How immigration has helped to shape today’s Mississauga

Good profile on how subsequent waves of immigration and growth have shaped Mississauga:

By the time the City of Mississauga formed in 1974, the federal government had rethought these policies and officially embraced multiculturalism. The young city was growing rapidly and, with an ample supply of affordable housing in its subdivisions, it was well placed to attract immigrants keen to make a new life here. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s its population boomed, rising from 235,000 to hit 446,000 by 1990, primarily driven by arrivals of new Canadians.

Europeans continued to come, often settling in the established neighbourhoods in the south of the city, while Asian immigrants frequently made their homes in the subdivisions being constructed north of Dundas.

Although some areas had concentrations of people from particular countries – Lakeview, for instance, had had a large Portuguese population since the 1950s – Mississauga didn’t develop culturally dominated neighbourhoods in the manner of the Danforth or Chinatown in Toronto.

Still, at the end of the 1980s the city’s demographic tilt towards Asia began to be unmistakably reflected in its urban fabric. In 1987, Masjid Al-Farooq opened on Eglinton Ave., becoming the city’s first purpose-built mosque. A year later a major Sikh temple opened on Dixie Rd., which is now one of the largest in Canada.

Although tensions simmer from time to time – as they are currently in Meadowvale, where plans for an 18,500-sq.-ft. mosque have been met with considerable opposition from locals, some of whom object to its proposed dome and minaret as being out of character – in general, inter-community friction has been notable more for its absence than presence in Mississauga.

Some observers suggest that its highly diverse population, where no single ethnicity visibly predominates, has created conditions where there is little fear of being swamped by another’s culture, allowing space to explore – and even celebrate – differences.

How immigration has helped to shape todays Mississauga.

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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