessman trying to make money. It's just sitting there around it's competition wasting land. This is where reviving and reinventing would come in. We need to break apart the small plaza areas and separate the properties so they can have some greater space between them, and some of the industrial sprawl buildings could likely find more success. Yes, it will be quite a process to destroy the buildings, move them elsewhere, but think about the land could be used for something else that won't cause urban sprawl is.

Here's an example of what we are talking about. When we had just one or two buildings in the area before, a medium sized parking lot and open space behind it, we decided to fill it all out with multiple commercial buildings like these plazas. We now need to try and relocate them around the city in more open areas to get spread more space all round.

2.) Reduce Usage of Motor Vehicles

As mentioned, the increase use of motor vehicles will cause many problems in urban sprawl. First of all, to the environment, and second, to humans. According to David Suzuki, it is up to our community to make a commitment and get out of our cars. For example, a goal that residents in the Mississauga community should set up right now, is in case you are buying a new home, try to pick one that is close by to work, school and local grocery stores. For other people, they should just try and get out of their cars whenever they can. There is no doubts for many things people do in a community, they require to drive cars. The point is to no longer be so dependant on cars, because they burn fossil fuels and cause air pollutions and, logically, as there are more cars out there on the streets, there are likely more bad drivers. That's when accidents happen, and we already talked about it. The biggest need right now in our crowded is space in public, and minimizing the use of cars would definitely be helpful.

Yes, absolutely to move around in a city so large, sometimes you have to use cars. However, as we have learnt that the use of motor vehicles are a big problem in urban sprawl, to try and improve the situation, as residents, we need to be aware the not use our cars whenever it's possible. For example, taking a walk to school or to the park would be a help to the community.

3.) Residents Need To Be Involved In Community

This is perhaps the most important thing. As a city planner, there's not much more I can do, other than trying to move buildings and urban properties in locations where it'll provide the residents more space so problems involving real life won't occur as often. I'll absolutely be careful and remove any properties which seems like it's useless (example abandoned convenience stores) and try to replace it with wildlife areas, where it's not going to create any further sprawl. However, in a city, it's up to more than just one person or one party to solve major problems. The residents need to be involved and here's my plan: The city, led by the mayor and councilor will have our own Urban Sprawl Institution. Then, it's up to the people of Mississauga. They are to report to us anything they realize that is not going well involving urban sprawl. Issues may involve road expansions over open space, constant traffic jams, poor transit, shopping malls they want removed, they have to be communicating with the people from the Urban Sprawl Institution (24/7) and try to convince us on what we should do moving forward, if they have any plans or want to destroy buildings/highways etcetera. With more people aware of the problems urban sprawl can cause, the quicker we can work together to solve the issue.

Most importantly, it's up to you, the residents of Mississauga to find ways to get involved in solving our city's urban population crisis. Hazel McCallion thought that doing what it takes to bring more people to Mississauga would bring this place on the big Canadian map. However, our city stands out enough already at this point, and we'll do what we can to decrease some of the issues that are currently being lead to.


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