The City of Mississauga’s vision for the future is nothing short of ambitious. As the municipality envisions on its Strategic Plan webpage,
“Mississauga will inspire the world as a
dynamic and beautiful global city for creativity
and innovation, with vibrant, safe and connected
communities; where we celebrate the rich diversity of
our cultures, our historic villages,
Lake Ontario and the Credit River valley.
A place where people choose to be.”
Are these goals accomplishable? Even in the shadow of Canada’s largest city, a.k.a. Drake’s hometown? The City of Mississauga certainly thinks so and has implemented a five pillar Strategic Plan to accomplish the feat: Belong, Connect, Prosper, Green, and Move.
But if Mississauga neglects to incorporate its heritage, it can throw away its futuristic vision. Here’s why:
Mississauga aspires to be a place that retains its youth, welcomes immigrants and attracts young professionals, providing an environment where people can live out their entire lives.
The Soul of the Community study noted that “people with the most favorable opinions of their cities also were more likely to have positive assessments of local social offerings, such as entertainment venues and places to meet, openness, or how welcoming a place is, and the area’s aesthetics, or its physical beauty and green space.” Well-maintained built heritage contributes immensely to the creation and development of such a desirable environment, adding character and contributing to the development of a unique identity.
The aim of this pillar is to maintain Mississauga’s vibrant and safe communities, public spaces and downtown core, building upon the ideals of the Belong pillar, and promoting Mississauga’s village main streets as destinations rather than places to simply pass through is also noted as part of this goal.
Built heritage obviously plays a significant role in this pillar; more than the main streets themselves, it is the unique environment that accompanies these streets, housing the array of individual businesses that foster the development of social relations, weekly routines, and out-of-town interest.
This pillar champions economic growth, innovation, and talent development.
As noted previously, heritage restoration projects stimulate the local economy. Historic sites also attract foreign investment into the local economy as the "most frequent arts and culture activity." According to the Ontario Arts Council, culture tourists also outspend non-culture tourists at a rate of approximately 2 to 1!
Culture-specific appeal aside, attracting professionals, investors, and business establishment begins with fostering a livable environment and intertwined economy. Given that a doctor, a lawyer or a business owner can settle down almost anywhere, why is it that these professionals should choose to live in and contribute to Mississauga? Why should anyone choose to make their life in Mississauga?
Mississauga would like to promote environmental sustainability, but promoting an environmentally responsible culture begins with reducing, reusing, and recycling.
Heritage buildings contain valuable embodied energy and high quality materials. Wasting this embodied energy through destruction and redevelopment only further contributes to the already extensive amount of waste Canada produces. “According to Statistics Canada, the Waste Management Industry in 2008, was estimated at 5.6 Billion, to which we 'wasted' roughly 75% of valuable resources;” a significant amount of this waste comes from the construction industry. Now that's something a LEED certificate does not address!
Encouraging the reuse of heritage properties not only speaks to the seriousness of the City of Mississauga’s Living Green Plan, but also to our commitment as Canadians to the targets of COP 21.
Given the role in which heritage plays in all walks of life, including economic and environmental goals, how could one ignore it in planning for the future?
Check out more Streetsville photography @akamarthacdn.
For further reading, check out the links below:
- Really Old School Restaurants in Mississauga
- Councillor John Campbell's Awkward Approach to Toronto History
- The History of What Mississauga Did For Fun
- Mississauga's Last Working Farm
- A Way Forward for Indigenous Heritage