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City Stroll: Mississauga’s Historic Villages

Modern cities rarely have but one axis around which all activity revolves. New York has its burroughs, Paris its arrondisements—and Mississauga is no exception. With a population of almost 700,000, this city is Canada’s sixth largest, yet it retains its roots as a varied assemblage of historic villages, each with its own unique appeal. Make these communities your starting points to culinary, cultural and retail discovery.

PORT CREDIT

The rejuvenation of its main strip has brought eclectic restaurants, boutique shopping and family fun to one of Mississauga’s original lakeside settlements.

PARTY TIME After outlasting another winter, re-energized residents come out in droves for the Mississauga Waterfront Festival at Port Credit Memorial Park. The annual celebration, from June 19 to 21, includes carnivals rides, food vendors, live entertainment and much more.
CLASSY CUISINE
Near the edge of the village’s harbour—where the Credit River empties languidly into Lake Ontario—sits award-winning Breakwater Restaurant. One of the city’s top dining destinations, the elegantly appointed establishment serves up chef Dirk Noort’s seasonal, European-inspired entrees.
SATISFYING BITE
Featuring a patio that’s abuzz with activity and an intimate dining room tucked away from the streetside bustle, Mosquito Grill is a popular meeting place for all types in Mississauga. Healthy seafood, meat and pasta dishes keep things light on balmy summer evenings.
CALM AND COOL Chic Serenity Spa is a great spot to wind down after a day spent partaking in Port Credit’s many pleasures. Exclusively featuring Aveda products, this day spa offers a range of relaxing and revitalizing treatments, from hot stone massage to the Aqua Polish full-body exfoliation.
HIP EATERY Dark woods and luxurious leather evoke a swank supper club–style atmosphere at Ten Restaurant & Wine Bar. And there’s a menu to match: the kitchen serves up 10-ounce New York striploin, New Zealand rack of lamb, Alaskan king crab legs and many more internationally inspired entrees.
MULTIPLE VIEWS A wide array of artistry fills the two-storey Village Gallery. Patrons of high culture can peruse the works of more than 50 contemporary artists from Canada and abroad, including Toronto photographer Russell Brohier and sought-after American painter Todd White.

STREETSVILLE

This “Village in the City” offers a small-town feel with specialty shops, dining and Mississauga’s greatest concentration of historic homes.

AGED TO PERFECTION It’s hard to pass through Streetsville without spying the grandiose Old Barber House. This historic 1860s residence was originally owned by prominent miller William Barber. Today it’s home to a fine-dining restaurant that presents such classics as rack of lamb, steak and a chef’s-choice wild game feature.
NEW STANDARD Fancy a good, old-fashioned tipple? The Franklin Pourhouse (263 Queen St. S., 905-369-0500) recently opened in a heritage building. It’s an ideal spot for a pint and pub grub—bangers and mash, meatloaf and, of course, fish and chip
QUAINT BOUTIQUE There really is a little bit of everything at the Shop For All Reasons (228 Queen St. S., 905-858-9623). Lining the shelves are little treasures like whimsical tableware, Canadian-designed jewellery, gourmet jam, olive oil, organic coffee and much more.
MIDDAY DELIGHT Venture to another heritage building in the heart of the village to partake in a time-honoured tradition. The Tea Room at Robinson Bray House (223 Queen St. S., 905-542-7674) offers a serene setting in which to enjoy high tea with all the dainty and delectable trimmings.
TOP TAILOR Dapper gents are well-served by venerable Ladner’s Clothiers (220 Queen St. S., 905-826-2344), which has sold made-to-measure suits, plus other business and casual attire for nearly 50 years. Steps away, at affiliated Joe Lad (224 Queen St. S., 905-826-1455), find sharp streetwear from labels like Hugo Boss, 7 for All Mankind and Diesel.
TRENDY TOTS In the market for a designer diaper bag by Fleurville or a handy toddler tote from Lillebaby? Streetsville’s Baby Guru (167 Queen St. S., 905-846-2005) stocks these items, as well as organic baby clothes, strollers, furniture and funky toys to satisfy not only children, but their posh parents, too.

CLARKSON

Founded in 1808, this charming community mixes heritage houses and museums with sophisticated suburban amenities.


SUPER KIDS
Reward your child’s good behaviour with a trip to Wowy Zowy Toys (1764 Lakeshore Rd. W., 905-855-8697). Hot new products, like the Razor Ripstik caster board, and favourite brands including Thomas and Friends, Webkinz and Schleich Knights mean playtime is always fun.
EARLY ESTATE Restored to its early-20th-century heyday, Benares Historic House is a time capsule of refined life with more than 2,000 period artifacts on display. The Georgian-style home is thought to have inspired the beloved Jalna series of novels by Canadian author Mazo de la Roche.
ITALIAN HAVEN Satisfy your cravings at Michael’s Back Door, a long-standing Italian institution consistently counted amongst Mississauga’s best-loved restaurants. Chef Stephan Waespi’s broad menu highlights such old-world faves as veal scaloppini, oven-roasted rack of lamb, and linguini with scallops and tiger shrimp.
FRENCH FAVES The strip-mall facade of Clarkson’s Bistro Matisse may be rather nondescript, but the food within is anything but. Say “oui” to such classic dishes as escargots, cassoulet and sweetbreads prepared with panache by chef Jean-Jacques Lemesle in this casual and inviting boîte.
HISTORIC HOMES The past lives on at Bradley House Museum—an 1830s saltbox-style farmhouse—and The Anchorage, a neighbouring Regency-style cottage that exhibits locally relevant artifacts and serves afternoon tea on Sundays.
NATURAL PHOTO-OP Breathe in the unique beauty of Rattray Marsh (50 Bexhill Rd.), a 94-acre wetland along Clarkson’s shore. And bring your camera: the lengthy boardwalk traversing the wetland offers a chance to snap a variety of indigenous wildflowers, plus birds like the wood warbler, spotted sandpiper and great blue heron.—Craig Moy

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