Mississauga (pronounced "Mrs. Sauga") was originally a suburb of Toronto, but has become a big city in its own right. It is now Canada’s
sixth most populated municipality and is home to the Toronto Pearson International Airport, which is the largest airport in Canada.
The city’s growing and diverse population has doubled in the past 25 years and Mississauga is now the third most populous city on the Great Lakes, surpassing Detroit, Cleveland and Milwaukee.
If you want to be part of this expanding multicultural city, read on to learn what you need to know when moving there.
Mississauga’s climate is classified as “humid continental” by the Köppen system, which means it has four distinct seasons. Average summer highs reach about 27 degrees Celsius in the city, while Mississauga winters see the temperatures fall to an average low of -9. The areas of the city sitting on Lake Ontario experience typical lake effect weather, including milder temperatures and frequent fog.
Extreme weather is rare, but possible. Mississauga suffered through two tornados in the past hundred years. Thunderstorms are much more common, but are not excessive.
Mississauga has a great range of neighbourhood variety in term demographically and topographically. The City Centre, Lake Ontario and the Toronto Pearson International Airport all affect their surrounding neighbourhoods in different ways.
In the City Centre, Fairview and Mississauga Valleys are close to the major highways and retail centres, making them expensive but exciting places to live. Western Mississauga has residential areas that are less urban and usually cheaper, such as Churchill Meadows.
Clarkson and Lakeview’s locations on Lake Ontario alter their weather but offer a great view. Cooler summer temperatures and frequent lake fog are the price to pay for direct access to the water.
The huge Toronto Pearson International Airport makes the northeast quadrant of the city a bustling industrial centre with almost no residential areas. The major exception to this rule is Malton, which is separated from the rest of the city by the airport. Because of this isolation, the city's Sikh population tends to congregate there.
Mississauga is one of Canada’s most culturally rich cities. English is the most commonly spoken language, but is considered the native tongue for only 48 percent of the population. The majority of the city speaks a minority language, but none is spoken by more than five percent of its residents. As is the case with Malton and the Sikhs, there are many pocket communities of distinct ethnicities and cultures throughout the city.
Mississauga’s crime rate is comparable to Toronto's because it originated as one of its suburbs. That's good news because both Toronto and Mississauga have low per-capita crime rates. However, it should be noted that crime in Mississauga has increased in recent years due to its rapid urbanization. There are some underdeveloped parts of town that could be dangerous.
Registering Your Car in Mississauga
To register your vehicle after you move to Mississauga, you will need to abide by Southern Ontario regulations. Keep in mind that all of Southern Ontario’s clerical fees are more expensive than they are in Northern Ontario.
If you currently have a valid license, insurance, proof of ownership, and a relatively new vehicle, you should be able to register your car in Mississauga quite easily. For more information, visit Service Ontario’s website
Mississauga’s most important location is the Toronto Pearson International Airport. Its presence in Mississauga necessitates a robust transportation system to serve both its residents and the airport’s customers.
There are several highways in Mississauga, but the biggest is Highway 401, which runs in the northern part of the city. With 18 lanes, it is among the busiest and widest freeways in the world.
There are several railways that pass through Mississauga, but not all of them have stops within the city because they primarily serve Toronto and the neighbouring areas. There is a proposed system that will provide a route through the downtown Mississauga area, but it has yet to be approved.
(formerly Mississauga transit) runs the city’s public bus system. It operates both locally for commuters and as a limited-stop line that can take riders to neighbouring cities.
Bicycling is a good way of getting around in Mississauga, especially in the near future. In 2010, the city approved a plan to construct over 900 kilometres of bike paths. It may take another 15 years to complete, but it shows the city wants to foster cycling as a legitimate way to commute.
The Peel District School Board operates Mississauga’s secular Anglophone public schools and has the most students of any board in the city. The Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board runs the Catholic Anglophone public schools, the Conseil scolaire Viamonde oversees secular Francophone schools and the Conseil scolaire de district catholique Centre-Sud takes care of Catholic Francophone schools. In total, there are over 150 primary and secondary schools in Mississauga.
There are two post-secondary institutions in Mississauga. The University of Toronto Mississauga is one of the University of Toronto’s three main campuses. It has over 15 academic departments, and is known for its management, communication and IT programs.
Sheridan College is a newly-constructed facility built in downtown Mississauga in 2011. It is a business school that strives to aid new Canadians in entering the workforce.
Mississauga’s general proximity to Canada’s largest city, and its possession of its largest international airport, make it a thriving business centre. More than 60 Fortune 500 companies have offices in Mississauga.
Major companies with offices or headquarters in the city include:
- Citibank Canada
- TD Bank Financial
- Royal Bank of Canada
- Microsoft Canada
- Laura Second Chocolates
- Walmart Canada
- Panasonic Canada
- Target Canada
According to an article in the Mississauga News
, there is some concern about income inequality in Mississauga. There are many immigrants in the city that struggle to make ends meet while executives in Mississauga's myriad of big companies bump up the average salary statistics. The median yearly income for residents of the city is over $60,000, but Mississauga Food Bank claimed that 17 percent of the population lived in poverty in 2013.
Mississauga's Cost of Living
Mississauga can be a less expensive option for those that can't afford to live in Toronto. According to Numbeo, a cost of living calculator, you only need a little over $4,600 a month to maintain the same standard of living that $5,100 would get you in Toronto.
Despite being cheaper than Toronto, compared to other cities, Mississauga’s prices are high (especially for food and public transportation). Renting a one bedroom apartment in the city centre can cost over $1,300 a month. For a complete cost of living analysis, check out Numbeo’s profile on Mississauga
Mississauga Culture and Contemporary Life
Mississauga has several activities and attractions to explore. Many events take place in the Civic Square (also known as Celebration Square). This is where most of the city’s seasonal festivals occur, but it also holds minor events nearly every day during the warmer months of the year. Roughly 60 times a year, the centre holds mini-celebrations like Senior Day or Family Day.
Mississauga’s biggest cultural festival is Carassauga, a celebration of the many cultures that populate the city. Pavilions that represent different countries are set up around Mississauga and visitors can freely traverse the city to encounter a wide range of cultural food, shops and performances.
Other Mississauga festivals include:
- Canada Day
- Mississauga Rotary Ribfest
- The Tree Lighting
- New Years' Eve Bash
The iconic Mississauga Civic Centre (which is built as a giant, “futuristic” barn to reflect the city’s agricultural history) is a sight to behold in addition to being a functional government building. Within the Civic Centre is the Art Gallery of Mississauga, a non-profit art centre that does not charge admission. Mississauga also boasts one of Canada’s largest malls, the Square One Shopping Centre. It has over 350 stores and attracts roughly 24 million visitors each year.
Near the mall is Playdium
, the place to go for the young and young at heart. This mostly indoor amusement centre is primarily an arcade but also has go-carts, batting cages, mini-golf, bumper-cars and outdoor water activities in the summer.
Mississauga Moving Resources
Have you read enough to decide that Mississauga is where you want to live? You may need some assistance moving your belongings into or within the city. Find professionals at Movers.com to help you with your move--make sure to get at least three quotes from three different companies to ensure that you get a fair price.
Mississauga Relocation Tips
- If you would like to live in Toronto but can’t afford it, Mississauga is a good option since it is cheaper and right next to Toronto.
- Consider cycling to work, especially since the city is currently expanding its network of bike paths.
- If you live on Lake Ontario expect cooler summers, fog and warmer winters.
- When searching for homes, avoid the northeast quarter of the city; it is dominated by industrial centres that surround the Toronto Pearson International Airport.